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It feels weird being back at college. Being back in the dorm without Andy, feels weird. Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice to have my own room. I know I’m super lucky. I do feel grateful, it’s not that I don’t. It’s just that I still feel a little stunned that he moved out. I can’t believe he did it. I didn’t even know he was thinking about it. I’m shocked by how much it hurt my feelings. I’m shocked that I’m still shocked about it, even though I’ve been thinking about it all summer. He gave me the big painting that used to hang in our room. Maybe he felt a bit guilty, and that’s why he gave it to me. That’s something, I guess. Now, it hangs above the bed in my room. I spend a lot of time trying not to look at it.
I spend a lot of time trying not to talk about it either. I’m not entirely successful there. I talk about it to Ash, quite a lot.
“I mean, can you believe he just moved out without any warning? Can you believe it?”
“Yes, yes,” she sighs, sounding incredibly bored, “he’s the most dreadful asshole.”
“He’s not an asshole, Ash, that’s not what I’m saying.”
“Uh huh, what are you saying then?”
“I’m just saying, I didn’t expect it, okay? That’s all I’m saying.”
“I don’t know why you’re still going on about it, Bax.”
I feel myself getting a little hot under the collar, “How would you feel if Michelle just moved out, without giving you any warning? How would you feel then?”
Michelle is Ash’s roommate. They’re living together again this year. Ash loves living with her. She should understand how I feel.
She looks up at me smugly, “Michelle wouldn’t do that, d’you know why? ‘Cause Michelle’s not an asshole.”
I feel myself start to fume, “He’s not an asshole, Ash.”
“‘Course he’s an asshole. It’s obvious. Plus, this works out so much better for you and me. I’m super glad you have your own room now.”
“Maybe,” I say, under my breath, “but this isn’t about you.”
Turns out, that was the wrong thing to say.
The fight that erupts is astonishing in its intensity. Ash unleashes fire and brimstone, unlike anything I’ve ever seen. That doesn’t shock me completely, if I’m being honest. I saw that coming. What shocks me, is the way I fight back. Usually, I’m the kind of guy that will let almost anything go. Usually, I think there’s hardly anything on earth that’s worth getting really upset and ugly about. It’s different with Ash. With Ash, I don’t back down. With Ash, I can’t back down. She can’t back down either. She doesn’t know how.
She slams the door on her way out. I sit on my bed. Stunned and very unhappy. I can’t believe I just spoke to her like that. I’m horrified. This is the first time I’ve yelled at anyone in my whole life. I’m positive it’s over. This thing with Ash, it’s definitely over. No way any relationship could survive a fight like that.
It isn’t over though. It’s just the beginning. She comes back to my room the next night. She comes when it’s already dark. She doesn’t say anything. She just slides her dress off her shoulders and she fucks me. She fucks me severely. She fucks me in a way I’ve never been fucked before. Bear in mind, I’ve already been with Ash for a while now, so that’s saying something. It really is. By the time it’s over, clothes are strewn all over. It looks like a twister has ripped through my room. A big one. By the time it’s over, we’ve both been screaming. My throat feels dry. I’m shaking. I’m shaken. My whole core is quaking.
It’s a good thing Andy doesn’t live here anymore, I think, no matter what, he doesn’t deserve to be exposed to the sound of Ash and I making up.
I still see Andy a lot. Despite everything, I see him all the time. In some ways, I think I’m making a mistake by going over to his place all the time. Maybe, it would be better for me, if I just stopped trying so hard with him. I’m always the one who makes the effort. It’s always me going around there or making plans to meet up. The thing is, even though I know our friendship means a lot more to me than it does to him, he always looks happy to see me. I love it when he looks happy like that. I can tell he tries not to show it, but when I turn up at his door, I hear his footsteps quicken when Sarah or Tyler yell, “Andy, West’s here.”
The place he’s living is great. I can see why he wanted to live there. Tyler’s parents own it. It’s huge. It has an open plan living room with big windows and high ceilings. The kitchen is oak, and the living room is very co-ordinated. Everything matches. It wouldn’t surprise me to learn that Tyler’s mom got an interior decorator in. It’s definitely not the type of apartment one thinks of when one thinks of student accommodation.
