Cue Ball’s real name was Quinn. He took me back to his apartment on the other side of town. It was a small one bedroom place but since he lived alone he probably didn’t need much space. When I walked in his bachelor status was confirmed by the weight bench in the small living room and the life size cardboard cutout of Paris Hilton in the kitchen. Blue rope lights were strung up around the living room and the old sofa was haphazardly covered with an old bed sheet. Even though I was drunk, I wasn’t so drunk that I didn’t pick up on the little details.
Protein powders lined the counter space in the kitchen and he had some sort of chart on the side of his fridge. I tried to read what it said but his meaty hands grabbed my hips and pulled me the other way. Quinn guided me to the living room and pushed the power button on the stereo that probably cost more than a year’s college tuition. Loud rock music flowed through the speakers. Thanks to my late husband, I immediately recognized it as Megadeath.
Not exactly music for getting down, in my opinion.
Quinn started tugging on my zipper right away. His full lips found mine. The kiss was soft at first before he thrust his tongue into my mouth. It was too stiff and that gross, slimy wet as he kissed me hard.
I pulled back gently and said, “Whoa there, tiger, slow down.”
“Sorry, babe, you’re just so sexy I can’t help myself,” he said, trying to move in for another kiss.
I hoped he’d slow down a little bit. There was no rush, as far as I was concerned. Again, he was good at first but then the switched flipped and it was like he went from normal speed to ludicrous speed. Dark Helmet motherfucker.
“I need to get this off of you,” he breathed, tugging on my dress.
“You will. Are you in a hurry or something?”
“I’m ready to get to the main event,” he shrugged.
“Can you turn down the music a little? It’s giving me a headache,” I told him. I worked on getting the straps down on my slip dress.
Quinn picked up the remote to turn the radio down two notches. He turned his attention right back to me.
“Damn, you have nice tits, babe,” he said as he reached up to grab them.
It was like being felt up by King Kong.
“Thanks,” I replied. I tried to loosen his grip a little. “Hey, they’re boobs, not bowling balls.”
He didn’t respond, but did lighten his grip. Quinn leaned over and immediately wrapped his lips around my left nipple. He started suckling like a baby, but a little harder than Willa used to. He didn’t seem to know how to slow down.
“Hey, Quinn,” I pushed him back. “Listen, I don’t want to leave but so far you’re not giving me a reason to stay. None of this is working for me.”
“Tell me what you like. I can try to give it to you,” he offered.
“Just slow down and be a little more gentle. I can appreciate the enthusiasm but I’m not into pain,” I explained.
“I’m not trying to hurt you.” He went right back in for the kill, going toward my right nipple. He didn’t suck as hard, but it wasn’t exactly comfortable.
“It still doesn’t feel good,” I sighed. “I think I should go.”
He wasn’t getting it.
“You don’t have to. We can try something else,” he offered.
“Uh, I think I’ll pass. You’re just not… We’re not meshing,” I said. With the way those hands of his were I didn’t want him to try fingering me. It would probably feel like meat hooks in there. Pass.
“I think we’re meshing just fine.” He tried coming in for another kiss, but I pressed my hands against his chest to stop him.
“No, that’s okay. I’m going to call a cab.” I bent down to get my dress off the floor.
“So this is it?” He looked pissed. “Why’d you come home with me if you’re just going to walk out before anything even happens? You’re a fuckin’ cock tease.”
“Then you should be glad I’m not staying. I’m sure you and your hand will have an all-night orgy.” I pulled my dress back on and zipped it as much as I could.
“I knew I shoulda left you alone,” he grumbled.
There was no point in replying to him. I pulled out my phone and called the same cab company I had used before. Quinn was obviously unhappy about me leaving but I didn’t owe him anything and I wasn’t going to fuck him just because he thought he’d earned it.
“What’s the address here?” I asked him.
“36890 South Tennessee,” he muttered.
I relayed it to the dispatcher. When I hung up I tucked my phone back in my bag.
“Would you want to fuck a girl who bit your dick while she was blowing you?” I asked him
“I don’t know why you’re still talking.” Dick.
“Because it’s stopping me from karate chopping you in your fat neck,” I retorted.
