Things remained lukewarm between Benji and I until the beginning of our Junior year. Between our classes and close social circle, we spent a lot of time together, but it was hard to be superficial. Not only did our bodies fit beautifully, our minds worked in unison, we naturally have fun when we study together. Trying not to have a good time at it made school less fun for me.
It is bittersweet to see him with his new girlfriend the start of Junior year. I guess this means he is over me and hopefully we can start being close friends again.
"Val!" Benji motions for me to join the group that had gathered outside of our first class.
The fact that he calls me Val versus Valentina is a good sign. I smile, wave back, take a deep breath and will my legs to move forward. I guess I am not as over us as I thought.
"Val, meet Izumi," Benji gloats.
Izumi could not be any more opposite of me, even her nickname is cooler than mine, Izzy. A senior at Berkeley, Izzy is from Tokyo. She has a perfect platinum blonde bob that she pulls off brilliantly. More piercings on her right ear than we have in my entire family. She is a DJ he met over the summer and to his delight, she is a Political Science major here. I stand far from her, not because I am jealous but because I look so bland next to her.
"So nice to meet you," I extend my hands.
Izzy gave me a fist bump instead. An exclamation mark to how uncool I am.
"Have a great class babe," she turns and makes out with Benji before saying goodbye to us collectively and strutting off.
The bitch is marking her territory. Letting me know that he is her’s now so hands off. I get it, I should have taken a hold of this great man and never let him go. But that is all in the past. Right now I want to get our friendship to where it can be good for us both again.
"She's too cool for you," I tease Benji.
He smiles as he watches her walk away; an older woman and a DJ? It doesn't get better than that for the male ego. I see the twinkle in his eyes that he used to have for me. The pain is sharp, but I shove it deep into my abyss, no time to feel, only two more years here so it’s time to get serious. I force myself to support his happiness versus be jealous of it or to let my mistakes interfere with my path. Beating myself up doesn’t server me at all, I need to learn from this moment.
"I guess your summer was eventful." I continue, hoping he is talking to me now.
"It was a very interesting summer to say the least." I exhale when Benji finally responds. "How was yours?"
"It was fun. I took summer classes and worked at Triple Rock. Stella is starting to apply for college so I am trying to earn some extra money to help out."
"Ah, good-girl Val. Nice to see somethings don't change." The sarcasm and honesty cut a bit. But I am too happy we are actually talking again that I will gladly take the jab.
“So how did the two of you meet?”
Benji rolls his eyes at me. That's one way of telling me to mind my own business. He looks towards the stream of students flowing towards class, nodding his head at them, acknowledging their hellos. It's great to see all these familiar faces and a few new ones. It was definitely a bit lonely here this summer. But I am glad that I got a few classes out of the way and Emily and I got to know each other better since she was back all summer.
“I made some new friends working at Triple Rock this summer.”
“Friendships only work if you make an effort to leave your dorm room or study hall.”
“You would actually be very proud of me, I have ventured out a lot more this past year.”
Benji looks my way with an unimpressed look. If he only knew what I was out and about doing. I can't imagine that he would be too happy to hear any of it. That's the problem with friends dating, after Benji and I broke up, I lost my best friend. I do wonder if we had never slept together if ours was the type of friendship that I could share my escapades with? Of course, had we not slept together, I wouldn't have this need to adventure out as I have. I may be new at this friendship thing, but I do know that I should not push my luck today. It's crazy, I never realized how many friends I didn't have growing up. I didn't miss it, I really enjoyed my childhood. But now that I have gotten closer to Jodi, Jojo and Emily, I feel a bit sad that I didn't have these kind of girlfriends before. And as much as I miss being naked with Benji, I miss his friendship most. I lie to myself and say that boys in high school weren't mature enough. The reality is, I was too busy to try at first, then I just didn’t learn how. Resulting in me needing to learn how to be a true friend, a tough lesson to learn at this age.
"Have you thought about an internship this coming summer?" I ask, hoping to further break away at the ice.
"Of course, I actually just finished an internship this past summer with a gaming company, they want me back next summer."
"That's amazing. And here you are giving me a hard time about being too responsible and grown-up, an internship after your Sophomore year is pretty grown-up.“ Sad that I didn't know this when we used to tell each other everything.
“Yeah, it was an offer I couldn’t refuse and you know how much I love to play video games.”
“Was it just so amazing in every way?”
“Well, you know how internships go, you are mainly a gofer. But I was able to sit in on a few meetings in regards to development and to be a part of how the games are made, was of course awesome. How about you?"
