That's the first thing to welcome me as I drift into consciousness. I crack my eyes open and they land on the mess that's his dark hair, sticking out at weird angles. I'd probably find it adorable, if it wasn't for one green eye glaring at me fiercely from behind the tangled strands.

"What?" I yawn.

"You opened the window last night," his tone is dry.

"Yeah." A pause. "So?"

"It's fucking freezing in here."

"Well it was fucking hot during the night. I couldn't sleep."

"Well I can't feel my dick."

"Your dick will be fine. And if it fell off we still have mine, right?"

"Right. Like you could top to save your life."

I grumble under my breath, mimicking him, and he grins smugly. Asshole.

"I had a dream you were pregnant," he announces casually.

I snort, finding it below me to comment.

"You would be the worst mother possible," he goes on, watching my reaction through his hair.

I give him an incredulous look. "Are we talking about kids, Rodeo?" I ask him slowly. "Seriously?"

He stares at me for a little longer, before grimacing, rolling onto his back. He puts his hands behind his head and relaxes, letting his eyes slip shut. The beddings slide down, revealing the pale, smooth expanse of his chest and the contrasting dark nipples. My mouth waters. I push myself up to a sitting position, throwing the sheets off. I need to pee.

The second I swing my legs to the ground his arm shoots out, fingers catching my elbow. I frown.

"Wha--oa!" he tugs me back and I lose balance, caught off guard when he rolls swiftly on top of me, blocking my flailing arms with his. Shit, trapped. I glare at him and he grins, head lowering till his lips nudge against my ear.

I think he's gonna say something, but after a moment of merely breathing at my ear his mouth finally descends, tongue darting out to flick across the tender outer curve. I suck in a breath, hands straining against his wrists. He rests his whole body weight over me and I love, love being pinned beneath him like this. I need it - the confirmation that he wants me, still wants me. Because god knows I can never be too sure of that.

He works on my ear, kissing it, licking, biting lightly, and I writhe underneath him like the little slut that I am. His fingers tangle in my hair and tug back sharply, exposing my throat. I gasp at the roughness, but it melts into a moan when he mouths my Adam's apple, the underside of my chin. I can't think when he does that, and the bastard knows it. Shit, he's got down all the spots that drive me nuts, who am I kidding. He uses that knowledge against me when I least expect it.

Then, out of the blue - he lifts his head.

"Damn. I have a job interview in like, half an hour. Gotta jet." And just like that, he's gone. Leaving me surprised, confused and frustrated. He didn't tell me he had a job interview. What a shitty boyfriend.

I finish myself off with my own hand, vengefully, thinking about how I'd love to kick his ass. Fuck his ass. Whatever. The effect is as desired.


"... So he intercepts the ball and runs about ten yards to where the offensive guys are and then he just dives over the line like he was diving into the end zone, okay, and he spikes the ball--"

"What the hell is that?" Ava asks.

"UEFA or some shit like that, I honestly have no idea," I mutter, turning away from the glaring TV in the living-room, leaning my shoulder against the wall next to the phone.

"It's World Cup, idiot," Rodeo corrects with exasperation. A second later he's forgotten all about me though, engrossed in the sports commentary.

"Soccer bores the fuck out of me," Ava comments. "A bunch of sweaty guys running all over the place, kicking the ball and each other."

"He loves it."

"No shit. I bet he's been hogging the TV big time. You know they've been airing Tru Blood reruns, right?"

That puts another dampener on my already fucked mood. "No. But thanks for telling me what I'm missing out on."

She sighs.

"Honestly, dude. It's your apartment, too."

"Hey, we have any beer left?" comes from the living-room.

I exhale irritably.

"Move your ass and see for yourself," I shoot over my shoulder.


I ignore him, shifting the phone receiver from my right ear to the left. I listen to Ava ramble on about something, watching him walk past me with a stiff, demonstrative manner to his stride until he disappears inside the kitchen. The fridge door groans open and close, and after a moment he walks back out, carrying two beer cans. He glares at me as he passes by, and I glare back.

"... should dump him."

"Can't," I shake my head.

"Why not? He's an asshole."

"You know why."

She sighs dramatically.

"Honestly, Ace. I don't get the attraction. I mean yeah, the guy's hot. But other than that? Look how he's been treating you. You deserve so much better."

I press my lips together.

"Look, I've gotta go."

