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As I stand
in my room packing for another out of country trip, I donít hear her walk
in. Sheís been hanging around me a lot lately. Ever since Joey started
working in theatre. Sheís his best friend and I think sheís looking for
a temporary substitute for him, Iím not it.
I roll my eyes, "Donít you have someone else's home to go to?" I ask, more harshly than I really mean to.
I see her immediately react on the defensive, "Relax Timber jerk. In less than 24 hours, youíll be outta here and wonít have to see me again for however long it takes the English to kick you out of their country." She says, as she drops on my bed in front of me.
I pull an over exaggerated happy face, and mock a laugh as I fold more clothes. She's been here a month already, and that's a month too long. She irks me, I don't know why. But whenever she's around, I wanna be somewhere else. I guess I am being a little harsh on her. She's never actually done anything to me to make me dislike her this much. We just seem to clash. Whenever I have an opinion, she has to disagree, just to disagree. Maybe sometimes she does it out of genuine opinion, but most of the time, she does it to get to me. I don't even know why I agreed to let her stay with me. I knew the minute we were first introduced that I disliked the girl. Although, with Joey around she was more bearable. I could just nod and pretend I was interested in the things she had to say. But now her attention is solely focused on me, so I actually have to listen to her.
So why did I agree to this 30 day torture? The easy answer is that I'll do anything for a friend, even if it means cutting off a limb. And, when Joey asked if I could 'baby-sit', I couldn't just say no. You see, she just moved here from Ireland so she doesn't know her way around yet. But I'm sure with her pretty little accent she wouldn't find it difficult to find some guy to show her the sites. At least that's what I told her. Of course she took that to mean that I found her accent attractive. I guess, maybe I do. But her accent, on some other girl would probably be more appealing. I'm not saying she's not good-looking, she is. Her eyes are maybe her most attractive feature, they're brown with traces of green in them. They're really the only thing I've took the time to notice about her because they reflect an innocence, making her appear that way. Maybe they say that she's too innocent, but I like that. And, then she opens her mouth and says something that makes me remember why we don't get along. She just... urg, she just gets under my skin.
As I grab another sweater, she flips over onto her stomach and starts nosing through my case at what I've packed. I roll my eyes and drop the folded clothing in the case, "Don't you have something else you have to do?"
She looks up at me with a wicked gleam in her eye, "Am I getting to you?"
I won't admit defeat, "No. I just think you could find something else to do other than watch me pack."
She shakes her head, "No. I'm fine where I am thank you."
"Figures." I comment more aloud than under my breath. Even though the last thing I want is another showdown with her, I have every intention of annoying her to the point that she storms from my room, leaving me to the task Iím struggling to get through in her presence.
She rolls her eyes, "What are you trying to get at now?" She asks calmly.
"Well, youíve been so far up my ass lately that God forbid if I want to be alone for a while."
She starts to laugh and ruthlessly shakes her head, "You love yourself too much jerk-off."
I know then that my planís backfired. Instead of me annoying her, sheís acquired that exact response from me with just one line. "Where the hell did that bullshit comment come from?"
She smiles, "Pulled that one out of my Ďcompliments for assholesí book."
I cock an eyebrow, "I guess it takes one to know one."
She climbs off the bed and stands before me, her weight shifted to one side and her arms crossed firmly across her chest. "Look Just-munch, donít make your insecurities about me. Just because I donít have the same desire for you as you do, donít be bitter. Youíre just not my type. After all, I like a guy to love me more than he loves himself. But donít worry, one day you will find someone, and maybe sheíll love herself more than she should too. Itíll be a match made in heaven, and you can both discover together how important it is to give your love to other people rather than keeping it all for your own selfish needs."
"HEY!" I yell, wagging my finger in her direction. "Iím anything but selfish."
She nods, "Uh-huh! Keep talking. Someday someone will actually listen to you, and care." She smiles before walking from the room.
I follow. "Iím not selfish!" I demand.
She turns to me from outside her bedroom door. "Shhh!" She requests bringing a finger up to cover her lips momentarily. "I want to be alone for a while." She mocks before disappearing from my sight.
As her door closes, I growl in rage before walking back to my own room and slamming itís door closed.
