How Cara Learned to Stop Worrying Ch. 06


"Ha. But middle schools are okay?"

"Hey, that was the teacher's lounge. Totally different. Eighteen and over only. Um, but seriously. I spent a long time, a long time having sex with almost anyone who was willing to do it. And I've asked myself a lot, since I met you, why I was doing that. I mean, yes, it was fun. Of course it was fun. It wasn't that I didn't enjoy doing it, but it was this constant lifestyle of shallow connections, surrounded by acquaintances, but feeling entirely on my own. As much as people saw me as this playboy party guy, never slowin' down or whatever--" he curled his lip as he said this, "--it gets old. But I didn't know how to break out of the pattern. I know I've told you I've been in love before. But it was only once. I think I was with so many people because I was trying to recapture that feeling. But it never happened again. It was usually really apparent that most people were interested in sex and that was it."

"Looking for love in all the wrong places?" I suggested gently.

"I guess. That's what I meant about being immature. I jumped first, physically, and then waited for a connection. So guess how often that happened? I thought it did twice before, but no, not really -- and they ended things with me before I figured it out. The only time it's actually worked out for me was with you."

"And what about that other woman, the one you loved?"

"Um, yeah. That was very different. I was a kid, really, but we were close for a long time. Craig was my next door neighbor, we grew up together." He stopped here to make sure I had heard him correctly. It was funny, but I didn't feel all that surprised -- and it explained his unease during our conversation about Lev. He was probably worried I was going to grill him about his gaydar.

"Craig," I repeated. "That's not like A Boy Named Sue in reverse, is it?"

"No. Craig is gay. He's a studio engineer and touring musician now." I saw that his hands were shaking and took one to hold. "Sorry. I haven't told anyone else about him before. People always just assume, you know. It's easier not to correct them."

"Yeah, I know. I assumed. Don't apologize. So, are you bisexual?" I rubbed his hand, trying to relax him as he always did for me.

"Non-practicing? I've sort of been too scared to ever um, try to get with a guy. Like if that was disappointing, too, I was probably just hopeless." He blew out a shuddering breath.

"Why didn't things work out with him?"

"I think it was just growing up and away from each other. He's brilliant, really. He got a scholarship, went to Stanford, double majored in Music and Literature. I went to school here. At first we tried to stay in touch but it was hard, he was crazy busy, he formed his band, they started touring. So it goes."

"Do you still love him?" He nodded, his eyes closed, the corners of his mouth working. I saw his lashes were damp.

"Don't worry about it, though. We haven't spoken in almost a decade. I think he's married to a guy he met at Stanford. I don't know, he never bothered to tell me. Just heard it through the grapevine. He's still living in the San Francisco area as far as I know," he said, his voice thick. I felt like crying now, too.

"I'm sorry. His family, do they still live next door?"

"Yeah, they do. But I think they suspected something, they're not very friendly to me or my parents. They don't have a good relationship with Craig. My parents have no idea, my sister has no idea. You're it," he said, opening his eyes again. I wasn't sure how I felt about this revelation. It didn't change my feelings for him or make me uncomfortable. If anything, I was relieved. The truth seemed both more complex and simpler than the story I had written about him in my head.

"Keiji, I'm not upset," I assured him. He nodded, rubbed his eyes, and sat up. "That was brave." He laughed weakly, shaking his head.

"I don't know about that. If I'm so brave I should probably be wearing a glitter thong in a pride parade or something."

"That's not for everyone."

"Yeah, I guess not."

"Thank you for telling me. I'm naive too, in a lot of ways. I've made a lot of mistakes. Dated the wrong guys, the same type of guy. They weren't bad people, they just had different goals than I did. Different things made them happy. I don't want to make the same mistake again. I care about you so much, but I kept feeling unsure because I didn't understand where you were coming from, where you want to go. I feel like you want to have this baby as much as I do, but after that? What are we doing?"

"I want to be with you. I want to raise our child. Maybe have another baby." He reached over to caress my belly.

"Oh my gosh, can we see how this one goes first?" I said, laughing. "I meant, are we compatible? Do we have the same desires for our lives?"

"What do you want? Are we talking five years, ten years, the rest of it?"

"I guess all of it. Where do you see yourself? Am I there? What are we doing?"