"Fine," she sounds resigned. "Call me next week, lemme know how you did on your finals, yeah?"

"Yeah, will do. Bye."

I hang up, before leaning my head back against the wall and closing my eyes. She had to go and remind me about the fucking finals, didn't she. And I've been trying real hard to postpone thinking about them. Now I have no excuse but get down to studying. Which sucks big hairy ass.

"You done trashing me with that redhead skunk you call friend?"

My eyes flutter open.

"Don't talk about her like that."

"Oh, but it's okay for her to do that, huh?"

"Yes, because she's right," I announce dryly. He snorts, but doesn't comment. His eyes are fixed on the screen where two balding dudes talk about how our soccer team did lately. From the look on their faces it looks like we sucked.

I sigh and head for the bedroom, intending to open the social studies book. Well, at least one of them. That'd be a start.

His voice drifts towards me a split of the second before I push the door open,

"You gonna go sulk in solitude now?"

I'm the one snorting this time.

"I'm gonna study. If you gave a shit about anything other than yourself, you would know I have finals coming up," I snap angrily, before slamming the door behind me. Wow... a fit and a door slamming. Impressive.

I fail at life.

The pile of books in front of me gives me the creeps. They pile till the fucking ceiling, and I don't even know where to start. The professor guy is scary. Seems like his life mission is to fail half of our department. That surely includes me. The other half are the people in thick-rimmed glasses who always know the right answer - even though they don't seem to have a life outside of college.

Not that I have a life. Unless you count a shitty apartment that smells like shit no matter how hard you scrub the floor and walls, a shitty job where your boss takes his shit out on you everyday, and a shitty boyfriend that doesn't give half a shit about your feelings. All in all, one big fatass shit.

And today is actually one of my better days, mind you.

As for studying for social studies, I decide to work on the book pile from top to bottom, gradually, till I have everything down. That will take me the eternity, but I have no other option, do I? The professor won't even blink while failing my ass. Gotta be ready when that happens.

Well, as ready as one can be, anyway.

So I flip down on the mattress, and reach over for the first book. Subcultures. Great.

"I know you have finals coming up."

I flinch. I turn to look over my shoulder, finding him with his shoulder against the door-frame, arms folded across his chest. He's watching me sceptically.

I return my attention to the open book in front of me.

"Right. Look, I need to focus. So if you fucked off, I'd be grateful," I say dispassionately.

He snorts a laughter.

"You have such a filthy mouth sometimes."

I ignore him. Keep ignoring him, until he pushes himself to his full height and closes the distance between us, bowing to snatch the book from under my nose.

"Hey!" I make a grab for it, but he lifts it higher, out of my reach.

"Subcultures," he reads aloud and pauses. A thoughtful crease appears between his brows, "Hey, do they have a chapter on goth-going-on-emo's?"

"Fuck you. Give it back."

"Take it if you want it."

I snort angrily, pushing myself up to my knees. "I mean it, asshole. I have to study."

"But you already know all about being a little, anti-social freak, don't you?" he smirks. "You could write a study book yourself."

I kick him in the shin. I just feel like doing it – felt that need ever since the morning - so I do, and I snatch the book from his hands as he doubles over in pain, dark hair flipping over his eyes.

"You done getting on my nerve?" I ask him. "Then get out."

Still grimacing, he lowers himself onto the floor next to our mattress, sagging against his slightly raised knees to massage his abused leg. I feel oddly satisfied at his pained expression.

"I don't get it why she hates me so much," he comments.


Rodeo and his fucking random subject changes, seriously. I snort, not taking my eyes off of the text. "Yeah, because that's so hard to figure out. Look, I don't have time for this right now. Go away."

He leans back on his hands, giving me a wry look. He doesn't say anything for a while, just watches me. I grow tense. Because it's him. Because I need to study, and feel way too worn out to be dealing with this shit right now. He hurts me more than anyone, because no one is more important to me than he is. That's my fucking problem.

"We lost the game. Did you even know that?" he asks finally.

I sigh.

"Yeah, I kinda figured it out from the enthusiasm on the TV guys' faces."

He chuckles. He tilts his head back, gazing up at the ceiling, letting go of the air slowly, irritably.

"We fucking suck," he comments. "I bet the boys on the team prefer to screw around with each other than actually practice."

"You're such a fucking homophobe."

