"No Good"

"You're no good for me at all."

There is laughter in her voice as she says it, in that nonchalant way of hers that aggravates him just as much as it leaves him captivated.

Her back is to him now, and he watches the way her spine curves and dips as she leafs through the papers on the counter in front of her.

Her papers drive him crazy.

They have taken over his apartment, spilling over every available surface. It feels like she's been working on her thesis forever.

He is fairly certain she does not go to class. He may not have made it to college, but he's pretty sure it involves going to class. Her days are spent lounging around his apartment, philosophizing about the social degeneration of the modern society, and lunching with her artsy friends in sidewalk café's that she claims are in the only decent area of the city.

He looks away, his eyes traveling down to the beer in his hands as he fingers the curling edge of its label.

She's more of a chardonnay kind of girl.

"You're no good for me at all."

There's a lump in his throat. "I thought that was kind of the point?"

She looks up at him then, and there is laughter dancing around her mouth. She wants to laugh it off, he can tell, but there is a shadow that crosses over her and her smile doesn't quite reach her eyes.

Her words are brief. She's two feet in front of him, but she's never been further. "It didn't used to be, you know."

She turns back to her papers.

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They had met, of all places, while she was on a date set up by her father.

Correction. They had met while she was desperately trying to make her escape from a dastardly date set up by her father.

His buddy Pete had given him a call earlier, saying that Blaze was short a bartender that night, could use his services. Money was tight, and he wasn't in a position to turn it down.

He remembers seeing her standing on the sidewalk in front of the bar, cell phone balanced between ear and shoulder as she tried unsuccessfully to light her cigarette. The type of girl his buddy Pete referred to as "high-class untouchable". All long limbs, sleek hair, and manicured nails. A girl with a princess complex if there ever was one.

He knew her type.

She had looked up at him when he approached, a sly smirk tilting the corner of her mouth as she exhaled the cigarette smoke, her cell phone apparently forgotten at her ear.

"You're kinda cute, you know that?"

And he knew, right then, that he already had her.

---

She had straddled him the second they got in the backseat of the cab. "My father would hate you," she giggled into the side of his neck as his hands started raking up her back.

When they finally pulled up to his apartment, she held on to his hand anyways.

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But now it's two years later, and he's still waiting for that other shoe to drop.

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She hogs the covers when she sleeps.

Legs splayed, hair astray, and with the slightest part of her lips, she cocoons herself, wrapping herself in a warm daze that only the oblivious can truly be privy to.

He's left cold for most of the night. The few attempts he makes to salvage some heat is met with a swift kick in the shin and a view of her back.

He remembers the nights when they had first gotten together. Summer nights, both bodies sticky with sweat. He'd often forget to open his lone bedroom window, and as they'd move together in the night, the thick coat of humid air was stifling. She'd lay on top of him afterwards, soft contours meeting harder planes, and her hot breath would tickle against his neck.

He misses her warmth. Lying beside her now, he is freezing.

His back aches from the pressure of lying crouched as he is. His mattress is hard too, and he knows he'll be hurting tomorrow. Briefly, he remembers that it used to be a good thing when his body was hurting in the morning after a night with her.

In the last moment before his eyes start to feel heavy and his subconscious takes over, he remembers the story of the Princess and the pea. Wonders if somewhere along the way, his princess had started to feel the back-breaking hardness that came with lying in his bed.

---------------------------------------------------------------------

She's in her element when she's not with him.

He can see this, even if she can't.

She jokes, makes intelligent observations, works the crowd and a glass of chardonnay like she was born to do so.

It's not the first time that he realizes that she probably was.

He's more of a beer kind of guy.

She catches his eye from across the party, raises her glass in a mock toast, and turns back to her friends.

He watches her with them. See's the way her eyes light up, and the animated expressions that flutter across her features. She is one of the beautiful people, and he is suddenly wishing he decided to wear the dress shirt she had picked out for him instead.

He is so in tune with her that he can hear her voice from across the room as she grazes the forearm of the punk who is standing way too close to her. "Oh, Leo. You're really too much…"

Ah. So this is the infamous Leo.

It seems like every other sentence out of her mouth these days is "Leo, this" or "Leo, that".

Honestly, he'd expected someone taller.

And just what the hell kind of name is Leo anyway?

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It is not until some time after midnight that she manages to pull herself away long enough to realize he is no longer in the room.

His back is to her when she finds him out on the balcony, and he can feel her arms wrap around his waist from behind. She lays her cheek flat against his back, and through the light material of his sweater he can feel her words as they leave her lips. "Babe, you ok?"

And God, he just wants to hold her. Turning around, he pulls her closer, cradling her head in the nook between his shoulder and neck and feels her exhale against him. She fits him, even if he doesn't fit in at all.

"I'm no good for you at all," he whispers into her hair.

She looks up at him with questioning eyes, but he knows without knowing that she's not going to dispute his words.

As she makes her way back inside to join the rest of the party, she holds on to his hand desperately, anyways.