Par Jo Lee
When Jennifer finished her shift that night, she felt tired …and a little defeated. She couldn’t believe Larry had stayed in his room all day just to avoid her. Had she dreamt the affair between them? Like one of those intense erotic fantasy dreams? She couldn’t possibly have. The throbbing pain from the raw sex she still felt reaffirmed that. She went about the remainder of the day, acting as if nothing was on her mind. And that was mostly true. When Laurent wanted to give you his attention, you truly felt like a princess. He spoiled you with small, silly yet considerate gestures. During lunch, Genevieve had served herself and installed the huge plate of assorted foods right in the center of the table. Laurent got up to retrieve it once the youngest had been served, served her before serving himself. As if that wasn’t sweet enough, he grabbed some ice from the freezer for her because he knew she loved munching on it. Jen couldn’t help but smile. Even Genevieve praised Jen for bringing out the gentleman in Laurent. She made a sly comment that only mothers know how to make tactfully, insinuating that they made a cute couple but she wasn’t ready for any addition to her brood. Jennifer almost choked on an ice cube when Genevieve had made that joke, nauseous at the realization that she had indeed slept with one brother but not the right one. The baby joke was the last thing she needed, her conscience was already gnawing her into insanity and she went over and over the night trying to remember if at any point Larry had put on protection. She couldn’t recall prior, during or after the act, feeling or seeing a condom which worried her insanely. She’d have to stop by the pharmacy to get Plan B. Look at the mess you’ve made.
However when her shift ended, Lau accompanied her home, never allowing a dull or silent moment between them.
“Wow, that must be so nerve-wracking.” Jen said once Laurent told her about the huge tournament awaiting them, “No wonder you guys are so excited. So many good things in store for you! I’m really happy to hear that.” She was being honest.
“Thank you. You should be happy for us. I want you to be a part of it.” Laurent was smiling widely.
“I already feel like I’m a part of it.”
“No. Jen, I want you to be with me.”
This comment surprised her immensely. Laurent was so flirtatious with everyone, even his mother that she couldn’t fathom him being in a committed relationship. But she also had to admit that he already made her feel as if they were exclusively dating and she felt completely at ease around him. Yet the weight of the secret she beared prevented her from jumping into this tempting offer feet first. She smiled back at him.“But you’re leaving soon. I don’t know when you’ll be back. I don’t even know where I’ll be when you come back.”
“Where do you want to be?” He asked her, studying her features.
“I don’t know. I left everything I’ve ever known back home to come here. My friends, my job, my hometown, my security blanket. I don’t know when I’ll decide to go back. But the longer I’m away, the more I wonder about ever going back.” She stated wistfully.
“Why did you leave?”
“Looking back, I think I was just bored. I wasn’t challenged anymore. I wasn’t happy or free. I wasn’t doing anything I liked.” His eyes bore into her and she enjoyed how attentive and interrogative he was being. It didn’t feel like an intrusion. If anything, she was getting the answers to questions she wished she could ask herself on days she was unsure why she’d left everything behind. “I wanted to feel inspired, to be me without any influences. I wanted to sleep when I wanted, eat what I wanted and be a different person everyday if I felt like it.” She laughed at how absurd she probably sounded and Laurent just smiled and continued;
“What do you want to do?”
“Write,”She stopped laughing and held his glare. Laurent felt the intensity of her reply, even though she’d just used one word. He knew then and there that this was really what she wanted to do. He admired that. He grabbed her hand and kissed it. If he was going to settle down right now with any girl, this girl was the best candidate. “You’re so lucky to be doing what you want to do, and be so good at it.”
“I was not always good at it. I — We worked hard to become great dancers.”
“Great? huh. So much for being humble.” Jen joked.
“What is humble? I don’t need to be humble. When you’re the best, it’s easy to say you’re the best. And right now, I can say it because we worked hard, so hard Jen, to be the best.”
“So what is it like to be the best?” She looked up at him, standing up as the train approached the station.
“It’s like anything else. It’s good and bad and you don’t know how long it will last.”
Jen smiled at him in awe and got up to exit the train once it reached the station. They walked hand-in-hand to her apartment and Jen felt elated to be in Lau’s presence. Maybe it was because of Larry’s ambivalence towards her, but over the weekend she’d amassed substantial feelings for Lau. Of course, she didn’t want to rush into anything, especially anything being led by her hormones. That had already caused her to land in enough hot water. But Lau was perfect, sweet, boyishly handsome, funny, charismatic. What she’d really wanted to tell Larry when she knocked at his door earlier was to keep what happened between them. She felt like there was a good chance this flirtation with Lau might evolve into something and even though, she’d made a mistake, she wanted the chance if it was made available to her. With the unwanted thought of Larry came the reminder to get contraception. Sunday morning, Monday morning. She had to get it before tomorrow morning so she’d have to kick Lau out to run down to the pharmacy to get it. But the way he was looking at her, sitting on her bed, with his head tilted and lips parted were enough to make her forget any list or agenda. He’s so gorgeous. Surely, she could make the trip to the pharmacy tomorrow morning on her way to work. She just wanted to lay in his arms and feel his embrace. The thought of it actually made her heart thump.