"Right," he looks back at me, brow arched. "I was such a fucking homophobe last night when I took you against every possible surface we could find around here. Or, this morning."

I glare at him, hoping it will hide the flush.

"Oh... you mean this morning when you left me high and dry 'cause you forgot you had a job interview?" I snap at him. "Seriously, dude. I get it that it wasn't a big enough deal to tell me beforehand, but you could've at least planned it so I wouldn't have had to imagine kicking your ass to get off."

He smirks at that.

"Wish I'd been there," he mutters.

"Me too," I snap back, pointedly, before sticking my nose back in the book.

I hear him sigh – the kind of sigh he lets out when he has to deal withmy emo tantrums. That sigh gets on my nerves big time.

"Look, I wanted to tell you only after I knew if I got it or not, 'kay?" he shrugs.


There's a pause.

"Well, aren't you going to congratulate me? I'll be the assistant of the team coordinator. If I'm bright enough and make up some catchy shit that'll make the kiddies wanna eat yogurts, maybe it'll even land me a place on the team itself," he pauses. "You wanted to go to Norway, right? If the deal works out, maybe we could, next year."

"Congrats," I mutter, still not looking at him. I am proud of him. Really. But it's always the same old shit. He never tells me anything. And when he does, it's just bits of this and that, like it was all no big deal at all.

He still doesn't seem to know how involved in us I am. And I know he's involved too, I know – because he's abandoned his previous slutty lifestyle and moved in with me, and always comes back to me when he could have anyone, man or woman – but some thought exchange, some insight, something, wouldn't hurt. I like to talk, you know? Have it all up-front and examined. He's not like that. We're not exactly compatible, if you haven't figured that out already. But we can't be without each other, either. We tried that once, and we were back together less than a week later. It was the worst fucking week of my life, and I never want to be apart from him again. Even if all we seem to do is insult each other. Can you say toxic?

"I told you though, didn't I?" he says finally.

"Yeah, it slipped out 'cause you were late," I agree sarcastically.

He sighs.

"You can be such a fucking drama queen when you want to."

"I have to study," I say dryly. "Close the door behind you."

He stands up and leaves.


Two hours later, and I can barely distinguish the letters in front of me any more. Subcultures, family, patriarchy, shit. It all blurs together. I'm fucking knackered. Maybe I'm not cut out for college, after all. God knows I suck at studying.

A mug lands on the floor next to me, smelling distinctly of freshly brewed coffee. Mmm. Wait... I didn't even hear him come in. Man, I need a break.

"Thanks," I mutter, sitting up. My spine crackles miserably and I groan.

Rodeo looks down at me, unimpressed.

"Do you know what you need?" he asks.

"This," I wrap my hands around the warm mug. "Clearly."

"You need to chillax. I'm talking objectively, dude. At this rate, you won't live to graduate."

"Thanks for the disclosure, doctor Freud. Can you leave now?" I grumble.


I ignore him, going back to squinting at the book. He stands there for a little longer, just looking at me, before he walks out again with a shake of his head.


I don't know how I manage to focus. I do, though, for another couple of hours or so. I don't know what he's doing during all that time. Probably playing guitar. Or having phone sex with one of his ex-girlfriends. Who the fuck knows. Granted, when I finally emerge from our bedroom, barely seeing anything any more, he's nowhere to be found.

Until I hear the water running in the bathroom. I frown, edging closer, sticking my head in the door. Inside, Rodeo is just finishing filling up the tub. He's sitting on the edge, in nothing but his dark jeans.


That's the first thing that crosses my mind. The second is: there's no way he's running a bath for me.

"I'm touched," I say.

He looks up. His eyes travel over my face, and I bet I look like a million dollars right now. Hair tousled from running my fingers through in frustration, bags under my eyes, whites bloodshed.

He doesn't comment, reaching over instead to turn off the faucet. There's a faint scent of something sweet in the air, rising from the water.


It's a command, although told in a soft voice. I blink at him stupidly, unmoving, and after a moment he rolls his eyes. He pushes himself to his feet and strolls over to me, fingers finding the bottom of my shirt.

"Arms up."

I snort but do as told, and he tugs my shirt over my head like he was dealing with a sulky five-year old. My hair falls all over my eyes pathetically and his fingers push it off, back from my forehead.

"You smell like a book from the 19th century," he comments, wrinkling his nose.


