Tuesday, January 4, 2011

I can't face the thought of trying to clean up Raina's room just now, so I let us into mine. Later, I think. We sit down on the edge of the bed and our lips meet. The passion is still there, despite our last wild night, but we have time, and so the kiss is more tender than passionate.

I draw Raina into my arms, just hold her. Our eyes meet, and we speak almost as one.

" - about the other night..." We stop and laugh, the momentary tension broken. I see something in her eyes that I never dared to think I might see - or is it just wishful thinking?

"Sorry," I say. "It's okay, you go first."

"No," she says seriously. "I think you should go first."

Now I feel stupid and intrusive and insensitive - but dammit, she was the one who suggested the threesome, and she had a hell of a time. We all did. So maybe I should just open my mouth and spit it out.

"I heard you telling Alise the other day that you've been with other women and you like it, and that first night I saw you dancing with Patti. Not that it's any of my business particularly, but do you consider yourself bi?"

That has to take the cake for the most awkward opening in the book....

"Well, it probably is your business, I mean you at least have the right to know. I guess I would consider myself bi, if you need to have a label for it

How about yourself, as long as we are asking questions? You didn't seem real put off or anything by Guunnar, not that you guys actually did anything...."

"I've had some guy-guy experience, yeah... It was a long time ago, but I've never actually said I'd never do it again. I just never found anyone recently that interested me - and then I met you, and the thought just never occurred to me after that."

"So not a serious type thing? Just sex or friends with benefits??"

"Yeah, I'd say that's a fair description. I've never been with a guy who made me want to give up women. Truthfully, I prefer women, and it's been a long time since the last guy - like I said - but I don't say I won't do it again if the circumstances are right." I pause and give her an open-eyed look. "How do you feel about that?"

She shrugs.. "How am I suppose to feel? I cant judge...its not like I am some pillar of society or anything remotely close. I had pretty much given up on relationships until I... " She stops herself, biting her lip in the process, blood trickling down her lower lip...

She wipes her lip with the back of her hand. "Sorry... I...I'm no good at talking about my feelings…"

"Not to worry, lover. I'm not that good at it myself." We stare at each other across the room. Both of us clearly have something on our mind, but neither knows exactly how to say it.

Raina stands and starts pacing in front of the window. Usually being at a loss for words isn't her problem and this makes her uncomfortable. She stops and looks at Nick, takes a deep breath... "What if I said I was in love with you? I don't mean the kind of thing Alise and Stoney have, I would never be any good at that. I like what we have and that we share other lovers. But the way I feel about you is ....I don't know.....but I think I am falling in love with you. And then what? Would you want me to go, to stay, what? I need to know...I don't think I can handle having my heart broken again…"

I feel like someone has lifted the Chrysler Building off my chest and then dropped it again. There's that word, the one I feared to let ever enter my vocabulary again, and Raina's saying it!

Do I play it safe? Go for broke? Can I really afford to tell her the whole truth, that I think I might be falling in love with her?

"I'm sorry, I shouldn't have said anything. I always seem to open my big mouth at all the wrong times.." And she turns and gazes out the window.

"No, no wait, Raina, please." I turn to look at her and the strength of my gaze pulls her back around again.

She hangs her head, tears close, choking her voice, "No, its okay, I understand. Maybe I should just go back to my room..."

"Raina - I don't have a lot of experience with love. The last person I loved killed me, made me into this - " I gesture vaguely at myself. "I don't know if I know exactly what love is, how it works. I don't think I could ever be monogamous, either, so that works just fine for me; and now, with us 'coming out' to each other, there's really nothing left to hide.

But one thing I do know: the thought of you walking out that door, of never seeing you again, terrifies me. I know that every day is better when I'm with you, and I can't get you out of my mind, and I don't want to.

If that's not love, then okay, maybe it's not - but it's closer than I've ever come before, and until I find out better, I'm willing to take a chance on it."

I raise my eyes to meet hers fully, dead-on. "I love you, Raina."

The tears start to fall, "I love you too. i never thought this would happen, but I cant imagine my life without you in it.."

I'm astounded to find tears in my own eyes and suddenly we surge into each other, wrapped tightly in the others' arms.

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