Author’s note: Warning, nudity (mostly bums) and slight sexual themes. Nothing explicit. At least I don’t think so… :I
I looked up as the bell rang and I didn’t need to force a smile on my face as my girlfriend walked into the store. I had really lucked out when Mrs. Rutkowski wanted to keep me on for the job past summer. Working in a pawn/consignment shop had been boring at first but I grew the hang of it and Mrs. Rutkowski seemed to really like me. So when my sophomore year started she offered to shift my hours around and I agreed. Pretty decent money and a girlfriend, as my boss constantly tried to hook me up with her just-dumped-but-pretty-rich-‘old maid’ daughter. We finally went out in the fall and even though Lucja was sixteen years older than me…
“Good afternoon, Zaid,” Lucja chirruped. “How’s business?”
“Slow today,” I replied, folding my arms on the counter and leaning forward. We kissed, her lips lingering on mine until we finally broke apart. “We going out tonight?”
“Mhm, I want to take you shopping for a nice suit for this weekend,” she said, pulling out her phone and flipping through the messages as she came around the counter. “We’ve got that dinner to go to and I want you looking your best.”
Looking my best translated into showing off her young, college-aged boyfriend to all her friends who were stuck with middle-aged men who had permanent frowns on their faces. I knew this, she knew I knew this, but she also knew I didn’t care. It wasn’t love between us–neither of us even pretended that–but she was nice enough. And pretty great with, uh… well, pretty great.
“Sounds good to me,” I replied and she gave me another kiss, this one with more tongue. “What time should I pick you up?”
She snorted, going back to her phone. “I’ll pick you up. You know I hate that old car of yours. I don’t believe this… hold on.” She poked at her phone then brought it to her ear, getting into an argument with someone as she walked to the corner of the room. This happened a lot. Lucja ran a wedding planner business and seemed to have the unfortunate habit of hiring lazy assistants. I laughed, shaking my head a bit then keeping the smile on my face as the bell rang again, this time for a customer coming in.
Oh, whoa, I thought, sucking in some air as a gorgeous girl began making her way over towards me. “How can I help you?” I asked when she reached the register.
“I need to sell something…” She placed a bag on the counter, pushing it towards me.
“Pawning, selling, or consigning?” I inquired and she informed me it’d be the latter. “All right, let me bring my manager in. She’s the one who appraises everything.” I punched in the code to send an alert sound to Mrs. Rutkowski’s office. “She’ll be in momentarily.”
She brushed a few strands of hair back, nodding. “Have we met? You look very familiar.”
“Uh, it’s possible. I go to Redbloom.”
“So do I!” She offered her hand and I nervously shook it. Being around girls like her seemed to bring out the worst in me… not in a mean way, but more of the ‘crash into things and say weird things’ way. “I’m Davy. Gilbert.”
“I’m Zaid Danevbie. Interesting name… Davy?” Annnnd there it was, my awkwardness.
But Davy seemed fine. “It’s short for Davina, actually. Which means ‘cherished’.”
“Oh cool. I think mine means something about… adding or increasing…” I laughed. “Which is a bit awkward since I totally fail at math.”
Davy giggled back, covering her mouth as her eyes crinkled at the corners. “I hear ya. Math isn’t exactly my strong suit. I’m actually going into law.”
“Wow, that’s awesome. I, uh, guess I’m a general major,” I said, blushing as I felt a bit stupid for not having more of a degree. Davy gave me a salute and I began laughing again. “Not in the military way.”
“Sir yes sir!” she exclaimed with a grin. “General-Major Zaid.”
“I think it’s Major-General, actually,” I said then wished I could take it back. “So if a Major-General got a general major I wonder what that’d be.”
“A step down in life, I imagine,” she quipped back and we both laughed.
Suddenly Lucja appeared by my side, wrapping an arm around my waist. “Hello darling, sorry it took so long.” She kissed my cheek. “You know, maybe we should see if you could get off work early. Oh hello.” She gave Davy a fixed glare. “You go to the local high school?”
“I’m a junior actually,” Davy said stiffly.
“Oh.” Lucja gave her a glance over then held her head high. “Two more years until college.”
“I am in college.”
“Lucja! Be nice!” Mrs. Rutkowski emerged from her office finally and didn’t seem pleased with her daughter’s treatment of a customer. I couldn’t blame her. Lucja’s actions weren’t very mature.
“Sorry,” Lucja said with a not-so-apologetic smile. “Matka–” she used the term she knew would soften her mother, “–why don’t you release Zaid a bit early? We were going to go shopping in Bridgeport.”