Andy’s room is big, too. He has a queen-sized bed and a lot of space for a desk and an easel. He has all his paints and things out on display and several charcoal studies of hands and various body parts up on the wall. The horrible painting etlik escort he did of himself last year, is leaning against one of the walls. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a very, very good painting. It really is. It’s just that it’s so awful. Sometimes, I think I’m imagining it when I think that Andy has sad eyes. Sometimes, I think that’s just the way he is. Maybe, that’s just the way his eyes look. When I see this painting though, I get a horrible feeling that Andy really is sad. I hate thinking like that. Even though I’m trying very hard not to think about Andy like that anymore, I still want him to be happy. I want that more than anything.
I’m glad he hasn’t hung the painting up. I’m glad he just left it on the floor, leaning there against one of his freshly painted walls. He painted the walls of his room a very pale blue. He took a long time to decide on exactly the right shade of blue. I went round to his place to help him paint.
“Is it important to you to be in a place that looks nice?” I asked him, as we painted.
Even though I know I should stop, I still try to gather information on him. I’m definitely going to try harder to stop that. At the same time, in a way, it’s normal to want to know things about your friends. That’s the problem with Andy, it’s hard to know where the line is between being his friend and wanting more.
“Yes.” He said.
“You must have hated our ugly grey room then.”
He looked up at me strangely. “I never really noticed the colour.”
The good news is, I’m very happy with Ash. She’s really amazing. Absolutely amazing. I’ve never met anyone with more energy than she has. She has more energy than any one body can possibly contain. Especially such a tiny, tight little body. She doesn’t stand a chance. It’s not her fault, really, that she can’t always contain it. Most of the time, she’s amazing. She’s pent up and passionate about everything. She comes back from lectures wild and excited about things she’s learning. She unleashes that passion on me, whether I’m ready or not. Afterwards, once she’s come three or four times, all the tension leaves her body. She goes soft and mushy. She collapses onto me and I pull her body tightly toward me. She moulds herself to me. Her head on my chest, the rest of her pressed up against me. She seems to fit me like a piece of a puzzle. When it’s like that, when she’s sweet and soft, I lie there and think I must be the luckiest guy in the world, to have a girl like Ashleigh.
Andy doesn’t like her. He’s made that perfectly clear. In some ways, I can see why he feels like that. The thing is, he doesn’t know her like I do. He only sees the bad side. He doesn’t know that as much as I love Ashleigh, I also need her. I don’t know if it’s wrong or right to need her, the way I need her, but I do. I was floundering before her. I was hurting. I couldn’t go on like that.
She saved me.
“She’s bad news, West. I’m telling you, she’s bad news.” Says Andy, again.
We’re out for dinner with a group of friends and Ash is being hard work. She’s always demanding when we’re out with other people. It’s not like I flirt or do anything disrespectful. I try not to inflame her, but at the same time, I’m not going to start acting like someone I’m not. She’s flounced off to the bathroom, in a big huff. That’s when Andy leans over and tells me she’s trouble. He’s said it before, many times. I’m getting really tired of hearing it.
“Andy,” I say sharply, “I’d like you to stop talking shit about Ashleigh.”
He looks shocked. It’s not that I was overly mean. It’s just that I’ve never spoken to him like that. He looks like I slapped him. He seems to deliberate for a second, as though he’s thinking carefully about what to say next, “Sorry,” he says, when he lands on a decision, “I won’t do it again.”
I don’t know if I’m over Andy exactly, but I think I am. It’s hard to know exactly when you’re over someone, when you still love them as a friend. When they’re still your favourite person. I think I’m over him though. I’m pretty sure that I am. I’m definitely under Ash, that’s for Goddamned sure.
It’s the first Saturday after the fall break. I’m heading out to Tyler’s birthday party. It’s a hat party. I wear an old cap. I pull it on backwards. I think Andy will probably find that funny. It’s definitely a, “bro,” move. I’m a little surprised Tyler invited me. Sometimes, I get the feeling that Tyler and I don’t really like each other. It’s hard to say why exactly. It’s not like he’s ever done anything to me. I just get a feeling we’re not really wild about each other. I guess, we don’t really have much in common. We’re very different people, Tyler and me.
I get to the party and see myself in. It’s dark and the lights are purple and blue. They are reflecting off every surface. Tyler’s wearing a tux and a top hat and a hot pink feather boa. He shrieks when he sees me.
“West! You came!”
That might be the reason I’m not crazy ankara eve gelen escort about Tyler. He’s too loud. He’s way, way too loud.