"I see myself taking this job and building it into a career. Obviously hoping the economy doesn't tank again. I'd still like to take independent commissions and work for myself. Maybe if I have an opportunity or meet the right people I could open my own design studio. I want to be more of a contributor so you don't have to rely on your job so much. I know you're not a big fan."

"Well, no, I'm not. But it doesn't make me miserable. I'm good at it. The pay is good."

"True. But I want you to have the option to do something else and not worry about having to support a starving artist or whatever. I see us in this house, or maybe getting a place together. I see us taking family vacations, eating dinner together. I see Evan graduating and going to a great school for acting."

"That sounds so nice. Wonderful, even. But do you feel like you're giving up anything for all of that? Or that you would grow bored, or stifled? What about when things don't go according to plan? Are you going to regret, you know, settling down?"

"I think. That as long as I have you and as long as I can still make art, I'm not settling for anything. I can't imagine life getting any better."

I was silent as I considered his words. He put his head on my shoulder and played with my fingers. I kept waiting to feel shocked by what he had told me. I heard the shrill voice inside of me demanding that I be outraged, demanding more detail -- how many women, exactly, had he slept with? Had he seen or talked to anyone else since he had been with me? Would he leave me if Craig came back into his life? Did he love him more than me? How could I possibly believe that someone with scores of women, hundreds of women in his past could be happy with me? But when I listened to that voice I felt like I was going mad. Most of those questions I didn't even care about, or were irrational. When I listened to Keiji, I felt quiet, at peace. I had grown used to this feeling. I was tired of that other voice, of the negativity, the distraction, the avoidance, the fear.

With a physical shake of my head I shut it off. He raised his head to look at me.

"Are you okay?" he asked. "I know that was kind of a lot. Er. Scratch that, I just vomited an entire sad diary of drama everywhere. I'm sorry."

"No, no, please. Don't apologize for any of it. I'm sorry, I'm sorry for not taking the time before to sit down and ask. Like you'd just be all, 'Hey, so about that time I fell in love with a guy.' And I hadn't volunteered anything about my past, apart from Evan and Reed, or what I wanted from my life."

"I don't know if people formally do that, like, oh, let's discuss our horribly dysfunctional childhoods and how this will affect the bullet points on our five year plan."

"Ugh, we do it at my firm during every performance evaluation. Well, not the horribly dysfunctional childhoods. But as for outside of work -- maybe adults do do things like that? I feel like I've been acting like a nervous kid most of my life. It wasn't until I met you that I felt like things could be different. In spite of the um, inauspicious beginning we had."

"Inauspicious in some ways, yes. But in others..." He went back to caressing my belly. "I can't wait to feel this baby kick. I couldn't believe it when I saw that flip. Like an acrobat."

"Oof, just wait. You'll feel it. I'll feel it even more."

We sat quietly together some moments more; relaxed, at ease with one another again. I enjoyed his touch and responded by running my fingers through his hair.

"Are you going to cut this?" I asked, playing with the ends.

"I don't know, do you like it?"

"I love your hair. So much that I'm jealous. Look at it, so straight and smooth and shiny. You don't even brush it and it's always perfect. Actually, I hate you," I said, pushing at his head.

"Hey, it's not my fault you've got to take out stock in defrizzing products," he retorted, his caresses turning into tickles. "Maybe I'll just never cut my hair again, out of spite."

"Ack, don't tickle me! I hate that," I said, laughing in a panicky sort of way and trying to move away.

"You know what I hate? This nightgown," he said, plucking at the fabric.

"It's very warm!"

"Yeah. Well. I can think of something that we both love that has the bonus side effect of keeping you warm."

"Does it involve taking off my nightgown?"

"Definitely," he said, reaching below the sheets. "Can I help you?"

"I guess," I said, feigning reluctance. I wasn't very good at the charade, though, because an idea came to mind. "Keiji?"

"Mm?" He was focused on pulling the gown up; it was to my hips already.

"Lay down on your back, if you would be so kind." He looked surprised, but did as I asked. "Now scoot down so you're not so close to the headboard." He complied again. "A little more. A little more."

"Cara, my feet are going to hang off the bed if I go any farther," he complained.

"You're good now. Stop bitching." I grasped the hem of my gown and pulled it over my head in one movement. (Always more impressive than fussing with sleeves.)

