Nothing Between UsbyM-Y-Erotica©
"You looked it. You're eating this up."
"I just love how nervous this makes you. I'm not going to get offended, Jake. I've always known you were a breast man. Why are you afraid to talk about the fact that you look at girls sexually?"
"I don't just look at them sexually!"
"See. You can't admit it."
"Did you ever do anything about it?"
"Yes, I did actually, Ms. I-Cant-Wait-To-Be-Done-By-Soccer-Hottie."
"Hey, I've never done anything. I'm all talk. You're the one who... did you?"
"I asked her out."
"Oh, ummm, only once? Did she say yes, and did you get anywhere?"
"More than once, yes, and yes."
"Yummy! I want details."
"Maybe those are private."
"Not from me."
"Maybe they are, even to you."
"Oh, I'm sorry, Jake. I... So-- you and she? Have you?"
"Inside her? No, well, not with that."
"What did you do with her?" Thuy didn't seem to be teasing me now.
"So, we went out eight times to be exact. Dates 3 and 4 included kissing and serious tongue action. Serious petting on Date 5. Date 6, the, uhhh, shirts come off."
"Date 7 was hands. Wandering."
Thuy whispered leaning in towards me. "How much?"
"Two fingers inside her. Why are you making me say this? And her hands too, on me."
After a moment, Thuy said, "Date 8?"
I smiled again for the first time in a bit. "Date 8 was different. She told me how wonderful I am, kissed my cheek repeatedly, said she wished things could be different... and told me we had to stop because she had a boyfriend."
"Oh, my poor Jake."
"It wasn't that horrible."
"What did you say?"
"One word. 'Boyfriend?'"
Thuy burst out laughing.
"I didn't know! Honest!"
"I believe you," Thuy giggled. "My poor, poor Jake."
"Finally get a girl you like and you're a homewrecker."
"We weren't in love, but I was surprised. She's the smartest person in class."
"I doubt that."
Thuy just rolled her eyes. "That's as far as you've ever gone, right?"
"Yeah. You already know the rest."
"How about you?"
"Yeah, you. You made me confess everything, so it's your turn."
"I tell you most everything already," Thuy responded.
"Yeah, exactly, most everything. What's the rest?"
"You're as bad as me."
I was copying her, it was true. So I just waited, as she had done to me.
"Ok. Jake, you really do know most everything, but Veejay and I played together some. I'm still a virgin, so you don't have to worry-- um, ask-- about that."
"But what have you done?"
"Well, he really was a very good kisser. Very good. And he liked to umm suckle or lick my breasts."
As soon as she said this, I felt my heart pumping faster.
"Did you? Do you like it?"
"It was nice."
I didn't really want to know this. "Anything else?"
"Yes, Jake." She looked at me for a second. "He wanted me... a couple times, I, I never talk about this stuff, so I don't know how to say. I took him in my mouth."
I tried not to show anything.
"How was it?"
"Mixed. Very mixed feelings. He was a good guy, Jake. A really good guy. You have to believe me."
"But... I... it didn't. I felt like there should be something more happening than was."
"What do you mean?"
"I mean, if you, if you are being that intimate with someone, shouldn't I be feeling more than 'he's nice'?"
"Probably. I kind of felt the same with Kalia, that was her name. Well, I bet it was different, but she was hot and I liked her, but I knew after each date that I really just wanted to find out what this stuff was like. That was why I was going out, so that I could experience this stuff myself."
Thuy nodded. "It was actually my idea, not his. I wanted to see, too."
"Anything more to report?"
Thuy smiled and shook her heard.
"That was a weird conversation."
Thuy nodded. "You have no idea what colors you were turning as I talked."
"I can't help it. I don't know why."
"Don't worry, Jake. I was feeling the same thing. I just don't show it in my skin like you do. I wanted to hurl this mug at someone on Date 7."
"Why did you ask?"
"I guess, I wanted to know, kinda, but I also like that I have no secrets from you. It's important."
"Kalia was a nice woman, despite the fact that she was dating two people at once. And I am sure Veejay was too."
"He wasn't a woman. I just told you how I know for certain."
I smiled. "So you don't have to give me the normal lecture about lowering my standards."
"Well, most of your girlfriends of old deserved it."
"Here we go...."
"A whole year with Crystal. I still can't believe it. She was sooo... Her freaking name was Crystal! You deserved so much more than her. That you wasted your time with... agh!"
