#27 Scared of commitment
“Hey, raincoat girl,” Dshawn’s drop-dead gorgeous cousin says when she opens the door, grinning at me. She’s in jeans and a T-shirt now instead of the robe. “Are you back to run downstairs all over again?”
I shake my head. “Sorry for before. Is Dshawn here?”
“No, he said he was going to your place, actually.” She frowns. “Didn’t he show up?”
“He did, but he, uh, left again.”
Chassidy nods, understanding flashing in her brown eyes. “You got into a fight, didn’t you? It was quite obvious why you were here earlier and that you left because I looked like just I rolled out of his bed after a hot night. Trust me, you got it all wrong. I’m actually his-”
“-cousin,” I finish for her. “Yeah, he told me.”
“Then why did you guys fight?”
“Because I’m a dim-witted slut who can’t keep her legs together.”
Chassidy blinks rapidly, leaning against the doorpost with a frown. “Erm… okay then. Would you like to come in and wait for him?”
“Could I?” I know that until he and I resolve this messed-up situation, I am not going to be able to eat, sleep or get anything done at all.
“Sure,” she says, stepping aside to let me in. “I’m sure he’s just cooling off somewhere. He’ll be back. Are you his girlfriend or something?”
I accept the place on the couch she offers me and sigh, sinking down into the cushions. “No, I’m not. I am…” I don’t even know what I am to him. A girl he slept with twice? Someone he wanted to take out on a date? His ex-girlfriend’s best friend? An easy lay?
“Ah, it’s one of those things,” Chassidy says, nodding her head with a wise look on her face. “It’s complicated, I get it. I can tell you this much, Dshawn is not someone who does complicated relationship. In fact, he hasn’t been in a relationship in quite some time. So if you like him, which you clearly do, I’d get my act together and make sure he knows you’re all in, because he’s not someone you can dick around.”
Oh wow. I feel even worse now. “Okay. Thanks.”
Just when Chassidy opens her mouth to say something else, the front door opens and footsteps sound in the hallway. She gives me a pointed look and moves to greet Dshawn and tell him that I’m here. She locks herself in his bedroom so we can have some time to talk.
“Shaughna,” Dshawn says with a sigh when he walks in and closes the door to the hallway behind him. “I’m not sure if I’m ready for this conversation.”
“I’m sorry,” I say, standing up to face him. “I just… I have absolutely no excuse for what I did, but I would like to try and explain why I did what I did, if you’re open to hearing it.”
“Okay,” he agrees, sitting down on a chair and motioning for me to sit back on the couch. “Let’s hear it.”
I take a deep breath, trying to find the right words. Then I realize that no matter how much I think about my words, it’s not going to chance anything. The words don’t matter, but the feeling behind them does. So I just inhale deeply one last time, trying to center myself, and meet his gaze head-on. “I’ve spend the past two weeks missing you like hell and wanting nothing more than to hang out with you, but work just got crazy, and I couldn’t get away. I swear it’s not for lack of trying. Just look at all the times I tried to call you, all the texts I sent… I wasn’t ignoring you. Life just got in the way.”
He nods, but doesn’t say anything.
“Today is my first day off and I wanted to surprise you,” I go on. “So I tried to look as sexy as possible and showed up at your door. Obviously, I misinterpreted the whole thing and ran off because I thought that you were sleeping with someone new. And… and that…” I swallow, forcing myself to voice my feelings. I’m not used to talking about things like this. I usually just take a deep breath, move on and find someone else to sleep with. Not this time. I need to tell him. “It hurt,” I spit out, feeling my cheeks heat up. “I know that we’re not dating and that even if you were sleeping with someone, I have no reason to get mad about it. Fact is that it hurt. A lot. And that scared the shit out of me, because I don’t do… this.” I gestured between him and me.
“So Aston was right?” Dshawn asks, looking down at his hands. “You don’t do monogamy?”
“I don’t do relationships,” I say softly, cursing Aston for warning Dshawn about me. I thought he was my friend. I’m surely going to yell at him for this later. “What I told you about Melchior… that relationship fucked me up, and I am not willing to be weak like that again unless I know for sure that it’s going to work out. And don’t get me wrong, I love sex and it’s exhilarating to experience the thrill of getting to know someone new, but I would give that up in a heartbeat for someone… someone who I could fall for.”
Fuck this is hard to talk about. My own words scare the living hell out of me.
“Someone like me?” Dshawn asks, looking up to meet my eyes.
“Yes,” I say, welling up. Damn, I don’t want to cry again. “You.”
“Then why did you call some asshole over for a booty call instead of picking up the goddamn phone?” he asks, still a little angry. “If I hadn’t showed up, you would’ve slept with him, right?”
“Yes, I would have.” It makes no sense to lie about it, since he’s not stupid enough to fall for any cover story I could come up with anyway. “That’s what I do. I sleep with someone, and if they’re good enough to want to do it again, I see them a few times. Then either he gets bored of me or I lose interest, and we both find someone else. It’s easy and it means I almost never get hurt. And when life gets hard or someone ends up hurting me anyway, I find someone to take my mind off of that.”
“I don’t want an arrangement like that with you,” Dshawn says, crossing his arms over his chest. “I thought I was quite clear that I want to take you out on a date, Shaughna. What’s so hard to understand about that? I want to get to know you better and see if this could go somewhere, but that’s not going to happen if you call some random guy every time something happens to make you doubt me.”
“Clear?” I repeat, a tear making it’s way down my cheek. “What about this is clear? We kissed, hung out a few times to work on your business plan, kissed some more, partied together and had sex twice. How is that clear? And you said you wanted to ask me out, but you never did. And even asking me out on one single date isn’t clear. What the hell was supposed to be quite clear to me?”
