Who We Are: College

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Something Old

Marie: Hello Kevin, I see you haven’t changed. Still a jock? Bet you are still using my boyfriend to pass your classes.

Kevin was disgusted and didnt wish to answer her, Marie turned to Edd instead. He was still paralyzed, but he was now aware of the latest developments.

Marie: Hey Double D, miss me? Is this mean jock still bullying you?
Kevin: Well what are you gonna do?! You’re just a girl.

Edd snapped and shifted his body so he was between the two. Marie’s eyes flickered in rage to the snotty comment which she felt as an insult. Edd faced Marie and was giving his back to Kevin, he knew Kevin wouldn’t assault someone who was unaware of it, and he knew Marie preferred having his attention than quarreling over a comment- she had traveled a long way after all. Edd wanted and tried to release the tension in the atmosphere and so...he finally spoke.

Edd: Kevin, I strongly recommend you restraint those comments. Marie, i’ve been fine and Kevin is now a friend of mine, please be...
Marie and Kevin: Friend?!

Both had answered simultaneously, but Marie’s tone was that of disaproval while Kevin’s was hopeful and a bit more happy.

Marie: Honey, are you sure? I dont want to see you get hurt, and this meat brain is just hindering your goals and slowing you down.

Kevin felt as those words shredded his spirit and brought powerful feelings of pain and tears to his skin. He gulped hard and stood like a rock as he heard Marie’s words and saw how both were embraced. Edd had his hands on her hips, sensual curvy and slim, while she had her arms around his beautiful slim feminine neck. As Kevin stood there his mind managed to focus on a different subject, but just as worrysome...was he feeling jealous?

Edd: Marie, that is very rude on your part and it is not up to you who my friends are. Besides, I must inform you that my personal projects have been coming along brilliantly, with no problems nor hindrances. I would like to hear an apology on your part to Kevin.
Marie: Double D!
Edd: Please?

Marie glared at Double D, a glare he was almost immune to and had no problem in motioning her to face Kevin. Marie let go of Edd and moved towards Kevin, he stood just as pissed as she was, but he was much more obvious about it. Marie stretched her arm towards Kevin in a gesture of shacking hands, and she bowed her head slightly as in the Japanese custom for apologies. Kevin was baffled by the gesture but shook her hand.

Marie: I apologize for my behavior and what i said to you. As Edd’s friend i must not treat you so harshly, sorry.

Kevin slightly smirked.

Kevin: Was that so hard?
Edd: Kevin!
Kevin: Wha... OW!

Marie had strengthened her grip on Kevin’s hand at his response, and Kevin didn’t need two warning shots. As they broke the hand shake, Marie moved back to Edd’s side as Kevin massaged his hand and backed a bit. As the “formalities” came to an end, Kevin knew he shouldn’t be there anymore, but he had one question in his mind.

Kevin: So, what are you two love birds off to?
Marie: None of your business.
Edd: We will probably go out to lunch, and have a long talk.
Kevin: Lunch, care if I join?

Kevin didn’t wish to come off as needy or lonely, but he had a bad feeling about Marie. He didn’t want her to be alone with Edd, and he certainly didn’t like to see or think of them as a thing. The answer however to his question came directly from Edd, no reply or complaint from Marie, no mutual look, no nothing.

Edd: I’m sorry Kevin, but this is a thing I must do alone.
Kevin: Oh. Ok.
Edd: Kevin...

As Kevin turned his back and picked his stuff from the floor, he stopped only to hear what Edd had to say. He didn’t dare turn around, he didn’t want Marie to feel the satisfaction of seeing him in pain, nor did he wish to come off as weak man to Edd. Kevin was pissed, he was sad and he hated the fact that Marie Kanker was the girl Edd had been talking about. But Kevin was strong and proud, and though he had his back towards them, he stood tall.

Edd: I’ll be back before 3, don’t be late!

Kevin nearly chocked in his tears at those words, he swallowed hard once again. Kevin felt a slight calm in him as he half turned around, his facial expression much more relaxed and without grief, and answered back with a smile.

Kevin: You know i’ll try Double D.
Edd: Kevin! We agreed on it!
Kevin: I know, I know. I’ll be here...we will meet here, right?
Edd: Seems much more suitable.
Marie: Honey, i made reservations.

