I was thinking, you should come over for dinner this week. Huy’s words still rang in my ears hours after he had left. In the year and seven months we had been together, this was hardly the first time he’d brought this up to me, so it wasn’t exactly a surprise. But it was an indicator that he wanted to be more serious as a couple. I had done the family dinner before and knew that dinner was not just dinner. This was a sign to me that it was time to spend some quality time with Shirley.
Actually…that sounds really great, I thought, in mild surprise. It had been a week since she had been over to my house and I actually felt that I missed her. She had a sort of soothing way about her. Maybe it was because she was a doctor – or a doctor-in-training as she liked to remind me. She was still an assistant nurse struggling to be taken seriously in a man’s world. That was actually something I knew a thing or two about; if anything was a “boy’s club” it was the gaming industry.
The next evening after work, I called Shirley and invited her over.
I was at my computer doing some research when my phone buzzed on the desk. I couldn’t help a flutter of excitement as I picked it up and saw Camille’s name on the screen. “Hello?”
“Hey, Shir.” I loved the purr of her voice. “I know it’s a little late, but would you like to come over? I’ve been thinking about you all day.”
By now, I knew that this was a booty call – we’d been seeing each other for nearly two years, I knew the routine – but I still couldn’t wait to get over there. I tried to keep cool, though. I knew big displays tended to put her off. “Sure, I’m not busy. I’ll be over in a bit.” I hung up the phone and threw on some real-yet-casual clothes, then yelled to my sister, Hadley, that I was going to Camille’s.
“Don’t get pregnant!” She hollered back jokingly over the pop music she liked to paint to. She seemed to think it was hilarious to joke about her lesbian sister getting knocked up. Still rolling my eyes, I headed downstairs. Hadley had babies on the brain. Four years older than me and approaching her thirties, her biological clock was ticking. When she wasn’t painting, she was out somewhere husband hunting. Personally, I just didn’t understand that overwhelming need to procreate. Sure, I’d like one, maybe two kids someday, but that day is in the very distant future. The way, way distant future.
I got to Camille’s and was again struck by the dichotomy between her and her tiny little house. Camille, though she only shows it selectively, is bursting with life and passion. Like when I get her to talking about her work; she’s so animated and could go on for hours if I don’t stop her. I’ve always found it sort of funny that she keeps all of that contained in such a tiny space.
I knocked and, a heartbeat later, Camille called, “Come in.” I walked inside and found her finishing up dinner. That stung a little. She couldn’t even have dinner with me before getting to the naked bit? “Hey,” she said with an easy smile. “You want something to eat? I was starving.”
Immediately, I felt like a huge bitch. “Yeah, actually, that’d be great.”
Camille plated up some fish tacos and offered them to me. “Sorry they’re cold. I still haven’t gotten around to buying a microwave yet.”
I dug into the tacos. “We don’t have one at the house either. My parents didn’t believe in “that newfangled technology.’” That pulled a bubbly laugh out of her that bought a responding smile to my lips. “And since Hads and I have been living there we’ve always had something more important to spend our money on.” Like bills. My parents hadn’t had a lot of money and most of it had been spent first on Mom’s medical bills and her funeral and then a year later on Dad’s funeral. Hadley had inherited the house, being the eldest, and had opted to keep it instead of selling. That made money kind of tight, even with her salary and mine.
“I want to get one, eventually, but I need so many other things first. I decided to just save up until I could do a big remodel.”
“That makes sense,” I said as I got up to wash my plate. “You’ve told me before that you’ve got big plans for this land.”
She grinned and we walked into the bedroom together. “I do. I’m going to build a nice, big house eventually. I want the best.”
Camille drew me into her arms and I kissed her slowly. “As if you could settle for anything less than that.”
I woke up to bright sunlight filtering through the windows. I blinked and looked around in confusion. This wasn’t my bed or my room. Beside me, a warm, soft body shifted under the sheets, a voice mumbling in sleep and suddenly I remembered. I had gone to Camille’s last night. Uncharacteristically, she had let me stay the night. I smiled brightly as I rolled out of bed. It had been months since I’d slept over and months again before that. She usually kindly but quickly ushered me out after we were done for the night.
Last night had been uncharacteristic in another way, too. A typical night consisted of coming over, a little chatting, maybe dinner, and then heading to bed. Last night, after we had made love, neither of us had felt tired. We had sat up and talked for what seemed like hours before finally falling asleep. I don’t think we’ve ever done that before.
I made my way into the kitchen and decided to make eggs and toast for breakfast. I don’t think in all of our time together we’d ever had breakfast together. On those rare days she did let me sleep over, one of us had had to run off to work or some other thing had come up. But today was my day off and she works later in the day, so we can have a nice breakfast together.
“Mmm?” She came out, blinking blearily as I stood at the stove.
“Good morning!” I smiled brightly at her.
She just grunted and went back into the bedroom. I just laughed and went back to cooking. My Camille was not a morning person. A short while later, she returned and we settled down to breakfast. If she seemed a little awkward, I could understand that. She obviously wasn’t used to having someone around in the mornings.
“So, are you doing anything tonight?”
“I don’t get off work until late,” she said, sandwiching some of her eggs in her toast. “I’ll probably just come home and crash.”
As usual, it looked like I would have to wait for her invitation before we could do this again. I wouldn’t let that get me down, though. In truth, I liked the ease of our relationship. I had to throw myself into my work at the hospital, and I started work early in the mornings. That didn’t leave much time for socializing. If I were seeing anyone else, they’d be wondering why we haven’t moved in together by now or talking about a wedding or babies, but I’ve barely got time enough in my life for the occasional evenings with Camille. This is the perfect arrangement for both of us.
At least for now.
AN: I have a confession; I’m actually playing catch-up. I wasn’t going to write this story up, but I got so invested in the characters, I couldn’t resist sharing. It’s proving to be an interesting task maneuvering them all.