Par Jo Lee
The following morning, Jennifer was the first to wake as she hadn’t fully slept due to the discomfort of moving around on a couch almost half her size. She really wanted to go home and freshen up but knew that she wouldn’t be able to do so and come back to work on time so she started making breakfast. All the younger siblings were up shortly enough and they gathered around the large table eating toast, laughing and playing games. Genevieve and her husband came down to a very lively image of the large brood and the family assistant at the table, the pleasant and energetic atmosphere similar to a Christmas morning. The mother grabbed a cup of coffee while their father stuck to orange juice as he read the newspaper.
When Laurent and Larry came down, the volume increased tenfold. There was way too much energy in that house for a typical Thursday morning. Laurent didn’t act any differently towards Jen nor did he mention anything about their shared kiss the previous night and Jen was grateful. It was one thing trying to even gather what happened or how or why it happened and another to deal with the awkwardness of the uncertainty. Larry didn’t suspect anything at all and was his usual quiet, broody self. After breakfast, Genevieve allowed Jen to go home and freshen up as the house was becoming a little too crowded, even for her. She was planning on taking the entire family to the beach anyways and if Jen wanted to go, she could just meet them there.
After a long, cold shower, Jen got out of her tiny shower in her tiny French studio and let the warmth of the air soothe the shivers and goose bumps from her icy shower. She stared out the window and felt gratitude. Oddly enough, even she couldn’t comprehend how a month ago, she was back in her hometown with everything she needed to be happy – a decent job with good pay, a nice car, an easy life – and now she was living like a student, in cramped spaces and no financial freedom or pressure, writing like an incensed Shakespeare in her spare time, walking around Paris at night like a wandering soul yet she felt so content, so at peace, so fulfilled. She didn’t bother blow drying her hair since she was planning on going to the beach. She’d yet to go and today was the perfect day to do so, especially to show off that white-hot bikini she bought before leaving.
By the time Jen arrived at the beach, the sun was scorching hot and she had to keep slathering on sunscreen like a nerd. The whole brood was there, it was hard to miss an entire football team. Throughout the afternoon, the kids alternated between swimming, napping and sunbathing. She sat on a rock and watched them all, with a sated smile on her face. Suddenly, she felt a desire to have kids of her own, to watch over at the beach. It wasn’t anything new, she’d always wanted kids but seeing how great Genevieve was with hers, the maternal feeling intensified and she realized why her mother was so anxious for grandchildren. Larry came from behind her andplayfully shoved her. At first, she was confident it was Laurent since they’d been friendlier and Larry hadn’t uttered more than a few words to her but she soon realized that wasn’t the case by his calm demeanor. Larry would’ve been poking her, joking around and touching her in some way. He would have been warm…and friendly. Larry just sat by her side for a few minutes, silent. She stared the side of his face blatantly, hoping that would prompt him to speak. When she realized her tactic wasn’t working, she began to examine him and visually analyze his physical features. She’d kissed similar plump lips the night before and couldn’t help wondering how it’d be to kiss the exact same lips, attached to a very different person. Would it be more reserved? Wilder? More dominant? The writer in her let loose as all these questions flooded her mind. Suddenly, he turned to her and said,
“You’re very quiet.”
“I was waiting for you to speak.” She whispered, although she hadn’t meant to.
“I don’t think so. You looked like you were thinking hard, like you were looking through my head with your thoughts.” He continued.
She was taken back by his well-thought out perspective and linguistic fluency. Speaking to Larry was surprisingly a lot easier. Laurent was too wild, too enigmatic and eclectic. It wouldn’t been like a volcano of words and laughter during a conversation between them. However, Larry was quiet and intuitive, bouncing back the same overly-analytical thought process she had. She automatically relaxed,
“I was thinking about something.”
“What?” He retorted almost immediately.
“What it’d be like to kiss you.” She blurted a little too honestly, looking at his lips as she said it. She surprised herself by the outburst but felt a sense of pride dwelling within. It took a lot of courage for a woman to admit that. And his expression told her he was surprised as well.
“You’re not my type.” He smiled at her.
His smile caught her off-guard but the comment stung. “What’s your type?”
“You don’t know anything about dance.” He stated matter-of-factly.
“So you like girls that dance?” She asked. Even though the conversation was not going in her favour, she was enjoying the insightful aspect of it.
“Yes because I love dance. So if a girl dances too, I know we will be good.” He answered.
“I love to write. I dance when I want, how I want, but I’m not a dancer.” She said, almost to herself.
“What do you write?” He asked, genuinely interested.
“Stuff…anything. Tonight, I’ll go home and write about this.” She said, motioning to him and the spectacular view of the Mediterranean ahead of them.
“What will you say?” He went on, looking back at her, admiring how laid-back she was and her ability to make words sound so poetic.
“That you broke my heart.” She teased. They both started smiling at her exaggeration.
“But it’s not true…” He paused, waiting for her response.
“No” She nudged him. In the mere period of half an hour, they’d gotten so acquainted that she felt comfortable enough doing that. There was something about him that tempted her. She couldn’t put her finger on it. With Laurent, she’d just kissed him out of reciprocity and curiosity and she definitely enjoyed it. But with Larry, she felt this uncontrollable urge to unleash a furry of torrid kisses on him. It’s true after all what they say about unreciprocated love, we always seek the ones that don’t want us.