Marie had watched the time in her new cellphone thus signaling the end of the conversation. Kevin waved his hand lazily from the pathway as he walked towards his dorms. He was uneasy and nervous and he felt like vomiting. He had only felt like this once before in his life, and it had been back in college with Nazz.

He felt stupid and silly, and longed for 3 o’clock so he could be with Edd again and his...date. Kevin felt his brain collapsing, caving in, and so...he sought help with his best friend.

TO: Dumb Ass (Lyon)

Dude, where are you? Wanna talk?



Kevin closed his cellphone and walked up the pathway to his dorms which were now visible. Hopefully Lyon was there, read his message and was waiting for him in their dorm.

Back in the parking lot, Marie had placed her helmet back on and thrown a second one to Edd. Edd was baffled by the object he had barely managed to catch, which had been aimed to his head. Edd was very detailed and meticulous over safety measures, hazards and dangerous activities. Did Marie actually expect him to ride with her?! Edd felt adrenaline rush through his body, he was scared and, right as he was about to protest, Marie talked first.

Marie: I don’t like him Double D. Seems like trouble.
Edd: He might say and think the same way about you Marie.
Marie: Well, i’m your girlfriend. Don’t i get bonus points?
Edd: Marie...
Marie: I made reservations for take out at a place i know, you’ll love it. It’s italian, your favorite...still is right?
Edd: Yes, but...i mean...W-We will be riding your b-b-bike?
Marie: Well, walking would take us a very long time.
Edd: B-but, the safety precautions, the dangerous consequences, i have no experience in this! A-and this helmet, i’m not sure if its certified or fulfills world standards and safety regulations. Besides, i don’t have any other protective gear like elbow pads, knee pads, gloves, a vest or jacket for wind breakage and warmth. And, though i don’t doubt your driving skills, i’m unaware of the mileage and calibration of this vehicle, or of it’s safety. I-I mean it’s my first time on a motorcycle, and...

Marie had been captivated seeing the one she loved ramble on and on on the precautions and safety and his doubts and what not on their way of transportation. She found him adorable and completely irresistible, which is way she decided to shut him up.

Marie, who had been sitting on the bike all ready to go, unsaddled, took her helmet off and pulled Edd towards her in a long, passionate, deep kiss. As Edd stood clumsily and with no more words in his mouth, Marie pulled him from his vest collar onto the bike. As the engine revved and both the brake and standing pedal were removed, Edd managed to secure the helmet quickly on his head and embrace Marie tightly for dear life. Marie was overjoyed in feeling his arms around her, holding her, even if it was out of fear. As the motorcycle drove steadily and smoothly through the parking lot, onto the main street and down avenues, Edd relaxed and discovered one tiny joy of life. When you are speeding through traffic and down streets on a bike, you actually get to see all the colors, the signs and you get to feel and smell the air of the city.

It was a rather long drive, half an hour with traffic, stop lights and many turns. The more he stayed on the bike, Edd loosened up and appreciated the ride, but he never loosened his grip. Their final destination was a very small bistro at a corner between 24th and 5th, almost opposite side of the city, where Marie got up with Edd firmly holding her. Marie laughed as Edd’s firm and strong embrace, and her tight clothing, caused her clothing to lift and clump around her chest; she simply pulled her jacket down to flatten it out and laid her hands over Edd’s. She took her helmet off and her hair fell smoothly down her neck. It was impossible for Edd to have not noticed such a spectacle as he turned to see Marie and that they had arrived.

Marie: We’re here honey.
Edd: I’m not familiar with this bistro, seems quite fancy, an elegant and minimalist taste in exterior design.
Marie: Well, free time has it’s privileges. Could you let go? I have to pick up our order.

Marie giggled as she took her gloves off and opened her jacket. She unsaddled her bike and stood facing Edd. Edd was sincerely astonished on how much things had changed for Marie, and so little. It was something old for Edd, the admiration, respect, the comfort, the loving sensation...but he didn’t love her. Edd noticed Marie wore a loose white tank top with little cleavage, classy yet sexy, and her hands and nails were spotless. Marie had taken care of herself properly and nicely over the years. Edd stood up and took his helmet off, and as he did, he gazed once more on the light sky blue corsage...remorse.

Marie: Ready to go?
Edd: Huh? Oh yeah yeah. But what do you have in mind? It’s already 1:35 pm and i must remind you i agreed with... Marie... MARIE!

