Love Isn’t Easy: Chapter 8
It was a very long time before I had another date. Several guys had asked me out in class, but I just wasn’t interested. I focused on my grades and hung out with friends on the weekends. I still had Eric’s number and I’ll admit that I came close to calling him quite a few times. My brain told me that he was a player and I would just get played and would be a fool to call him. But my body told me that he was also the sexiest guy on the planet and I could never get that night out of my head—the one where he was asleep while I was touching myself. And then I laughed out loud when I realized that that was the last time I had had a sexual encounter and the other person slept right through it. How pathetic was that? I knew that I really needed to get back into the game, but my heart just wasn’t in it. The guys in school all just seemed so immature to me.
Amelia was always trying to talk me into dating again and finally at the end of the year I decided that I would give it a try. There were always a lot of parties at the very end of the semester—people celebrating their exams being over. I had been a little party shy since that night that I got so drunk and sick, but decided that it was time to be a big girl and have some fun. So one Saturday night I got all dressed up with Amelia and we went to a big bash at a house just off campus. It was packed and it didn’t take long for quite a few guys to come up and talk to me. I was careful not to drink too much because I was driving and also because I had learned a hard lesson at the party at Bob’s. Amelia was having fun and actually found Bob there and told me she wouldn’t be going home with me. She and Bob had always had a sort of casual thing together, which was fine, although I couldn’t really imagine such a thing for myself.
I was enjoying the attention from several cute guys that seemed nice enough, wondering if I should give my number to any of them when I decided to find the bathroom. I gave myself a little pep talk in the mirror and made the decision that I was definitely going to give my number out to someone. I was making my way back to the dining room where I had been holding court when I spotted Eric sitting on the sofa in the living room. I felt my breath catch in my throat. He had a girl on either side of him of course, but the disturbing part was that one of them was cuddled up to him kissing his neck. I stopped and watched for a minute, feeling my face turn red with…envy? Jealousy? Yes, I was jealous. He was clearly enjoying himself, laughing and whispering to her. Her hand was on his thigh. The girl was very pretty although kind of hard looking. I knew I could never pull that kind of outfit off. I looked down to my own clothes and realized that my idea of dressing up for a party was so tame and suddenly I felt out of place. Clearly, this was the kind of girl Eric preferred. I guess all guys did, actually. She was a guaranteed lay, that’s for sure, and Eric was a guy. I couldn’t really blame him for doing what came naturally, but I would also be lying if I said that it didn’t hurt.
Suddenly, flirting and finding a guy to give my number to didn’t seem like such a priority anymore and so I left.
While most students went home for the summer, Amelia and I stayed in our apartment and got waitress jobs. I didn’t have anywhere else to go really. I was raised by my grandmother after my parents died when I was seven. My older brother Jason lived in our parents’ old house and when Gran died, she left me her house. But it was over an hour away in a little town called Bon Temps. It was too far for me to commute for school, so I rented it out to a woman named Octavia and her rent covered the taxes and maintenance as well as part of my living expenses. The rest was paid for with a scholarship. Amelia’s dad was wealthy but too busy to be a decent dad really. He paid for school for her, but she also wanted to work in the summers to earn her own money.
At the end of the summer, right before school started, we got a new manager at the restaurant. We only had another week or so before we would be quitting and starting back to school full-time. I needed to really work on my GPA because I wanted to get a good job when I graduated in the spring. I was determined to make straight A’s to try and make up for that damned C in Accounting. So the day I met the new manager, I told him I’d be quitting at the end of the following week. He was fine with that and said that since he would no longer be my boss, he would like to ask me out for dinner.
His name was John Quinn and he was tall and very masculine with a shaved head and strong features. His eyes were almost purple and quite stunning. He also had a big brilliant smile and a great laugh. He seemed like a nice man and was not a student, so I hoped would be a little more mature, and so I told him he could call me after I had quit my job.
My classes were very demanding and the last thing I needed was a new boyfriend, so I told Quinn (He preferred to be called by his last name.) that we would be taking it slow and I wasn’t ready for anything serious. He seemed fine with that. He really was an easy-going guy. I was also still acutely aware of how my involvement and subsequent meltdown over Bill’s behavior had cost me dearly with my Accounting grade. I promised myself that that would never happen again.
So for the first semester of my senior year I focused on my grades and occasionally dated Quinn. We kissed a lot and once in awhile there was a little petting over our clothes, but I never went any further with him and he never pressured me. Well, not much anyway.
Finally, my last semester was starting and I was getting excited about graduating and looking for a job and starting a new life. I had a nice although fairly casual boyfriend in Quinn and things were looking up. Then I walked into my Film and Literature class and I lost my footing emotionally. I had been so certain that I had it together with my upcoming degree and my nice but not too messy relationship with Quinn. And then Eric was sitting in the back row of class when I walked in and I felt my knees go weak and remembered how good messy could feel.
His face lit up and he motioned for me to sit next to him. He stood and gave me a little hug and we chatted a little before class started. I tried to concentrate but his body beside me was like a giant magnet. I could feel the electricity between us and wondered how I would get through a whole semester sitting beside him.
Pam gave me a lot of shit about the girls I was with. What did she expect me to do, sit at home my whole life waiting for Sookie to call me? It just felt so stupid to have gotten my hopes up. So, I was with a few girls—no big deal. I will admit, however, that that sort of relationship—if you can even use that word—was getting a bit tiresome. But I figured it was better than nothing.
Then one night I was at a party at the end of the year and found one of my semi-regular girls there. We were sitting on the sofa when Pam came over and said, “Way to go, Romeo. What the fuck are you doing?”
The girl attached to my neck said, “Hey, fuck you. I got here first.”
