"My parents want me to change to medicine at uni." I felt the vibration of his voice in his chest where my head rested. He was studying biochemistry at the moment, whatever that is.
"That's ridiculous, you're only two years away from this degree, are you going to?" I asked, tracing a design on his forearm which was slung across my bare stomach.
"No. I'm going to be a writer. You know that." I did? I'm not entirely sure where the biochemistry degree was going to come in with his career as an author of epic fantasy novels but Rome was insistent.
"But you said last time I was over that it didn't pay well, unless you make it to the big time which is freaking hard to do."
"This is true. But I still want to give it a stab. I'll still have my degree to fall back on. There's a competition coming up that I want to go in for."
"Hmm." I murmured, feeling him draw away from me, lifting my head and setting it down lightly on his abandoned pillow. He stood, stretched and pulled on some sweat pants. I snuggled into the warm pillow and breathed in his scent. The sweet, sweaty smell of sex still lingered in the air but quickly dissipated when he pulled open the door leading to his tiny balcony. I saw him settle into one of the rickety wooden chairs and contemplate the silence, bare chested in the crisp autumn air. I rolled out of his bed and pulled on my underwear and one of his abandoned t-shirts and went out to join him.
Rome and I had the sort of relationship which was hard to define. For instance we weren't dating - not even close to it. In fact, we dated other people regularly. I wouldn't even count him as my friend. I knew next to nothing of his life. I knew little details - like that his parents want him to be a doctor (not sure why they aren't happy with him heading towards being a biochemist; mine would be stoked!), but I couldn't tell you his parents names. The same goes for what he knows about me. We are, for lack of a more tasteful term, fuck-buddies.
It all began when I was sixteen. We went to the same high school in a small town in Western Australia. Even though we vaguely knew each other, we didn't associate at all apart from the odd hello if we happened to cross paths through dating friends or a sporting engagement - we both played hockey. He's a year older than me and was in year twelve when we first got together. I had skipped school for the day - something I didn't ordinarily do - and I was in town at a local cafe having lunch. I was equipped with my mp3 player and my battered copy of the 'Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy'. He surprised me when he sat down at the table opposite me pulling out the cliched "Is this seat taken?" line. I yanked out my headphones and shook my head no. He was cute, what was I supposed to do?
Roman ordered lunch and we ate in silence for a while before he suggested, quite solemnly, that we go back to his place and "fuck". I have to say I was a little startled at the question - it wasn't something one usually heard in everyday conversation but he said it so sincerely I didn't ask him if he was joking. He seemed to realise that my silence was a clue for him to explain himself a little more.
"I know it isn't the kind of thing you'd normally get asked, Dakota..."
"No kidding." I replied flatly.
"Yes, well, I've seen you around school and I figure we can both benefit out of it - I am a teenage guy which explains my side and you... you're more than what you act at school. You want more. I can tell."
"So what do you think? Are you in? Mind-blowing sex, no strings attached. Why not?" He looked at me expectantly and while the virgin side of me had a small, violent panic attack, the daring wannabe-loose-woman side of me was all up for it. So I shrugged and shoved my wallet into my bag;
"Lead the way Roman." He grinned and complied.
So that was how it started. A request and a reply. He was right that day - it was mind-blowing sex. Every single time. We would get together sometimes once, sometimes three times a week and just sex it up, silently thanking his parents for working nightshifts at the local abattoir. There were no apparent repercussions - we still didn't associate at school, our friends had no idea what was happening under their noses and we were benefitting a lot. Rome had needed an aggression and stress outlet from the pressures of doing his TEE courses, especially leading up to exams, and I needed something more than the monotony of school.
Now, two years later the thing was still going on. Sometimes Rome was at my little apartment in the city when my roommate, Katie, was away but mostly it was easier for me to go to his since he lives alone. We'd had periods where we didn't see each other - when we were in other relationships (neither of us are cheats), when Rome moved to Perth before me to go to work with his uncle or when I went to Europe for a month. It was these times that proved to me that, in a twisted way, we were faithful to each other. When I got back from Europe he was waiting in my apartment, compliments of the spare key, and he didn't leave for three days. They had been a good three days... We were also still undetected by our respective friends - they didn't suspect a thing. I'm pretty sure my friends still thought I was a knowledgeable virgin. Why burst their bubbles?
"Penny for your thoughts?" He murmured to me, brushing a kiss along my jawline. I hadn't even noticed him get up.
"It's nothing." I said, shrugging. He gave me a pointed look and went inside to his stereo, putting on 'Unchained Melody' by the Righteous Brothers. I sighed;
"I was just thinking about that day in the cafe..." He knew which day, we'd never been to a cafe or restaurant or even a fast food joint together after that. He smiled slowly,
"Gutsy move on my part."
"Want to reenact our first time?" He asked slyly.
"I'd love to." I replied grinning. He grabbed my hand and dragged me back to the bed.
I left early in the morning because I had an early class and I needed to get home and collect all my text books and my laptop. I brushed a kiss on his lips and whispered,
"Catch you around, Rome." He mumbled something and snuggled further into his blankets. I grinned and slipped out of the house. Once, the first time I'd slept over, I didn't say goodbye at all and the next time I saw him he was still furious because of it;
"You always need to tell me when you leave!"
"I don't see what the big deal is, Rome. I just leave like I do if you're awake. God, I thought you'd be happy with me not waking you up..." He'd given me an irritated look and said,
"Just tell me next time, okay?"
We didn't have sex that day.
