Building Friction (Part 14)

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I chain smoked on the drive home, ignoring my ringing cell phone and trying to keep the car steered in a straight line. When I made it back to my apartment, I rushed into a hot shower, scrubbing at my skin to get the smell of Geoff off of me. I collapsed to the bottom of the tub in a torrent of sobs. What I was most upset about, I couldn't put my finger on.

The sex was something that I wanted. I would be lying to myself if I declared that it wasn't so. But the way that it happened, so quickly, so intensely, left me dazed. The satisfaction that it provided me, the heart pounding thrill of it was intoxicating. I couldn't remember a time in my past when a quickie had been that hot. Why this would be with a man that in reality I barely knew was one of the factors weighing down on me. My mind raced over all of the other bad decisions that I'd made in my life, and this one was stacking up to be one of the worst.

Most of those feelings seemed spurred on by my reaction directly after the sex. It wasn't Geoff who'd forced himself on me. I'd been the instigator. Yet I responded to his motions to be kind with a complete psychotic break-down. Sure, fucking him was probably one of the worst decisions that I could have made, but that was the issue right there. I made the decision. It wasn't his fault. I only sobbed harder when I realized that what I'd done was far worse than any of the purported atrocities that he'd visited on me.

I crawled into bed, my hair still dripping wet and my eyes still flooded with tears. My entire face hurt from the non-stop emotional assault. I could hear my cell phone ringing in the living room, on the coffee table where I'd dropped it when I got inside. My home line started to ring shortly after whomever was trying the cell gave up. Some time after that, I drifted into a dreamless sleep.


The knocking at the door was what finally woke me up. A glance at my clock let me know that it was after 10 in the morning. I'd been asleep for almost 12 hours. I yanked on some sweats and pulled a T-shirt over my head, all the while screaming toward the front door that I was on my way.

Steph pushed her way inside when I finally cracked my door open. "What the hell happened to you last night?" She headed into the kitchen and pulled two glasses out of my cabinet. I watched as she filled them with water and then handed one to me. "You look like utter shit, by the way. Now tell me what's going on."

I melted down onto the sofa cushions and tucked my feet underneath me. "I don't really feel like talking about it, Steph." I took a small sip of water.

Steph walked over and sat down next to me. "Oh, no you don't. Every time you tell me you don't want to talk about something, you get into one of your little funks and refuse to leave this damn house. Now start talking before I start making calls and figure it out from someone else."

"I don't think that anyone else could tell you anything. I went to the rapid dating thing and then I came straight home." I couldn't meet her gaze. My head was still pounding from the marathon crying session I went on last night. I closed my eyes and ran the cold water glass over my forehead.

Steph looked me over up and down. "No. No, I don't think that's quite it. I think something else happened. I KNOW something else happened."

"Why?" My heart was suddenly racing out of control. "Did he call Alex?"

"Did who call Alex?" Steph looked confused.

"Oh," I started to backpeddle and hoped she wouldn't catch on. "Nothing. Never mind."

Steph narrowed her gaze at me. "Please tell me...." she started. Her eyes lit up. "Noooooooo. No, Chloe. No. Please tell me that this doesn't have something to do with Geoff."

"This doesn't have something to do with Geoff," I parroted back to her.

"Liar! Oh my god, you fucking liar! Did you see Geoff last night? Was he there? Did he follow you again?" She was moving closer to me on the couch, poking me in the arm.

"He was there. But he didn't follow me. He was just there." I took another sip of my water and kept my gaze downturned.

"But something happened. Something really bad happened," she kept appraising me. I turned my head and glanced at the window and the sunlight filtering through the curtains. "Or something really good happened. Oh, Chloe. Don't even tell me..." her voice trailed off.

That was the last thing that I could bear to hear. Tears began to stream down my cheeks anew. I buckled over and sobbed heavily.