The excitement in his voice and the smile on his face as he shares all this with me, I can’t help but sigh, I miss it all so much. And now seeing him with Izzy, how did I manage to screw this one up so badly. She got to see him all summer, enjoy every exciting news he had to share about the day. I bet she was even able to play some of the games with him when he was testing them out. Probably not, but the fantasy of it makes the jealously more real.
"My advisor has me applying for a few tech companies around here but I really want to try to get something in New York City."
"Wow! That would be so good for you. It would be nice to see you away from here, maybe then you will let loose." Again a sharp poke, ouch.
"There is a travel magazine looking for someone who is both tech savvy and has editorial skills."
"Sounds right up your alley. However, how do you write for a travel magazine when you've never traveled?"
"Well, they only ask that we develop a blog about a city, any city, so of course, I picked San Francisco."
"That's kind of cheating."
"No, I know the city so well, it makes sense.”
“Or maybe you can go somewhere, a weekend away, and write about that?”
“School just started, I don’t want to start it off with a habit of running off every weekend.”
“This is my reality, Benji, what do you want from me?”
“I want nothing from you, first of all. Secondly, you create your own little world with big walls around it. You can do anything but you choose to do the safe thing.”
My brain is too stuck on the nothing form you part of this conversation. I can feel the pain in my heart that pushes up to my eyes. “I can’t cry, I can’t cry, I can’t cry,” I tell myself over and over again. For once I am glad that Benji is lecturing me, I half listen and mostly try not to sob. How will I ever get this pain to stop?
"Well, I hope you get it, I would like to see the Val we get after a summer in the city that never sleeps."
We both smile at each other and just like that, we fall back in line. As much as his words hurt, this space we have just moved back into is worth every cut. I miss my friend, and now that he has a girlfriend, maybe it will curb how much I miss the lover he was.
I know better to think this will solve my new addiction, but at least I can talk to him about it, someday. It's been hard to have no one to talk to. Jodi is too much like my mother than my girlfriend, and after our moment at Triple Rock last semester, I try to hide that side of me with her.
Most of my encounters with Izzy is seeing her with him at the start of our first class. Izzy makes it a point to be extra loving to him in front of me, I don’t blame her. Jodi invites me out but being the fifth wheel is not my idea of a fun night. Instead I get reclusive and focus on school. My weekends are occupied with working, I do make it a point to hang out and shoot a few games of pool with them whenever they stop by at Triple Rock, but I find it really hard to be around Benji and Izzy. At least I can still beat them all at a game of pool. Jodi slyly asks me to join them out the next weekend in front of Boss. Boss, of course, give me the night off next Friday so I can go out with them. So this next week will be spent with me getting mentally prepared for the night.
In order to get myself out, I focus on the thought of having a fun night with my friends, I'm nervous. Calling Jojo to see if she can dress me from her closet, I do not have anything cool enough for this occasion. I want to look great but not so great that I out show Izzy or Jodi, it’s Izzy’s night, not mine.
Jodi of course leave Benji and I alone immediately, “I’m going to get us drinks.”
"You left me a mess." I share, once she walks away.
We at a club that Izzy is DJ-ing at tonight. This is the first time away from the rest of the gang we have had so if I didn't say anything now, I will never get the chance or find the courage. He is not looking at me, instead he sighs loudly. There is a chill in the night, or maybe the chill is vaporizing through his skin. Apparently he isn't looking forward to tonight any more than I am.
"I have been obsessed with sex since you."
I can see the clench in his jaw that tells me that maybe he isn't ready to hear this. Too late, it’s out there. I can’t take it back now. So I am testing the waters of our friendship once again. If any of you have tried to swim in Northern California, the Pacific Ocean is not warm like the Atlantic Ocean. And right now, Benji is very much the Pacific Ocean.
"So, thanks for inviting me out tonight. It's been such a hard start to this semester, I need to dance and let go of all the stress."
"You will love Izzy's playlist. Such a great mix of the London sounds and K-pop."
"Did you just say K-pop?” I am of course remembering our first time together with Jodi’s K-pop posters watching.
"Val, don't knock it until you try it."
"I didn't mean anything by it, I just see 13 years old screaming girls wearing Hello Kitty when you say K-pop."
"I hope you get the internship with Wanderlust, maybe it will broaden your mind a bit."