I head over to the bar, to get a drink. I scan the room for Andy. Usually, he’s easy to spot with his height and his face. Tonight, it takes me a second to see him. He’s leaning over the bar, ordering a drink. I walk up behind him and tap his shoulder.
“Hey Andy.” He spins around and the rooms spins with him. For a second, I feel as though I might lose my footing.
“Hi.” He says simply.
I remember that, because usually, I take note of the way he says my name. I take note, as if there’s some sort of clue buried in the way he says it. Some sort of clue that’s going to explain everything. He doesn’t do that tonight. Tonight, he leaves no clue for me at all.
He’s wearing all black. His eyes and his hair look blue-black in this light. He has a crazy black feathered hat on his head. It looks like a work of art. His hair is pulled back off his face. He might be wearing make-up because his eyes look unreal. He looks unreal. He looks like a work of art. He looks like someone else. Someone I don’t know. Someone I want to know, badly.
My chest feels inexplicably tight. It feels like I can only get breath out. I can’t get any air in.
“I like your hat.” I say, at last.
“It’s a say something hat.”
I’m stumped for a moment, trying to think what this hat could possibly be saying, if not, “Tear off my clothes and fuck me until I pass out.”
I assume that’s not what his hat is saying. I assume that it’s not. I don’t think that’s Andy’s style. Although, honestly, what do I really know about Andy’s style.
As I stand there, I don’t feel like someone who has a girlfriend. I can’t remember having a girlfriend, right then. I can’t remember that she’s a tornado. I can’t even remember her name.
I lean over. I lean close. I run my hand down his back. I run my hand down his back, the way I do when I’m in a crowd and I’m moving through a throng of girls. I touch his back, as if he’s a girl. I touch him harder and longer than I should. I run my hand all the way down to his lower back. To the place where his back arches in. To the gentle little dip just above his belt. When my hand gets there, I leave it for a second. I don’t move, for a second. Then I pull his t-shirt a little. I don’t think he can feel it, so I grab the fabric between my fingers. I grab it and rub it between my forefinger and thumb. I grab it hard. I grab it, the way I want to grab his flesh.
“I like what it’s saying.” I say, into his ear.
I leave Tyler’s hat party early. I can’t stay. I know if I do, I’m going to do something catastrophic. I get out of there as fast as I can.
I get back to my room and lock the door. I get undressed and lie on my back on my bed. I lie there for a while, trying to will myself to fall asleep. I try to think about Ash, but I can’t picture her face. All I can think of is Andy. All I can think of is his face. His cheekbones and his brow. The way he looked when he turned round to greet me. His mystery and intensity were radiating off him, as if they had a life of their own. I’ve never seen anything like it. My dick is still hard from before. It’s hard from hours ago. It’s still hard from the second I saw him.
I try not to do this. Since I’ve been with Ash, I try really, really hard not to do it. To be honest, I’ve banned myself from doing this. I’ve banned myself from thinking of him like this. Usually, I’m strong. Usually, I’m good about it.
I’m not feeling strong tonight. Tonight, I’m weak and I can’t stop myself. I play the song that was playing when I saw Andy tonight. The Edge of Reason, by Lady Gaga. As the first notes fill the room, I reach down and start stroking myself. I see Andy’s face. I see his eyes and his cheekbones. I see the way his lips move when he speaks. I see his bottom lip and I think about biting it gently and sucking it into my mouth. I imagine him raising his chin at me, the way he does to guys he wants. I think about following him to the men’s bathroom. Walking behind him, watching him walk. Following him into a stall. Locking the door. I think about turning him around and spreading his legs, making him reach forward, pressing the palms of his hands against the wall above the toilet. I think about reaching around and unbuckling his belt. Yanking his pants down. Doing it hard. I imagine the shocked little sound he would make. I imagine spreading his cheeks. I imagine giving him my dick. I imagine plunging myself inside him. I imagine pulling him back by his hair, so I can see his face. So I can see him. I imagine him being the bottom, who’s struggling to take it.
I curl my fingers into a tight circle. I make them into a smaller, tighter hole than I usually use when I wank. I lie on my back and I fuck the hole I’ve made with my hand with every ounce of my strength. I fuck it and fuck it until I groan long and loud.
I ankara escort come long before the song ends.
I’m feeling very, very messed up today. I can see I was deluding myself, when I thought I was over Andy. I’m far from over him. I don’t know what to do with myself. I don’t know how to make myself stop feeling like this. I feel shocking about getting Ashleigh involved in all of this. I feel so bad, I call her and ask her to come over.