"Please tell me that he didn't..... Oh, that fucking prick! He didn't.....?" Steph started rubbing my back and trying to get me to sit back again.

"No," I wailed. "It was me. I wanted it."

Steph's circling hand stopped. "You wanted to?" she asked, confused.

"There was this woman.... and she was old.... and he said she was like me.... and I don't know why, but it bugged me, you know? Like it really fucking bugged me! And I ran off because I didn't want to hear about it. And he followed me. To the restroom, Steph! He came inside the women's restroom and he called me on it. And I told him, I told it it bugged me and he said... he said.... I was the rich man's Chloe!" I forced out each word with a hitching sob.

Steph pushed me back and looked into my face. Her eyebrows were furrowed. "The rich man's Chloe? I don't get it."

I sniffled. "He was saying that I was better. I don't know. It sounded so fucking good. Out of everything that he'd said to me before, and the comments on the web page and everything! Steph, I don't think anyone has ever said something that good to me before. Of everyone."

"You're exaggerating." She reached over to the coffee table and grabbed a tissue, then handed it to me.

"Well, who fucking cares now? It worked then. Because... because...." I blew my nose and tried to gather my breath. "Because then I was kissing him, and then I was fucking him. And then it was over and I was screaming at him. And then he was gone."

"Screaming good or screaming bad?" Steph took the soiled tissue from me and handed me a new one.

"Screaming bad." I wiped at my eyes.

"What exactly did you say to him?" she asked.

"That he was all wrong. That I shouldn't have fucked him because he was an asshole to me." I sighed.

"Wow. The sex was that bad, eh?" She shook her head.

"No. It was good. It was really good." I hung my head. "It was fucking awesome." I let out the last words in a whisper.

"Then why did you blow up at him?" I could see her struggling to keep from smacking me in the arm again.

"I DON'T KNOW!" I screamed. Steph fell back to the other side of the couch, looking at me in shock. "Oh, fuck. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. Fuck. FUCK! What is going on with me?"

Steph approached the next question in the only way that Steph could. She grabbed hold of my shoulder, yanked me into position where she could stare hard into my eyes and then said, "How fast did you come?"

"Within seconds, it seemed like. It was so.... it just..." I couldn't think of the proper words.

"Oh, babe." Steph cooed softly, pulling me into her arms and rocking me back and forth. "You know what that means."

"I don't want it to mean anything. I want it to never have happened." I rested my head against her chest and sighed.

"Great sex is never just about the physical. It's mental. You've got that man wrapped so far up in your brain, you're twisted up like a Bavarian pretzel." She sat me up and held me at arm's length, then looked into my eyes. "You need to talk to him. These feelings aren't going to go away until you see him again and talk about it. As much as you don't want to hear this, you need to apologize for going koo-koo for co-co pops on him. Or else this is never going to go away."

I shook my head violently. "No. I can't do that. No."

"OK, fine. Give yourself some time. But eventually..." she narrowed her gaze sternly at me, "you're going to have to deal with this right. That means sucking up your pride, growing some damn ovaries and being a woman about it. You didn't do him right, doll. No matter how bad you think he was to you, telling a man right after he fucked you that he wasn't what you wanted is just plain chickenshit. If he really wasn't what you wanted, you never would have done it in the first place. You know this is true."

"I can't, Steph. He'll just gloat. He'll throw it all up in my face and he'll gloat and then he'll tell everyone what a dumb bitch I am." I covered my face with my hands and fought back the tears.

"Well, you were a dumb bitch. And if you didn't think so yourself, we wouldn't be having this little conversation, now would we?" She grabbed my wrists and yanked my hands off of my face. "Promise me you'll deal with this. Promise me you'll talk to him at some point."

I swallowed hard. "Only for you, Steph. Only for you."

"That's good enough.Now put on some normal clothes. We need to hit Costco and stock up on some Jaeger for tonight." With that, she yanked me to my feet and dragged me to the bedroom to look for something for me to wear.

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