He was out of the door so quickly the last time that he left his shadow behind once again, which casted over her every time she thought about him. The bittersweet taste of his kiss and overpowering cologne would also linger, as she desperately cracked a window open and reached for a toothbrush. Having a friend with benefits always left her feeling like this, this silent yet loudly accusing sense of desolation, of which she would try to shower off of her.
Heāll be going back to his other lover, the one he needs the most, the one he has a past with, the one who bore his children. And heāll be glowing from his fix, ready to face the troubles of married life. Before judgement is casted upon him, however, it isnāt entirely his fault. This relationship of physical fumbling was a mutual agreement, a contract even. It takes two to tango but she (she being the mistress) wanted to waltz with him, know him so much, too much. What she did know is that he could be a caring man because he could put all macho things aside. But she had always been a cheater. She cheated in school tests, she cheated during board games.
As she stepped out of the shower, the phone was on its last ring before the robotically voiced answering machine sprang into action.
āGrace, weāre going out tonight. No excuses.ā
Grace sighed heavily, much like a teenager being asked to do their chores. Maybe it was time for her to venture back into the outdoors, succumb her nervous wreck tendencies. Her anxiety resided in a fear of failure. Thatās what made her a cheater. It is surprising then to learn that her occupation is a web and phone application developer, where her ideas are constantly being turned down because she doesnāt own male genitalia. And this cabin fever, this festering in self-pity didnāt make her feel any better. She needed a good night out, meeting strangers and all. Because she always tries to justify misspent time and finds that the excitement of going out always nearly turns out to be overrated and overpriced. And in the morning after, unclear events lean heavily, hanging over the body. Besides, thatās how she met him. Maybe sheāll meet another him, a single version of him, whose seeds hadnāt grown into little people. She must keep an eye out for naked fourth fingers from now on. Grace supposed that she was afraid of being a bad partner, a proper partner, with restaurants and holidays, tea and biscuits. For the young teen may find someone they like and feelings are confirmed by a touch of the hands or lips. The young adult, however, is more sceptical, perceiving these touches as empty gestures, vessels that only fill up with feelings that get stronger later on, escorted in by both carefully structured words and spontaneous outbursts. And she never really knew what to say or do to keep someone interested. He sure was interested in the comfort of her bed.
There he was in her bed again, the sun dazzling her eyes and his presence doing the same to her spirit. She must have given up and called him to pick her up as usual. Memories of the night before mostly consisted of a catch-up session, followed by the admiration of Steph landing as many numbers as possible. This part right now, under the duvet next to his peacefully sleeping self however, is just a repeat. Another episode of āGrace, the Mistressā, full of familiar territory and nostalgia. She liked this lack of uncertainty, but needed to break the mould.
āGet out,ā the words fell out of her mouth before they had formed in her mind.
That was a start.
He stirred, one beautiful eye popping open, āDid you say something?ā
ā¦The silence between his and her next words was the longest, most indecisive silence.
The eye closed shut and he rolled over, lost amongst the cloud of duvet. But Grace didnāt feel high in the sky, rather crashing downwards like a comical piano. She stared ahead in disappointment. Sheāll break the mould, she thought to herselfā¦ soon.