Ouch, I deserve that. I am sure that bringing up my struggles around sex in this moment may be bad timing. I just need to talk to someone and Benji has always been my ear and shoulder. This is a prime example of my social awkwardness. Behind a bar with strangers, I am a different person. With those I love, it’s like my mouth has no filter. Dad says that I am too pragmatic.
Izzy is as impressive as a DJ as she is a woman. I can see why Benji is so engrossed by her. It's been a while since I have been able to dance so I find my happy place in the middle of the dance floor. I went back to The EndUp a few times but Mr. Stanford never resurfaced. Mr. Leather and I shared many more exhilarating nights but he soon disappeared and I found it difficult to replace him. Grateful for the job at Triple Rock to distract me, behind a bar is always my comfort zone. And since you never play with the customers, I managed to stay sober. But Triple Rock is not exactly a dance floor kind of place. Sure, I kept my promise to Emily to uphold her tradition of dancing on the bar, but that's still not the same as the feel of getting lost to a rhythm. Sex fulfills that rhythmic flow at times, but like I said, not much dancing vertically or horizontally these days.
"It's nice to see you having fun." Jodi commented.
"It's nice to be back out with the group."
"You are always welcomed."
"I know but I wanted to give Benji his space. And it looks like he made good use of my absence."
"Well it's good to see the two of you getting along and we love having you back.”
Jodi is a really good friend and although she spends more time being the Angel on my shoulder fighting with the devil on the other side, she means well. I would’t have the college experience I am having without her, she forces me to have fun, her version preferably. We even have a cute little dance routine that we do, I am grinning from ear to ear, remembering how much fun this is.
"Can I buy you ladies a drink?" A British accent interrupts our conversation.
I am happy for the intrusion, the conversation with Jodi is getting a little too deep. I am not ready to fill Jodi in on my late night escapades, even though I know she knows, those moments are still my own. And I am sure a few times she might have woken up to find my bed empty. She doesn't ask anymore after our encounter at Triple Rick and I don't offer. She only makes me ashamed of my uncontrollable lust, I leave it as "don't ask, don't tell" between us.
"How about a bottle of champagne?" Jodi suggests.
I look over to Jodi with a confused look. I expected her to actually shoo the guy away. Jodi gives me a raised brow and smile, her way of telling me that she approves of a little fun tonight. Still weird that I need her approval.
"Champagne it is," Mr. British leaves us to get a bottle.
"How hot is that accent." Jodi watches as the delicious Brit walks away.
"Funny how an accent makes a man sexy." I try to down play how turned on his voice makes me.
"Well, he is as good looking as his accent."
"You don't have to behave because Benji is here." Little did she know, I was behaving coz she was here.
"I am just saying," as I try to hide my blush.
"And I am just saying you need to have fun with that one."
Mr. British returns with a bottle and three glasses. We toast and drink. Jodi drills him about his life, I don't pay much attention, I am watching Benji. I can't help but remember our last night together as I watch him dance. It was so sensual to dance with him. As much as I want to now, it would be completely inappropriate. Funny, I just realized we danced when we first met as well. Isn’t it ironic, we started and ended in dance, my first love.
"Want to dance?" Mr. British asks.
"Fancy a shag?" I respond, I am not ready to dance with a guy in front of Benji.
He smiles and we sneak out. I wink at Jodi so she knows it's all good. I catch Benji’s eyes as I am leaving, trying not to let the pain in his eyes affect me. Once outside, he hails a taxi and we are off. The only part of his conversation with Jodi I paid any attention to was the part about him being a professor here for the year. What he is teaching, I blocked out. After he tells the taxi where to go, I go in for my kiss. His lips are firm, not the lushes that I am used to but he is a good kisser. His face soft and clean shaven. Through his button down I can feel his fit body and through his slacks, I can feel his intrigue. As his hands find their way under my t-shirt, I find my way into his pants. He is not circumcised. Thank God I was privy to a conversation between the boys in my dance class about how to handle a guy that is uncircumcised. Apparently because a few of the guys in our class are European and Catholic, it's a thing, who knew? So, I know just how to handle him. It's like unraveling a turtleneck, I remember hearing as I was listening in on their tutorial.
"Impressive." He responds to my ability to work his cock.
Good thing he didn't live too far or else the taxi driver would have witnessed far more than he is meant. A bit nervous as we pull up to what is known as the teacher's housing section, last thing I need is to run into any of my professors. He guides us quickly to his apartment, obviously as conscious as I am about it all. I am sure Jodi told him we are students here, opposite of me, she is a tell all book.