I removed her hand from my leg and said, “This is my friend, Pam. Fuck you is not a proper greeting.” She really was trash. “Let’s try this again. Hello, Pam. How are you this evening? How nice to see you. Now, did you have something you wanted to ask me?”
“Yes. Why are you sitting there when Sookie Stackhouse just walked out the front door?”
I pushed the neck-kisser away and said, “Excuse me,” and then, “Thanks,” to Pam as I ran towards the door. Pam had a big smile on her face when she saw my reaction. I ran down the sidewalk, but didn’t see Sookie. There were a lot of people coming and going from the house and I couldn’t see past them, so I got desperate and called her name out. No response. But the people around me looked at me like I was a fool, and maybe I was.
After walking the streets for awhile, I finally gave up and went home. I had a long talk with myself and said that I was just going to have to suck it up and admit that I wasn’t going to be with Sookie and move on. It was ridiculous to waste time thinking about a girl that wasn’t interested and so I decided to just stop it.
The next day Pam asked what had happened and I told her that I couldn’t find Sookie. I said, “She never called anyway, remember? She doesn’t like me, Pam. It’s really no big deal.”
“Except that it’s a huge deal, Eric. I saw the look on her face when she was watching you on the couch with that girl. You act like having all these girls around is no big deal, but there are consequences to your behavior. Look, I know you. I know what kind of person you are, but she doesn’t. She only knows what she sees. How do you think she felt watching you? How many nights at Bill’s house did she see that kind of behavior from you? And now you wonder why she didn’t call?”
“What was the look on her face?”
“Fuck. You’re right. I need to get my shit together.” Pam was almost always right, damn it.
I spent that summer staying in Shreveport. I took a couple of classes in the summer session and worked as a teaching assistant. I also started writing, and worked on a couple of script ideas. If I could get into film school, I already knew what kinds of films I was interested in making. As I headed into my last year, I was focused on my classes.
I tried to get over Sookie Stackhouse and felt like I was making progress in that department. And I finally admitted to myself that my own behavior may have contributed to her decision to stay away from me. I had accepted her rejection and was doing fairly well with all of that until the first day of class in my final semester. She was in my Film and Literature class. She walked into the room and it was like the whole world was back in color after being in black and white for a long time. She looked so good. I gave her a hug and asked her to sit beside me and felt like I was back in junior high fighting a woody in class through the whole lecture. It was impossible to think about anything else when she was sitting next to me and I knew I wasn’t over her by a longshot.
Okay, so three days a week, I sat through class in a perpetual state of sexual arousal. It was just like when I used to be in Bill’s house and Eric was in the room. He was just so sexy and being around him made me feel sexy. After that first week of class, Quinn and I went out to dinner and afterwards when we were in his apartment making out, I got so horny thinking about Eric that I just let Quinn fuck me. I didn’t really mean to, but a girl can only take so much sexual frustration. Quinn seemed pleased and it would remain my little secret whose face I saw when I closed my eyes and had an orgasm.
Within a few weeks of class, Eric asked me out. A part of me was dying to go out with him. He was the man of my every sexual fantasy as well as the star of some pretty hot dreams, but the reality was that he was still the guy who lived at Bill’s house and who had been dating Lorena and who had had a slew of casual sexual partners. Plus I had a boyfriend.
I spent the first three weeks of class drooling over Sookie like an idiot. I wanted to ask her out immediately, but then reminded myself that she clearly was not interested in me or she would have called way back when. But being around her was like torture. It had been awhile since I had had sex. I had tired of the casual partners that I was accustomed to and wanted something more meaningful. Something with someone like Sookie Stackhouse. Plus I was really into my classes. I had applied to graduate school and was waiting to hear about my scholarship and needed to get the best grades I could. But I couldn’t stand being around her and so finally one Friday we were leaving class and I just turned to her and said, “Would you have dinner with me tonight?”
She looked shocked. She didn’t answer right away and kind of stammered. “I have a boyfriend.”
“Oh.” I’m such an idiot. Of course she has a boyfriend. Look at her. Then I took my huge idiot-ness one step further. “Do you love him?” The second it left my mouth I wanted to take it back. It was none of my business. Plus I couldn’t take it if she said yes.
“Don’t know yet.” At least it wasn’t a yes.
So I spent my weekends after that studying and jerking off while thinking about someone else’s girlfriend. Like I said, idiot.
So I didn’t go out with the impossibly sexy and smart Eric, but my love life was definitely heating up with Quinn. We spent every weekend together and I was having regular orgasms again which was a plus, but he didn’t feel like the right guy and I knew it. I started to think that I should maybe break it off with him. Maybe I was just using him. It didn’t seem right. The irony didn’t escape me that the only reason I’d slept with Quinn in the first place is because I was so turned on by Eric. And then Eric himself asked me out only a couple of weeks later. And of course, I felt like I had to say no to Eric because I was sleeping with Quinn. I guess it’s true that timing is everything.
Then one day in the middle of the semester, Eric asked if I would like to come over to watch a movie for class together. We were required to watch quite a few movies and it didn’t seem like a date to watch one with Eric. It was more like studying together. I almost said yes and then caught myself.
“You know what, Eric. I would, but I just can’t go over to your house. I’m sorry but it would just be too weird.”
“I promise I won’t hit on you. I know you’ve got a boyfriend. Honestly, we’ll just watch the movie and I’ll behave.”
“No, it’s not that. I just don’t want to see Bill.”
“Bill? I don’t live with Bill anymore. I haven’t since that night…you know…that night.”
I was shocked. “You’re kidding? What happened?”
“Nothing. It just didn’t seem right. I couldn’t stay there after that.”
“I had no idea.”
“So will you come over? I’ll pick up some food. I can pick you up as well if you’d like. It’s up to you.”