He shakes his head. Familiar fingers open my pants with a few quick snaps, and I finally start co-operating, pushing them down and off. I remain in just my boxers and his eyes rake down my body, lingering not so subtly on my mid-section. I flush. He smirks.

"Lose the boxers and get in the tub."

Dragging my feet a little I comply, stepping stark naked into the tub; the feeling of immersing myself in the warm, sweetly scented water is hard to describe. It feels absolutely ecstatic. I let go of the air slowly, relaxing, letting my head roll back against the cool tile of the tub.

"Move over, lazyass."

I crack my eyes open and frown at him, but I'm already leaning forward to let him slip in behind me. Very much naked. His hands cup my shoulders and gently urge me back against him. A bicep slides under my left cheek, arm resting lightly over my chest.

"Relax," he mutters into my ear. Fingertips, roughened from pulling at the guitar strings, begin to trace lazy, unhurried patterns over my stomach, leaving goosebumps in their wake. I can't believe he planned all this. Can you say split personality?

I lean more fully against him, my hand edging closer to his, close enough to touch. I run my fingers over his lightly, and he gives a small sigh.

I wait for another moment, before announcing, "I can't remember a thing."


"The stuff I've been reading over the last four hours. It's one big fucking black abyss."

He snorts a breathy laughter.

"Baby, you're so emo."

"Fuck you. I'm just saying. You could show some sympathy," I mumble.

He grasps a hair from below my belly button with his forefinger and thumb, and tugs lightly. "You'll be fine. You always bitch about exams, and then you get straight A's."

"Not this time around," I shake my head. "Have you seen the shit I have to cram in?"

"Yeah. Subcultures. You're good at that."

I roll my eyes. "It's not just subcultures, Rodeo. It's more or less everything they ever fucking wrote about society."

"Poor thing," he cooes into my ear. "Big bad college actually requires you to study."

I snort softly. "You can talk. Have you studied for one exam in your entire life?"

He leans away, looking at me sideways with his brows raised. "You calling me stupid?"

I roll my eyes. "I'm just saying. You always copied off, so you have no right to laugh at the ones who are trying to go about it legally."

He leans back against the tiles, and he's silent for a moment. "You're calling me stupid," he announces eventually, tone incredulous.

I let my head roll back against his shoulder.

"You're impossible."

I think he smirks. "I'll take it as a compliment."

I wanna shake my head and reply with something witty, but he starts mouthing the back of my neck and all rational thought flees me in seconds. He sort of sucks the skin between his lips, using alternatively teeth and tongue, and I know it's gonna bruise. I still don't tell him to stop; feels too damn good. My groin starts pulsing in rhythm with his mouth, and after a while I can't help but make low, needy noises. I'm such a slut.

I can feel him harden gradually against the small of my back, and it makes me wanna grind back into him, move, something. But the feeling of his mouth on me is too addicting and I hold back in indecision, lowering my head to give him better access, my eyes drifting shut. Fuck, we're so good at this. The physical stuff. The talking, communication – that's where we could use some progress. I think he loves me. But it's so hard to be with him sometimes. So hard to figure out what's on his mind. Unless we're doing this. This doesn't require words, and it's never short of mind-blowing.

A moment before the spot begins to really hurt he pulls back, but only to press his lips against another one, this time the part where the shoulder meets the neck. Then it's right below my ear and behind it, slow, open-mouthed kisses that drive me out of my mind. He breathes in my ear,

"You make me so fucking horny."

I swallow, trying not to show how much he turned me on with just his words. "I thought this was supposed to be about me relaxing," I suggest weakly.

He's silent for a moment, and I'm not sure whether he's more disappointed or amused.

"You're right. I shouldn't be bothering you. I'll go, let you soak in peace," he starts rising to his feet, and I automatically urge him back down with my shoulder, half-turning to catch his eyes. Amused. I knew it.

"There are various ways to relax, don't you think?" I say cockily. God, nonchalance must seem so fake on me right now.

His lips curl to match his eyes. "Any particular one in mind?"

I shrug a shoulder, heart already picking up. "Maybe."

Our eyes stay locked, playfulness soon giving way to heat. God, this shouldn't feel like this after three years together, should it? Every time he looks at me like this, I just--

He leans in, eyes holding mine till the very last moment before our lips meet. Slowly. A brush, barely any contact and then he's pulling back, hovering just an inch out of reach. Fucking tease. I lean after him and he retreats further. I make a low, frustrated sound that gets me a smirk in return. I can tell he loves making me wait for it. Well, if that's his game...