“You can wait outside for your cab.”
“It’ll be my pleasure. I hope you and the cardboard skank have a happy life together.” Seriously, it was possible I got chlamydia just from looking at that thing.
Quinn stood up to open the door for me.
That was the only thing he did right after we left the bar.
The cab pulled up a few minutes later but rather than giving the driver my address I gave him Eric’s. I wasn’t sure why I did it. I didn’t really want to be alone but it wasn’t just that. He bugged me sometimes but I felt safe around him. I wasn’t going to tell him he might have been right about Quinn.
It didn’t take long to get to his house. I paid the cabbie and carefully got out of the car. After being at Quinn’s I felt like I needed a shower… in bleach. I knocked on the front door and heard Molly lose her mind inside.
“Molly, hush,” I heard Eric command. He opened the door a moment later. “Uh, hey…” He was in a pair of sleep pants and looked like he was freshly showered.
“Hi. Sorry, I know it’s late. I can go,” I offered. If he was going to bed I didn’t want to keep him.
“Stop showing up and immediately offering to leave,” he chuckled. “Come in. I was just making a snack if you want something.”
“Well I don’t want to impose. A snack would be good. I haven’t really eaten anything in like a week,” I admitted. I picked at things but I hadn’t had a real meal for days.
“It’s french fries and I blended up a milkshake,” he told me as I stepped inside. “You gonna be sticking around a while?”
“Uh, I don’t know. Maybe? Your kids are going to want you to make all their meals someday, by the way.” I bent over to unbuckle my shoes. They were cute but killing my feet.
“Probably,” he agreed. “I was going to offer a shirt and sweats if you were going to stay.”
“Oh. Uh, I might take you up on it.” I followed him to the kitchen. “I may need bandages for my nipples, too.”
“Uh, why?” He looked thoroughly confused. “Come on; let’s go change before we eat.” Eric went through the kitchen to head for the stairs.
“Quinn got a little rough.”
“Is Quinn Shitstain?” he asked over his shoulder.
“Depends. Who’s Shitstain?” We started to climb the stairs.
“Yeah, that’s him.” My tits were still sore. I probably had bruises on them.
We made it to Eric’s room. He went to a drawer to pull out an old Bruce Springsteen T-shirt to hand to me.
“There are Band-Aids in the medicine cabinet if you really need them,” he told me. “Take your time changing. I’ll be downstairs making snacks.”
“Will you unzip me?” I turned around.
Eric stepped up behind me. I felt his fingertips gently graze my back as he pulled my zipper down.
“You have beautiful skin,” he told me, taking a step back.
“Thanks.” I looked down and sure enough, Dark Helmet left finger bruises on me. “Son of a bitch,” I muttered. I dropped the dress and turned to show Eric the bruises.
“I’ll kill the motherfucker,” he growled as soon as he saw them.
“He’s not worth it. He called me a cock tease when I told him I wasn’t into it,” I told him. “But I think this explains why I wasn’t into it. A slap on the ass is okay in the heat of the moment but this is not. Christian Grey can keep looking for the right dumb bitch to abuse.”
“Smart girl. I’m glad you walked out,” Eric said. “You’re welcome to shower if you want. I know I’d want to if that prick touched me.”
“I’m glad I didn’t give him the chance to roofie my drink,” I snorted. “Too bad you showered already. I’d let you wash my back.”
“It’s not that big of a deal jumping back in,” he chuckled.
“No, it’s okay. I’m sure you want to get back to your snack.”
Eric stepped closer so his bare chest was pressed against mine.
“Stay the night with me and I’ll cuddle the fuck out of you,” he offered, rubbing his hands up and down my arms.
His proposal made me laugh.
“Well shit. How can I say no to that?”
“It’s impossible,” he grinned. Eric leaned down to kiss my cheek. “Go clean up. I’ll have your milkshake and fries ready when you join me downstairs.”
I went to his bathroom and started the shower. While I stood under the hot water it dawned on me that it had been so long since someone had taken care of me that I forgot how nice it was. I just wasn’t used to it. The shower helped and I was relieved to wash the Quinn off of me.
