#19 Not enough
When I park my car in front of Joshua’s apartment, I’m not sure if I’m making a wise decision or not. I need to get back home to get ready for Dshawn’s party in an hour, but Joshua insisted that he wanted to see me, so I obliged. And now here I am, unsure what he wants to talk to me about.
He pulls me in for a hug the moment he opens his front door, kissing my cheek softly. Not that long ago, I would have been all over him by now, but I’m not feeling him anymore. He’s still cute and sweet and all that, but I just don’t have the urge to sleep with him. It’s gone.
Part of me knows that it’s only a matter of time before I feel the same way about Dshawn. That makes me sad, but least he knows what he is getting himself into. I told him all about my fucked-up past and he knows that I’m a far, far cry from being pure or chaste, so he won’t be surprised when our chemistry fizzles out and I move on to the next guy.
“I’m so glad you came,” Joshua says with a smile. “Do you want a beer?”
“I drove here,” I remind him. “No drinking and driving.”
“Of course.” He seems a little nervous as he sits down on the couch. Once I sit down next to him, he takes my hand in his and looks at me with those sparkling blue eyes. “I’ve missed you.”
“Look…” I say, taking back my hand and trying to find the right words to let him down easy.
“Jasmine and I have been hooking up again,” he suddenly says, surprising the hell out of me. “And it’s nothing like it was before. I’m so much more confident now, and it’s all because of you.”
“Erm… okay?” What the hell is this? Did he call me over here to thank me for making him better in bed? This is weird. “You’re welcome, I guess.”
“She wants to get back together,” he goes on, “but I don’t seem to be able to get you out of my mind. And before I decide what to tell her… I just needed to see you again. And I also want to know how you’re doing. Things got pretty messed up last time we saw each other. You seemed so out of it and I figured that maybe you just needed some time, but then you never texted or called…”
I give him my most convincing smile. And it actually doesn’t feel strained, since I am doing rather well. Memories of Melchior got pushed to the back of my mind when steamy daydreams about Dshawn took over. “I’m fine,” I assure Joshua. “Just a ghost from the past throwing me off. “Nothing to worry about. Thank you for being there for me. I’m sorry if I wasn’t very appreciative back then. Like you said, I was a little out of it.”
He nods, understanding clear in his eyes. “I get it. I just thought that eventually, you’d call me to talk about it. Or show up here, or at least text.”
“Joshua…” I take deep breath. “I don’t know what you want from me. I’m happy that I helped you become more confident and realize just how amazing you are, but you and I… it’s not going to happen.”
“Why not?” he asks, sounding annoyed now. “Is it because I’m only 21? Because I think that’s not a very good reason to just write me off.”
“That’s not it,” I try to explain. “It’s not about how old you are or anything you did or said or are. This whole thing started as a one-night stand and because we got along and you’re damn good in bed, I kept this going longer than I should have. I like you, but not… not like that.”
He shakes his head. “But the talks we had… and the sex… I mean, you don’t do that with just anyone, right?”
“Maybe you don’t,” I say with a smile. “But I made it pretty clear from the start that I actually sleep around quite a lot. You’re not the first guy I had an arrangement like this with and you won’t be the last.”
“So it was really just sex to you?” He’s obviously hurt, and I hate that. I never meant to make him feel like this. He’s such a sweetheart.
“No.” And that’s the truth. “It was more than sex. You distracted me from my own sorry life, you comforted me after that night with Hollister, you made me feel safe and comfortable and wanted. That’s why I kept coming back. You’re great in bed, Joshua, but I could get good sex from other guys as well. It was the companionship and your kind heart that made me want to keep seeing you.”
“Then why isn’t that enough?” he asks, taking my hand in his again. “I’d love to date you for real.”
“I’m sorry, but it’s not enough,” I say, feeling horrible when I see tears swimming in his eyes. Oh God, just when he’s confident again, I break him down like this. “I’m actually… I met someone else.” That’s not true, but also not a lie. I already knew Dshawn and he’s not the reason that I’m not going to end up falling in love with Joshua, but it’s the easiest way to get Joshua to back off.
“Oh.” He drops my hand like it’s on fire. “I see.”
“I’m sorry,” I say again.
“That’s okay. I guess that means I’m getting back together with Jasmine after all.”
“What?” What the hell kind of logic is that? “Is that what you want?”
“What I want is you,” he says without preamble. “But I loved her for a long time, and there’s still something there between us, and now that the sex is good… I mean, why not try?”
“Look, it’s your life,” I tell him as I get up from the couch. “Just be careful, okay? It’s better to be on your own than to throw yourself into a relationship you don’t really want. A bad relationship can fuck you up in ways you don’t quite understand unless you’ve been there. From what you told me, you and Jasmine weren’t good for each other. I don’t want you to end up hurt and doubting yourself again. Just… be careful, okay?”
Joshua gets up as well and pulls me in for a hug. When we pull back, our lips find each other for one last kiss. It’s short and sweet, but it doesn’t do much for me, to be honest. And from the sad way he smiles when he lets go of me, he knows that as well as I do.
“If you ever need a friend, don’t hesitate to call me,” he tells me genuinely.
“Same here,” I agree. “And please… think about what you really want before giving Jasmine an answer, okay?”
