For the past couple weeks, I’ve been on vacation in Washington DC, visiting my cousin in the military. While on the east coast, I also decided to swing up to NYC in order to see one of my former flatmates from London. I hadn’t seen her in over two years, though through the brilliance of social media and our mutual friends, as soon as she opened the door to her 16th floor apartment on the upper west side, we were reunited and it felt so good.
Time had been good to both us. A little older and wiser, Lilu had gotten herself a great job in the financial district and seemed to be dating. While the former was impressive, it was the latter that had me the most relieved. Here’s the thing about Lilu, when I met her in the hallway of our shared flat four years ago, she was an adorable, younger, first generation Chinese girl from California. She’s still all of these things, in fact I love listening to her speak ‘chin-glish’ to her mother on the phone. But back then, Lilu was also still a virgin. This is and was not the problem, there is never, no matter what age, anything wrong with being a virgin. The problem is and was that Lilu has one of the best first time stories I’ve ever heard of. This girl held out for the right reason, and he was a handsome Canadian backpacker.
I forget exactly where they met for the first time, somewhere in Eastern Europe I think. Either way, I’m pretty sure it was love at first sight for Lilu. They even spent time together when he made his way through London, but it wasn’t until they made plans to meet in Turkey that the deed went down. All of us in the flat knew that it was going to happen. We helped her pick out condoms. I urged her to take the whole box. Whether the Canadian knew it was coming, who can say, but he didn’t say no. After a few days of strolling through foreign streets, making friends with other hostellers, and tasting exotic foods, they got in on in the hostel bed with only sheets and clothes blocking them from the view of other people. From the way she gushed, we all knew that despite some awkward moments, it was everything Lilu had ever wanted. We were incredibly happy for her, we were happy for her each time she brought it up. We got a little less happy after hearing about it for the fiftieth time, or hearing about the Canadian for the hundredth, but we still grinned and nodded along, because who the fuck were we to begrudge her that awesome moment? Seriously, she experienced her first time in a whirlwind exotic romance with a handsome guy that she really liked. There are movies where that shit isn’t that good.
The problem of course is that it created an unfortunate set standard. Even as we munched on Peruvian chicken, I could tell from her stories about the guys she went out with, the way she picked at how they walked, or their laugh, or just for being bland and uninteresting, that in the back of her mind she was thinking, “they just aren’t the Canadian.” She actually went so far as to drop his name, talking about the kind of Midwestern, sweet man she’d like to meet and marry. “You know, someone like the Canadian,” she shrugged.
“But he wasn’t Midwestern. He was Canadian,” I pointed out.
“He was from the Midwest of Canada…” We both laughed and I let it go, without mentioning that she should let it go, mostly because I believe it will happen eventually. One day, when Lilu is ready, she’ll move on completely from the Canadian. My guess, if her story hadn’t been so awesome, she would have moved on ages ago. And it’s not like she isn’t doing that, it’s just a slower process for her.
As for me, moving on is one of my strong suits. I’m not one to linger, not even after sex, hence the quick jump from Graham to Rory. And with Rory safely tucked away in Texas with his diploma and new job, I was free to enjoy my vacation like a real single girl. I had already plunged head first into a fling with a former friend in DC, so my intention in NYC was to just visit and catch up with Lilu. Apparently, even Lilu knew better, because I ended up pulling another guy.
I was with Lilu for Memorial Day weekend. On Sunday, she and her current flatmate (a girl I also knew from London but wasn’t as close friends) were having a barbeque. Knowing that Lilu would be in full prep and host mode, I took off in the morning before anyone woke up for a wander around the city. “Do whatever you want,” Lilu had told me the night before. “I’m not worried about you. It’s nice that you don’t need me to do the tourist stuff.” And I didn’t need company, or a guide, especially considering it wasn’t my first time in the city. As my best friend Abby put it, “you’re the consummate traveler.” I can go anywhere alone, another reason I’m also good with being single.
As Lilu’s apartment was just a couple blocks from Central Park, I spent the day there, taking new paths and some familiar ones. I hung out in the ramble for a while enjoying the forest view and amazing weather. I even window shopped a little down Fifth Avenue once I got to the bottom of the park. I made it back to Lilu’s a bit later than I intended, so the barbeque had just started. I was immediately introduced to a string of people sitting on my bed (the pull-out couch) and some chairs around the living room. Most of the names spilled out of my brain the second I heard them, but the last face at least stuck. A guy sat on the end of the couch, wearing a blue plaid shirt with a few buttons undone and a pair of large red framed glasses. Instantly, my cunt tightened.
“I knew,” Lilu told me later, giggling her ass off about it at 2am. “I knew as soon as I heard Trystan was coming that he was going to be yours.”
“Shit, you could have warned me.”
“Oh, I’ve missed you, Flick. I’ve missed stories like this.”
I tried to play it off, but even I knew I had him as soon as I walked in. Our eyes met as he waved hello, and it was pretty much done. I put my stuff in Lilu’s room and took the only empty chair next to the TV. I saw him look at me. There it was again, a squeezing feeling through my whole body. We didn’t talk much besides that I had to have him tell me his name again, my mind too busy earlier on his chest and eyes to fully absorb the name someone else had been telling me.
