Madeline and Lola
"I'm in love with Lola," I said after Agnes convinced me to tell her what had been bothering me lately. She'd noticed a change in my mood over the past few days, a disposition that she, apparently, recognised as lovesickness. She wasn't wrong.
"Why Lola? She's not worth it!" Agnes couldn't believe it.
It was true. Lola wasn't worth it. We had hooked up at parties on two separate occasions, and she still claimed she was just "experimenting". In fact, she stood by this just days after she had confided in me that she "wasn't straight". She had broken my heart, but I never told anyone. Not even Agnes, my best friend.
"Look," I tried to explain, "it's like… It's like you with David."
Her situation was exactly the same. David was an asshole, we both knew it. He had treated her like dirt, yet still flirted with her and wanted to get back with her whenever he was under the influence of alcohol. She didn't trust herself around him without me present because she was so scared that she would fall for his bullshit. Something nagged at her, even though she had a boyfriend. Deep down, she still loved David. And deep down, although I was sort of seeing someone else, I loved Lola. It was pathetic.
I honestly would have done anything for her. When we were at parties, or at a club, she would tell me all about her boyfriend troubles and (for God's sake!) ask me for advice. As her friend (because she was still my friend, even if she broke my heart as a lover), I would sit there and give her answers trying not to let her hear the pain.
I hated myself. The bitch. She knew I was in love with her. And she thought we could just go on our merry way being friends and put behind us all the "just friends" hugs and the "just friends" way she stroked my arm when I was sad, and the "just friends" kisses in the back of Agnes' car when we thought she wasn't looking. Fuck her and her "just friends".
Despite all of that, I would still get butterflies when she walked into the room. I felt like I couldn't ask her to do anything normal with me as a friend, like go and have lunch, without her thinking I wanted to do more, to be more to her than just her friend.
"She's nice in small doses, but honestly, Maddie, she's a stirrer. I swear to God she absolutely loves the attention you give her but she'll never actually commit. Even if she is bisexual, she's too scared to try it seriously with a girl."
"I know," I replied, "but that will never stop me from loving her. I just have to ignore it and it will fade away. I hope."
I'd just had a dream about Madeline. I woke up staring at the ceiling, my heart pounding, and my sex was throbbing. How could she be doing this to me? Callum rolled over and put his arm around me. I gently unwrapped his arm from me again, and got up for a drink of water to clear my head.
Madeline. There was no way I was ever going to let her know how I felt about her, it was too hard. It would never work. She was so confident, and so upfront about who she was and what she wanted. But she was also so shy, and so sweet, and she kissed me like I'd never been kissed before. Kissing her was so different from Callum. I loved Callum, but when he kissed me, I wasn't turned on. Before I kissed Madeline I didn't even know what turned on felt like. It was a sensation that made me want more, but I didn't want her! I didn't want to be with her. She was in love with me. And I didn't love her. Or did I? I didn't want to think about it. It made things awkward, it made it difficult to be her friend, hard to be around.
When we were at a bar, when we were just hanging out, was she thinking about me? Because whenever her lips moved, whenever she twisted her straw in her glass, whenever she smiled, I was thinking about her.
"Are you alright, babe?" Callum called out, "are you coming back to bed?"
I sighed and swirled my glass of water. I felt so guilty feeling these things when I was with Callum. Would he be angry? I got up and went back to bed. Callum was sitting up with the light on.
"Can we talk?" he said huskily.
"What, right now? It's four o'clock in the morning."
"Yes. I want to talk about it now."
I didn't like where this sounded like it was going.
"What's wrong?" I asked.
"Look, is something up with you? You never seem with me."
"No," I smiled, "I'm fine, I just had a bad dream."
Callum rolled his eyes, sank back down under the covers and turned to face the other way.
"Didn't sound like it was a bad dream," he mumbled.
I froze, feeling choked up. Had I said something in my sleep? Had I said something about Madeline? This was not what I wanted, this was not what I had planned. Callum was a strong man, athletic and well-set. He was also the kindest man I knew. He made me feel wanted, and he made me feel safe. That's why I was with him. Madeline couldn't give me that.
Feeling satisfied with my reasoning, I turned the light off and slid under the duvet, pressing up to Callum's warm back.
Rachel came around. I felt horrible because I had barely thought about her in the past week. Lola had been on my mind more than usual. I really liked Rachel, and we had a really great time together. We also had some honestly mind-blowing sex. But I couldn't help thinking it was all physical, there was something missing. It was like we were really good friends, we had a lot in common, and we also just happened to be sleeping together. Those are three ingredients to a perfect relationship, but not all of them.
With Lola, it would be all of that on top of my intense attraction to her and this bizarre sense of emotional intimacy that was never there, but always seemed so close, like it could be. My body quivered just thinking about her and I how would touch her. I wanted so much to be all that she had never had. To make her feel things she hadn't even dreamed of.
But she didn't love me. I was her toy, her plaything. Her casual hook-up. Her experiment. Her friend that gave her advice on how to keep her fucking boyfriend. She made me so angry. But I could never hurt her no matter how much she hurt me.
This was crazy. I was driving myself mad.
I told Rachel I was tired and felt a bit sick, so she went home at eight. Then I rang Lola.
"Lola speaking," she chirped.
"Hey, I was wondering if you would like to come around and watch a movie? I feel like we haven't hung out in ages. That is, if you haven't planned anything already."
"Yeah, like right now?"