"You've never given this up."
"Well, you keep repeating the process. She was never good enough for you!"
"You shouldn't judge her like that!"
"I'm not judging! I just know you. You were never really happy; you just liked having a girlfriend. You always settle! That's your biggest flaw. You deserved so much more!"
"Like who? Who else was I supposed to be dating that was better?"
"See? You can't honestly say she was the girl for you. You couldn't then and you can't now. She was just a nice girl."
"She was my Vee-jay, I guess."
Thuy glared at me, then said, "Yes." Then, "At least I broke up with him. She had to dump you because you are so damn loyal. I think you were happy to escape."
"I haven't seen Crystal in four years. We are talking about us as juniors. Who cares anymore?"
"I just don't think things have changed. I think you will settle again if you don't watch yourself."
"What's wrong with spending time with someone because she's nice?"
"Nothing! But you are the kind of guy who will marry that nice person and then the person you've always wanted will be gone. Out of reach forever. And it'll be your fault."
"Who is this person?! You seem to have someone in mind."
"I don't know, Jake. But you have to find her somehow, some day. And you won't ever, if you give up on her too easily."
"Show this person to me or get off my back! I don't tell you whether or not your boyfriends are good enough for you!"
"Why not?! Don't you care?! Maybe I will spend my life with one of them, screwing everything up, and you will just let it happen! Why don't you say something?!"
"Because I can't see you with anyone, OK? Because I hate--" I paused, controlling myself. What I had just said didn't make a lick of sense. "I want you to be happy. I have faith that you will figure it out. You always do. I'm not the right person to help on this. You.... Thuy, I don't know what we are fighting about."
Thuy froze and said simply, "I don't know either. I don't know why we are fighting."
"Let's stop then."
"Yeah. I don't know why I got angry. I like you too much. I just think it would kill me for you to not get everything you ever wanted."
"I don't always know what I want, to tell the truth. I wish I did. I... Sometimes, I think I know what I want, but then the thought flies away. There's an image trying to form of someone or something. Something obvious. It's just beyond my grasp."
Thuy actually gasped. "That's why I broke up with Veejay. The more I was with him, the more I kept feeling that I should be waiting for something else. That it was coming soon, and I just had to show more patience."
"What are we waiting for?"
She only shook her head. "I don't know, but... but..." She looked at me and I felt my heart pounding. The thought that I had tried to tell her about was coming into my head again, but she said, "Shouldn't we go home?"
We each threw half the money on the table as we had agreed to years before and headed out. She tossed me her keys, saying, "I'm tired." I closed the door behind her and soon the stars were flying past the window as we got out of the city, heading down 530.
I was beginning to wonder if Thuy had fallen asleep when she asked, "Jake, why didn't we ever date? Not once. We never even tried to see if it would work."
A million thoughts were swirling in my head from this evening, and all I could say was, "I don't know."
"Yes, you do. I mean-- that's not what I mean. It's just that all our lives people have wondered this. People have wanted to fix us up a hundred times. My friends ask about you. People at school who've never met you ask me about you. My mother asks me. Hell, your mom has asked me." I didn't say anything and she continued, "I know you think I look OK. If not, you fake it well. I haven't been checked out like you did in the driveway tonight in a long time. Your eyes made my Bs feel like DDs."
"I looked away!"
"I know. I don't know what I wanted to kiss you more for, looking or looking away."
After a pause, still curled in the seat next to me but with her eyes open, Thuy said, "So?"
"I think that... I didn't want to risk it." There was silence. "Having you as a friend is too important to risk."
She took my hand and held it, then closed her eyes again, but spoke again after a pause. "I took you for granted, I think. It never occurred to me that you wouldn't be there, that...."
"I will always be there, Thuy."
She squeezed the hand she was holding. "I'm going to be asleep soon."
"I'll carry you to your bed."
"Your bed. I still am afraid of being alone in the house."
"Are you sure?"
I saw a slight smile form on her face. "Jake, you aren't going to take advantage of me. The idea's silly."
We didn't speak the rest of the drive home and she was soon asleep. After we got home, I did as she had bid and carried her to my bedroom. After turning on a small light for her, I headed for the door, but she mumbled something like, "trust you" and patted the bed next to her.
But I knew it wasn't a real option. Not now. Not the way I was feeling. I stood at the doorway watching her slight movements under the sheets, her chest rise and fall gently. I would never be able to say how she looked that night, but I have never forgotten a detail.