“Right, like Tristen and Isolde. Got it,” I nodded, turning back to A League of Their Own on the TV. I purposefully didn’t engage. One because I’m not the kind of girl to be over eager, and two, because at that point I still thought I would genuinely just hang out with Lilu. However, Lilu was bouncing around the apartment and the balcony and the grill. I hung out with her outside for a bit, but she was constantly moving around, which I did expect. I made her promise to get me if she needed anything, then I finally went back inside and picked a seat on the arm of the couch because I didn’t want to shove myself next to two girls I had just met. Somehow though, Trystan found his way next to me. Then when space opened on the couch, I moved down. Trystan still returned to sitting next to me. In a party, with truly random seating, this doesn’t happen.
Among at least a dozen people I didn’t know, and with my friend mingling and cooking, I finally relented and started a conversation. Traditional small talk like how did he know Lilu and Zoe (the other flatmate). He knew Zoe from college, he graduated with her, which of course meant that he was younger, 23. (Seriously, why do I keep finding younger men? Is it just the natural progression that as one ages, there are more people who are younger?)
Anyway, Trystan was a web developer. He was teaching computer classes and working on a nonprofit app to help regulate something landlords were doing to poor tenants. He talked about how nervous it made him to be the one in charge (foreshadowing). Then we talked about my work a bit. He asked my opinion as a writer and as a teacher on the trigger warning debates, which turned into a lengthy discussion. In fact, it all became a lengthy discussion after that. He was surprised that I was from the south. We talked about accents and family. He told me some hilarious anecdotes about being raised Jewish (his father’s side) and Catholic (his mother’s Italian side). In general, he was just engaging. Once in the groove, he was a great talker, and not just about bullshit.
Trystan’s body shifted during the conversation. His arm went to the back of the couch behind me, his hips twisted and his knees came up onto the cushion and towards me. Unconscious as it may have been, it was an easy read. The rest of the room was getting cut off and he was focusing in on me. Not as unconsciously, I twisted towards him as well, making clear my reciprocation. Body language is always key.
There were some group discussions about going to the river to watch the sunset. I asked Trystan if he wanted to go, he sort of shrugged, remaining very non-committal. I told him I wasn’t interested in leaving and so we both stayed on the couch as others got up. But then Lilu interrupted as she held her wallet and keys.
“Flick, I need to talk to you. Just need to borrow her for a minute before we leave,” she said.
“I’ll be right back,” I promised Trystan and followed her through the crowd of people to her room. Before I could even ask, she started talking.
“Zoe and I have already talked about it,” Lilu whispered. “You can use her bed, she needs to wash the sheets anyway. And she and I will just share my bed tonight.”
“Oh my god,” I laughed. “What are you doing talking about it? I haven’t even talked about it with him yet.”
“Dude, you can just tell. Everybody can tell,” Lilu said, rolling her eyes a bit. “Just so you know, he and Zoe have hooked up before, but she’s totally over it, so you’re good. Also, she says he has a big dig and likes dominating women, so you’re good.” She slapped my arm.
“Thanks?” I said, recovering from some fierce wingman whiplash. Seriously, as much fun as I would have with Trystan, the best part of the whole experience was the immediacy of the backup I received. Because, let’s face it, when traveling, the biggest question is always where, and I’ve had to get pretty creative sometimes. I’ve gotten a little inappropriate in some European clubs before. I was supremely grateful for Lilu, not just because it solved a potential problem, but because she jumped in to solve a potential problem. The best accessory a girl can have is a loyal friend.
She was right obviously, I could tell that he was interested. Later, when everyone got back from the river and the music started to play from speakers right next to us, he asked if I wanted to step outside so we could continue to talk. Part of me thought he might jump me right then. But we really did talk. Throughout the night, we went over the energy crisis, bioengineering, 3D printed organs, all the way to the shitty ending of Lost and poor JJ Abrams’ lack of sustainable new shows.
The thing is I could have probably talked with Trystan all night and been completely satisfied, which is a rare feat for me. Conversation is one of the biggest turns on for me, but even I hit a certain point that I’m just waiting for the lips to stop and lock. So, when one of the girls from the party poked her head outside to tell Trystan if he still wanted a ride up the island, they were leaving in thirty minutes or so, I wasn’t too upset. Why ruin a good night by trying to make something happen if he was clearly just interested in hanging out?
“It sucks that you’re only here for one night,” he said, when the door closed behind his ride.
“Yeah?” I leaned against the brick wall by the outdoor air conditioning unit.
“But even though it’s just tonight, I still want to do this.” Trystan quickly closed the gap between us, wrapping his arms around my waist and pulling me into a kiss. But this was not a sweet and delicate, ‘I’ve just met you and want to know what this feels like before you leave forever’ kiss. It was a ‘pushed against the wall, fingers gripping tightly, tongue sucking’ kiss. For a guy that was presumably a submissive (from what I heard at least), it was a damn fresh move. And I wasn’t one to argue. We went at it there on the open air hallway that linked all the apartments on that side of the building. Once or twice we froze, pulling our hands out from under each other’s shirts when we thought we heard a door knob rattle. At one point, Trystan leaned coolly over me, one hand braced on the wall by my head when one of his friends left.