Before Edd could finish his sentence Marie had entered the bistro and left Edd standing. She didn’t want to hear about it.

Edd grabbed the helmet under his arm and quickly ran inside. The place was impressive and really tasteful to the eye, a long counter with all the fresh product in display with which all the food was made, various fridges or cooling units where the meats were displayed, a wide dining area which was casual with very Italian, square pattern table cloths and arched chairs. It was very Tuscan and had a Little Italy air, which was emphasized as all the personnel was Italian with strong Italian accent (family business probably). It was the afternoon, and the place had all its windows open and Italian music was played (“Mambo Italiano” at the moment) and Edd noticed one gallant young man making traditional pizza. He was tossing the dough in the air. Edd was fixated and fascinated by this small, hidden corner of culture he was so unaware of in the city (obviously cause it was too far away), but he mentally booked it as a favorite. He met up with Marie on the counter, who was gazing at him with big loving eyes as he noticed he had his tongue out- an old habit which gave away he was in absolute concentration.

Marie: You are adorable. You know that?
Edd: Please Marie, don’t tease me. I know it’s a horrible habit.
Marie: Really? Says who?
Edd: Says myself.
Marie: Uuuu, so tough now. Such a bad boy. Are you becoming bad, my love?

As Marie said this she leaned onto Edd, pressing her body against his and changing her demeanor into a very sexy, sensual one with desire and lust in her eyes. Edd froze, and gazed opened mouth and breathing heavily into Marie’s deep dark eyes. Marie moved in as if for a very intense kiss, but moved back and giggled.

Marie: Easy there big guy. Save it.

Marie winked at Edd, who was barely gaining control of his body once again, but he quickly understood the gesture and the message. Embarrassed Edd defensively tugged his beanie down and pivoted his hips so there was no evidence of his...emotions. He breathed slowly to calm himself, but he was disturbed by a strong Italian accent that called at Marie...and by her name.

?: Marie, principessa, come stai carissima? Oh, oggi vieni con un ragazzo; puo parlare italiano tuo amico?

Marie giggled and whispered something into the rather large, tall, big mustached, black haired man. He looked robust rather than large (with a peculiar anvil tattoo on his left arm), and he treated Marie with a great familiarity.

?: Scusi Scusi my frend, litel Marie here explained to me evrything. So, Edd, what are you plans with the lady?
Marie: Ruzzo!
Ruzzo: Wat?! I have to ask! Wat if bad tings happen?
Marie: Ruzzo! I’ve already told you about him this morning!

Marie immediately covered her mouth with both her hands and blushed heavily as she looked out of the corner of her eye at Edd. Edd simply giggled and placed a hand on her shoulder, he loved seeing Marie this vulnerable...so girly and fragile. Ruzzo at the other side of the counter quickly gave loud instructions to his waiters and looked back at Edd. He looked more cheerful this time and he leaned on the counter which (do to his loose shirt) showed his still toned (for his age), manly, hairy chest and pecs; Edd induced he must’ve been in the army.

Ruzzo: So you’re the guy huh? You might be very special for Marie to be seen like dis. Treat her well.
Edd: I assure you, no harm will ever come to her.
Ruzzo: I hope so, cause you see, we...we are good at making things disapear.
Marie: Ruzzo!
Ruzzo: Wha?!

Edd looked over at Marie and then at Ruzzo, she was heavily blushed and her eyes showed she was greatly worried. To Edd, she looked adorable and he couldn’t help but laugh openly and Ruzzo joined him. Ruzzo was a very warm man and Edd found him very pleasing; he would try to come back and talk another day. As the laughing subsided Ruzzo gave them their order, packed, Edd was puzzled.

Ruzzo: Take out for two: mushroom ravioli with bolognese and penne alla burra, with an order of brochetas and prosciutto antipasti, and insalata grecca. Yes?
Marie: Ruzzo Carleone, you are wonderful; but I will kill you for this.

They both laughed and Ruzzo hugged her over the counter. Ruzzo Carleone, Edd noted the name down in his head.

Ruzzo: Now you two have fun. Ciao carissimi!

20 Staff members bellowed back “Ciao carissimi!“.

Edd and Marie: Ciao!