Once I felt clean I got out of the shower and dried myself off. I wrapped my hair in a towel and in Eric’s bedroom I found the shirt he’d left out for me. I picked up my dress and draped it over the chair in the corner. Molly was lying on the bed, watching me.
“You know you’re not supposed to be up there,” I said to her. She rolled onto her back for a belly rub. “I don’t think so, lady. Come on, let’s get Eric.”
Molly sprang up and jumped off the bed. I followed her out of the room and down the stairs. In the kitchen there was a big plate of fries and a milkshake with a pink straw in it.
“Thanks,” I smiled when he handed me my shake.
“You’re welcome,” he smiled back. “Feel better?”
“I do, thanks.”
“Good. What made you show up here, not that I’m complaining.”
“I feel safe here and I didn’t want to be alone,” I admitted.
“I can’t fault you for that,” he said. “I’m glad you have somewhere safe to go when you need to. I like to think we’re somewhat friends.”
“I don’t know how to define our relationship.” We weren’t quite friends but we weren’t really lovers… It was complicated.
“Friends is the best thing I can come up with,” he shrugged before shoving some fries into his mouth.
“Honestly, I’m not sure why you put up with me. My tits can’t be that great.”
“I don’t know either. At the bar earlier I couldn’t figure out why I cared so much about your safety. I haven’t really figured it out yet,” he told me. “Your tits are pretty great though.”
“Maybe you’re secretly in love with me,” I joked. That was ridiculous.
“That’s not it,” he laughed. “I do like you though, when you’re not being a stubborn ass.”
“It’s who I am,” I shrugged. “And you’re plenty stubborn yourself, mister.”
“Two peas in a pod,” he winked.
“Scary, huh?” I sipped my milkshake. Damn, that was tasty.
“A little, but that’s okay. When we aren’t being assholes we have fun.”
“True,” I agreed. I swiped a fry and submerged it in my milkshake.
“I’m starting to think you’re secretly in love with me though. You keep showing up here… not that I mind.”
“You wish,” I snickered.
“It would be nice if someone loved me,” he teased, reaching over to tickle my side.
“You have Molly,” I laughed and squirmed away.
“She doesn’t count. She loves anyone that scratches her belly.” Eric scooted closer to tickle me again.
“You hear that, Molly? He takes your affection for granted,” I said through my giggles and kept moving away from him.
“She knows I don’t.” Eric hooked one arm around my middle to pull me against his chest so he could continue to tickle my ribs.
“Big liar!” I squirmed and tried to get free. That’s hard to do when a squid has you.
“Nope. I don’t lie about anything,” he chuckled as his hand moved further down to tickle my inner thigh.
“Hey!” I squealed and jumped, making Molly bark at us. It was like being scolded by Mom for being too rambunctious inside.
“Fine,” he sighed dramatically. He didn’t let me go, but he stopped tickling me.
“You seem to like trouble,” he countered. He wrapped both arms around my shoulders from behind.
“Turns out I’m not very smart,” I said quietly.
“I think you are,” he replied just as quietly, kissing my temple.
“We’re two peas in a pod. Maybe you’re not very smart either.”
“Maybe.” Eric reached up to turn my head so he could dip down to give me a soft kiss.
I felt my heart skip a beat and it was like a bucket of ice water was thrown at me. I cut the kiss short and pulled away from him to reclaim my shake like nothing just happened.
“So um what kind of ice cream is this?” I lamely asked.
“Karmel Sutra,” he answered, giving me a strange look, but he didn’t say anything about me jumping away.
“Sexy ice cream. What next?” I laughed and it sounded like a bad, fake work laugh.
“Are you okay?” Eric asked, arching an eyebrow.
Nope, not even close.
“Right as rain.”
“Uh huh… want to go watch TV until we get tired?” he suggested.
“Sure,” I nodded. I took another drink of my shake and followed him to the living room.
Eric flipped on the TV. It was on the ID channel. He took a seat on the couch, kicking his feet up.
“It probably won’t take long for me to get tired,” he told me.
“That’s okay.” I sat at the other end of the couch and pulled my knees to my chest under the old, too big shirt I had on.
“Why don’t you come over here and snuggle with me?”