Bridgeport? She hadn’t mentioned anything about Bridgeport and that was either a super long drive or a short flight away. Her mother seemed equally suspicious. “Such a long trip, why would you go so far?”
“Well, we were going to stay over together,” Lucja said and I went beet red.
Mrs. Rutkowksi narrowed her eyes. “This is not appropriate conversation in front of a customer.” She turned to Davy and apologized before waving her hand, informing me I could have the rest of the day off. I barely had time to thank her before Lucja dragged me out of the store.
“What was that about?” I hissed out when we reached the parking lot.
“That little girl flirted too much,” Lucja replied as she pulled me into a kiss. “I just wanted to… stake my territory.”
“I’m not territory.” And I don’t feel comfortable being referred to as territory, I added silently then groaned when Lumie added in her two cents. She hated Lucja with a passion and always had her complaints at the ready. She had completely disapproved of me and Lucja dating but agreed to keep it secret from our dads since I knew they would murder me if they knew the situation. But every time she could jump on Lucja’s case she did.
“Why are you groaning?” Lucja asked, sliding her hands under my shirt and stroking my stomach. “Are you mad at me? I’m sorry. I guess I just got a little intimated. I’m very sorry, Zaid, I shouldn’t have acted like that.”
“No–no. Sorry. I just… I should get home and, uh, pack if we’re going somewhere overnight.” I managed to get away from her but she just took hold of my shirt and pulled me in for another kiss. “Is that all right?”
“Of course.I have some business I need to attend to anyway,” she said and headed off to her fairly expensive car. She gave a finger wiggle at me before sliding into the driver’s seat. I finger wiggled back then hopped into my dingy used car. I took in several deep breaths before heading off, knowing how much work I’d have to do to keep Max calm about me taking an overnight trip away from the college and without him. Personally… I didn’t want to. I’d prefer to stay here. I doubted I’d be tracked down in Bridgeport but it still made me feel a bit nervous.
My night in Bridgeport went by without any problem whatsoever. Lucja checked us into a penthouse suite and we had our typical night of wine, rich food, and lots of bedroom time. I didn’t have any morning classes but we still arrived back in town a bit too late and I missed my first class in the early afternoon. I had another class right after so I went ahead to campus with the intention of doing a bit of studying. Instead I spotted Davy and decided to talk to her instead. She seemed pretty happy to see me and we talked until my class started. By that point we had agreed to go see some kung fu movies on Sunday at the rerun theater.
“You sure your girlfriend won’t mind?” she asked as she added her number into my phone.
“Oh that,” I chuckled mirthlessly, knowing this wasn’t something she’d approve of. “I can have friends. She’s fine with me being friends with a few others.”
“Girls?” Davy asked, raising an eyebrow as she handed my phone back to me.
I pressed my lips together and gave a tiny shake of the head. “Nah, except my sister. Okay so maybe she won’t be happy but she…” I trailed off, looking at my phone background which was me and Lucja.
“Did you enjoy Bridgeport?”
“Uh, I guess. I’m not much of a big city type of guy,” I answered. “How about you?”
“I’m not any type of guy,” she joked and I couldn’t help but laugh. “Seriously though, no, not really but I figure when I become a lawyer… if I become a lawyer… I’ll have to adapt.”
I started to respond when my phone went off. Lucja’s face covered the screen and I sighed. >Short leash you have there with Miss Cougar,< Lumie put into my head and I scowled, begging her to shut up. I hit the red ‘ignore call’ button. >You getting over your sugar mama?< Lumie asked when she realized what I did.
I put my barriers up quickly, wanting her out of my head at the moment. “I’m sure you’ll adapt fine. People can adapt. Quickly. You seem the type of girl to be able to do that.”
“You know what kind of girl I am, eh?” she asked in an almost purring way.
I couldn’t help but smirk back. “Maybe. I might be a bit psychic. Hey!” I protested as she laughed. “I… could show you sometime.”
“What, read my fortune?”
“No no, nothing like that.” I pushed my hair back and wished I didn’t have to get to class. Reluctantly I rose to my feet. “More like… write something down, show it to the room, I’ll come back in and tell you what it said. That sort of thing.”
“More like… living room tricks,” I whispered and her laughter filled my ears yet again. “You could come over sometime. I, uh, rent a house. Not by myself though–um, two friends and my sister live there too,” I added quickly since I didn’t want Davy to think certain things. “Noah Singer’s my roommate and Max Penstone though you wouldn’t know him, and my sister’s Lumie i–“
“Illuminata Danevbie-Greyson!” she half-shouted. “Hah! I knew I heard the name ‘Danevbie’ before. She was in one of my classes last semester. Red hair, glasses…”
“Itsy-bitsy nose, that’s her,” I said then frowned when Lucja began calling me again. “I better get this. Um, so yeah. I guess I’ll meet you at the theater on Sunday at two?”
“See ya there, Major-General Zaid.” Davy gave me a salute and headed off as I beamed and nearly forgot to answer the phone.
Noah teased me all day Friday about the big charity dinner. My relationship seemed to be both something to be impressed by and something to be weirded out by to him. Max hated it completely but after he made it clear that he was as against Lucja as Lumie, he kept his mouth shut. Noah, though, continually to ribald me about it.
“Looking good,” Lumie said when we went downstairs and she saw my expensive new suit. “Gift from your lady love?”
“She wants me to look good.” I tugged at my collar then adjusted my tie. “It is a fancy dinner, you know.”
“You’re gonna make Lucja lose all her clients the moment you open your mouth,” Noah exclaimed, smacking my back.
“Which is why I keep my mouth shut,” I pointed out. “I know what I’m there for. To look sexy and be quiet. Annnnd I do that very well.”
Lumie flopped back onto the couch and gave me a look. “You’re disgusting for using her for… money and gifts.”
“I’m not using her. We just have an agreement.”
“Sex for gifts?” Lumie cocked her head. “So you’re a prostitute.”
I grit my teeth and jerked forward to attack her but Noah grabbed my arm, holding me back. “You brat,” I snarled. “Saul gave you gifts–“
“Don’t ever mention him!” Lumie got to her feet, face purple with anger. “And I don’t think comparing your relationship to that one is exactly a promising thing, considering how mine ended up. Destroying my life.” I felt like the world’s biggest ass. >Which you are,< she sniffled, turning away.
“I know I am, I’m sorry.” I wrapped my arms around her. I thought she might pull away but instead she turned and pressed into me. “I’m sorry.”
“I think about her sometimes…” I nodded, knowing this since it spilled over into my head often, the thoughts she had about her baby. “I don’t mean to–“
My arms tightened around her. “No, it’s fine. I know you can’t help it. I am a horrible person. I apologize. I love you, sis. I shouldn’t have said anything.”
“No, you shouldn’t have,” she complained as I let go of her. “But I shouldn’t have called you a whore.”
“Actually… prostitute was the word you used, whore was the word you were thinking,” I said and she made a face. “Forgiven, on both sides?”
“Yeah.” She reached up and fixed my tie before fixing my hair. “You do look good though. And I think she’s here.”
I gave her another quick hug, punched Noah’s arm, grinned at Max who had been in cat form all this time then headed out to the expensive car waiting for me. The dinner turned out to be a success. The hosts raised a lot of money and Lucja flaunted me off to all her friends who did not seem very happy about me. I normally didn’t care about that sort of thing but this time felt different. Her word from earlier in the week kept going through my head… Territory…
Tonight I began to feel that. I felt as though she were a cougar and I her main course. Lumie’s right, I thought as I bit into the filet mignon. I felt sick the rest of the evening and even worse when we got back to her place and she stripped me of the expensive suit. I barely stayed in the moment during sex and afterwards when I normally fell asleep, I remained awake.
Once Lucja fell sound asleep I went over to the window, folding my arms over my chest and watching the night sky. I wanted to talk with my sister but at the same time I didn’t (though we were both glad I learned how to keep barriers up during my more passionate moments) so I just focused on the stars. I had come to college to get an education and to–to have fun. Not worry about supes with murderous intentions, not worry about anything beyond finals. And I had done that to the point of this? Knocking boots with some woman I didn’t even love? I looked over my shoulder at Lucja whose naked body stretched delicately along her bed. She hated blankets and never slept under them.
I closed my eyes, pressing my forehead against the cool windowpane. I had spent four and a half months with this woman. We both knew it’d end eventually soon however I suspected her idea of ending ‘soon’ was probably after I graduated college. I wondered how many guys did stuff like this. You always heard about the young girls going after the rich older men but surely there were young men with rich older women. Oh Watcher. Gold-digging slut, I thought before I could stop my brain. No! This wasn’t really about the money. I didn’t intend to marry her for her money. The gifts were just… perks.
Yeah, whatcha gonna rationalize next? I turned away from the window and carefully lay down next to Lucja so as not to wake her. I snuggled against her and decided to break things off before the semester ended. It’d be for the best anyway.