Once in the door he reaches to switch on the lights, I stop him. The forbidden is better enjoyed in the dark. Carefully we walk toward the couch.
"I do have a bedroom."
"Shhhh." I have no interest in staying too long.
I push him into the couch and enjoy him leaning back to offer me full control. I hike up my skirt and straddle him. Kissing him as I slowly unbutton his shirt. Not everyday do I find such an opportunity in the men and women I have enjoyed as of late. Button down and dive bar doesn't mix.
"Mmmmmm. Yes darling. I am all yours." That accent makes me wet.
I am sure he can feel my excitement through his trousers. As I remove his shirt I can't help but move straight for his nipples. The beauty of having experienced a female lover is I have learned how to play with nipples.
"Lord woman!" Usually I prefer my lovers silent but his accent feeds my lust. "Mmmmm. Bite harder."
Words to my ears.
The sensual is nice at times but I prefer the painful kind of pleasure. Walking that fine line and pushing that boundary. As I work his nipples and bite at his neck, I start to remove his pants. Gliding down as they fall to the floor. I sit back on my heals to analyze my first penis of such kind. His head falls back as I begin to take his cock into my mouth. For all you woman wondering, yes, there is a difference. This requires more finesse on my part, but the tenderness of his tip is delightful. His right hand grabs a hold of my head. His left hands play at my breasts. A seasoned lover knows how to play with the breasts without making them feel like a transistor radio. His hand pulls at my hair then pushes me down into his cock until I and pulls me back again. Since he is guiding my blow job, I take my free hand and massage my clit. I will definitely need to wet myself good before I ride this cock. When I come, my body shakes, I can feel him wanting to come too so I pull away from his cock. There is no way I am letting him come before I can ride him.
"Condom?" I ask.
"Not as fun."
"No glove, no love."
"Then I need to hit the loo."
As he got up to fetch the condom, I strip naked and I walk to the door of the balcony. I love the moonlight. I can hear his steps moving towards me. I place my hands on the glass door and spread my legs, offering myself to the night. He starts kissing my ankles and slowly works his way up my calves. He kisses and teases the back of my knees as his hands reach up, one on my ass and the other working my clit. I lean against the window, my breath fogs it up and blocks my view of the moon. The city lights blur as my eyes roll back. I wonder if his tongue is as talented as his fingers. As if reading my mind he licks up my thighs, straight to my pussy. Breathless, I put my full weight onto the glass. He moves gracefully between my clit to the top of my ass. I continue to feed him, his hunger grows with every orgasm he gives me. I can feel his hands on my ass and brace myself as he begins to lift me. Sad that he has shifted position but delighted as he slides me down into his cock. I hope this glass door is strong. I look at all the windows in front of us and wonder how many people are watching. The thought sends my mind into a spin. I start grinding and riding his cock. His hands join mine in the glass as I ride him harder and faster. The more windows I look through the harder I ride.
"Dear God woman!" He screams as we come together.
Slowly he squats to the floor, me still straddled to him, breathless we both laugh.
Once I can feel him soften, I dress and ask for a taxi.
"I make a great breakfast." He offers.
I kiss him and leave. Happy to be under my shower not soon after. As I cleanse away the night I put into memory the erotic of it all.
I did not realize how hard it would be to witness the blossoming love between Benji and Izumi. She makes him so happy. Until now he has had playmates that never lasted more than a few weeks so I was able to cope, knowing I was enjoying myself in sort of the same way. I don't know if it is my delusions of us ending up together once my life was sorted or if I just plainly miss him. This is the first time I am experiencing this kind of jealousy. I admit that I admire my sister for her ease in life, maybe even a bit jealous of Stella for it, but I have never cared for a man enough to be jealous of seeing him with another girl. Who am I kidding? I haven't even been with anyone past a few random nights to even like them for more than the pleasure they fulfilled.
Izzy is also to cool of a girl for me to not like her. She is smart and capable of going tit-for-tat with us Engineering nerds in any debate. Always thoughtful of the group, taking the time to really get to know each of us in her own way. We even manage to talk boys together, which mainly consists of me trying to listen to her talk about Benji without getting upset. It's a funny dilemma, I care for him and want him to be happy. I really like Izzy and am glad we are friendly. But at times I wish she were a psycho bitch to help curb this pain I feel. So once again, my attempts to not let Benji distract me backfires. I hear people saying all the time, "you don't know what you've got until it's gone." In all the novels I have read and movies I have seen, it's usually the guy that's living with this realization. In life it's me.