I drop down onto my
bed with a deep sigh. He and I have been arguing more and more since I
moved in with him. I'm beginning to think he hates me as much as I hate
him. Of course, it wasn't like that from the start. I kind of had a crush
on him when we first met, but that soon changed when he opened his mouth
and spoke. That's when I started to disagree with any point of view he
had, just to piss him off. Apparently I've become good at it too. Not a
day passes by now without us arguing at least once.
He's not at all what I first expected. He looked sweet, innocent even. But now I know that first impressions aren't always accurate. He's narrow-minded and insubordinate. He's conceited and idiotic. He's irritating and vulgar. I'd pity him if I didn't hate him so much.
He knows exactly how to nark me, but lucky for him, I always have a good comeback for any smart ass remark that flies out of the dumpster he calls his mouth. He talks to me like I'm stupid. It's because of my accent. More or less everyone does it, they talk slower because they think my accent somehow prevents me from understanding them. But he does it because he knows it gets to me.
Grabbing the remote to my stereo I press play on the CD player and turn the volume up so it's close to deafening. He'll probably come banging at my door any minute but I don't care. I won't turn it down just to please him, in fact, I go out of my way to defy him.
I'm not even a verse into the song when, as predicted, he's banging on my door. I lower the volume a little. "What do you want?"
"Turn that down." He yells through the door at me.
"I will not." I shout back.
"You will, or so help me God..."
"You'll what? Have a temper tantrum?" I shout with a laugh.
Then suddenly, he's not outside my room anymore. In fact, he's broke the lock and he's heading over to my stereo with fire in his eyes. This is the first time I've seen that look, and to be honest, it scares me.
I jump up off my bed in time to see him lift the intruding object and force it downward, resulting in it smashing to pieces on the wooden floor beneath my feet.
My eyes meet his immediately, "What the fuck did you do that for?"
The fire has been replaced with calming waters, "I did warn you." He says shrugging and stepping toward me.
I step closer to him, "You are replacing that."
Our faces inch closer still, "Gonna make me?"
"You're damn right I will."
"Hmmm, and just how do you plan to do that?"
I clench my fists at my sides, "Listen Timber-weed, I grew up with 3 big brothers. I learned how to make people do stuff for me at an early age. So unless you want a Tomko ass whopping, I suggest you get your butt down to Radio Shack and get me a new stereo."
Our noses are touching now. My temperature has soared higher than I've ever known it to go. I'm about ready to hit him right in his pretty little face whenÖ he kisses me. In shock I freeze. This I did not expect.
As his lips leave mine, I frown at him. He's smiling slightly, and that just makes my temper worse. Reaching back I react the way I've been taught to, and apply a loud, hard slap to his left cheek.
"What was that for?"
I ask, cupping my now bruising cheek in my hand.
"You kissed me." She responds, somewhat justifying her actions.
"Since when does that require slapping someone?"
"Since it's you."
I move my jaw, to ensure I still can, "Man, that hurt."
"It was meant to. Consider it a warning. You so much as come within 2 feet of me again, and I have plenty more of those up my sleeve." She pauses. "What the hell did you think kissing me would achieve? Did you think I'd fall into your arms and be all, 'ooh Justin, take me now'. Wake up loser, not gonna ever happen."
The truth is, I don't know why I did it. But something clicked inside of me while she was hurling abuse my way, and I had to kiss her. I have no idea why this time, above the others, had that effect on me. I don't like violence. I mean, I'm not a whips and chains kinda guy, but just seeing that look about herÖ it urged me to react the way I did. Maybe I did it to provoke her even more. Maybe I've been harbouring secret feelings for her beneath my animosity. Maybe I'm desperate.
"I don't want you." I react to savour some of my dignity.
But I don't let her finish whatever she was about to ask, "Iíve seen the way you look at me."
Her face is overcome in shock, "What way I look at you?"
I feel a smile replace my anguish, "That dreamy look. I see it in a lot of girls faces. But on you, it seems ravenous with all the pornographic thoughts you have about me when you get into bed at night."
She practically turns red with anger, "Oh, get out of this room, and do it now because if you donít I wonít be held responsible for what happens to you."
I cock my head to the side in a mocking gesture, "Hit a nerve have I?"