Edd was overjoyed of the experience and the energy of the place. He wondered how Marie knew them, and how they were supposed to carry their take out on the bike. But, Edd’s mind wandered off from the current predicament and thought back on the paintings on the walls of the bistro. If he wasn’t mistaken, that was Marie’s art, thus explaining a bit how they knew each other. Edd was thoughtful on how popular Marie’s art had grown to be as he put the bike helmet on. He was fastening the strap when he noticed Marie with the other half of their take out looking at him inquisitively with her helmet off, jacket half open and containing a giggle.

Edd: So, where are we going?
Marie: My apartment.
Edd: Isn't that a bit fast? We haven't seen each o...Marie...Marie!

Again, Marie had moved on without Edd noticing as he removed the helmet once again. Marie crossed the street, stopped and stood waiting for Edd to catch up to her, he was aware he had to hurry up. Edd still managed to notice that the bike had the alarm set, the emergency brake triggered and was in a parking space, also Marie had her keys at hand, a set of them, 4 to be exact. As Edd crossed the street, after looking both ways, he starting cracking the location of Marie’s apartment. It was close.

They barely walked a block as they crossed the next street (Marie leading the way). The short distance made sense for Edd on why they decided to walk since their hands were full. However, when he lifted his gaze to the surrounding buildings, he noticed the one right in front of him. A 50 story building, metallic, light greyish color, very classy, with a few entrance stairs with a butler and two black swinging doors. Marie kissed Edd on the cheek as they walked side by side into the building. Edd let her go through the doors first, and heard an expected “Good afternoon Miss Kanker” which Edd found so courteous and nice. The main lobby was massive, with four secretaries behind a counter, a digital information center at the center (Edd found practical) and two fountains which were very modern and formed arches. They entered an elevator and Marie pressed floor 47, near the top. Edd expected a great view and he found himself eager to see where Marie called “Home”, at least before her next trip.

The trip on the elevator wasn’t silent, Marie had courteously asked Edd how his projects were coming, and Edd answered and proceeded to ask Marie about her artwork. At that moment Marie barely stopped talking by the time they made it to her floor. Her stories were quite extensive, the trips, the auctions, the interviews, the cocktail parties, the galleries, the expositions, Edd was awed at all of Marie’s achievements and accomplishments at such a young age. Among the highlights she skimmed she met the Dalai Lama for God’s sake! Marie, on the other hand, made very clear she was tired of it all. Not of the painting part, but the traveling and meeting and talking part. So, almost too conveniently and movie like, she opened her door, the one left of the elevator (there were only 4 doors on the floor), and entered her apartment as she said:

Marie: I want to settle down.
Edd: What do you mean by that? Wow!

Edd was impressed on what Marie had invested her money in, quite the piece of real-estate. Apartment, condo, home, those were all the words Marie had used on the elevator, but they all turned to be very inaccurate. A story and a half full loft, diner, living room, full kitchen, 3 bathrooms, stairs for the second story where Marie slept, a terrace, and a nice foyer with it’s small closet. It was also fully furnished, emphasizing Marie’s resolve of settling, and nothing was missing. Edd loved the mahogany wooden floor, the dark and brown color blends between walls and furniture Marie had so exquisitely arranged, bought and matched, and the perfect order and harmony with which Marie had everything. Edd noticed quickly Marie had even marked with yellow plastic tape an area in the rather large living room for her painting (where she even had a canvas, with it’s stand), thus making the overly large living room space into a segmented and practical cozy smaller one and her studio.

Marie: You could help me, you know.

Marie’s voice had come from the kitchen which was separated from the diner by a black marble counter, and from the living room/studio by a wooden bar style counter. Marie had everything stacked with food, spices, ingredients; in short, it was a real kitchen, almost a chef’s. On the marble counter, Marie was serving food on large plates and took out glasses, plates, forks, knives and handkerchiefs, Edd quickly made his way to help.

To his surprise the cooking space with Marie was very fun and pleasing. She let him take charge and they actually laughed at every bump and when they both reached for the same thing, making their hands touch...it was like they were married. To anyone, they were a perfect couple...to anyone but Edd. As they sat down to eat, Edd still thought of two things; despite how much he was enjoying himself, he thought on Lyon’s words that morning and he thought on why he couldn't commit, be happy, love Marie. Lunch was exquisite, truly 5 star cooking and so fresh and rich, it was marvelous, yet it was silent. Both sat across from each other and Edd barely lifted his head from his plate. If he had, he would’ve seen Marie’s distraught face... there was still a gap separating them... Marie could also feel it.

