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“Hand me a towel, please?” My voice comes out muffled against the cheap, black microfiber upholstery. I roll my head to the side, blowing the damp hair out of my eyes.

 

“Oh, yeah. Sorry.” He disengages, pushing up on his hands, from where we were clutched together, just moments ago over the edge of his futon, and walks to the kitchen.

 

Jeremy never asks where I’ve been. I don’t know if it is because he doesn’t want to know the truth, or that he doesn’t really care. I’m here now. A bird in the hand.

 

He tosses me a red, cotton dish towel with a sheepish look.

 

“I haven’t done laundry yet this weekend. Sorry.”

 

“I hope you wash in hot water.” I try for a joke, but it’s not really funny. He can be clueless sometimes. Just another reason not to move in together I think to myself.

 

“Oh, yeah. Always.” He grabs a bottle of water from an open shrink-wrapped case sitting on the kitchen floor.

 

Standing naked, he leans against the doorway of the kitchen smiling while I dab at the goo smeared between my legs, gather my clothes and head to the bathroom.

 

I think about the stark contrast between Jeremy’s dank apartment with its dirty dishes festering in the sink and laundry heaped in a pile on the living room floor and the opulent hotel room last night, where I was worshipped like a queen.

 

But where is Rick now? He’s probably home, having dinner with Becca by now. And where am I? Wandering the streets, having an after-lunch fuck with my ex, anything to avoid going home. Being alone with my thoughts.

 

“Hey, you can stay if you want!” Jeremy calls through the bathroom door.

 

I don’t feel any better for what I have just done. I look at my face in the spotty mirror above the bathroom sink. The bruised reddish pink of my lips. My eyes, bloodshot and sad, dried black flecks of mascara at the corners. I am exhausted.

 

“I have so much to do, “ I reply with a heavy sigh. What’s another white lie at this point?

 

“Can I come over later?” he follows me hopefully to the front door of the apartment munching potato chips from a blue and yellow bag.

 

“I’ll text you.”

 

I give him a peck on the cheek on my way out the door.

 

To be continued…

 

 

 

 

 

 

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