"The only nerve youíve hit is the one thatís screaming at me to knock your frigging head off your shoulders." She says, her finger connecting with my chest with every word, her every poke harder than the one before. She shakes her head, "I swear, as God is my witness, you so much as look at me in the wrong way again and Iíll sue you for sexual harassment."
I take a step back from her, "Psh. Donít flatter yourself witch. I wouldnít touch you with someone elseís."
"Then Iíll ask again, what was that kiss about?"
I shrug, "Guess Iím getting desperate."
The angry look that plastered her face shifts to confusion almost immediately and the raging flames in her eyes diminish to a tiny flicker. "So you admit youíre attracted to me?"
I look her up and down momentarily, "Well, youíre not unattractive."
She sighs, "Look, I donít know what is going on with you. One minute youíre picking a fight with me and the next youíre kissing me. Whatís the deal here Justin?"
I stare at her. In the 3 years Iíve known her, this is the first time Iíve ever heard her use my name. Usually she has her own name for me, and there are many different version of it, but this time she actually called me by the name my mother gave me. I guess sheís softening. But that scares me. I couldnít possibly have a normal relationship with this woman, for us to actually be civil to each other and, God forbid, have fun in each otherís company. All Iíve known is the constant tension, and if that was to change, the dimensions of our relationship would be severely out of whack.
"I donít know what you think is going on here but let me set you straight right now; Iím not, in any way shape or form, interested in you. I donít know why I kissed you just now, but Iím here to assure you, it wonít happen again because, above everything else, youíre a terrible kisser." I say before walking toward the door.
"Oh, I canít be anywhere near as bad as you! That tongue of yours needs itís own passport to get to where it was trying to go." She spits out bitterly taking a few steps toward where I now stand at the doorway. "Plus, letís not forget who violated who here. You were the one who put your dirty lips on me remember? Why was that? Did you get off on me yelling at you? Because, if you want some moreÖ bring it fucking on!"
"You want me to kiss you again Colleen, really?" I ask. I know Iím playing with fire. But this game is sending a rush of adrenaline to my head and Iím hungry for more.
She looks at me in disbelief, "Oh, let me count the ways in which I can hurt you if you so much as take a step toward me."
"That threat again. Why donít you change the record little girl?"
"Because I donít seem to be getting through to you."
"You want to get through to me? Say something fucking interesting for a change."
"Thatís nice, you kiss your mother with that mouth?"
"Where do you get off trying to teach me good manners? You curse so much that if this were on TV, the whole show would be one long beep."
"Are you implying that somehow makes you better than me? Because let me..."
"Let me save you the trouble." I say grabbing the handle of her door and pulling it, with force, toward the frame separating us.
My frail hands slide
up the sweaty torso of his body and I suck in a breathe. He's just finished
an hour work out in his home gym, working off the tension of our collision
earlier that day, but the fact he's dripping with sweat doesn't bother
me. He's sexy when he's sweaty, and I only took the time to notice that
He's looking at me in a questioning way, but he doesn't speak and neither do I. We both know that anything we say to each other will ultimately result in us wanting to hurt the other, so this moment is taken in silence.
When my hands reach up to the back of his neck, he dips his head and kisses me like earlier. But this kiss is gentle, and expected. It's niceÖ comforting andÖ
With a muffled scream, I jump upright in bed. That rat bastard. Look what he made me do with his little stunt earlier. He made me dream about him, and not any old dream. I actually wanted him. I shiver to try and shake the feeling of his lips on mine, and take a moment or two to shake the image of me touching him. But I can't shift it.
Throwing the covers off my body, I climb out of bed and head down the hall to his room. I open the door and immediately flick on the light, waking him from his sleep.
He tries to shield his eyes from the light as they adjust and squints at me from a seated position, "What the hell are you doing?"
"Me? What am I doing? What were you doing?" I question back.
He frowns, "I was sleeping. Which is normally what someone is doing at 3 am."
"Now you're trying to be a smart ass. What I was asking was a very simple question. What were you doing?"
"I told youÖ"
"Not just. Earlier. When you kissed me."
He sighs, "Do we really have to go through that when it's still dark outside, and I was in the middle of a very nice dream?"
"It's funny you should mention dreams. Because you just invaded mine."
"You were thereÖ in front of me. You were touching me. You were kissing meÖ again." I rant. "Where the hell do you get off just coming into my dreams like that?"
