Apology — Pete and Carol.

For the next 30 days (taking Sundays off), I’m going to attempt to go through the alphabet and use one prompt from each letter, and try and write something about that. Today’s prompt is the word apology. This is a somewhat true story about a relationship I had with a girl who’s name has been changed to protect me from her. Thankfully, the two of us have nothing to do with each other anymore and as you’ll see, that’s a good thing. Also, the story is kinda graphic. Don’t read it if you’re at work, or blame me for getting you fired. Thanks.

We lay panting, our breath returning to us with each shallow attempt, our eyes locked on each other like gunfighters at the OK Corral wondering who would make the next move. She blinked first, looking away while craning her neck. I smiled inwardly.

“Sorry I called you Andrew,” she said, looking away and not meaning it. “It just came out.”

“Whatever,” I replied. “I’m used to it. Sorry I gave it better than Andrew could. Or did. Or has.” She winced at the barb, but didn’t miss a beat.

“I’m going to go to sleep now.”

“Okay. I’d say I love you, but, I don’t.” I told her, looking directly at her and not meaning it. She looked back at me and gave a sarcastic smile.

“I know.”

“Good night.”

“Night.”

We both lay not sleeping next to each other for a long time before she finally spoke. “Pete?” she asked, tentatively, wondering if I’d fallen asleep and not wanting to wake me.

“Carol.” I replied.

“Why can’t we have a normal relationship? Why can’t we be in love and kiss and cuddle and whisper sweet nothings into each other’s ears? Instead, we hatefuck and mindfuck each other. We cheat on each other constantly. Why?”

***

Carol was my first “adult” relationship. There’d been a few before her that may have developed to that point, but she was the first who we’d dinner date with friends and do more than watch movies and screw. And yet, for as adult as our relationship was, it was almost as if we were two six year-olds going through the motions of what we thought that relationship would be, doing things we learned on television that people our age should do.

The first time we’d met was at a party. I brought her a drink on a whim and she smiled at me, her dark brown almond shaped eyes meeting mine with spark that ignited a fire between us. In fifteen minutes we were drunkenly making out, and fifteen minutes after that were ushered into a bathroom to carry on our gross public display of affection. The world stopped and the two of us went at it like caged animals. When we were done we looked at each other and took a deep breath.

And did it again.

We stopped long enough to dress and make it back to my apartment where we did it three more times before falling asleep.

From there we went through the motions, trying to recapture that night and for months we pretended we had while I’d secretly kept a few women on the side. She’d revealed to me that the night we’d met, I’d taken her virginity, I fact that I was skeptical of and she was adamant about. While she wasn’t a true virgin (she’d a fondness for a brush as a teenager, a small piece of plastic hidden in her closet as an adult) I was the first person she’d ever kissed or touched. She’d never even had a date.

I’d found the best way to light that fire behind her eyes again was to torment her, little by little. I’d call her a name, she’d get fired up and we’d go at it. Soon, she figured what buttons to press for me, and I’d get fired up and angry. Soon, our sexual contact could have been interpreted by outsiders as domestic violence, the two of us throwing each other into walls, trying to take a dominant position, the other not allowing it to happen for long. We broke chairs and plates and shower curtains, ripped shades off walls, shattered glass, all in the name of our petty game.

One night, she’d shown up at my house at three in the morning, an hour or so after I ushered my latest Not-Carol out the door, a pretty blonde named Mary who took the time to kiss and cuddle and didn’t try and choke me at key moments of our coitus. It was no secret to each other that we’d been spending our time screwing other people. We never said it overtly, but, it was well known through our respective grapevines.

“I have to be in town in the morning for a really important field trip for school. Can I stay here? I have to be there by eight.”

I nodded and let her in, setting the alarm for her to wake up. She started to pick a fight with me, but, I waved her off as she needed to be up early. She agreed and quickly fell asleep. Angry that I couldn’t spend the night with Mary, I shut my alarm off, and muttered something about showing her who’s boss.

