Grayson is waiting for me in the library when I get there, and this time I’m the one that’s running late.
He taps his watch, impatiently. “You’re approximately ten minutes behind schedule,” he announces.
“Oh, get over it,” I snap. “You were double that the last time.”
“I can’t stay long today. I’ve made plans with Sophie.”
I place my notebook on the table. “You’ve kissed and made up then I take it?”
“Yup and now we’re stronger than ever.”
“Good for you.” Let’s see how long it will last. I’m predicting their next argument will be in five hours. “Let’s get straight to it then, so you can get back to Sophie and I can go home,” I tell him.
“What experience has impacted you the most in your life?” Grayson asks, beating me to the punch. I swear, he’s picking these personal questions on purpose. He knows I don’t have the ability to answer them.
“Hm, I don’t know. Probably having to work with someone I find utterly unbearable for a college project I’m hoping to pass.” I tap my chin thoughtfully. “Yeah, that’s definitely an experience that has impacted me the most. Nothing tops it.”
He frowns. “Hadeha.”
I burst out laughing. “What the heck was that?”
“Hadeha!” I repeat. “I was not expecting that to come out of your mouth.”
“Whatever,” he grunts. “Your turn to ask a stupid question.”
I need to think about this. Actually, while Grayson isn’t looking, I’m going to Google some suggestions on my phone. Google always gives good advice.
I type into the search bar ‘interesting questions to ask people.’
A load of links come up.
I click on the first one I see and oh, there’s a good question.
Grayson’s eyes are set on me when I look up from my phone. I hope he hasn’t figured out I stole a question from Google. I want him to think I come up with this one all by myself.
I clear my throat and say, “Would you rather have Batman’s skills, money, equipment, and lifestyle or end crime around the world for good but be poor and unnoticed?”
It’s his turn to laugh. “What type of question is that?”
“Just answer it already!”
He huffs. “Fine. Uh, I guess I would rather…” he pauses for a moment and then I hear a small sigh leave his mouth. “Well, the most obvious answer would be to end crime for good, wouldn’t it?”
“Yes, but is that what you would rather do?”
“Why does it have to be Batman? Couldn’t it be Superman or Hulk? Batman doesn’t even have superpowers.”
“But you can’t deny that he’s super cool and wears a cape… which he happens to pull off very well. Plus, he gets a lot of female attention.”
“Hm, I suppose.” Another sigh. “Uh, what would you do?”
“You can’t turn this around on me. You were asked the question first, so you’ve got to answer it.”
Our eyes meet. “Selfishly, I would rather be Batman.” I knew it. “But, I wouldn’t choose to live that kind of life if I had the power to end all suffering. Nothing is more important than that, not even… becoming Batman himself.”
I’m so surprised by his answer that my mouth is practically hanging open. “Wow. That was - That was a good point. Excellent work Swain.”
“Thanks for the vote of confidence Miss Clemons.”
“I have a cat called Batman.”
Grayson leans forward slightly. “Really?”
“Yeah. He’s not much of a people person though. It’s best if you never meet him.”
“I’m allergic to cats.”
I shrug. “Well, you learn something new everyday. Can I ask you a question that isn’t related to the guideline sheet?”
“I already know what you’re going to ask.” Then he puts on a feminine voice, which is laughable in its own right. “Grayson, why are you so handsome? What products do you use to make your skin look that good?”
I stare at him, unblinking. “This has nothing to do with your weird skin care remedies funnily enough.”
“Damn, I have suddenly lost interest in the conversation.”
I ignore him. “You’re a guy, aren’t you?”
“Last time I checked... yeah.”
“Say, you’re seeing a boy—”
“I’m straight, so that wouldn’t be happening.”
“I’m just trying to paint a picture here,” I tell him, annoyed at the interruption. “Say you’ve been growing closer to someone and you feel there’s some sort of spark. What would you do about it?”
Am I actually asking Grayson Swain for relationship advice? What is wrong with me?
He gives a theatrical sigh. “You want my honest opinion?” I nod. “If I liked someone as more than a friend, they definitely wouldn’t still be in the friend zone. Clearly, whoever you’re talking about wants to remain friends, otherwise they would’ve already done something to change that.”
Really? Is that how it works?
“How can you be so sure?”
“I’ve had lots of friends who have been girls. If one of them made a move on me and I liked them, I definitely wouldn’t push her away.”
“So, do you think I should make a move... “ I quickly correct myself, “I mean, do you think this person should make the first move and see what happens?”
“It’s risky, but it could work. How else is that person going to figure out the truth?” As much as I don’t want to admit it, Grayson is making a lot of sense. “Who are we talking about by the way? Is this about you?”
He’s got a wide grin on his face and I instantly feel my face warm up. “No! I’m asking for a friend.”
“Right... can we get back to work now?”
I have come up with a plan and it may not be the most thought out plan in the world, but if I don’t go ahead with it, I’ll never know if this thing between me and Rory is just based on fantasy or reality.
It’s just another Saturday when I invite myself over to his house, which is nothing short of unusual. I always show up uninvited. He’s used to it by now.
I go up to his bedroom and lie on his bed, while he sets up the xbox. Underneath this jacket, I’m wearing a short miniskirt, some black pump heels and a low boob top. I wore it specifically for the special occasion. I don’t usually walk around like this… anymore.
My heart is beating so fast, wondering what his reaction will be like. I’m totally freaking out about the plan and if it can even be accomplished.
He whips his head back to look at me. “Yeah?”
“What do you think of this jacket I’m wearing?”
He stares at me, dumbfounded. “Uh, it’s alright I guess. I don’t think I’ve seen you wear that one before.”
I lift the jacket up, revealing some more leg. His eyes haven’t moved. “It’s new that’s why… just like the outfit I’m wearing underneath.”
I see him swallow. “Oh, really? That’s… that’s interesting.”
Interesting? What does that even mean?
I push myself off the bed and slowly step out of the coat. He watches me practically undress myself and I can tell by his eyes that he’s more than surprised. I can’t tell if it’s a good surprise. If anything, he looks irritated.
“Don’t tell me you walked over here dressed like that,” he says, making me frown.
“I did. Is there a problem?”
“Yeah, you’re barely wearing anything.”
I sit back on the bed and cross my legs. He lowers his eyes for a second, unable to resist the urge. “That’s the point.”
“What are you doing Skye?”
“What do you mean?” I tease. “It’s always warm in here. I thought I’d wear something a bit more comfortable.”
“There’s no way you’re comfortable in that.”
“Oh, it’s way more comfortable than you think…” I stretch my arms above my head. “It’s quite flexible too.”
His eyes are turning darker by the second. “Geesh, you’re going to have to change… I won’t be able to concentrate…” he trails off, looking genuinely out of his depth.
“If that’s the case, I’ll leave you to it then. I wouldn’t want to distract you from your game.”
I turn to leave. He’s quick to reach for me. “I didn’t mean that.” His stare deepens. “I want you here. But…”
His eyes wash over me and he licks his lips. “Sorry. I’ll be on my best behavior,” he says, his words filling me with disappointment. “Take this.”
He hands me a blanket and I stare down at it like he’s just burned me. I guess he’s not going to cease the moment then, and it looks like I dressed up for nothing.
“You want me to cover up?” I ask, feeling a little defeated and confused.
Since when has Rory Keaton refused a girl?
I guess I must be the only one.
He walks over to the TV, keeping his back to me. “If you could. I’d appreciate it.”
So, that proves it then. The plan worked, but it only showed that Rory isn’t interested.
I try to work on my essay for the rest of the night, but it’s difficult.
Why would Rory tell me to cover up?
Was he embarrassed?
I guess he doesn’t find me attractive enough.
Everytime he attempts to strike up a conversation with me, I give him slow replies and hardly any attention.
I can’t believe I put myself on the line, only to be rejected. If Rory was just looking to sleep with me, he would’ve jumped at the chance. I gave him the perfect opportunity earlier.
What was his game?
He’d slept around. He was known for his womanizing ways. I bet he’d never rejected any of the other girls that had shown him interest before. So, what was so different about me?
Am I that detestable?
Is he laughing at me?
Am I just a joke to him?
I throw the blanket to the floor, but before I can make it to the door, Rory jumps in front of me and I’m forced to take a step back.
“Woah, where are you going?”
I roll my eyes. “Home.”
“Because I don’t want to be here right now. That’s why.”
“Have I done something to upset you?”
He’s either really stupid or just delusional. “No. Now, let me go.”
He doesn’t budge. “No.”
He crosses his arms. “You’re not going anywhere until you tell me what’s bothering you.”
How can I tell you? I internally scream. I go out on a limb, wearing this revealing outfit for you and you tell me to cover up. How can I not be offended by that? How can I not feel insecure?
“It’s nothing. I’m just tired,” I lie.
I notice the space between us is getting smaller. “Skye, tell me.”
“I’m embarrassed ok?” I retreat to his bed and cover my face with my hands. “I put this outfit on to impress you… but clearly you’re not interested. I’m sorry I made you feel uncomfortable. I’ve never done anything like this before, so can we please forget about it and continue being friends because I can’t lose you altogether.”
I feel the mattress deflate as he sits down. “Skye, you’re seriously driving me insane.”
I lower my hands and meet his gaze. “Huh?”
“Do you have any idea how beautiful you are? How could I not be attracted to you?”
Heat rushes to my face. “Oh. Then, why did you tell me to cover up?”
“Because I like you too much to ruin what we already have. I’m not good at this sort of stuff.”
“I’m not either though.”
“Exactly. So, what does that say about us? Things could get messy. I’m happy to keep things as they are.”
I look down at the floor. “But, what if I don’t want that? What if I want more?”
That’s when I move closer, so we’re sitting a few inches apart. He looks me up and down, at my eyes, at my lips and his hand trails along my jawline. His other hand stops just below my boob top.
I slowly place my lips to his and he responds by opening his mouth wider. I run my fingers through his hair, causing him to groan.
He flips me over on the bed and I can see the amount of lust burning in his eyes. My legs instinctively wrap themselves around Rory’s torso, pulling him closer, wanting to feel more of him.
Our lips move together in a comfortable rhythm and my stomach is constantly doing little jumps of excitement.
Then Rory is suddenly breaking away and shaking his head. “Let’s - let’s not do this.”
I freeze for a split second, breathing hard. “W - what?” I croak.
“We shouldn’t. It’s a bad idea.”
Humiliation washes over me.
I crawl out of his lap, stumbling to get my shoes on.
“Skye, wait. Can we talk about this?”
“No. There’s nothing to talk about.”
I feel so stupid.
Was it awful?
Why did he stop?
What was so wrong?
I refuse to look at him as he continues to explain. “It’s not that simple alright?”
I don’t give him a chance to finish, I’m already out the door.