"They're your dreams. You're the one who created that scenario. You tell me."
"No. You were the one who created the scene. If you hadn't have kissed me earlier, I'd be dreaming about Vin Diesel right about now. A real man, not just someone pretending to be one."
"Look, if all you woke me for was for another slanging match, please can we at least wait until morning when I'm alert and leaving a few hours later?" He asks, lying back down in bed.
I climb on the bed over his body, "Oh no you don't. You're not just going to go back to sleep."
"Because, the image of youÖ and me, it's left a horrible taste in my mouth."
"That's your problem." He states. "Now, get off me before I call the cops and slap a sexual harassment case on you."
"For what?" I spit out angrily.
"Hello! Straddled across me while I'm lying in bed. If I didn't know better, I'd say you wanted to live out that fantasy of yours."
I let out a frustrated scream as I punch the mattress to the side of his head. "You're such an arrogant shit."
He raises an eyebrow, "But you want me."
"I. Do not. Want. You."
"Come on Colleen. The sooner you admit it to yourself, the sooner we can deal with this pent up sexual tension growing between us."
I'm sick of talking. It's not getting me anywhere. Maybe what he needs is to be shown just how much I don't want him. But just as I'm about to pound my fist into his face, he grabs my wrist.
"That wouldn't be a great idea." He says, his grip firm but surprisingly gentle. "Jeez girl, this has to stop. We can't keep arguing like this, it's draining me mentally and physically."
I'm taken back by his honesty, and I know he's being honest because I can see the sincerity in his eyes. The tension in my arm loosens a little and I weaken. "So what do you propose we do about that?"
"Well, we could try to get along. That might be an answer."
"But, that might prove to be a little difficult considering I only have to look at you and I want to hit you."
"Cut the shit okay? Let's just try and talk civil here, like adults."
"You know how to do that?" I ask, the insult just flying out of my mouth without much thought. I've gotten so used to putting him down on a whim, that it's hard to stop doing it just like that. But when I see the disappointment in his face, I sigh, "Sorry."
He nods, "Can I let go of you now, and can we just sit and talk?"
I'm a little sceptical at the initial suggestion. But he's right, all this arguing is mentally and physically draining. I nod slowly and climb off him, so I can sit beside where he lies. "So, what do you want to talk about?" I ask boldly.
He sits up and rests his back on the bed-head. "Why do you hate me so much?" He asks softly.
My eyes immediately defer to my hands in my lap. I don't have an answer for that.
"I don't know why exactly. But the first day we met, there was something in the way you were that screamed at me that I wasn't going to like you, and the rest came from there."
"That was 3 years ago. Can you seriously tell me that since then you haven't come to know me enough to know, I'm not that guy you hate so much?"
"I don't know. I don't think I've ever stopped to give you a chance to prove otherwise. I didn't like you, and that's pretty much driven me over the years." I confess. "You were just a sound guard. Someone to hurl abuse at when I was angry or scared. I think deep down I know you're a nice guy, but I don't want you to be."
I sigh, "Because then youÖ" I take a deep breath. "You wouldn't be 'asshole Justin who I'd just like to rip into pieces with my bare hands', you'd probably turn out to be 'nice guy Justin who I'd actually quite like to date'."
His eyes meet mine in compassion, and admiration for my honesty. "So, what's so terrible about me actually being a nice guy?"
"Nothing I guess. ButÖ okay, I'm going to be brutally honest with you now. When you kissed me before, I got scared. And I got scared because, I liked it. It made me feel good knowing someone actually wanted to kiss me. Cos I don't know whether you've actually noticed or not, but I don't get a whole load of guys asking me out on dates. I just, I wanted someone to want me."
"There's nothing wrong with that."
"No but, I'm always the girl guy's want to be friends with. I'm essentially like one of the guy's. They don't look at me as a girl to date. They look at me as a girl to take to a car show. I don't do dating. I just do friendship. It's easier. But sometimes, I just want a companion."
"Surely with your ever flattering conversation, guys find you irresistible and fall over themselves to date you." He says, using the sarcastic tone that Iíve become so accustomed to him using.
My heart sinks. Just when I thought our relationship was reaching a level of maturity, he has to say something to bring it back down to that of kindergarten age. I shouldíve known I couldnít trust him with my feelings, but no. He just had to go ahead and make a big joke of them. It hurts much more than I expected it could.