He nods and walks me to the door, watching me as I walk to my car. I can’t help but feel like I let him down, somehow. It doesn’t happen often that a guy catches feelings for me, because they usually know what they’re getting themselves into with me. With Joshua, I was different than I usually am. More… myself, I guess. Sweeter, less focused on the sex and more on the connection. Maybe that’s why I confused him.
I regret that for his sake, but not for mine. Joshua actually helped me realize that I like it. The dates, the talks, the companionship, the comfort, putting in the effort like with the massage and cooking for me. It’s what you don’t get when you just fuck someone and leave shortly after.
I wonder how things will be with Dshawn. It feels different with him, somehow. There is passion there for sure, but I also feel at ease with him, like I can trust him, and I don’t usually manage to find those two things all wrapped up into one person. Still, I can’t help but wonder if maybe part of the thrill is the fact that he’s forbidden fruit, being Caroline’s ex and all. I know she said that we should go for it, and I’m sort of already doing that, but I still feel like what we’re doing is wrong.
I drive back home, dress up for the party and hurry outside when Aston picks me up on his motorcycle. I’m wearing tight black jeans and a silvery top because I knew he was going to come over on his bike, and I didn’t feel like driving around half-naked again in this cold weather. I pull my coat firmly around me before putting my arms around him when he takes off.
I think of Dshawn the whole drive, which means that combined with the motorcycle humming between my legs, I’m more than a little horny when we arrive at the apartment complex. Aston sends me a knowing grin before texting Dshawn to buzz us in. He has been making jokes about me and Dshawn all week, both through text and in person. He’s enjoying this whole thing immensely, mostly because he can finally tease me about a guy. Normally, I don’t get this flustered, so he’s just enjoying seeing me like this and giving me hell for it.
Dshawn’s place is already packed with people when we come in. At least it’s not a lame Formula 1 party this time, but people are actually chatting and drinking beer. A few are dancing, but not too exuberant yet. I guess it’s too early for that.
“Aston!” Dshawn walks up to us, grinning wickedly. “Shaughna! You made it.”
“This girl can’t stay away from you for too long,” Aston says, gesturing at me. “Got her all warmed up for you on my bike. You’re welcome.”
Dshawn laughs and claps his friend on the back as Aston walks off to flirt with a girl who’s standing in the corner on her own. “You came on the bike?” Dshawn asks, his smile wide.
“Yeah.” I roll my eyes. “Aston thinks he’s so funny.”
“Did you think of me?” Dshawn asks, moving in closer so he can kiss my neck. “Are you wet for me yet? I bet you are.”
Fucking hell, he’s moving a little quick, even for me. Although… he’s not wrong. Not that I’m going to tell him that.
“Behave,” I tell him, pushing him off of me. “I need a drink.”
“I bet you do,” he teases, following me into his own kitchen to hand me a beer and taking one for himself as well. We clink them together, and I notice he is looking me in the eye like a maniac, wide open and intensely.
“What are you doing?” I ask, taking sip.
He laughs. “Maintaining eye contact during the toast.”
“Eye contact?” I repeat. “To clink beer bottles together?”
“Yes,” he confirms, looking like he’s in on the joke while I’m not. “My aunt lives in The Netherlands and she told me that they have this superstition there that if you don’t remain eye contact during a toast, you’ll have seven years of bad sex. I don’t want that. Do you?”
I grin, not sure if he is just making stuff up or not, but I hold my beer bottle up to his again, making my eyes just as wide and crazy as his. “Cheers then. To seven years of good sex.”
He clinks his bottle to mine and winks. “Sounds like a deal.”
After another beer and some more flirty conversation, Dshawn turns up the music and pulls me to the middle of the room, jumping around like a mad man. I laugh my ass off at him and join in, throwing my hair around my face and throwing up my arms. After acting like little kids for the span of one single song, we both start dancing for real, but not close together. He has a lot of moves that I didn’t get to see in the club yet and he seems quite happy to show off.
“He’s hot,” a girl I know vaguely from college yells in my ear.
“Mine,” I reply before I can help myself. He’s not, and I know that, but I don’t want any other girls trying to get with him. Not tonight. Not while I’m still figuring out how far I want this whole flirty thing to go.
Dshawn is the life of the party and since he’s technically the host, I don’t get to dance with him all night. He moves through his apartment, talking and dancing with everyone, handing out beers. I hate to admit it, but my eyes follow him wherever he goes, even though I’m dancing with other people now. I just can’t seem to stop gazing at him.
The longer I stay, the drunker I get, and when Aston offers to drive me home, I decline. It seems like a great idea to stick around. Aston grins and puts his arm around me for a hug goodbye. “Be safe,” he tells me as he pulls away, wiggling his eyebrows with a wicked grin. “Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do!”
“That means I can do anything!” I yell after him as he walks out.
“Anything, huh?” Dshawn asks behind me, grabbing my shoulders to spin me around. “I like the sound of that.”
The music is not as loud now, and when I look around I see that almost everyone is gone already. The last few of his friends leave, yelling their goodbyes and then the door slams shut behind them, leaving the place completely trashed.
“I’m glad you stayed,” he tells me, still holding onto my shoulders. “I could really need some help cleaning up.”
I push him away teasingly. “Clean up your own damn mess, Dshawn Davis.”
“If you’re not here to help, then why did you stay?” He moves in again, using one hand to push my hair out of my face and tuck it behind my ear.
“You know why,” I say a little breathless.