“Oh, uh, I’m still working on my shake. I don’t want to spill,” I replied. It wasn’t a bad cover story but it wasn’t the total truth either.
“Fine but as soon as you’re done I’m ready,” he yawned.
“If you’re ready for bed you don’t have to wait for me.”
“I know. I’m not ready to sleep yet, just for snuggles. You normally have Willa to cuddle. I have a stinky dog.”
“I’m sure Molly doesn’t mind cuddles.” I took another sip of my shake.
“No, she doesn’t. She’s also not allowed on the bed to give them to me,” he reminded me.
“That explains why she makes herself at home on it whenever she wants,” I laughed.
“You know, that’s the only time she doesn’t listen to me?” he chuckled. “Otherwise she’s an amazing dog.”
“So then she totally makes that mattress her bitch,” I giggled.
“I’ve been thinking about putting it in a different room so she has her own room, but something tells me it wouldn’t work,” he snorted.
“A dog with her own room… Are you secretly an old, rich white woman?”
“No, I’m a middle aged rich white man that loves his bitch.”
“That’s classy,” I snorted.
“I’m a classy broad,” Eric winked.
“I can see that.” I sipped my drink again.
Why did he have to get all sweet when he kissed me? That just fucked everything up.
“You want to rub my feet?” he grinned, kicking his long legs out to rest his foot next to me.
“You don’t have to, but you’re there,” he chuckled.
I shrugged and set my glass down so icy cold hands touched his feet.
“Shit, you should’ve warmed those up first,” he said, jerking his foot.
“Oh come on, it’s just a little cold,” I laughed, reaching for his foot.
“It’s a lot of cold.” He allowed me to take his foot, but his leg stayed tense.
“Don’t be a sissy,” I teased and promptly tickled his foot. He asked for it.
“Goddamnit, Sookie,” he laughed. His leg jerked again, but he didn’t remove his foot from my grasp.
“What? It’s my own technique for massage,” I giggled. When I touched between his toes he squirmed again, begging the question of why he asked for a foot rub if his feet were ticklish.
“You have a weird technique. Give me your foot. I can show you how it’s supposed to be done.”
“My way is more fun though.”
“Your way is going to earn you a tackle and tickle,” he warned.
Annnnd I dropped his foot like it was made of lava.
“Fine.” I reached for my shake. I knew what would happen if he tackled me. We wouldn’t stop at tickling.
“Give me your foot,” he requested. “I promise not to tickle you.”
“Oh, uh, no that’s okay. I’m not a fan of foot rubs.”
“No one is not a fan of foot rubs,” he smiled. “If you don’t want it, that’s your prerogative.”
“I don’t… because I’m not a fan of foot rubs,” I reiterated.
“That’s fine. I think I’m going to go to bed. Are you going to join me eventually? You were promised snuggles.”
“I’ll be up in a while.” Snuggles weren’t supposed to be daunting, were they?
Eric stood up, stretching his long body. “Okay, goodnight.” He leaned down to kiss my forehead before he left the room.
I sat there on the couch and stared blankly at the TV. Molly had followed Eric upstairs. I didn’t know what was going on with Eric but I felt like maybe we could be moving in a direction I wasn’t ready to go. I was torn between wanting what he had offered and not being ready to let go of all the anger and grief I was carrying around with me. I was going to have to do that if I wanted to move on and I knew it. It wasn’t fair to expect Eric – or anyone – to be my punching bag.
So I stalled. I took my time drinking my milkshake and then I cleaned up his kitchen. I watched a stupid Time Life music infomercial for soft rock. My eyelids felt like they were made of sandpaper every time I blinked but I was in a weird stage where I knew I was exhausted but I couldn’t let myself relax enough to go to sleep. I knew if I went up to his room I was just going to wake him up with all my energy. Al was never bothered by my nerves. He could sleep through a hurricane if he wanted to. I was pretty sure Eric wasn’t that heavy of a sleeper for some reason.
Finally, just as the sun was coming up I decided it was a lost cause. I crept up the stairs with the intention of just getting dressed and going home. I was such a mess and I had no idea how to go about fixing anything. It wasn’t a comfortable feeling, being so unsettled. I didn’t like it one bit.