I curled up on the couch in the living room, the couch that she had laid upon for so long this afternoon, feeling her scent, touch, and voice. After some time, I fell asleep.
I awoke the next morning to some rattling in the kitchen. I opened my eyes to find a disheveled Thuy still in her black dress with hair shooting all over the place getting a glass of water. She stumbled half-asleep to the kitchen table where she plopped down stony-eyed.
Wrapping my sheet around me, since I was in boxers only, I shuffled over to get some coffee going. "Oh, good," was all she said, and I joined her in a chair in my own sleep haze. We sat there listening to the coffee pot. "You look hysterical," she said in a completely flat voice. "I think squirrels played in your hair all night and one side of your face is covered in pillow lines. You're a squirrel wrestling zebra."
"I think some of your hair is in Missouri."
"I'll be untangling it for a week. My dress has more wrinkles than a pug dog's face." I poured two cups of coffee for us and tossed her some creamer. "I think my throat is dry from yesterday. We talked for eight hours straight by my reckoning."
"Coffee cures scratchy throats, I'm sure."
She giggled and continued nursing her cup.
"Thuy, do you remember last night much or too asleep?"
"I remember that we got angry at each other for the first time since... the last time we talked about Crystal."
I laughed. "Yeah. How about after that?"
"I can't tell you what I've forgotten."
"What's the last thing you remember?"
"Jake, just ask me."
"'K," I wasn't sure I really wanted to bring it up, but it was the only thing on my mind, so it was talk about this or don't talk. "You asked why we never dated."
"I remember that. You told me it was because you thought I was a hideous bitch and you'd rather kiss a snake. Then I slapped you so hard you turned off the road into an oncoming car. We are now in heaven."
"So you remember."
She hesitated. "I remember we came up with reasons for the past, but we never got around to the present."
"You mean, why don't we try dating now?"
"Yeah," Thuy's voice was so quiet I could barely hear her. "We didn't talk about that."
"No, we didn't." It was too early, too early for this.
She nodded and turned back to her coffee. I knew I should say something, but now I truly was scared. I'd spent years telling everyone I knew that Thuy and I were just friends. I had believed it. Had we been wrong all this time?
I loved her messed up hair and messed up dress.
"Do you work today?" she interrupted.
"In an hour. 12 hour shift, so I won't get back 'til past nine."
"Hurry back, Jake," she said almost plaintively. She didn't need to worry about that. "I'm going to go shower," she finished.
"You are welcome to shower here."
"Not unless you have an assortment of clean panties in my size lying about."
"My last girlfriend left a lot of stuff here. I'll go take a look."
She stared at me blankly for a second. "Last girlfriend?"
"Well, she wasn't really a girlfriend as much as a stripper I hired at NuFeline. She mostly only wore thongs though. Leather ones. Crotchless."
Thuy shook her head. "God, you actually had me for a second. I am asleep. See you tonight. And what is the point of a crotchless thong? Isn't that a belt?"
It was the longest shift of my life.
I rang Thuy's doorbell in my jeans, boots, and Jimmy's Coast-to-Coast moving shirt. A transformed Thuy in a pair of blue shorts and white t-shirt opened the door. She wore a radiant smile as well, making all the wait worth it. "Good timing. Pizza's on the way. Pepperoni and sausage still the thing?"
"Yeah, I'm just a guy. I don't change," I said, passing into her house.
"Good, 'cause half of it is that. You know, they need to invent the boyfriend/girlfriend pizza with two slices for me and the rest for you. I had to cancel the anchovies on my side 'cause I knew you'd eat half of mine anyway."
"It's not my fault that I've got ten inches on you."
She stopped and gave me that little smile. "Ten inches, huh? You don't have to make up stuff like that. I'm sure it's plenty big."
"No, I meant--" I looked at her impudent smile. Two could play this game. I leaned over and knocked on the door. "Pizza delivery!"
"Ooh, come in, pizza boy. I've been waiting for something hot for a long time now."
"Pizza man, ma'am. Pizza man."
"I see. You certainly look like a man to me. May I squeeze your bulg... ing bicep?"
"Certainly, ma'am. You can put your hand on my bulge any time you like."
Thuy almost snorted and then reached up to squeeze my arm. I did my biggest muscle man pose for her. "Very nice, very nice."