"If youíre going to be like that, then I donít need to be talking to you." I say with a heavy heart as I get up off the bed.
But he leaps across the bed and grabs my hand before I even take a step away, "Iím sorry. Donít go. Iím sorry. I didnít mean that. Please stay."
I look at him to assess his sincerity, and I see, by his expression, that he is sorry for his comment. So, I sit back down with a deep sigh. "Okay. Iíll give you another chance. But one more smart ass comment like that and Iím gone. And, any hopes of us ever having another serious conversation are gone with me. Then youíll just be left with the bitch, okay?"
He nods, "Iím really sorry. I didnít mean it." Thereís a slight silence between us immediately afterward. But with a deep breath, he prepares to speak. "You know, youíre not alone in wanting a companion."
I roll my eyes, "You have girls throwing themselves at you all the time."
"But that's not companionship. Mostly they just want what they can get."
"Still, you can have your pick of girls. Surely there must be one out there that isn't dazzled by the fame and money."
"You'd think so wouldn't you?" He says, with a slight laugh. But I see that he doesnít find amusement in it, as much as heís trying to convince me otherwise. Heís hurting. He doesnít want to be alone any more than I do. But I know his making light of it is his way of coping.
"She's out there Justin, you just need to find her."
"And what if she doesn't want to be found?"
"C'mon. She'd be lucky to have you, and when she has you, she's gonna be everything you ever need."
"You don't know that for sure."
"No. But everyone has to have a someone special meant just for them, or life would just be no fun."
"Oh, it's always fun trying to find them." He says with the repeated rise and fall of his eyebrows.
I laugh, "You're terrible Mr. Timberlake. Using women as objects. Shouldn't you know better?"
"I know better. Life is just more interesting this way."
I watch her as we talk
and it occurs to me that she's not as bad as I made her out to be. Well,
she couldn't be. I don't think anyone I know is. She's actually opening
up to me. Talking about her needs and her fears. Trusting those things
with me. When just yesterday, she couldn't even look at me in a nice way.
To see us sitting here on my bed, sharing, no one would believe we'd been enemies until some minutes before. This is the real Colleen, and I don't mind admitting, although she's still somewhat of a mystery to me, I genuinely like her. She's not laughing at me, she's not using everything I say and creating an insult from it, and she's not mocking me. She's just being, as ironic as it is, a friend.
That's when her voice pulls me from my thoughts, "What are you thinking about?" She asks.
I smile, "If someone had told me 3 years ago that we'd be sat here talking like this, I'd have laughed in their face."
She mirrors my expression, "I'd have probably hit them. Then told them it was never going to happen."
I collapse into bed
at 7 am as itís beginning to get light outside. Iím tired, Justinís tired
and weíve both decided to break to get some sleep before he heads out on
the road. Weíve talked until our jawís ache. Just two people getting to
know the other for who they really are and not just the image we'd assumed
for each other. And, he turned out to be exactly what I feared. Beneath
the hostility is a nice guy. But for some reason, that doesn't sit easy
I watched him when he was talking, about being alone, about missing the people he loves everyday, about his music and the passion he has for it. And, I found myself feeling exactly the same about certain aspects of my life. We have quite a lot in common for two people from different backgrounds with different goals in life. But that means I can relate to him, and relating to someone quite often has me falling in love with the idea of what could be.
I'm already looking at him differently, I can't help it. It was the things he confided in me. It was the way he said them, the look in his eyes and the expression behind the words. He took me into his soul and showed me his heart, as raw as it was. He made me feel like his best friend, pouring out anything and everything. Trusting his every thought, feeling and hope with me.
I like this new side to Justin thatís only just been opened up to me and as I lie here on my stomach, I feel the happiest I've been since I moved in, except for the part of me that doesnít want him to go away on a promotion tour. Because now Iím losing a friend Iíve only just discovered I have and I want to learn more about him.
I lie with the sheets barely covering my body staring at the daylight seeping in through a crack in the curtains and, although Iím tired, I canít seem to fall asleep.
Iím lying in bed exhausted
from pouring out every aspect of myself to Colleen over the past 4 hours.
