Before long, making love soon became a regular thing. Sometimes it was incredibly romantic, surrounded by flickering candlelight and soothing music. Other times it was quick and passionate, fuelled by a desperate need for each other. I think I liked those times better, watching her bite down on her bottom lip, scared that her stifled moans would be overheard.
Occasionally though, she was less discreet. This would happen when she talked on the phone, giggling sweetly to words that I couldn’t hear. At some point in the conversation her voice would catch deep in her throat, dropping to a low whisper. She would undress, letting her clothes crumple on the floor, while talking in the same sensual voice before laying me down beside her. I would watch her, my own excitement rising to meet hers. Then she would embrace me in her delicate arms and we would make love, moaning for her captivated audience. At the time I thought she was proud of me, showing off our relationship to others in her life. I was only partly right.
We grew more comfortable with each other as time went by. She would even introduce me to her friends, causing them to break into squealing fits of laughter. I was a bit offended at first, but she assured me that it was only because they had never met anyone like me before, and I believed her. It explained why her friends looked at me the same way she had when we first met, like an internal hunger had just been awoken.
I would worry about her during the times that she stayed out for the night, hoping that she would hurry back. It was in these times I guess that I should have learnt to distance myself, become less dependent. But I couldn’t help it, I was addicted to her. Addicted to her caresses, her voice, even the way her hair cascaded round into the hollow of her neck when she lay on her back. Some would argue that it’s not in my nature to feel like this…that I shouldn’t feel like this. I don’t care.
One day it all seemed to change. It was late in the afternoon and I was pretty excited. It was about the time she would come home from school. Quite often we would make love the moment she came through the door, holding me close and whispering half spoken intimacies, just before she settled down to do her homework. Whether she had missed me the way I had missed her, or this was some sort of ritualistic procrastination technique, I didn’t know or care. It simply filled me with a wild hope of promises of what her arrival could bring.
This day was different. When I heard her familiar tread on the stairs, it was accompanied by a voice. A boy’s voice. They came through the door, moving uncomfortably, like there was cotton wool between them and it would catch on their arms and legs whenever they came too close to one another. The boy had blonde hair crafted into an array of spikes, which must have been done with pain-staking care. A globule of wax that he had missed clung to the side of his head, just above his ear where a diamond stud glinted. I thought he looked like an idiot.
‘So what do your parents do?’ he asked her.
‘Dad owns a furniture shop and Mum’s a teaching assistant. She’ll be home soon actually.’
‘Well we’d better make the most of the time then,’ he said with a smirk.
She laughed at his words, like it was the funniest thing in the world. His lips pulled back off his teeth, contorting into what he must have thought was a winning smile. She gazed at him from under her eyelashes, biting her bottom lip. The same way she bit her lip in my cherished memories of our quiet love-making. It must have been an unspoken signal. Without another word he leaned forward, trying to draw out the moment when his mouth would meet hers. It wasn’t romantic or sexy or even done particularly well, but she seemed to love it.
She lay down on the bed, shifting his weight on top of her while his frantic hands pawed at her body. Reaching for her bra, he broke the kiss with a frustrated grunt.
‘Undo your bra,’ he hissed. She chuckled at his ineptness, missing the way his eyes narrowed at her laughter.
It wasn’t long before they were both undressed, trying to move in rhythm with each other. It was over in a minute. The boy spun away to the other side of the bed, leering at her. She smiled back at him but rolled her eyes when he wasn’t looking. I should have felt smug at her lack of satisfaction. But it was the last emotion on my list. Hurt and betrayal flooded through me as I begged her to look at me. She hadn’t once met my gaze since she’d walked through the door.
The boy waited a few minutes before he started to get dressed, muttering half-hearted excuses about needing to be home to do schoolwork and feed his dog.
‘That’s a shame,’ she replied cockily. ‘I was hoping for a little more playtime.’
‘Oh were you now?’ he said curling his lip. ‘I shall keep that in mind for next time.’
She got dressed and escorted him out of the bedroom. I heard them talking in muffled voices as they walked down the stairs. A few minutes later I heard the front door shut and her slow trudge back to the room. She collapsed onto the bed with a huff. I watched a lock of her hair fall into the hollow of her neck, causing me to ache with sadness. Her eyes rested on me for the first time that afternoon. I had hoped to see regret and sorrow in her eyes, but she just looked bored.
She pulled me to her, looking at me through half-closed eyes. I was helpless in her grasp, wanting nothing more than to find the well known comfort in her embrace. We had sex. It was slow and mechanical, and I flinched when I caught the scent of the boy on her skin. We sat in silence after. I wanted to scream at her. To demand what the hell she was playing at. Didn’t I mean anything to her? Had she ever loved me? But nothing was said. No explanation was given.
I never saw that boy again. I think attempts were made, excuses were fabricated, and virtuous hopes were shattered by the stark bleakness of reality. She didn’t cry. Maybe it was because she didn’t want me to see her like that. I wanted to help, to tell her that who could possibly be good enough for her? To tell her that I would never leave her. But in her depression her need for me wavered and died for a time. So I let her be, fighting my own longing and the words that I could never begin to tell her.
Some weeks later, I caught her looking at me for the first time since the boy had come around and I felt my world stir once more with hope, like starlight skittering across the stream of consciousness. Her fingers found me, her touch promising that all would be forgiven. And it was. Our love-making was frenzied and gratifying, each answering the others needs with only the slightest indication. I couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed with an unfounded faith of our future, and what it would hold for us both together.
Sadly, this feeling didn’t last.
Another boy came around, and another, and another. No two were ever the same. I would never know if she would quickly guide them from the room after, or lie with them for hours, talking about her hopes and dreams of what she wanted her life to be. I would never know if she would lie on the bed, gasping with unfocused eyes on a world that only she could see, or if she would simply pull me towards her in a rough manner to finish what they couldn’t. The realisation soon became clear that that is all I would ever be to her. Never her equal or her lover, but rather a slave to my faultless abilities and reliable companionship, imprisoned by my own obsession to her and all that she was and continues to be. Only ever ‘just friends.’