I slammed my hand down against the thin stone block, cracking it in half. Davy clapped loudly and begged me to do it again. I replaced the stone, prepared myself, then slammed my hand down. Once it broke I turned and bowed to my new friend. She came over to examine the stone and tried to break part of it, whimpering in pain when it failed.
“It took my years to get this far,” I said, taking her hand gently and examining where she had hit. “Want some ice?”
“I don’t think it’ll bruise,” she sighed. “Still. Very impressive, Zaid.”
“You should have him teach you some.” Noah stood to the side mostly busy texting his girlfriend. “He taught me a few moves.”
“Cool. Did he teach you too, Max?” Davy asked.
Max gave her the stink-eye. “I taught him a lot more than he taught me. Isn’t that right, Zaidy-boy?”
“Yes it is, Max,” I said, giving him a dark look, willing him to stop being rude. I didn’t appreciate him being like this to all my friends. The jealously thing had gone too far. “He’s really strong.”
My message must have gotten across because he looked a bit sheepish as he said, “I think you’d be able to learn sim fu pretty easily, you have very, um, strong-looking arms.”
“A compliment from Max, you don’t hear that every day,” Noah said with a hearty laugh. “Unless you’re Zaid. Then you do hear it every day.”
I stuck my tongue out and he winked, getting into the cooler and grabbing a beer. “But really Davy, I could teach you some moves,” I offered, lifting her hands to look at her arms. “Max is right. I taught Lumie a few moves to protect herself.”
“Ugh, something every girl should know,” Davy sighed, pushing my arms apart then leaning in close. “Some creep grabbed my ass in the halls the other day. He smelled like… stale cigarettes and cheap beer.” Noah paused, looking at the bottle in his hand. Davy turned, leaning back against me in a strangely intimate way. “The cheap beer you guys get isn’t anywhere near as nasty as the one this creep had on his breath.”
“Did you report him?” I asked with a frown.
Davy went very quiet then, “No. It’s a bit pointless. Guys just get slaps in their wrists. Penises seem to equal ‘get out of jail free’ cards.” Noah snorted and I wanted to laugh at the phrasing, as disgustingly true as her words were. “Maybe you could teach me a few things?” Davy looked up into my eyes.
Her lips look great in that shade, I thought. Whoa, what?! What the hell had I just thought? “Uh, sure,” I said, yanking away.
>DID YOU JUST THINK ABOUT DAVY’S LIPS?!< Lumie screeched in my head. >Well, well, well, you finally going through with dumping the cougar?<
>Shut. UP!< I shouted back, not liking the reminder that it had been three weeks since the charity dinner and I had been in Lucja’s bed seventeen of the twenty-one nights. “And it’s not like she’d be interested in me.” I stopped. Oh. Shiiiiit had I just…? I looked around the garage and saw all three faces watching me. Yep. I said that out loud. Lumie laughed while I tried not to panic. At least I didn’t say Davy’s name in that.
“Who wouldn’t be interested in you?” Noah asked, smirking since he knew by now that Lumie and I communicated in strange ways. At least I figured that’s what his look meant.
“N-nothing, I didn’t… Oh, hold on.” My text ringtone went off, giving me an out though I didn’t appreciate the message that appeared on my screen. A booty call from Lucja. “I have to go… um, we’ll work out a time to teach you, yeah?” I glanced at Davy and she shrugged. “Okay. Uh, I’ll, uh, see you later then…”
She left and I went inside to get a quick shower and change of clothes. Max sat in our room as I got dressed. “You going to see Lucja?” he asked finally.
“Mhm. She got tickets to one of those mystery dinner shows so thankfully I don’t need to dress up again.” Not that she asked me when she made the plans, I thought unhappily. “Do you hate Davina?”
“Um. Iunno.” He hopped up onto my dresser, swinging one leg. “She’s okay.” He picked up one of his stuffed mice, tugging at a loose thread. “You like her?”
I turned around to look at the pout on his face. “I dunno. Maybe. As I tried to tell Lumie earlier, I don’t think Davy would be interested in me. Does it matter? Would you prefer me to stay with Lucja?”
“No, I hate Lucja!” Max snapped.
“Because of our ages?” I moved to the bed to get my shoes back on.
Max got an injured look on his face. “No. Age–age doesn’t really matter. Um. Does it? I mean, like I’m a few hundred years old… if I started… dating someone…”
A new thought struck me and I whirled around to face him. “Are you interested in Davy?”
“What?! NO! Oh, ew, no! No! No!” He gagged loudly. “Never!”
“Glados?” I asked before I could stop myself.
Max blinked then began blushing. “No.”
“You are interested in someone though, right?”
He hopped down and pegged me with the stuffed mouse. “Don’t stay out too late, okay? You have class in the morning. You shouldn’t stay with her all night anyway. We need to stay close together in case of something happening.”
I tossed the mouse back then went out in the hall to check myself in the full length mirror. “We can’t be handcuffed together forever, Maxie.” I gave his head a pat as I moved to the stairs. “I’ll see you in the morning.” Max looked as though I had kicked him instead of petting him and the guilt burned me all night. I hadn’t been spending much time with him anymore, in fact I had pretty much been taking him for granted the past year. So despite Lucja’s fury, instead of staying the night after we had sex I gave her a kiss goodbye and returned to my house to watch movies with Max until we fell asleep on the couch. And honestly… it was much nicer than falling asleep in bed with Lucja.
I turned as my phone went off, indicating an e-mail. I considered not getting it but I reached over anyway to see who sent me something. Uncle Kay. I swallowed, not sure if I should check it… but curiosity overwhelmed me and I opened the e-mail up. Our messages had been extremely weird since around the time my winter break started. He continually sent messages inquiring about my location–except they were always full of false facts about my family. This one had the same.
Dear Zaid, are you sure you’re at Monte Vista? Your replies just don’t seem like you’re there. If your hiding anything you can talk to me. You can trust me. I know we haven’t seen each other in a long time but it does feel as though we have a connection. Almost a psychic link. I know that’s silly, no two people can have a real psychic link. But I do care about you. Please… anything you want to talk about. I’m here for you. Love always, Uncle Kay.
I crinkled my nose up and began tapping out a reply. Maybe the time had come to ‘move’ somewhere else at least to Uncle Kay.
Hey Uncle Kay, well truth is we left Monte Vista a while ago. A few months. I’m sorry I’ve been lying to you but it sort of feels like someone is watching me, you know? Anyway, we’ve moved to France now. I like it. French chicks are very open. I hope you’re doing OK. Maybe someday we can see each other again. I’d like that very much.
I didn’t bother leaving any fake information since I hoped he’d know I’m lying. I just wish I knew why we were lying. Why someone was spying on his e-mails. But at least I knew Uncle Kay wasn’t trying to betray me or anything because if he did have the intentions of handing me over to some enemy then he wouldn’t be lying so much to me. And making it clear to me his e-mails were full of lies but not to others. I hoped that’s what–
“Zaid?” I looked up as Lucja came into the bedroom, removing her earrings. I clicked the e-mail off my screen before tossing it onto the dresser. She hesitated, noticing my actions. “Text message?”
“E-mail, from an uncle,” I said, going over to help her with the necklace. “You looked so beautiful tonight. This color really suits you.”
She moved her shoulders fluidly in an enticing way she knew I loved. I bent down, kissing at her bare shoulders. “I didn’t know you had an uncle. I thought your one father just had a sister and the other had none?”
I chuckled, letting my breath roll across her skin. She moaned at the feeling and I quickly began unzipping her dress. “He’s more like a great-uncle but prefers just ‘uncle’. You want me to get some wine?”
She hesitated then shook her head, spinning around as her dress dropped to the floor. “No, I just want you.” She kissed me as she pulled me to the bed and down we went in a pile of kisses, laughter, and hormones. But before we could, ah, get into the action she paused and looked at me. “You weren’t lying were you?”
“About what?” I asked, kissing her neck.
She pressed against me and I wanted to continue but she sighed and said, “Your uncle.”
It didn’t take a genius to decode what she really meant. “Lucja, I swear to you I was messaging a family member.”
But she obviously didn’t believe me and moved out from under me, sitting up. “I’m not stupid, Zaid. I’m an older woman and you’re a very young and…” Her eyes trailed down to the object of her desire, “very needful man. If you’re seeing someone else…”
“I swear I’m not!” I promised. “I would never do that. I would never cheat.”
My fingers wrapped around her arm, squeezing gently. “You’re not old. You’re still young and very beautiful.”
She pulled her arm away. “Not as young as you. Zaid, I know what we have isn’t love and I’m not expecting love. I just need to know… please”
I got out of bed and went to the wine, pouring myself a glass and taking in a deep gulp. I didn’t not want to be having this conversation. “You don’t have to worry about us, Lucja. Cheating is an unforgivable and despicable act, in my opinion.” I finished off the wine then turned, leaning back and trying to look seductive. Her eyes darkened so I knew it worked. “I’m yours right now. The only other person I share a bed with in my life is a cat.”
She motioned for me to come over and I fell back down against her. She turned me around to kiss me before whispering, “You’re such a sweet boy.” And then we finally started on the act, well into the night.