We don’t talk very much, but I do feel a lot better, by the time she leaves in the morning. It’s not that I’m using her. It’s that when I’m with her, I don’t think of Andy. I don’t think of his face and I don’t think about the fact that I can feel him in my chest. When I’m with Ash, I’m with her. I’m with her only. The only way I can possibly see myself getting over Andy, is to spend every second I can with Ash.
Ash broke up with me again today. This is part of a pattern with her. Usually, I’m good at spotting patterns. I have a talent for it. With her, I can’t seem to see it. I can’t see it coming. This time, I forgot to ask her how her Law and Public Policy test went.
“Nice of you to ask me how I did on my test, Baxter. Really attentive. Really caring.”
“Sorry, Ash, how was it?”
“Don’t say sorry, quickly like that. When you do that, I know you don’t mean it.”
I can see she’s starting to lose her cool, so I say, “Just calm down.”
It turns out, that was the wrong thing to say.
Whenever this happens, whenever she dumps me, I go running back to Andy. I really try not to. I think it’s unfair to Ash, and it’s probably not fair to me either, but I keep doing it. It’s just that whenever something is wrong, I want Andy. I want to be near him, when something’s the matter.
Last time she broke up with me, I went over to his place and lay on his bed while he worked at his desk. I just lay there looking up at the crown molding on his ceiling. While I was lying there, I felt as though I could feel soft rain on my face. That’s what it feels like, being with him.
If Andy feels like soft rain, Ash feels like thunder and lightning. Ash feels like a storm. An electric storm. I know I shouldn’t compare the two of them. I shouldn’t compare Andy and Ashleigh. It’s not fair to anyone. It’s just that that’s what being with Andy feels like to me. He’s like the rain. Peaceful and beautiful. Being with him feels like possibility. It feels like the start of something new, even though I know full well it’s not. It feels like something I never want to end. Being with Andy, feels like being home. That’s why I can’t stay away from him.
That time, the last time she broke up with me, he sat there at his desk, looking thoughtful as I told him all about the fight. I told him what she said and what I said. He’s very careful now, in the way he talks about Ash. He does his best to tow the line.
“Maybe you should suggest she gets her hormones checked-out.” He said, reasonably, when I finished talking. I’ve told him that Ash has bad periods and terrible PMS. “Maybe, you should recommend she sees a doctor. It might help.”
“Jesus fucking Christ,” I said in disbelief, “Are you trying to get me killed?”
He laughed at that. He really, really laughed.
“I’m just trying to help.”
I laughed too. “I know, but if anyone’s going tell Ash her hormones are out of whack, it’s sure as hell not going to be me.”
That was last time.
This time, I decide to go out after she breaks up with me. I go out and have fun with The Bro’s. I have a great time. I get absolutely wrecked. Before I even go out, I know I’m going to land up at Andy’s. I know it. I’m going to try not to, but I know, before sunrise tomorrow, I’ll be at Andy’s. Even though I know it’s stupid, even though I know it will end in disappointment, I know I won’t be able to resist the temptation to go to him. Just to check.
Before it comes to that, before I get round to calling Andy, I land myself in a bar fight. I stop a guy from verbally abusing a girl and he rewards me by punching me in the face when I’m not looking. I’m really, really drunk, so the exact details are blurry, but I know I was standing up one minute and the next minute I wasn’t. The guys I’m with, have my back. They get me out of there and get me some air.
“Come on bud, I’ll take you to get checked out.” Says Mark.
“Nah, I’m fine.” I can hear myself slurring. I’m dazed and my face is throbbing. I want Andy. “I’m a hundred percent. Just call Andy, he’ll come and get me. Call Andy.”
Andy does come and get me. He gets to me quickly. He loads me into his car and puts my seatbelt on for me. I try not to smile too broadly, as he fumbles around, strapping me in. I’m super wasted, so I’m not entirely sure if I manage to keep my face under control. I feel drunk and confused and idiotically happy.
“I’m taking you to the ER.” He says.
“Nah,” I say again, “no need. I’m fine. Totally fine.”
“Mark said you were out for a while.”
“Please. I was only out for a second. I used to get knocked out all the time when I played football. I’m fine. Just take me to your place.”
We go back and forth a bit. I can see he looks worried. He clenches his jaw every time he looks over at me.
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