He shakes his head and grunt. “Fucking hell, Shaughna, you’re difficult. I don’t fuck around. I meet a girl, date her, maybe sleep with her a few times if she’s up for it, and then we either get in a committed relationship or we stop dating when one of us decides that it’s just not right. I’ve had a few one-night stands in college, I’ll admit that, and I’m not saying I never have a booty call, but that’s just to pass the time until I find the girl I want to be with.”
“How…how many…?” I know that I’ve got no right to ask him this, so I shut up, but he shoots me a knowing look.
“How many people have I slept with? Really? That’s what you want to know right now?” He grunts and pulls a hand over his hair. “If you must know, I think it’s around 30. I haven’t really been counting.”
Damn. Only 30. I know that someone like Caroline would think that’s a lot, but to me, that’s not a high number at all. I thought that Dshawn was a player like Aston, but I know for a fact that his number is somewhere close to 200 and he’s not planning to stop there.
“Your turn,” Dshawn says, his voice a little softer when he sees the panic in my eyes. “I promise I won’t judge.”
“Erm… I haven’t been counting either, but I think it’s…” Here we go. “More than 100.”
“Wow,” Dshawn breathes. “Okay. Sorry. I swear, I’m not judging, but that’s…”
“A lot,” I agree. “I know. From what you said before at my place, people have already told you about my reputation. And I’ve been a sleeping around since I was 18, so… yeah. The only reason it’s not 200 or even 300 is that I like to go back to someone who I already slept with. I sometimes have the same fuckbuddy for weeks or even months, but I’ve never… I haven’t been in a real relationship, a committed one since…”
“Since Melchior,” Dshawn finishes for me when I choke, more tears streaming down my face. “I guess the real question is… are you ready to commit to someone?”
“No,” I say immediately, hating the pain in his expression. “I’m sorry, but I’m not ready to be someone’s girlfriend. I wouldn’t even know… No, not yet. But…” I hesitate. Am I really ready for this? I’m scared to my core, but the thought of losing Dshawn is even worse. “I would like to date you, if you’re still up for that. And I can promise you that I won’t kiss other guys or have sex with anyone but you. We’d be dating exclusively.”
He sighs, seeming at loss for what to do. “I don’t… I mean, it’s not like I was going to ask you to be my girlfriend anytime soon. Especially not after today. I get it now, I do, and I understand that this is all new for you, but today really hurt. But… I do like you, Shaughna. And I hate that you’re crying right now. Can I hold you?”
“Yes,” I manage to get out, really crying now, sniffling and everything. It’s a full-on ugly cry.
He kneels down so he’s on the floor in front of me, holding out his arms. I throw myself into him, holding on for dear life. He strokes my back as he buries his face in my hair, taking in my scent like he always does.
“I’m sorry,” he breathes. “I’m sorry that I called you a slut. That was wrong. I never should have called you that. I was hurting and I lashed out. I promise I will never call you that ever again.”
“It’s okay,” I whimper. “I know that I am a sl-”
He pulls back so he can look me in the eye. “No,” he says. “You’re not. You don’t cheat or manipulate or anything. You just haven’t been in a relationship in a long time and it’s your right to sleep with whoever the fuck you want to. I just… I was just hoping that I’d be the only person you’d want to sleep with.”
“You are,” I say softly, looking away from his intense gaze. “And that scares me. I haven’t slept with anyone else besides you since our first time. In fact, the last time I slept with someone else was a week after that night Caroline saw us kiss in the club. I was just using him to get my mind off of you, and for stress relief. The first and only time I spend the night at his place, I woke up thinking of you instead of him, and we broke things off shortly after, even though he wanted more.”
“Of course he wanted more,” Dshawn replies with a groan. “I don’t get how those 100 guys you slept with are not all lining up to take you out on a real date and make an honest woman out of you.”
I laugh softly, feeling a bit better now that he can joke about this again. “Trust me, this only happened a few times before. Guys usually know what they get into with me. In my experience, most guys are only looking for a quick fuck, not for a real relationship.”
“Well, this guy right here is willing to see if this could go past that and be something real.” He kisses me softly. It’s just a peck, but it makes me want to melt into him anyway. “So yes, I would be interested in dating you exclusively. We’ll just see where that takes us. As long as we’re honest with each other, I don’t see why we shouldn’t give this a chance.”
“Really?” My smile is so wide that it’s hurting my cheeks, but I don’t care. “After everything that happened today, you still want to keep seeing me?”
“We hardly even started seeing each other,” he replies, winking. “Can’t really make up my mind without trying, right?”
“Okay,” I agree. “Let’s try.”
Suddenly, the door to the hallway bursts open and we both look up to see Chassidy standing there with a huge grin on her face. She’s obviously been listening in on us.
“That was really freaking cute,” she tells us happily. “And it’s just so refreshing to have a girl sleeping around and the guy begging to get a real shot at love. It’s usually the other way around. I’m so rooting for the two of you!”
“Shut up!” Dshawn grunts, grabbing a pillow from the couch to throw at her. “Give us some privacy!”
Chassidy laughs and walks over, sitting down on the couch to turn on the TV. “Dude, your bedroom is empty. If you want privacy, get your ass and her cute little behind in there. I’ll make sure to turn the volume up real loud so I won’t be able to hear you.”
Dshawn just rolls his eyes and lifts himself onto the couch, pulling me against him. Instead of going into the bedroom, we stay with Chassidy, watching TV for a few hours. And it’s just what I need. For once, I don’t want nor need sex to make me feel better. Snuggling against Dshawn while he chats to his cousin about some stupid show is just the thing to make me feel better.