“Who’s said anything about a relationship? Let’s just . . . keep having a good time. See what happens. It’s not like we’re going to take off for Vegas and get married.”
That would just be ridiculous.
Dee shakes her head. “You don’t understand. It never ends well. This won’t be any different, Matthew. I used to think it was the men I picked, but I’ve finally accepted the fact that it’s me. I make good guys go bad. I’m like . . . a penis pump . . . I turn men into gigantic pricks. I’m the girl your mother warned you about—bad news.”
And her expression is so serious, I can’t not laugh. “No, you’re not.”
“You don’t know me.”
“What I know so far is pretty awesome.”
She starts to deny what I’ve said, but I push on. “You’re overthinking this. We can be f**k buddies if it makes you feel better. New friends with fabulous benefits. I’ll be the scratch for your itch . . . the booty to your two a.m. call. Just . . . don’t screw any other guys—you won’t need to.”
She begins to shake her head. Until I remind her. “And the world could end tomorrow, remember? The aliens could invade . . . global warming . . . we’ve got to live for the now, ’cause you never know when the now will be gone.”
I hold out my hand. “Take a chance, Dee. I won’t let you down.”
Her honey-colored eyes look wistfully at my hand. “God, you’re good.”
I smirk. And it just comes out. “That’s what she said.”
Dee cracks up.
Then she takes my hand in hers. They’re a perfect fit.
Like two middle schoolers experiencing their first crushes, we stand like that for a few moments, smiling at each other. Wordlessly, we turn and walk toward her apartment.
Much too seriously, Dee says, “Hey, Matthew?”
I raise my eyebrows.
“When you’ve had enough? Just remember I tried to warn you, okay?”
I don’t know what kind of f**ked-up, douche bags Dee has been going out with, but that kind of talk ticks me off. I’m determined to prove her wrong and lighten the mood. So I lean toward her and whisper, “You’re too beautiful to ever get enough of.”
Delores rolls her eyes. And I get the distinct impression she thinks I’m bullshitting her. Guess I’ll just have to keep calling her beautiful until she believes it.
Waking up in a place that’s not yours is always slightly disorienting. My eyes open to sunlight streaming through sheer purple curtains and to a clothes-cluttered bedroom. Last night, Dee and I talked some more after going inside her apartment. Turns out, she didn’t have sex with the homeboy. She said he spent the majority of their time at her apartment on the phone with a friend. Idiot. She asked me if it would’ve bothered me if she had—my answer was yes. But . . . I would’ve gotten over it.
I slip on a pair of boxers, then I follow the smell of bacon and the sound of music to the kitchen. Dee stands at the stove with her back to me, singing along to “Beneath Your Beautiful” that pours out from the stereo, which is mounted below her cabinet.
Her voice is adorably bad—off-key and screechy—like a mating cat’s. Her reddish-blond hair is pinned up with chopsticks—still color-streaked from last night—and the only piece of clothing she’s wearing is my button-down, blue shirt. As the song ends, I applaud.
She spins around, spatula in hand. “Morning.”
She shrugs. “Since I was making you breakfast, I decided to go full fledged cliché and wear it.”
I step up close and plant a sweet kiss on her lips. She smiles, shyly. “Are you hungry?”
Dee hands me two glasses of orange juice and grabs a platter of bacon and scrambled eggs from the counter. We sit at her small, two-chaired dining table and dig in.
“This is good,” I comment.
“Organic turkey bacon. It’s like crack. One taste, you’ll never do pork again.”
As we eat, I take the opportunity to check out her place. Before, I was much too preoccupied with making her moan. It’s neater than I expected, and eclectic. A red recliner whose fabric has seen better days is stationed next to a round, mosaic-topped table, adjacent to a comfy looking beige couch with a soft, brown blanket thrown across the back. Floral pillows of all shapes are scattered around, and a tall lamp with a beaded fringe shade stands in the corner. Just a few picture frames decorate the walls—one is of Delores, standing next to a thin woman with similar hair color, who I assume is her mother. Another is of Dee, at about thirteen, with one arm around the shoulders of a braces-adorned Kate Brooks, and the other arm around a brown-haired boy, who must be Dee’s cousin. All three are wearing roller skates.
I swallow a forkful of mouthwatering eggs and ask, “What are you doing today?”
“I have to hit up the farmers’ market in Brooklyn . . . but otherwise, nothing.”
“Do you want to hang out?”
“We’ll swing by my place so I can shower, and I have to make one quick stop, but after, I thought we could go to Central Park?”
The beauty of living in the city is there’s always something to do. Even if your ass is sitting on a park bench and you’re feeding the pigeons, it feels like you’re doing something.
“Sounds good. I’ll get dressed.”