Marie had moved near Edd not only to see him, to be with him, but also cause Marie believed 2 years was more than enough for someone to know who they are and what they want. Marie could never forget her prom night, which was why she sent as soon as possible for plastic, never degrading version of her corsage...and why she always used it. Marie held those memories dearly, and they had helped her through every struggle in her career, in her family, in her life. She firmly believed she would always come back to Edd, her first and only.

2 years ago, Marie Kanker had met with the executive of a mayor art Gallery in New York (a week before prom) who considered her the next Picasso. The conditions had been simple, a week of her collection in exposition, 60% of earnings on her pieces and she had to be present everyday so buyers and the audience could meet her. Ever so independent and seeing her dream possibly coming into reality, Marie agreed quickly and never consulted anyone. She also never told anyone about this development, not even Edd. In Highschool, many believed Edd and Marie dated or were dating as the two were seen chatting quite frequently and he was the only person to ever get a smile on her face. As the school year ended and everyone focused on prom and the colleges or universities they were going to attend, Marie detached a bit from the group and believed she’d never see anyone again. She had no regrets and she had booked an airplane ticket for the day right after prom, June 8th.

The funny thing about life is that it never goes as one plans, and Marie nearly lost her mind the last day of school when Edd had asked her dead serious if she was going to go to the prom. Sticking to her plan Marie had said she wouldn’t go and remembered having rambled on how her going or not wouldn’t make a difference. At that time, Edd had no idea what Marie had planned, but he knew her too well to know she’d skip prom. He had a bad feeling and before anything happened, Edd wanted her to have a great time and to be with him one last time. They had grown close, and Edd cared for her deeply. Stuttering and blushing crimson red, Edd asked Marie to prom. She said yes.

They met at the entrance, it was a large salon specific for these types of events in a hotel in the closest city, about 30 minute drive from the Cul-de-Sac. Marie wore a shoulder-less, deep blue, princess dress with a tight fit around the waist and abdomen with some cleavage which flattered beautifully her physique. Edd wore a penguin tailed tuxedo, with a dark blue shiny vest on the inside and a white shirt with the respective bow tie, and his usual beanie. The suit made Edd’s toned and feminine frame look classy and almost like a prince, and together they visually complemented each other.

Marie was late, as usual, but Edd forgot any and all scolding when he looked at her stunning figure, make up: dark eyeliner, marine beautifully shaded eye shadow, cream lipstick which made her eyes the center of attention, and her hair was natural with her side bang curled and still hanging to cover her eye. After Marie cleared her throat to snap Edd back, he gave her a sky blue clear rose, a rare type of flower for a corsage. Marie was startled as Edd pulled the box from behind him which held the beautiful flower, in full bloom, laced with rich blue ribbons and two white mistletoe. They had never agreed on such a thing. When asked why, Edd informed Marie in full detail as he carefully tied the corsage around her left wrist, removing the punk wrist band. Marie felt as if he was putting a ring in her hand. Edd had thought of it long before on inviting Marie to prom.

It was after Marie told him while painting the story of her father, and it motivated him to make it as special as possible, starting with a unique corsage. They both entered the prom, hand in hand and they enjoyed themselves, they were inseparable all through the night. Midnight came and Marie left the Prom with Edd, they wandered in the hotel a while, talked, laughed and kissed for the first time. Everyone of the school had a room reserved in the hotel, it was in the budget, and Edd soon found himself in Marie’s. Edd had lost himself on the first kiss. It was clumsy and impulsive as Marie flung herself to him, but one lead to another and they ended up in Marie’s room with desire, passion and emotions intertwined.

His tux layed on the floor, his shoes on the side of the bed along with Marie’s, his bow tie was over the bed lamp, shirt half opened, and Marie lay over him, kissing, touching and caressing. Marie sat up right over him and lifted her dress over her head removing it, and throwing it over the chair beside the bed. The two lovers gazed at their bodies. Marie breathed heavily, she was excited, she wanted him, needed him, desired him and her eyes burned with that passion. Edd had lost all rationality, he saw Marie with passion and carnal feelings for the first time. Her gorgeous and fit body, her full breasts, her sensitive skin, her beautiful eyes, and the sexy black lingerie she had on and black tights. They kissed, melted and felt their bodies, they were virgins, but they wanted and needed each other. As Marie removed Edd’s pants, and buckled as his rational mind alerted him of the actions to come. Marie calmed him down and slowed her pace, she was also becoming aware of her actions, but she had been prepared. Marie pulled from her bra a small plastic, sealed package both had seen so many times in Sex Ed...neither said a word, they had agreed to it silently, with a gaze, a kiss, a touch and the clip of a bra.