"So, ma'am, I heard you ordered the large sausage."
"Oh yes, I did. Actually I asked for the extra large. I always like them as big as I can get them."
"We've heard that about you. I had to pay a guy a hundred bucks to make this run. Where would you like me to put the sausage, ma'am?"
"Well, pizza man, I always put them in my mouth. What else would I do?"
I stared at Thuy who batted her eyes at me. "OK, you win. I can't think anymore."
"Are my ten inches about to become twelve?"
"Fourteen, ma'am. We aren't Tri-Cities Pizza; we're Tripod Pizza."
Thuy giggled and shoved me towards the hall. "Go shower, stud. You stink horribly."
I headed out the door. "Don't do the pizza guy while I'm gone."
"How can I stop myself if he looks like you?" she yelled back as I crossed the lawn. I kept walking. Wait, had she said what I think she had? Suddenly, I heard her voice again. "That came out wrong!" I turned to reply but saw the pizza delivery car turning into her place.
I showered quickly and pulled on some gray boxers, black jeans, and a light blue button-down shirt. Thuy opened the door with pizza dangling from her mouth. I found the box open on the coffee table in her living room where the lights were off and an old sci-fi flick played on the TV.
"What are you watching?" I asked grabbing a slice.
"It seems to be a Black Lagoon rip-off. It's like Creature from the Black Lagoon, but worse."
"Black Lagoon is horrible."
"Yes, and this is even worse. It's amazing."
"Is that the Professor from Gilligan's Island?"
"I think it's his brother. He's the Professor without all the science."
The pizza was gone about the time the second blonde was taken out by a guy in a blue frog suit who flew a sardine can shaped spaceship. About the time Reporter Boyfriend shoved Evil Spaceman Kermie off a cliff, Thuy curled up on the sofa with me, pulling a blanket around us. I don't remember anything of the movie after that.
Thuy leaned into me, placing her head on my chest. I gently wrapped my arms around her and smelled the scent from her hair. I couldn't remember being this close to her since she broke her foot on that hike and I held her by the road until a ranger truck came. This was different.
"This isn't the way we normally watch movies," I said quietly.
"I know," she whispered back.
We sat silently some time, trying to get used to this, trying to make the shift from friend to more. I wanted to speak, but I couldn't think of anything to say anymore. Or, more accurately, I could only think of one thing. My hand had fallen on her bare knee and the only thing I wanted in the world right then was to caress that skin. I dared not, though, for it could mean the end of this hug. The clock ticked, as my mind went back and forth, not sure for the first time in a long time what Thuy wanted. Finally, after she had not moved for some time, I whispered by her ear, "Are you falling asleep?"
"I highly doubt it," she said with a wavering voice.
"Are you OK?"
"Yes, Jake, I'm fine."
"I know. I'm nervous."
"Oh, I'm sorry." I moved my hand away from her knee and started straightening up, knocking the blanket onto the floor. But Thuy grabbed my hand and put it right back on her bare knee.
"I'm nervous, but that don't mean I don't like it."
I stared at my dark, working hand on her lightly tanned skin, again frozen on my friend's body. I could feel the warmth from her shivering skin on my fingertips. Soon, I felt her muscles move gently as she straightened her leg a bit.
"Sorry, I needed to move it."
"My skin was tingling."
"We're acting really silly about this."
"I can't help it."
"No, I mean, you want my hand on your knee and I want...."
She turned her head around some to look up at me. "What?"
After a moment, I confessed, "To touch you."
She turned back around and I could feel her gaze on my hand. "Good."
There was nothing I could think of I wanted more than to caress her, but I could feel her eyes upon me, waiting. Eventually, I was able to make my fingers move slowly up and down in place. I saw Thuy's leg muscles tense up and her breath catch, then they both relaxed slowly. After a minute, she nestled further into my chest. I kissed the top of her hair and then kissed it again. We weren't supposed to be doing this. We were friends.
"That's nice," Thuy said quickly.
I couldn't help but smile. "This is so silly."
"How freaking slow I am. How you have to encourage me. I have been with girls before."
"But this is different."
"Very. It's you."
"Yeah." She placed her fingers on the back of the hand that was slowly caressing her knee, tracing them up and down my skin. "So pretend it's not me, then."
"Pretend it's not me and do what you would do then."
I understood but the only thing I could think was what I said next, "If I've got you, why would I ever want to think of someone else?"