Being back in Toronto has been really bittersweet for me. Even before I became myself again, I knew the experience would be tainted by Alia's presence at the Inn. So my momentary glow of victory feels like it's faded. The city feels a little colder, a little less familiar, even amidst the first serious heatwave I've felt all summer. It's been more humid than hell lately.
For a few days, Bry and I just walked around the city, savoring the sights. Queen, Bathurst, Yonge-Dundas, College and Spadina... the sights of those streetcars crawling along the streets, the dissipating odor of a monthlong garbage strike. We had Crystal along with us a lot of the time, showing her things that, as Alia, she would have to pretend to know about. The sights, the locales. She seemed pretty awestruck by it. I got the feeling she wasn't much of a city person. I figure she was half excited and half scared. After a few days of that, she retreated to the library. What she's been doing all day there is beyond me, but I think she's been using it as a base of operations for... whatever she plans to do with Alia's body.
She's been keeping her distance, but last night there was an absolutely massive thunderstorm. Like it didn't rain enough when I was in Maine, it's followed me back to my hometown.
Well, she showed up at our place, saying that being alone at Alia's place in a strange city had been hard enough, but the thunderstorm was really getting to her and she needed the company. I told her she was more than welcome to spend time with us, she didn't have to be intimidated or anything. We really just want to help her (well, and Alia, but I think that's implied.) We spent the night watching movies (we introduced her to High Fidelity and The Royal Tenenbaums, but decided our go-to movie, The Big Lebowski, might not be her speed.)
She fell asleep on the couch, and then Bry and I went to my room, where we had... a talk.
Basically, he asked me if I was thinking about making a move on Crystal. That was a big no. Admittedly, the way she looks brings up certain feelings for me, but there's something so off-putting about the way she's not Alia. After being around her for a few weeks, the Inn-curse mojo is starting to soften, the way it did when I'd been around Anne-Marie/Julia enough.
The way Bryan sees it, people are going to see me not being with Alia as a sign that she's available, and coming from her (probably sexually frustrated) background, it might not be easy to withstand temptation. Not to mention. he said, how her being a homebody might cramp our style, but exposing her to our lifestyle of awesomeness* might drive her too far into the aforementioned temptation.
*(It's not as awesome as all that, but it's still pretty good, and I've missed it. I've missed staying out late drinking at dive bars so much.)
Things were supposed to get easier once I went back to the Inn. How did I end up in this mess?
When we woke up in the morning, she was gone again. I'm hoping she makes her stays a more regular thing, but I've never been real good at resisting temptation. But she's not her. No matter how much I want her to be.
Bryan brings up a good point. If it doesn't at least appear to others that you and "Alia" are still a couple, guys will start courting her.
What's probably more of a threat is the possibility of Crystal giving into the temptation to get serious with one of these suitors, rather than settle for one night stands to satisfy her cravings. That will be more of a threat to getting her to go back to the inn when the time comes than just partaking of the wild lifestyle you and Bryan enjoy.
But true, you have your own temptations to avoid. It's a fine line to walk. Nevertheless, you have a role to play, this time as "supporting actor". It might not be easy, but it's probably less stressful than playing "leading lady", i.e. Anne-Marie.
Yeah. It's a real conundrum. I've got to find time to sit down with her and talk about it, but a) she's not around much, and b) it's going to be superhumanly awkward.
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