So I hardly thought about Trix while we danced, except when she distracted the corner of my eye. And she wasn't exactly on my mind as Chris and I tugged and tore at each others' clothes before we even got through the apartment door. Our kisses fervent, our fingers clumsy, we had sex leaned over the telephone table by the front door. When he not-quite-gently yanked back on my hair, I could see his face in the mirror, screwed up a little tighter every time he thrust. The power there took my breath away.
Afterward, Chris cooked and I yawned into my hands at the kitchen table. The clock said 3:03 am, so pancakes seemed like the thing to do, though maybe sleep was winning out. That was when my mind wandered back to Trix, and I realized that her whisper still lingered in my skin.
Her advances felt unmistakably sexual in nature. I'd been with a couple of girls before, sweet kisses and exploring fingers, but no one like her. Ethan hadn't minded me exploring with girls - he liked to hear about it. In fact, he was pretty lenient about flirting in general, though I suppose it didn't serve him in the end.
That made me wonder suddenly how Chris might react to similar dalliance. He was not the kind of guy to bode competition - he felt the pride of my full allegiance. I felt a little pang of loss. Of course, based on tonight's evidence, Chris might find it amusing to watch me flirt with girls. I decided I should ask him.
He could read my mind, and as usual beat me to the punch.
"So you have a fan," he observed, and though he seemed to intent on the pancakes, I caught him sneaking a look at my face.
"How do you know Trix?" I asked.
"Bashir was my office mate, and we T.A.'d a class together before my secondment. I went to the wedding."
He sounded a little too nonchalant for the grin tugging the left corner of his mouth. I decided to fish a little, let him have his fun.
"Who's wedding? Don't tell me Bash and Trace are married?"
His face broke into a grin as he abandoned the straight face.
"No, Bash and Trix!" He couldn't hold back his loud bark of a laugh, the one that comes bursting out like the world has taken him by surprise with its craziness.
I took a few seconds to process. Married? Really? Surely they were both gay. I could usually tell a hag-fag from a boyfriend. And Trix - I didn't see how I could have misread that. I'd felt her hot breath on my neck as a mating call, and it looked to me like she had something up with Trace, too.
Chris watched and waited expectantly for me to speak. I hated to let him down. Sometimes I really just didn't know what to say. It flashed across my mind that he took my silence for wisdom or deep thought, when really, I was just floundering around to keep up. I vaguely worried that he would discover that nothing hid behind my reticence but frantic thought processing, and re-evaluate me.
While I collected my thoughts, Chris shrugged. "Well, it got his parents off his back about marrying a nice girl. Interesting, though?"
"Yes, especially since she was all over me. How did you feel about that?"
"Maybe she was just trying to make Trace jealous."
"Gee, thanks. And yes, clearly. But I mean, how do you feel about her coming on to me? How would you want me to respond to that?"
Chris held back his answer, tilting his head and half-squinting, surprised. He hadn't expected this conversational direction, and I wondered if he felt disappointed. He turned to flip the last pancake from pan to plate, turning to present the lovely, steaming mound with pride. As he moved around me, I grabbed a pancake before the stacked plate could hit the table.
"Ow!" I yelled, dropping it on my lap. In an instant, Chris swooped and scooped the offending dough with a wrist-flick toss into the sink - perfect basket.
"Well, yes, they're HOT!" he laughed. He lifted my fingers and blew on them softly. It touched me, the gentle breeze of his breath, the strangely tender shape of his mouth, his shyly downcast eyes. I felt a surge of love. He kissed the tip of my tallest finger, then turned to deposit a bottle on the table with a flourish.
"Only real maple syrup in our home," he proclaimed. He was thoughtful in the details.
Those pancakes were beyond good. I felt so hungry, and there was nothing in the world that I would have preferred in that moment. I let my attention sink into them, my nose filled with aroma, my mouth warm with golden flavour. I lost track of the conversation.