I managed to get to my lecture on time, which was excellent because it was a very important one. I yawned my way through it but still took the appropriate notes. It was my only class for the day, thank god, but I still needed to go to the library to study. Whoever told me to an Arts/Commerce degree was a nitwit. Two hours of studying later... okay, so my curser might have slipped and accidently clicked on the Facebooklink in my toolbar... and I was ready to call it lunch time.
Checking my phone I noticed that Meg had left me a message saying to meet her at a nearby cafe for lunch. In approximately two minutes. I swore, shoved my things into my bag and bolted out of the library and down the street to said cafe. I arrived seven minutes late, sweaty and red faced from my run there. I need to do more exercise.
"Whoa, you look like you've been run over by a train, kiddo!" I panted out a reply which was something along the lines of "call me kiddo again and I'll rip your kidneys out through your nostrils".
"Calm down, Dakota... Better yet, sit down and order some food. I am starving and manners dictate I don't eat till you have yours as well!" I rolled my eyes and pondered the menu for a couple of minutes before queuing at the counter to place my order.
"So... how are things going with you and that hottie I saw you talking to outside my Ancient History lecture the other day?" Meg asked me, waggling her eyebrows suggestively. I gave her a withering look.
"He was asking me for directions, Meggie, to the Homosexual Club meeting place." I watched her reaction with my excellent poker face in place, behind it I was delighted. Meg didn't fail me; her face fell and her fork dropped with a clatter to her plate.
"Oh. My. God. Are you serious??" I nodded, much to her annoyance. She continued in a voice which suggested the world had done her a serious wrong; "Why are all the hot ones gay? It just isn't fair!"
I was finding myself almost agreeing with her, so to make up for the lack of enjoyable arguments I'd had today I commented on the fact that our mutual friend Jay was actually fairly good looking and very straight. We just tended not to notice these things because we knew all his disgusting habits and were so appalled by his state of hygiene (which possibly comes with being male) that we'd come to view him as some sort of asexual lump of pond scum mixed with warm English beer, in a strictly friendly way.
We were given our food by the waiter in a manner which suggested he would rather be hoovering Chewbacca's carpet than working in this cafe. Luckily for him the food was just so darn good it stunned us to silence and promptly stole our memories of his appalling service, ie. almost spilling Meg's juice all over my head and then almost rolling my focaccia into my lap. I am the eternal victim. After ten minutes of munching and crunching and sniggering about other people's conversations Meg decided to regain use of her vocal chords;
"I mean, it's just so unfair! Are gay guys like, legally required to be excruciatingly hot and nice?? Is it just to torture the heterosexual women of the world?" She burst out. I blinked in bewilderment for a few seconds before realising that she'd been pondering the hot-guy-outside-Ancient-History conversation for the last ten minutes and was still coming to the same conclusions. I sighed,
"Meg, calm down. There are plenty more fish in the sea. Besides, you never even met that one before, you don't know if he's nice..."
"Well was he?"
"Sure!" She muttered something derogatory in my direction and then swore at a guy who was trying to shove past our table, almost knocking over her juice for the second time. What a bloody unlucky bottle of fruit pulp. It was unusual for a juice to be so obstinate - normally Nudie Crushies are the most enjoyable, amenable juices around. Not to mention they have the most awesome labels in the history of bottled fruit juice!
We made our grand, unnoticed, exit a half hour and made our way to the bus stop. We'd scheduled in an afternoon of shopping in the city centre. Bargains were there for the taking, plus 78 RECORDS had an excellent collection of local independent artists that I haven't rifled through in a while. The bus trip was about as average as you can get - a lot of electronic music devices plus tired uni students equals silent bus ride, but for the squeaking breaks and squeals of private school kids up the front. They think they are so cool.
We got off and made our way past the convention centre, across St George's Terrace and up to Hay Street Mall and Forrest Chase, our favourite hang. We laughed at all the emos and goths lounged around the Church before b-lining the record store. What a place.
Half an hour later I was rifling through the racks searching for an elusive Bright Eyes EP when I noticed someone standing uncomfortably close behind me. I was one of those personal space people - I like it and I defend it, with violence if necessary. I think I get it from my mum. Politely, I made the first move and stepped to the side moving from 'Bra' to 'Bre' in the racks. I picked up a random CD and wondered what kind of idiot filed energetic teeny-boppers Operator Please in not only the 'B' section but the 'B' section of Indie-Rock. Baffled I shoved the CD back to hear a quiet tutting from beside me. I looked up quickly into the hazel eyes of my eternally horny buddy, Roman. I gave him a startled look, wondering why he was associating with me out of the bedroom,
"Hey Dakota, long time no see." I ignored the fact that I'd seen him that morning and played along with the act for his mates sakes.
"Roman? God! I haven't seen you in years! What are you doing these days?" He grinned at me in appreciation and said,
"Yeah, not much. You know - at uni. The usual really... And yourself?"
"Uni also. Spending my hard earned Youth Allowance on Bright Eyes and Trial Kennedy." He laughed his deep, chuckle-y laugh and shook his head.
"You haven't change much then - in all of my memories you're either holding a hockey stick or an mp3 player." I shrugged and snatched up the CD I'd been looking for.
"I'm a simple girl. Small things make me happy." He flashed me a dazzling smile and said,
"Well, I'll catch you around sometime Dakota. It was nice seeing you again." He leant down and brushed a kiss against my cheek. To all appearances it was a friendly, I-probably-won't-see-you-for-another-two-years kiss but I knew better than that. It was most certainly a preview for the nights activities. I figured he'd be over at mine tonight since my roommate always stayed at her folks on Tuesday nights. As he was leaving the store I heard one of his friends say,
"Dude! She was smoking! Why didn't you get her number?" Rome laughed in reply and punched his mate in the arm.
"Nah man, she's not my type." For some reason this hurt me a little.