But even though I was yawning to death half an hour ago, I find myself
still wide awake and staring up at the ceiling with thoughts of her clouding
my mind. Suddenly I've seen her in a different light and now the memory
of the kiss replays over in my thoughts. It was the way her lips felt on
mine, for a minute I swear she kissed me back. But it was over so fast,
I can't be certain. The taste of her gloss has tainted my lips with desire
and the smell of her haunts my room. It's no wonder I can't sleep.
I turn onto my side, facing my bedroom door, and I find myself staring at it in curiosity. Is she still awake too?
I think about it for a minute before gingerly throwing the covers off me and heading down the hall. When I get to her door, I reach up to knock, only to retract my hand a second later.
What am I thinking? Of course she's asleep. I shake my head and turn to head back to my room.
I continue to lie in
bed, restlessly trying to force myself to sleep when I hear a creek come
from the hallway. A smile plays on my lips, "Justin?" I question.
Somehow I know he's lingering outside my room, and I'm curious as to why.
I turn my head to look
over my shoulder, "Yeah?"
"What are you doing out there?" She asks, her voice muffled by the closed door.
"I... uh, was... getting a glass of water." I fumble for an excuse and curse myself immediately for lying to her.
I'm lying on my back raised up on my forearms when his answer echo's my way, and instantly I frown. I know he's lying. Climbing out of bed I shuffle over to my door and pull it open, "A glass of water?" I repeat with a smile as I lean on the door frame. "Is that the best you could come up with?"
I sigh as I turn to
face her. I knew she'd know I was lying. I stumbled out the answer exactly
like I had to think about it. I've never been very good at lying. Well,
it was that or the fact that I had to pass the stairs on my way to her
room. I open my mouth to say something but I know anything I say now will
just damage my defence further. So instead I look at her helplessly.
"So, you can't sleep either?" I question.
"Yeah, or at least I could if someone wasn't creeping in the hallway."
I fold my arms, "If you'd been asleep you wouldn't have heard me creeping."
"So you admit you weren't going for a glass of water?"
I shake my head, "Oh, I'll never admit that."
She initiates a laugh and I join in. But I stop laughing before she does, and I watch her, in awe.
"Wow." The word whispers passed my lips before I even have a chance to think about it. And suddenly she's looking at me. "Your whole face lights up when you laugh." I confess without caring that it sounds like a bad pick up line.
Initially I'm at a
loss for words. But all too soon I turn into a giddy schoolgirl. You know
the kind you watch on TV as she meets her favourite star and immediately
you want to shoot because of her constant smile. I'm that girl right now.
And I'm fully aware of his eyes on me. But I can't seem to stop smiling.
The next thing I know he's stood right in front of me, his hand cupping my cheek and looking like any minute he's going to kiss me. Oh how I want him to kiss me right now. I can feel my legs begin to wobble, threatening me to the floor at any minute. My palms become sweaty and my bottom lip quivers at the prospect of what's to come.
I close my eyes as his face edges even closer and I prepare to feel his lips crashing against mine again. But the moment never comes. Instead I feel his body move away from mine as he clears his throat.
Instantly I open my eyes to find he's taken a step back from me. That's when I want to let him know it'd be all right for him to kiss me. But, my mouth opens and no words come out. The silence is ringing in my ears. The horrible uncomfortable silence that screams that something was on the brink of happening, but at the same time yelling that the moment's passed and it's not likely to surface again.
He takes another step back, "Anyway, I'm going to go back to bed."
I nod, "Yeah. Got to get plenty of sleep before the... uh, trip."
He nods as I finish talking, "Yeah." He says, taking another step away from me.
A chill washes over me. He was so close I could feel his body heat against my skin, and with every step he takes back, the colder I get.
I watch as he turns his back on me and something inside urges me not to let this scene end this way. I crave more, and I'm determined not to let this night end just yet. Without giving my mind much time to be talked out of what I want to do, I call to him as I rush up and stand in his path. I take a deep breath and then plant my lips firmly on his. For a minute he doesn't react, and I wonder whether Iíve made a big mistake. But when his arms come around me and his hands land on the small of my back, the kiss deepens, so I know I made the move he was so afraid to make because of the reaction heíd get.
He forces his lips from mine, "So what does this mean? Doesnít this change things with us?"
I smile, "Oh, Iíd definitely say this changes things between us." I confirm before kissing him again.