"Know what," I say, pulling back completely. "Why don't you stay here and indulge yourself, and I go back to studying. I mean, the first final is on Friday morning. That's just three days from now, right, and if I don't sit down to it properly--" his two fingers clasp my lips together so I can't form the words anymore. I glare at him and keep talking, telling him how I'm gonna fail because of him, how much he pisses me off, the kind of a tease he is and so on. Obviously it sounds more like mgh gnnaph lmhsmm and I'm pretty sure he doesn't comprehend a single word.

So I eventually go quiet.

"You done?" he asks.

I nod.

His fingers on my mouth are immediately replaced with his lips, dry and warm, parted slightly in an invitation to take it further. I can never resist it when he leaves the initiative to me. It's a considerable turn on, since he's always the one to set the pace. So I take my sweet time right now, slowly working his mouth open beneath mine, enjoying his willing passiveness. I lean more into him, pressing him back against a side of the tub, fingers sifting through his soft dark strands.

At the first press of tongues something like an electric jolt zaps between us, and he moans. Or maybe it's me. The kiss quickly turns frantic, and Rodeo pushes himself into a sitting position, hands cupping the back of my head as he gradually takes control back. I don't have neither strength nor determination to protest. I like being the one dictating the moves from time to time, but I like it even more – love it – when he tops me. What can I say? I'm his bitch.

The water splashes around as we make out, going at it like there's no tomorrow. Shit, after three years we could at least wait till we're in bed or something. But he makes me act like I'm fourteen again, horny 24/7 and mindless of anything else. Meeting Rodeo a year later did nothing to appease my hormones. We did it any chance we got, indoors, outdoors, day or night. The rest of the time we spent pissing each other off.

See if anything fucking changed.

Right now though, I can't be bothered. Not when he's got me pinned against the other side of the tub, one hand balancing his weight againt the tiles and the other one in the water, keeping my hips raised towards his as he grinds into me continuously. I'm seeing fucking stars. The faucet is digging a hole between my shoulders-blades, but right about now it's just another bruise I can't bring myself to care about.

We twist and pant, the water making it all the more fluid and intense, and I want him inside me, badly. I try to tell him that, but my tongue is thick in my throat, and my mind at a loss with words. So I show him the only other way I know how to – I shove him back, taking advantage of his momentary confusion to climb onto him, guide him inside me with urgent hands. The substance in the water – whatever he put in – acts as lube, and he slides into me smoothly, thickly. I moan and arch my back, taking him in as deep as I can. Oh fuck. Fuck, he's so--

"Ace..." he hisses softly, leaning back up, sliding an arm around me to keep me closer. I brace myself against both sides of the tub and slide along his lenght as hard as I can, rocking us together, drinking in the sounds he's making. He's never been one to keep quiet. Even back when I still lived with my parents and we used to fool around right under their noses, I had to literally keep his mouth shut with a hand or lips.

But now, we're at our own apartment, and we can be as vocal as we want to. The neighbours have already resigned themselves to the fact we're pretty much insatiable. Or, that whenever we are not fucking, we fight.

I look down at him, at his face that's smooth with pleasure, and I wonder fleetingly where this all is gonna lead us. We pretty much suck at communicating, but it's not just about sex either. God, it's not. I'm so in love with him - always been, no matter how heavily we fought. Only just recently I finally got over the fact he's bi, which had been eating at me for years. But as soon as that one was over, another stuff emerged. There's always something for us to fight over. There's always something to be mad about, and I suppose there always will be. It hurts me, but it's just how it is. We work like that. Or don't work, depending on the perspective. We fight, then make up, then fight again. God knows we should be with someone else, both him and me, and maybe then each of us would spoil less blood. But we can't be apart. Not physically, and not in any other way. We're gonna be the death of one another, but at least we'll die together. Maybe even during an orgasm. Which is definitely a tempting thought.

He grins up at me, sweaty and beautiful, and I grin back, lowering my face for a kiss. It's slow and sweet despite how roughly we're moving, and it stirs something deep inside of me, something warm and intense and tangible.

Shit, I'm turning into a chick.

Well... at least with him, there's a considerable chance he'll like me anyway.