The bedside alarm clock blinked and marked 2am, they had explored each other’s bodies for 2 hours. Exhausted, sweating, naked, Marie resting her head on Edd’s flat hairless chest, Edd resting his beanie less head on the pillow and holding her...they were wide awake. Being their first time it was logical that nothing would go smoothly or as planned, but something had been missing. As they made love (in Edd’s definition of the act) Edd himself had been distant while Marie enjoyed every second. As they laid together in bed, Marie also felt it had been more her than him, and she blamed herself. For rushing things, for being too impulsive, for having to leave. They both thought the same thing, the sensation, the passion, the delicious feeling of their bodies connected, Marie’s moans of absolute pleasure, the bed’s banging noise on the wall, the lack of words to even talk of how it felt. Marie had laughed and teased Edd on his “skills” in bed, but she was greeted with a short distant giggle. Talks were short and Marie was the one to start them...Edd was a bit unresponsive. Truth said, Edd had made love with Marie without feeling the love towards her and he wondered why. “Was I that bad?” Edd remembered Marie’s only question in the night for which had given half an answer: “You were great. But.. I... I don't know... I don't know”. That night, Edd had dozed off repeating that phrase “i don't know”... Marie couldn't.

Marie hugged Edd tightly and cried until dawn, she got her suitcase out of the closet, got ready, packed her dress, kept her corsage on and kissed Edd goodbye and wrote a single note “Next time, we’ll know”. As Marie left her one true love in bed, she cried once more and opened her suitcase taking out her black leather jacket she was so fond of and covered Edd with it. When Edd woke up it was 9am. He was alone, naked, clothes on the floor and Marie nowhere in sight- she was long gone. Edd read the note on the jacket that covered him, and he hugged it as he cried for he “did not know”.

That had been 2 years ago and a lot of growing had been done, but they were together again, washing dishes after eating together.

Marie: How was lunch?
Edd: Delicious, i must say your culinary skills have improved greatly these years.
Marie: Shut up!

They both laughed and Marie socked Edd’s right shoulder softly in affection. Edd, knowing and seeing Marie, dodged it. The action of both caused Marie to spin and slip, Edd caught her and they ended up embraced in a tenderly manner, Marie’s head on his chest, back turned and they blushed as they looked at each other. Marie laughed spontaneously afterwards and placed her left hand on Edd’s and made him feel what he was grabbing...her breast.

Marie: Cant keep your hands off me? Missed me that much?
Edd: I’m terribly sorry! Marie, here let me help you.

They both stood up and Edd blushed as his hand grasped her beast a final time. Once up, they burst into laughter.

Edd: Well after such a rich lunch, what other plans do you have for us?
Marie: Well, I have a gift for you.
Edd: Marie, it was unnecesary.
Marie: But i wanted to, so you can take it or i’ll auction it.
Edd: Auction it?

Marie walked to the living room, to where the stand with the canvas lay, the canvas was flipped, hiding it’s content. Edd joined Marie quickly after thoroughly washing and drying his hands, and felt a deep curiosity as to what had Marie painted and why would she gift him such a valuable art piece, given her fame.

Marie: Ready?

Before Edd could answer Marie turned the canvas around; it was simple, a shaded and blurry background of various colors, with a small (proportionally speaking) image in the center. Out of focus, a small person stood alone and, though the mixture of color didn't quite help make out who or what it was, there was a distinct black blurred out triangle over or on this image’s head. Edd quickly grasped Marie had painted him, and it was a masterpiece with deep meaning and emotional commitment and implications. Edd immersed into his gift, analyzed it, understood it and soon noticed 2 more details. Marie had marked her hands on the picture while it had been fresh, like a “reaching out” expression and she had painted in focus and extreme vivid detail her own paintbrush in the lower border of the painting (Edd had actually confused it for the real thing).

Marie: Do you like it?

Edd shed a tear with the back of his hand and hugged Marie, giving her a kiss on the cheek.

Edd: I love it, it’s amazing.