"Alright, I'll be there in about twenty minutes. Callum's just hanging out here, he won't mind if I go out tonight."
"Cool, see you soon!"
I was shaking. I would tell her. I had to. Tonight.
It's just a movie. Just a movie. Nothing's going to happen! I had to keep telling myself this. Why was I nervous about going around to Maddie's for a movie? It was insane. I had no idea what I would wear, either! I didn't want to look like I was dressing up just to watch a movie. I decided I'd just wear what I was wearing. I took a bottle of wine as well, I hadn't seen Maddie in a while so I thought it would be a nice gesture.
My stomach was reeling as I pulled up outside her place. My hands were shaking as I pressed the buzzer.
She let me in.
I regained my confidence as I walked up the stairs. It's just a movie.
I knocked on the door.
There she stood. Her short, sexy hair that she was always flicking out of her eyes. Her tight jeans. Her gorgeous face.
"Hey, Lola!" she smiled.
I handed her the bottle of wine and attempted to hug her all in one motion and we both laughed.
"Thanks," she said.
"So what are we watching?"
"Well. I haven't actually decided, but you can check out my DVD collection. I'll just go and open this," Maddie said, holding up the bottle of wine.
I went over to her DVD shelf and tilted my head to read the spines.
"What's Desert Hearts?" I asked.
She laughed as she emerged from the kitchen with two wine glasses and the opened bottle.
"A lesbian romance. Interested?"
I went red. "No. What's Eurotrip?"
"American comedy, I guess similar humour to American Pie. It's pretty funny."
"Alright, let's watch it."
I put Eurotrip in the DVD player. I'd watched it so many times when I was at university, but I didn't mind watching it again. It was a safe movie to watch with her anyway, I especially wanted to avoid any passionate romance films with intimate man-on-woman sex scenes. I would have just felt awkward.
Lola reclined on the couch and I sat down beside her.
"Lights?" she asked.
"Oh, sure," I said, "I'll get them."
I got up and turned off the lights off and fumbled back to the sofa. Lola hit play on the remote.
I did not concentrate on the movie one bit. All I could think about was her hand resting on the sofa just beside me. I just wanted to reach out and touch it. I wanted to lean over and kiss her. I had to resist. I couldn't have her, but I didn't dare to scare her away. I wanted to always be her friend so that I could at least be around her, be close to her. Hear her breathing beside me.
I wanted her so badly that it nearly made me cry. Every now and then she laughed and I'd quickly turn my attention back to the movie and laugh too. I wanted to touch her so much. But more than that, I wanted her to want me to touch her. I wanted to be desired as much as I desired her. Callum was such a nice guy, and even a pretty good friend of mine, but they just didn't seem right together.
Is it possible to be absolutely sure that you were meant to be with someone, yet at the same time for them to have absolutely no feelings for you? I was sure it was possible. Because that was the situation I was in.
I tried to focus on the movie as much as possible. But something was making me feel… what was it? I felt turned on. It must have been the wine. I could see Maddie out of the corner of my eye.
I couldn't believe it. I wanted to kiss her. I really wanted to. What would she think? She must hate me for all that I had done to her. I had lead her on so many times, we had kissed, and it had been incredible, and I had ignored it. I had flirted with men while she had watched. I had talked to her about Callum, and asked her for advice. I had pushed this all into her face. There could be no way she would still love me after that. I was a horrible person.
I should have apologised.
I should have explained.
I should have told her everything, because she deserved to know what I wanted, even if it would hurt her. She deserved to know!
I sat beside her on her sofa thinking all of this. She was right there. My friend. The woman I cared for. The woman I had kissed. The woman I loved.
"Would you like some more wine?" I asked.
"Oh, yes please," she responded, without looking away from the television.
I refilled her glass and mine, and sat back. I watched her take a sip out of the corner of my eye.
I focused on the movie again. I had to be sure to laugh at all the right bits just in case she noticed I wasn't really concentrating.
But it was hard.
I was getting that tingly feeling again.
Lola seemed to be shifting uneasily in her seat. I hoped she wasn't getting awkward. I turned to face her and she looked back at me. Then she quickly looked back at the television. I did too.
I slowly reached across and put my hand on her leg. Not in a "just friends" way. The touch made her quiver but she didn't gasp in horror or push my hand away. I slid my hand a bit higher and she tensed up. Surprised at her reaction, I looked over at her. Her eyes were closed.
I leant over and gently put my hand on her cheek. She turned and looked straight into my eyes.
"Please don't" she whispered.
But I ignored her and leaned in closer.
Our faces were close. I leant forward a bit more, just enough for my lips to brush on hers. Her lips opened slightly.
We sat there, suspended in that moment just before you kiss someone. Was she waiting for me?
I pressed my lips onto hers and kissed her. I kissed her like I meant it. I kissed her to show her I was sorry, to show her that I wanted her, to show her that I loved her.
She was touching me in places that Callum didn't even know about. I couldn't believe how she was making me feel.
I broke away. "Maddie, I love you and I'm so sorry." I began to cry.
She just smiled and kissed away my tears.
"Lola, I would do anything for you."
I couldn't believe it. I didn't deserve this.
"I'll make it up to you, I swear."
"You already have," she shook her head, "you said you loved me."
I took her face in my hands and kissed her passionately. I would never let her go. I would never leave her. She made me feel loved and wanted. She made me feel amazing. She made my body ache for her. And that was something that Callum could never give me.