At ten forty-three in the morning, I heard a scream next to me as Carol started to panic, calling me every name in the book, hitting and kicking me where she lay in bed.

At one fifteen, she got into the shower, and I called around looking for the best price I could find on a new mattress and box spring, and someone who could replace the closet doors that lay shattered into hundreds of pieces on my floor.

***

“Because we’re too co-dependent to break up with each other.” I replied. “Because your parents and friends hate me for not being one of your class of people and you love having to defend yourself to them. Because you’re addicted to the attention.”

Carol nodded, while turning away from me. “You know I do love you, don’t you?”

I shrugged. “I don’t know. We’re not that couple. We never have been. I don’t think we ever will be. I mean, the night we met, we did it in Joe’s bathroom. And, you were a virgin–”

“I was,” she replied immediately turning toward me, her claws coming out. “Everytime I–”

“Hang on. I didn’t mean it that way. Let’s try this again,” I said. I hesitated a moment, thinking through the post-coital bliss to say the right thing. “Here’s what I’m trying to say: We never had that time to build up to being in love. We met, and it’s like we’re flying rockets to the moon before we even know anything about how to build a rocket.”

“I see.”

“Now, we know how to fire off rockets. But, we’re shit at building them. So, do we go back and unlearn what we’ve learned?”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean, do you want to start over? Clean slate. And start learning how to love each other? Or, do we build more rockets, each more dangerous than the last until someone gets seriously hurt?”

“I don’t know,” she replied. I didn’t either. “I guess we could.”

“Okay. Then go home. Tomorrow, I’ll pick you up and eight. We’ll have a real date, just the two of us. I’ll wear a shirt and tie, and take you somewhere nice. You bring a change of shoes and we’ll go to the Riverwalk. We’ll hold hands and I’ll stop and kiss you every so often. And then, we’ll come back to my house and we’ll make love.”

“Hey, I’m no whore. Who says I’ll even want to sleep with you after we start over again?” she said, no hint of a smile on her face.

I shrugged. “That’s fair. I’m sorry I expected that of you.”

“I’m kidding.”

“Okay.”

***

I picked her up at eight and she looked wonderful. Stunning. She’d gotten her hair cut and highlighted, and I surprised her by cutting mine from just off my shoulders to a close cropped, parted to the left Mad Men style coif. I brought her flowers, and she swooned, kissing me on the cheek.

We ate dinner at a somewhat fancy joint with a name that escapes me, just as what we ate did. I concentrated on her, and what I’d missed with her. Through all the nasty, aggressive horrible things we’d done to each other the last few months, I’d forgotten how pretty she was, how I really liked her eyes and her smile. And her laugh! Oh, what a laugh she had. It was more of a quick giggle, but boy, was she easy to get to laugh.

I’d forgotten too, just how tall she was, as spent a majority of our time horizontal. Vertically, she was just as pleasant to be with. We held hands at the Riverwalk after dinner, and I stopped to kiss her ever chance I could. The first kiss, I was nervous for. I actually got butterflies in my stomach, despite everything we’d done previous to this. When we were done, she pulled back and bit her lip, smiling shyly at me. I blushed and walked some more, my heart skipping a beat. I won her a stuffed animal at a game and her eyes lit up.

When we went to my apartment, we took our time, kissing and cuddling. Fireworks went off in the bedroom on top of the broken box spring I hadn’t yet replaced. We held each other when it was over, and fell asleep in each other’s arms, sighing contentedly.

I woke the next morning, alone to a note on her pillow.

P–

I love you, but I’m sorry. I can’t.

-C

In the end, I knew she was right. It was too late for us and time to move on. Two days later, Carol knocked at my apartment door, screaming that I never called her after the other, amazing night. We fought, we screamed, we screwed, and everything was back to normal for the short duration of our relationship.

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