In the morning the sound of a vacuum cleaner near the elevators woke me, and for a few moments I racked my brain trying to remember which city we were in and whether I had put the Do Not Disturb sign out and if I should worry because Carynne would make sure I was up if I blew it…
Then Jonathan rolled over next to me and memories of the night before came rushing through me like a wave. Music at the Middle East. Pizza. Sex. Sex with someone I actually knew and liked. That made it special, in a way I hadn’t quite expected.
I wrapped an arm around him as a warm feeling ran all through me. Affection. Do they call it that because it “affects” you? I’d never been affected like that, anyway; it felt totally new. I fell back to sleep with a goofy grin on my face.
The next time I woke, he wasn’t next to me. I sat up and fought my hair out of my face. He was sitting by the window, fully dressed, a notebook on his crossed knee and a pen in hand, but he turned to look at me when he heard the sheets rustle.
“Good morning, sunshine,” I said, my voice still rough from sleep.
He laughed and set the notebook aside as he came to sit on the side of the bed. He slid one hand under the covers and up my thigh.
“Now who’s being surprisingly forward?” I asked.
He laughed again. “You’re irresistible. All warm and tousled from sleep. Come on, you had your turn, and now it’s mine, isn’t it?”
My grin got bigger. “It’s only fair.” I was a little conscious of being grungy when his hair was damp and combed from a shower, but he didn’t seem to mind.
Afterward, we got into the shower together, and he scrubbed my back. That warm feeling welled up again and I scrubbed his, too. His skin was pale and dotted with a few moles, some dark, some red, like markers for cities on a long, narrow map. When we got out, I discovered his hair looked much darker when it was wet, just as dark as mine. He blew it dry and it returned to the familiar dishwater blond.
Out in the room I pulled my jeans on without my underwear, J. lent me a clean undershirt, and I stuck my old shirt and undies into the plastic laundry bag from the closet.
“Brunch?” he asked.
“Whatever you want,” I answered. “I have no agenda today.”
“No. We decided to take the weekend off and wait until Ziggy gets back Monday. But if you want me to leave you alone for a while…”
“Well, I told myself I was going to get started on the novel I want to write, finally, but if you wanted to hang out I’d find that very hard to resist.”
“I see. Well, we have to eat, no matter what.”
“So let’s put off deciding until we’ve had brunch. Or lunch. Or whatever.” I left the bag of dirty clothes on the desk and out we went, walking easily from the hotel to a bistro on Newbury Street where I have no idea now what we ate. Crepes and omelets, probably, but that’s just a guess because I was hardly paying attention. I can’t tell you what we talked about, either, because the conversation just flowed from one thing to another to another. Music, politics, food trends — raspberry chipotle was sneaking into everything — fashion, New England versus New York, good movies we remembered. Jonathan knew a ton about a ton of things, so it was impossible to run out of things. We ended up browsing in stores on the way back to the hotel. Newbury Street had lots of boutiques and unique things. Candy from around the world. Art prints and posters. A store full of gargoyles. A funky bookstore with a cafe. We paused for more coffee there. Then I took him on a nostalgia trip through Tower, regaling him with stories of working in music retail. I told him about Watt and the realization I was going to have to quit my job.
And then we almost went back to the hotel to have more sex when I decided it might be more fun to wait. “Here’s what we’re going to do,” I said, as we walked up the sidewalk toward the lobby entrance. “You want to see something tonight at Venus, right? I’m going to go home and get clean clothes and while I’m there I’ll work on some songs. You’ll go upstairs and work on your novel. And meet me at Venus at like 9:30.” I paused a moment, then added. “That is, if you think that’s a good idea.”
“That’s a fabulous idea,” he said, and pulled me close and kissed me hard, right there in front of the revolving doors. “See you then.”
And then he kind of pushed himself away or I think the whole plan would’ve crumbled anyway. He went into the revolving doors and I took a step back and looked around. No one seemed to have been paying us any attention. Good.
The doorman hailed me a cab and I went home.
(Remember: If you want the bonus story of what happened between last post and this one… drop a contribution into the Tip Jar and we’ll email it to you!)
(Daron: Oh jeez, Hall’s voice is completely shot. Bart: But he’s having a good hair day.)
Since I feel guilty for showing you the above, here’s a better rendition: