Authors: Linnea May
Much to my surprise, I fall asleep within just a few moments after resting my tired head on the pillow. I am woken up by Yuka's characteristic slamming of the door when she returns from her brunch date. I really like her, but consideration and thoughtfulness toward her roommate are truly not her strong sides.
She is a tiny person, but manages to trample through the place like an elephant, making enough noise for three people, slamming doors and constantly causing things to fall off the shelves. She is clumsy, too. Once, she tripped over something that she had placed on the floor in the hall so badly that she literally fell through my unlocked door, landing on her behind on my room's floor while cursing the hell out of whatever had been put in her way.
The good thing about her noisiness is the fact that I always know where she is. It is easy to trace her steps through the apartment just by listening. She first heads for her room, probably to change clothes, which is always the first thing she does when she comes home. She has a certain pair of bright yellow sweatpants that she always wears at home – and only at home. I have never seen her lounging around in anything else, usually accompanied by a headband in a similar color to keep the thick and wild hair out of her face.
I stretch out in bed for a few more moments until I hear her rummaging around in the kitchen. If she is making tea, I want to be part of that.
And I really need to get this whole Evan thing off my chest.
"Hello sleepy head," Yuka greets me when I stroll into the kitchen. Sure enough, she is wearing her yellow sweatpants and the matching headband. And she is making tea.
"Here to sponge some tea?" she asks as she is pouring the hot water into a pot with tea leaves in it.
"Absolutely," I reply. "Please."
I sit down at the table and glance at the magazine that is still lying there, next to our sugar pot and some fruits that Yuka brought home with her.
She places the pot next to it and fetches two mugs for us, while I ponder how to tell her about Evan. For now, unrelated chit chat seems to be the easier option, though.
"How was brunch?" I ask as she places herself in the chair opposite to me.
She shrugs. "Meh. Nothing special. The place we went to sucks. Way too expensive for the crappy food and coffee they serve."
She casts me a naughty smile. "I'd much rather hear about your date last night. You promised!"
"I did...," I say, suddenly feeling under a lot of pressure.
Yuka raises her eyebrows and stares at me expectantly.
I cannot come up with a clever way to phrase it, so I decide to not beat around the bush and just give her the facts straightforward.
I grab the magazine in front of me and start browsing through it.
"Um, hello?" she complains. "I don't think you’ll find your hot little adventure in there."
"Not exactly," I say. "But him."
I open the page with the article about Evan and turn the magazine around to present it to her. "That's him."
Yuka's eyes widen and her jaw literally drops as she stares down at the article. She looks back up at me, frowning with disbelief.
"Shut up!" she exclaims. "You spent the night with Evan Beckhart? No way!"
"You know him?" I ask. I am surprised at the way she says his name, as if he really was some kind of famous person. On the other hand, this is her magazine and she probably read most of the articles with a lot more attention than I have.
"D'uh, yeah! Of course I know who he is," she says. "Have you read the article? There have been many like these about him like two years ago, when he was dating Sheila Buffay. That's where I know him from, at least. I assume, if you were following all those Silicon Valley entrepreneur activities more closely, you'd probably have been more familiar with him a long time ago."
She pauses and looks down at the picture again.
"But of course, that's boring. Lame business people," she adds. "But I'd probably be more into it if they all looked like him. He's hot!"
"Yeah...," I whisper. "Obviously, I agree."
"Are you sure?" Yuka asks. "Are really sure that's him?"
I nod. "Yes, I am. He introduced himself – and that's definitely him in the picture. His hair was different last night and he was not wearing a suit, but it was definitely the same guy."
Yuka grins at me and starts laughing. "He introduced himself and you still had no idea who you were talking to? Oh, Nicky, you are such a nerd!"
I frown at her. "What? So now reading gossip about the private lives of people you don't know makes you a cool person?"
Yuka chuckles and puts the magazine down to pour us some tea.
"Well, at least I have not been living under a rock for years as you have," she says, winking at me.
"Thanks," I whisper, more in regards to the tea she hands me than her unflattering remark.
"I can't believe it," she continues, now holding the mug with fresh tea in her hands as she stares down at the article again. "Where on earth did you meet him? Don't tell me he was at the club?"
"He was," I say. "That's where we met. He was drinking the same beer as me and we exchanged a quick look at the bar counter, before I turned around and walked away."
"Walked away?" Yuka asks, frowning at me. "Why?"
"I wanted to dance," I explain. "Besides, you know I'm not into this kind of guy. He was wearing suit pants and a shirt!"
She laughs again, not at me this time, but at Evan, I hope.
"He followed me, though," I continue. "I bumped into him while I was dancing, because he was standing so close to me."
"Uuh," Yuka says, now seductively raising her eyebrows. "He came on to you? Sweet! And he was not appalled by your...
I cast her a sulky look. "No. He even said he liked it."
"Damn!" Yuka exclaims. "Smooth. He must have been really into you to say that!"
"Once again, thanks," I mumble. "But yeah, I didn't buy it either. I left the club to get some fresh air and he followed me upstairs. And well... we started talking."
"Aaand?" Yuka presses.
"He was really charming, I have to say," I reply. "Very persistent, too. I didn't buy it. It was almost sickening –"
"Oh, come on!" Yuka interrupts me. "Mrs.
. You did sleep with him, didn't you?"
"Yes, but –"
"No but," Yuka interrupts again. "Be honest for once, girl. He was being nice – and it worked! Because even you are not as inaccessible when it comes to charming words as you wish you would be."
I shrug and take a first sip of my tea. Of course, Yuka is right. But I hate it when other people – like her and Evan – seem to see right through me when I am trying so hard to not let this weak and approachable side of me shine through. I must be really bad at this.
And I didn't even tell her that I felt drawn to him from the beginning, that he had this enticing aura about him that made me speak to him and follow him in the first place.
And the crazy intense sex we had...
"So, other than charming," Yuka says. "What's he like?"
I can feel the blood rush to my cheeks and sincerely hope that she doesn't notice it. If she does, I would just blame it on the tea.
"I don't know," I reply. "Mostly that, really. Charming. He didn't say much about himself and I wasn't allowed to ask any questions."
?" Yuka asks, raising her eyebrows with suspicion.
Oh, I wasn't even allowed to look at him or make any decisions by myself – and I loved it.
But of course, Yuka doesn't have to know that part.
"Well, I was teasing him a lot," I try to explain. "Actually, I think I was rather rude to him."
She chuckles. "Good. You didn't make it easy for him, huh."
I shake my head, even though I am not entirely sure how true that part is. Did I make it hard for him? It certainly doesn't seem like I was playing hard to get, especially since it was anything but easy for me to fend him off, as much as I wanted to.
"So, there was nothing strange about him?" Yuka keeps pressing.
"What do you mean?"
"Well, you read the article, didn't you?"
She pushes the magazine back to my side of the table and turns it around for me to be able to read the text.
"Sheila and him broke it off so abruptly," she says. "And then he just disappears from the spotlight completely? They were all lovey-dovey one day and then it was over the next. And he has never been seen with anyone else, not before her and not after her."
"So?" I ask. "I don't see what's so strange about that. Some people stay single by choice, you know."
I am winking at her. Yuka has never had a real relationship that lasted longer than a few weeks, because she grows tired of every man she has ever dated within a short period of time. She always claims that the thought of a real and long lasting relationship only makes her think of confinement and pressure, but I am pretty sure that her standards are just unattainably high.
"Whatever," she says, rolling her eyes. "That guy is still – weird. Something is up with him, I am sure."
"I don't see why you would say that," I argue. "Relationships end, sometimes very suddenly. And who knows what was going on between them? The tabloids don't have as much inside as they claim to have."
"So cute," Yuka says. "You're already defending him!"
I frown at her. "No, I'm not, it's just that –"
"Ah, don't be so defensive," she interrupts. "Just be careful with that guy. Everything I have ever read about him described him as withdrawn and somewhat mysterious. And then you tell me you weren't
to ask questions about himself? That doesn't strike you as odd?"
"Well, maybe he just enjoyed the fact that I had no idea who he was?" I suggest. "I mean, I'm pretty sure he hates being in the spotlight like this. Maybe it was just a nice change for him to not be recognized..."
"And the fact that you look just like her?" Yuka presses. "That's not suspicious to you?"
I sigh. She got me there.
"Yes," I admit. "Of course I have noticed that."
"Maybe that's what he has been doing all this time since the break up," Yuka presumes. "Picking up girls who look like Sheila, because he can't get over her."
I shrug. "Maybe."
"Will you see him again?" Yuka asks.
I look at her, unsure what to reply. "I don't know... maybe?"
She raises only one of her eyebrows this time. "Are you asking me for permission now?"
In a way, I am. I know that I still want to see him again. The chemistry between us was too good to ignore, no matter who he is or what his motives were when he first started talking to me. The sex was amazing – I want more of that. And I felt weirdly comfortable with him. His presence was so familiar, so pleasant. He did not feel like a stranger at all. I have dated other guys for weeks and months without ever feeling this connection with them. And with him it happened within just a few hours. It would be stupid not to follow up on that.
"Well, he left it up to me," I reply. "He gave me his phone number, but he doesn't have mine."
"Good," Yuka says. "I mean, that makes it easy for you, doesn't it? He has already signaled his interest to see you again. If the number he gave you is correct, that is."
"Right," I whisper. For some reason, that thought never occurred to me. He could have just given me a fake number! How stupid of me to naturally assume that this really was his private phone number. After all, he didn’t give me his business card but just a handwritten note.
"Find out," Yuka suggests. "Call him."
I look at her, my eyes widening in shock. I have never been a good phone person, let alone someone who takes charge when it comes to dates.
"I was actually thinking of ... you know, texting him," I stutter.
Yuka rolls her eyes. "Oh, come on! You have to call him to make sure that it really is him! Hide your number and make it an anonymous call, if you're such a chicken. That way you can just hang up after hearing his voice."
"That's so immature," I object.
"I agree," Yuka says. "The mature way would be to actually talk to him and ask him out for coffee. But I don't see you going for that option – Miss
"You should really stop with these silly names," I say.
Yuka chuckles and winks at me. "But they suit you so well!"
I take another sip of my tea while Yuka looks at me with anticipation. Apparently, she enjoys watching my brain work in silence almost as much as he does.
"So," she eventually presses. "What's it going to be? The mature way or the chicken option?"
I look down at the article again, scanning his beautiful face. He is smiling in the bigger picture, but it's not the same kind of smile I saw on him last night. It is frozen and fake, a publicity smile.