"Ahh, a huge improvement," he said, craning his neck to look at me. I tossed the gown on the floor and walked on my knees to the middle of the bed, facing his feet. I straddled him and lowered my body, scooting back so that my crotch was over his face.

"Got the idea?" I asked, speaking to the boxer-clad erection beneath my face. I smiled and appreciated being nearly the same height as him. Instead of answering he put his hands on my hips and pulled me down lower to meet his mouth. My swollen belly rested on his upper chest and my nipples rubbed pleasantly across his abs. As he began to lick the sensitive skin on my inner thighs, I pulled his boxers down, freeing his cock from its confines. It sprang up, insistent, but I ignored it for the moment and bent my upper body a little lower. I dipped my tongue into the cup of his navel and smiled when he sucked in his stomach.

"Now who's tickling?" he said.

I licked the fine trail of hair leading to his most erogenous zones, enjoying the scent of his skin as it deepened into a muskier smell the lower I went. He wiggled his hips, maybe protesting more tickling, maybe in delight, and went back to work on me. He ran his hands up and down my thighs and around to my ass, grabbing a cheek in each hand. He held me firm as he ran the tip of tongue along my slit, gently parting my lips. I moaned softly and gripped the base of his cock, not sure if I would be able to keep an even pace with him.

I took him in my mouth, sliding down the length of him as far as I could without gagging. He raised his hips upward, seeking more sensation. I pulled back, lightly sucking as I went and dragging my tongue along the underside of him. He moaned against my pussy, the sound causing a light vibration to stimulate my clit. I figured the more of that I could cause, the better. I stroked his cock with my hand a few times, flicking my tongue across his glans to lick up the drops of pre-cum that seeped out. I loved the salty, light taste of him and "mm"ed my appreciation.

Meanwhile, he began to eat me in earnest -- with a bit less finesse than usual, it's true, but I gave him a pass for being distracted. He traced firm circles on my clit with his tongue, letting go of my ass to spread my thighs a bit wider. He penetrated me with two fingers and hooked them against the front wall of my pussy in a "come here" motion. I wasn't huge on G-spot stimulation but I relished the full feeling inside of me. As delicious as he tasted, I began to yearn to feel his cock in my pussy.

"Can we switch gears a minute?" I asked, pulling away from him. He made a frustrated noise. "I want to ride you."

"Oh, in that case."

I turned and straddled him again, this time facing him. I eased my pussy onto his cock, feeling tight but so wet from my lube and his mouth that there was a squishing sensation when I bottomed out. I ground myself into him, using his body to rub my clit as much as possible. I wanted to come on him. I could feel the head of his cock pressing into my cervix; like my nipples, it was so sensitive as to be somewhat painful, but as always the combination of pain-pleasure sensations excited me. I rubbed harder for a second, relishing the feeling, before lifting myself entirely off of him. I sat back down again, loving the feeling of his cock filling me up. I began to fuck myself with a steady pace; he laid still, letting me use him. He reached up to stroke my breasts, tweaking my nipples gently before running his hands down my body and settling them on my thighs. Every few strokes I would stop to push down, the pressure building in my clit until I knew I was on the edge. I gripped his cock with my pussy muscles as tight as I could and dragged the sensation out, slowly sliding up and down. He twitched his hips upward once, biting his lower lip, near the edge of his control.

Finally I couldn't tease myself anymore. I buried him as deep as possible inside of me and rocked back and forth, gripping the sheets on either side of us for leverage. I cried out as my orgasm overtook me, but it was soon so strong that I could only make low grunting noises in time with each contraction of my pussy. I slipped off of him before I was completely through, my clit almost stinging. I had abused it somewhat with all of the friction from the rubbing. I sat next to him, still swaying a bit through the extraordinary pleasure. When I was finally able to focus on something besides my pussy, I realized he hadn't come yet.

"Are you serious?" I gasped. He laughed a little.

"It was tough. But I was really enjoying the oral before. I was kinda hoping--"

"Spoiled brat," I said, not meaning it. He smiled as I bent over his cock. I slurped my tongue around the head, tasting the deep, slightly saline flavor of myself. I felt his cock pulse and rubbed my tongue against him harder. He came in less than ten seconds, three or four thick shots of cum filling my mouth. I swallowed it all and kept licking him, gentle now, not stopping until I was sure he was completely clean. His breathing didn't slow until I let him pop out of my mouth and laid down next to him on the bed.