A brief wave and goodbye, then we silently watched as he went to the elevator. As soon as the doors closed, we immediately went back to making out. This time, I grabbed Trystan’s shoulders and twisted, throwing him against the wall and the window sill. Lilu would tell me the next day that she could see a mess of hand and finger prints in the disturbed dust, a lasting rendering of our exploits, though brief themselves.
Trystan groaned. “Damn, I really like a woman who dominates like that,” he murmured. I smiled and dove into his neck to suppress the “I know” that was on the tip of tongue. I sucked on his earlobe, he moaned even more. Then he started to talk. “I wish you were staying longer so we could hang out again. I love to eat pussy so much. I would love to lick you. Maybe I should come to the South.”
“Maybe you should,” I whispered back. “We’ve got lots of caves where I’ve from. I could take you spelunking,” I joked.
“Only if I get to go spelunking twice.” He squeezed at my breast. I couldn’t help but laugh.
“As much as you like to eat pussy. I like to suck dick even more,” I told him between more kissing.
“Oh, I don’t think that’s possible.”
“You don’t know me that well.”
“I’d sure like too.”
He was more adorable than I almost thought I could handle. Lines like that had me thinking about Lilu and Zoe’s offer. I thought about telling Trystan he didn’t have to leave. That this one night could be enough and we could keep making out until everyone left and then flit away to closed doors. I thought about telling him so I could take off all his clothes and see how far he really liked a woman to dominate him. I thought about how nice it would be to wake up next to him and those dark Italian eyes behind red glasses. I could have an amazing night with him. But I didn’t tell him that we could. I continued to make out, letting him think that minutes together was all we could have.
Part of me blames Lilu. Yes, she was all gung-ho and the one who wanted me to get some ass, but I kept thinking about something she said at dinner the night before.
“I just don’t feel good the morning after,” she said, talking about some of her sexual encounters since the Canadian. “It’s not that the sex was bad. But the next morning, I don’t know, I just feel sort of guilty. I did it knowing I didn’t really have feelings for them. That’s not what I want. I want it to be with someone I care about. I don’t want to feel guilty afterwards.”
Unfortunately, I knew what she meant. It’s not quite a feeling a regret, but it’s one of remorse. Because even if you wanted it, the moment fades and then you’re just left with a stranger sleeping against your skin. It’s not every time, but I was familiar enough with that feeling that I hesitated with Trystan. I didn’t want to ruin this rush, this connection by burning out the filament too rapidly. I knew in my gut that a few years ago, I never would have hesitated. To be honest, I probably would have fucked him there on the balcony for God and whoever had binoculars in the other buildings to see. Maybe I’m getting soft, maybe I’m just evolving a person. But instant gratification sometimes loses its appeal.
Hence, I didn’t sleep with him….
But I still got him off.
Ok, so, I’m not that evolved yet. He was just too sexy not to reach down and start stroking his penis, and yes, it was big like I was told. The intel was good.
I expected to just tease him, but the second I wrapped my hand around the shaft and began to move. A flurry of breathless ‘oh my god’s came from Trystan, standard at first, but they very suddenly increased in volume and became more guttural and less breathy. I knew I had him like I did from the instant he shifted his knees.
“Oh my god,” he repeated. “I think you’re first girl who’s going to get me off with hand job.”
“And I’m still so much better at blowjobs,” I giggled into his ear, grazing my teeth against his neck. But then it was my turn to take a sharp gasp and then moan, as his fingers moved from my hip roughly past my waistband and then he was stroking my wet, hot clit.
“At least I get to tease you a little too.”
“Mmmhmm.” We tucked our faces into the crook of each other’s necks, both panting, moaning, and Trystan trying to contain the loudness of his repetitive calls to a higher power he didn’t even believe in as an atheist, until he came, which did not take long at all.
“Well, now I have an entirely different reason for not wanting to walk into a room full of people,” he said, slumping.
“Eh, it’ll be ok. Your jeans are dark. The shirt is long. Just cross your legs on the drive home, no one will notice.”
“Can I get your number? We can be pen-pals, you know if those still exist.” He shrugged handing me his phone.
“Sure, sure,” I said, keying in my full name and digits. It wouldn’t be until we texted later that I got Trystan’s last name (or how to spell his first name for that matter). “I really did enjoy talking to you. I would certainly like to do it again.”
“Man, me too. You know I almost didn’t come tonight,” Trystan said, cleaning up his glasses before slipping them back on. “But I’m really glad I did. I’m glad I met you. This is by far the most intelligent conversation I’ve had at one of Zoe’s parties.”
And I knew, handing back his phone, that I was really glad I met him as well, because at the end of the night, he complimented my brain instead of my body.
I was going to have to make it back to New York soon.