Two tears ran down Marie’s cheeks as she hugged and clung to Edd, out of all their moments together this was the most romantic and significant one for her.

Edd had shifted his attention from his gift, which now lay in a black plastic tube in his hands, to the marvelous and surreal space where Marie lived. Marie had gone to “freshen up” after she released Edd’s painting from it’s old frame, rolled it carefully and placed it in the tube, which left Edd with some alone time. The loft was neatly kept and it had very simple and rustic interior design. Marie had kept the brick walls with no covering nor paint with the mahogany and furniture color making it match beautifully. Scattered plants and bushes on clay pots adorned certain places and various big photographs of herself with celebrities, presidents, art galleries, mayor moments of her life and a few of herself hung from the walls. When Marie came down from her bedroom, makeup and jacket gone, she found Edd staring at a picture of herself caressing her corsage.

Marie: Italy, I was interviewed and asked why i wore a corsage.
Edd: What did you answer?

As Edd turned he found a gorgeous Marie walking down the stairs, tank top with slight cleavage, bare shoulders, rocking body; a natural beauty even without make up, barefooted with her petite feet and her punk wristband gone.
Marie: I said, it was a secret.

Marie had turned and entered the kitchen, giving her back to Edd. Edd took a deep breath and sat on the couch. He didn't feel good, he felt he was missing something, lost, he felt confused...two years and he still lacked that “something”. Edd breathed deeply and moved his beanie a bit, a strong smell of fermented grapes and alcohol filled his nostrils and shook him out of his troubled mind.

Marie: Concha y Toro, Don Melchor, Cabernet Sauvignon 2008. Join me?

Edd grabbed his glass and looked at Marie, she smiled and sat beside him- hand on his chest, legs on the couch. She lifted her glass in a small toast.

Marie: To what lays ahead.
Edd: Very ambiguous toast
Marie: What do we toast then?

Edd thought long and hard. More than a toast, he made a wish.

Edd: To knowing who we are.
Marie: You always know what to say.

The two glasses clinked and time flew by as the two long time lovers shared their lives with each other. Politics, projects, success, failures and dreams. They shared everything...just as they did two years ago.

It had become dark, 3/4 of the wine bottle was gone and the two laughed together as the alcohol loosened their tongues and mind. Edd was now sitting without his shoes and his legs up on the couch too, slightly bent, and Marie lay with her legs stretched out over Edd’s legs. They had been talking for what seemed like decades, but neither had talked about them...what "they" were. As the clock ticked, their positions had become more intimate and as night came, Marie grew a bit more carnal and impulsive. She took a deep breath...

Marie: You know, i really missed your smell. Always clean, a delicate fresh perfume, but your manly scent still present.
Edd: Marie, i think you’ve had too much to drink, you’re sleep talking.
Marie: Am I? I’m not even clumsy yet.

As she said this Marie raised herself with her arms and looked at Edd face to face. She was enjoying his company, she didn’t care of tomorrow or time, just the now...and she was oblivious to the fact that her left shirt strap had slipped with her bra’s and showed her exposed neck and shoulder. Edd raised the straps to their position and gave Marie a tender kiss on her shoulder, Marie bit her lip in pleasure- Edd knew her weaknesses.

Marie: You know, my birthday is tomorrow.
Edd: October 8th, you’ll be 20, i’m roughly a month older.
Marie: Always attentive to detail...i love that about you.

Marie caressed Edd’s beanie and cheeks. She had missed him. Edd knew where this was going.

Edd: Umm, Marie... it’s kinda late and...
Marie: You know what i want for birthday present?
Edd: Marie...
Marie: It isn't expensive, and I’ve wanted it for some time now. Years actually.
Edd: I had to meet with...

Marie sat right over Edd. She was grinding his groin and caressed the hair under his beanie. Edd’s eyes rolled at the sensation. Marie took the beanie off Edd’s head, no reaction. Edd gazed up at Marie, mouth quivering trying to mutter a word. Marie slowly took her top off, her body had not lost toning over the last 2 years, it was fantastic and sexy and ravishing. As Marie moved in for a kiss, a single line, from the abyss of his subconscious, ran Edd’s mind as rationality clung on... Edd avoided the kiss.

Marie moved back in disbelief, her heart breaking, shattering, her breathing heavy, she was sober. Marie took a minute and closed her eyes, she refrained her emotions, she swallowed her tears and thought, and asked.

Marie: Do you not love me Edd?

The pain was recognizable in her voice, Edd’s heart broke at the sound of her. He cupped her face between his hands, caressed her and, with a tear running down his cheek, he kissed her. As their lips parted they looked at each other, Marie near tears.

Edd: I...

No words.

Edd: I...


Marie’s nails dug into her couch as she closed her eyes and refrained her fury.

Marie: You cant say it, can you?!
Edd: I...

Marie smashed her fist centimeters away from Edd’s face on her couch. Edd was startled and his face quickly changed from pain and regret, to fear... but compassion and regret substituted these as Marie’s salty tears fell on his face. Distraught and in tears, Marie collapsed over Edd’s chest as he embraced her. Edd was confused, he had rejected Marie. Maybe it was because all was going too fast, but also because in that moment he had thought "are you gay?".

Marie soon calmed down and raised her head to kiss Edd once more and, eyes closed, gave him all her thoughts.

Marie: I’m tired of traveling and never having a place to call home. I finally found this loft that was close to you and i thought... we could be together. I called an agency and got myself a manager, he will now move and carry my pieces and collections to galleries and the stuff so i don't have to leave. I made all this so we could be together. I know two years... is a long time... and maybe you have someone else... or this was too fast. BUT, i won't give up on you Edward! I won't stop! Not until you tell me to move on... and you will break my heart when you do. SO YOU BETTER BE READY AND DAMN SURE!

Marie kissed Edd passionatly one last time.

Marie: I LOVE YOU!

Edd hugged Marie, he was still speechless or wordless, but holding her and comforting her was the best he could do. Marie broke off the embrace and put her shirt back on, throwing Edd his beanie back.

Marie: Ok, let’s go. It’s late and i don't want my lover to worry.
Edd: Marie, I’m sorry.
Marie: DONT! Edd, don't. You are a man. You must make your own decisions and i respect that. Now... lets go...
Edd: I’ll make it up tomorrow. It’s your day.
Marie: Who cares...

Edd hugged Marie from behind as she zipped her jacket up and grabbed her helmet. He embraced her and kissed her neck, a weak point.

Edd: I do... I’ve cared since we talked in Highschool. Since we shared prom. I’ve cared and always thought about you as i kept and used the leather jacket you left me. I’ve never stopped caring for you Marie... just let me sort things out.

Marie turned and gazed into Edd’s deep blue eyes, the eyes of her lover.

Marie: Thank you.

Marie gave Edd his helmet and they made their way out of the apartment. Edd stopped as he gave the place one last look and carved THE promise in his memory.

A 15 minute drive and they were back in campus, Edd had to admit Marie had superb driving skills. With the lack of traffic, they had made excellent time.

Edd: Thanks for the ride, drive safely please?
Marie: No problem. Sorry for bringing you back so late, honey.
Edd: It’s okay.

Marie kissed Edd goodbye, closed her visor and drove off. As Marie left, Edd checked his cellphone to check the time... 24 messages, 2 missed call, 7:15pm. As Edd walked into campus through the parking lot, heart up his throat, he knew he was dead. Both missed calls had been from Kevin, along with all of the messages that asked in various ways where he was. Edd knew he had no forgiveness, he knew Kevin had left hours ago, maybe to see Nazz or he went out with Lyon, something. He had stood up Kevin. Friends don't do that...

?: GIN!
.?: Fuck! Again!?

Edd lifted his head and was slightly blinded by the lamp posts that illuminated the parking lot. Two figures sat with a wooden table that looked very much likes those on the outside of the caffe under a lamp post. Edd couldn't believe it, but he could recognize those voices anywhere now. Edd was filled with joy, he secured the strap of the case where his painting came and ran (elbows out) to them.

Lyon: Look who finally made it.
Edd: Kevin, Lyon!

Kevin didn't say a word, but he was standing up; arms open, he embraced Edd between his muscular arms. It was a bizarre and romantic expression, but Edd didn't care, he simple repeatedly apologized to Kevin’s ear. Kevin was still silent, but he was relieved Edd had made it back safely. He had been worried sick... Edd must never know he had. To Edd, at least the past had been dealt with, and he could now fully appreciate his present. He could now start answering “who he was”, and he had great friends to help him...maybe more than a friend.

Edd: Thank you for waiting.
Kevin: Always.

Slowly and awkwardly, both boys broke their embrace.

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