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The morning after my first evening with Marco, I woke up brimming with questions.
And an abnormally large package in my underpants.
(Ok, so it’s not the best way to describe an erection, but humour me: this is my first attempt at turning my life into erotica. Besides, I’m already not totally convinced of the erotic potential of the word “underpants”… I’ll have to sleep on it.)
Like the fervent Carrie Bradshaw follower that I am, I stayed in my sheets to meditate on yesterday’s events.
Had I merely imagined the sexual tension between my new roommate and I?
Had the orange wine made me hallucinate his advances?
That does sound like something I’d do. I have become a master in the art of making myself believe.
It goes back to my childhood. To give you an example, for a long time I believed that I was the fourth member of Totally Spies. It went deep. I’d ask my teachers for permission to go to the bathroom, then I’d slither through the halls, hugging the walls, as if on a top-secret mission.
Basically, I’m the CEO of storytelling.
That being said: did Marco really exist? Or was he a mirage: a figment of my imagination brought on by a prolonged lockdown?
I was seriously considering the question when I heard him come out of his room and rummage through the kitchen cupboards.
MARCO IS REAL. Blessed be the fruit!
And to think that just yesterday, I was lamenting the idea of being stuck with a new roommate. Now, I was delighted just to hear him exist.
From my bedroom, I could hear him handling the coffee-maker with tenderness: the same tenderness he had last night when we were tangled up on the carpet and he was stroking my –.
Nope. This isn’t the time to think about everything that happened last night. I was going to get hard again.
When I left my room, Marco was at the stove.
He had swapped his Humeur Design shirt for a fitted tank top that showed off his amazing body.
As my mother once said while contemplating Channing Tatum in Star magazine: “A fucking fiiiiine specimen”.
I decided to break the ice with a proverb. It seemed to be the kind of thing that would impress a man of literature like Marco. In my most mysterious and sensual voice, I said:
“Early to bed, and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise…”
No reaction. Marco remained focused on his eggs. I then noticed that he was wearing AirPods.
It was just as well. It was a sign from the great beyond: my proverb was cringeworthy.
It was only when I turned on the tap that Marco realized I was there:
We exchanged banalities (“Sleep well?”), then our small talk quickly gave way to silence.
All you could hear was the sizzle of bacon in the pan.
I wasn’t sure if our silence was comfortable or awkward.
The line is really thin sometimes.
The day before, I was swooning over Marco’s forearms. But that morning, it was mainly his neck and abs that had an effect on me.
The morning light shone on his collarbones with particular insistence, as if to say, “Put your lips here.”
Watching him make his breakfast, I found myself hoping he’d do something annoying. No, really. He had to do something to burst my bubble, because it was just unbearable.
Quick, Marco, show me you’re imperfect. Get on my nerves. Tell me you’re a fan of Imagine Dragons or that you’re in an improv league. Anything!
Because desire this intense is exhausting.
Seriously, is it normal to be so overwhelmed by someone you’ve only known for less than 24 hours?
Now, I’ll have to do like they do in the movies and jump forward in time…
…because two more months went by before something interesting happened again with Marco.
Two months during which I waited, in vain, for us to recapture the magic of our first evening together.
Two months during which I ran a BIC razor over my buttcrack every evening, just in case he’d suddenly want to pay me a visit.
But nothing happened. Nothing, except razor bumps and disappointment.
(If Jane Austen had written a book about our “relationship”, it would have been called Ingrowns & Disappointment.)
Marco seemed to be in “guy friend” mode 98% of the time. Without ambiguity. We chatted when we bumped into each other in the apartment, we watched a movie once in a while, we cooked my Goodfood recipes while listening to “chill low-fi beats to study to”.
But there was a remaining 2%.
A 2% during which his voice and gaze suddenly became soft.
A 2% during which his “bro” hugs stretched on a little too long.
One morning, he even offered me a taste of his yogurt. He was very proud of his granola cup. So proud that he held out his spoon for me to take a bite.