"Jesus, what a day," he said.

"I'm glad you came over tonight."

"Is it all right if I move in tomorrow? After that I'm pretty sure I want to be here every night."

"Well, it is Saturday," I laughed, snugging in against him. "You could get started."

"Consider it done."

He fell asleep in less than a minute. As usual it took me longer to drift off, but I had no anxious thoughts to keep me awake. I listened to the sounds of the night outside and the sound of him breathing next to me, and that was all.


Five days later Keiji, Evan, and I crammed my car full of presents, luggage, and ourselves to head up the road one hour to my parents' home. Keiji and I decided to tell our news in person as we had with his parents; my parents had the benefit of knowing more about our relationship than his had before meeting me. My mom even spoke to him on the phone a couple of times and later remarked to me about his deep voice. We were arriving the day before Christmas Eve -- every December 24th my family stuffs themselves with a big pasta dinner. I hoped to give my parents and Keiji some extra time to get to know one another without having to deal with a rowdy festive nog crowd. I was somewhat nervous as my hometown was in a fairly rural, white area and I was the first person in my family to have a relationship with someone outside of my race. I didn't expect any hostility but I suspected my family might feel awkward, as I had when visiting the Nakamuras. I told my little brother about Keiji over the phone a couple weeks prior to our visit. He paused and asked, in all seriousness, if he should bow to him when they met. I asked him if he usually went around bowing to fellow US citizens. He said he took my point and would stick to a handshake. When I told Keiji he laughed a little and shook his head. "I'm always Asian first, Cara. Almost always. Nationality and humanity come later, if I'm lucky." It gave me pause as I considered for the first time the feeling of being other, of being different in a sea of sameness. I'd thought about it in an abstract way before, but now that I knew a person who lived that way every day it was much more real to me. And of course, our baby would have a similar experience.

"Okay, so, your father, Ted, is a former school administrator. Do you have any idea how much that scares the shit out of me?" Keiji said, going through a recitation of the facts as I had before meeting the Nakamuras.

"Yeah, knocking up the principal's daughter. You must have a death wish," Evan piped up from the back seat. I burst out laughing while Keiji looked pained.

"Do you have a problem with authority figures, Nakamura?" I asked.

"No, I just. Uhh. Is he really stern?"

"He'll show you his gun cabinet," Evan chirped again. He was loving this.

"At his schools he was, yes. I used to ask him why he was so mean. But with Casey and me he's like a big teddy bear. Don't worry. What else do you know about him?" I said, thinking of his reassurances to me about his family. At least he wouldn't have to deal with nausea during dinner.

"Ted likes golf and football. Two things I know absolutely nothing about," he said.

"You'll learn, because he's gonna talk your ear off about them. What about Clare?"

"Italian-American, east coast transplant. She works in the school system too, first as front office staff at an elementary school and now at the county Board of Education. She likes baking and cats."

"Good. And my brother?"

"Casey is four years younger than you. He got married last year to Anne, his high school sweetheart. Works in construction management and likes console video games and surfing. Goes to the beach any chance he gets."

"Excellent! There's also going to be my Aunt Rosie, Mom's sister, and her husband Uncle Jim. Also my two cousins, Laine and Melody. But they're kinda getting extended so don't worry too much about the details. Rosie is loud, big, jolly. Laine's married to Kim, Melody is still single. She's a pretty redhead. Don't stare," I joked. Keiji shook his head.

"And as usual, no one my age. Prepare for maximum boredom," Evan muttered.

"C'mon, you know Casey always brings over the Nintendo for some vintage gaming marathons. Maybe this year you can help Grandma out with Christmas dinner?" I suggested.

"I'll do the pizzelle."

"You always do the pizzelle. I suspect so that you can eat 50% of them before anyone else gets a chance."

"Gotta get in on a good thing early," my son said, smacking his lips in anticipation.

"What's a pizzelle?" Keiji asked. Evan gasped in mock horror.

"A pizzella, singular, is a thin cookie you make in a kind of waffle iron. It has intricate patterns. You can dust it with powdered sugar or fold it into a shape while it's still hot and stuff it with chocolate or other fillings. I like them best with just sugar," I explained, pleased to have something to share with him.

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