Seriously, WHO SHARES THEIR YOGURT?
Who shares their dairy products unless they want to get married?
It was more than enough to get me back to planting hope in my inner garden.
I could have made a move, but at the same time, I was too scared of being turned down and of creating awkwardness in the apartment.
Our place isn’t big enough for that. Feeling awkward in Versailles, fine, but not in a two-bedroom apartment.
And in the end, all I really wanted was for Marco to be happy. I was ready to adapt for him.
If he needed a boyfriend, I’d be there. If he wanted me to reverse-cowgirl him until dawn, I’d be there too.
So, as I was saying, nothing interesting happened for two months.
Until June 17th. The night of the power outage.
I was in my room when the power went out.
BAM! Total darkness. My essential oil diffuser spat out a final cloud of eucalyptus in the dark before dying.
I looked out the window. The power outage seemed to have affected the entire neighborhood. The night was as black as tar.
I heard Marco come out of his room. We had barely crossed paths during the day, both absorbed in our work. I went to join him in the kitchen.
“It’s so random, an outage in June.”
“Yeah. Really random.”
(That night, he was in “guy friend” mode).
To keep us busy while waiting for the power to come back, I suggested we play Catan. I lit up a couple of candles to illuminate the game board. It contributed to its medieval style.
While I was reading the rules and instructions, Marco got closer to me on the couch.
This is when his knee touched mine. And not just lightly brushed up against it: his knee was putting a good amount of pressure on my knee. Ongoing pressure.
Just like that, we had switched over to the other 2% of our relationship. The 2% in which Marco made ambiguous gestures, like welding his knee to mine for no apparent reason.
It took every ounce of composure I had in me to feign aloofness and pretend that everything was normal. I continued to explain to him the rules of the game.
Except that after 10 minutes of explanations, I realized we had a problem: you have to have at least three players to play Catan.
His knee was still glued to mine.
“Abort mission”, I said. “We need to choose another game.”
“Don’t worry about it”, Marco said. “We can take it easy.”
It’s hard to take it easy when the sum of all your fantasies is glued to the sofa right next to you.
Some music would have been nice to lighten the mood and hide the sound of my pounding heart.
I was thinking about different topics of conversation when I heard Marco say:
“Is it just me, or is there tension?”
“Between you and me.”
I couldn’t believe he brought it up. Under the spell of nervousness, I decided to play innocent.
Rather than look him directly in the eye, I took a piece of arable land from Catan that was lying on the table and started rolling it between my fingers.
“And what if there was tension?” I said. “What would we think of it?”
“We’d think it was a good thing, I think. We just have to make sure that it’s felt by everyone.”
Without taking my eyes off the arable land, I said:
“Yes. There might be a bit of tension over here.”
I’ll never know where I found the courage to tell him:
“Yeah, because I really want to kiss you right now.”
What followed was so obvious and predictable, that I wouldn’t even need to write it.
We made out, yes, but it wasn’t wild like in the movies, when two characters passionately climb on top of each other.
We started slowly, then our mouths got more and more confident.
Then, I found myself sitting on top of him.
There was clearly a mutual interest. I even felt his interest swell against mine.
Marco grabbed my ass with his strong hands.
He took off my shirt, then his, then pressed his chest against mine.
I didn’t understand what I was experiencing. It was as though the blackout had made us uninhibited. As if darkness had given us the right to dive headfirst into our 2%.
As his hands slipped under the waistband of my boxers, Marco looked at me. He was waiting for a green light before going any further.
In response, I kissed him again. I wanted to kiss him all over, to cover the entire surface of his massive body with my tongue. I couldn’t believe we were doing this. I didn’t care how, but I wanted to merge with him.
I still don’t know if it’s a good idea to get involved with my roommate like this. We’ll have to discuss this in more detail later. But that can wait. We’ll talk about it when our mouths are free.