There were a few occasions when I did sleep with Leo -- I mean spend the whole night. They were rare and I always felt like he didn't want me there, like he didn't want someone in his bed with him, which is why I didn't do it often. He never seemed comfortable, like he was just one twitch away from waking up, and he tossed and turned a lot, keeping me up. As a result, those few times we did sleep together didn't feel very... romantic.
The first time I slept with Buddy, it was different. He slept naturally, like we belonged in the bed together. I think when we woke up, we sensed the difference.
We went out to breakfast and he seemed utterly elated by the step forward we'd taken. "Can you believe how much time we wasted?" he said, "All this time we could have... we could have been together! Instead we just wasted more time being lonely and miserable. we should've just gotten over ourselves sooner." I still haven't told him about Leo. I don't sense that he needs to know. He might react badly, whereas if I don't tell him, it's just, well, another pointless thing I don't tell him about myself.
Cutting it off with Leo was one of the loose ends I needed to tie up last month after Buddy and I became more or less official. I had been putting him off for weeks hoping he's get the message, but every few days, I'd get a text, "Hey, you busy?"
Finally, the Thursday after Buddy and I hooked up in New York, he texted me again and I responded, "I think we're done."
The answer back? A few minutes later, a simple "Yeah, guess so. K."
That "K" really bothered me. What was it doing there? Shouldn't he be upset about this? Aren't I hot? Aren't I a decent enough partner? If he was just looking for something casual, was I not as casual as it gets? Maybe too casual since I barely was speaking to him by the end! Ugh, that's what's so frustrating. What a waste of time. Maybe I was telling myself I had to keep going with it because it would hurt both of us to break it off, but apparently not. I'm not hurt at all, but... I was annoyed as hell about it.
But of course I had something to take my mind off it, my next weekend excursion to NYC. Funds are tight, but I'm living a cheap lifestyle so I can afford frequent trips. There was just one thing I hadn't counted on... my parents.
As a 24-year-old girl, they're pretty understanding of my boundaries, and haven't really said anything about my frequent late night trips out to see Leo or to go drinking with Sara and Raine. They're more concerned with Mae, and only police my behavior so far as they want to make sure I don't give Mae the idea it's okay to stay out late, do drugs and have a ton of random sex.
So when they found out I was heading out to New York on the weekends to see my new boyfriend -- and boy does it still sound weird to write that -- their first request was that they meet him.
That wasn't so easily done. His current employer keeps him no retainer so he can't go jaunting out of the city on a whim. He had time off for Thanksgiving, but since we go see family, it'd be such a busy day that it wouldn't be easy to arrange some kind of dinner with the family that involved him. Dad suggested we invite him over for Thanksgiving Dinner at his brother's place, but it was just too damn much pressure for a relationship that's not a month old yet. Besides, I was sure he had plans of his own.
Nope, as it turned out... he has his sister in Philly, which is how he ended up there, but most of his family lives out west anyway, but he agreed to go along with my explanation. In the end we compromised and he agreed to come over to meet the family after dinner.
So after I got to New York, and right as I'm getting into Buddy's hotel room, I feel my purse buzz. I didn't want to answer it, but he insisted I did. I had a sinking feeling in my gut that it was Leo asking me to take him back.
It wasn't. It was Ken, saying "YO VIC! Heard you're in NYC. Why no call?"
Agh! My big brother, the only family member it feels like I can relate to. I hadn't even thought about the fact that he lives in the city with his wife. That wasn't exactly why I'd come all this way. so I discreetly responded, "Getting laid." That's the kind of relationship I have with him.
A moment later, the purse buzzed again. "K, when you're done, let's all go for coffee. Not taking no for an answer."
Buddy laughed, "Your brother's a special guy."
I blushed, "It's... not easy getting away from him. And I do owe him, since I tend to disappear from his life. Would you mind?"
"Nah, it'll be a nice preview for when I finally do meet your family."
So we ended up getting food and drinks with Jana and Ken. Jana was quiet as a mouse, looking like she'd been forcibly removed from her apartment, while Ken interrogated Buddy about how we'd met and how long we'd been together. Buddy looked a bit uncomfortable, but he and Ken eventually found some common ground.
We said goodbye around 11 and headed back to the hotel. After an hour or so of messing around, we were lying there relaxing and he noted, "Your brother calls you Vic."
"Uh, yeah. It's short for Victoria."
"Is that what you like to be called? I've been calling you Tori this whole time..."
"Dude," I assured him, "Don't worry about it. To my family, I'm Vic, but to friends I'm Tori." I don't know why this is, but I didn't say so. "It's just a name."
"Heh, I guess you're right. As long as your name's not really John or something, I think we're good."
Heh, yeah... about that...
Thanksgiving was the usual awkwardness of affair. While Jana joined my mom and aunts in the domestic circle, I stayed with "the kids." There are a couple younguns who like video games, and one who's hit puberty since last year and didn't want anything to do with us. Mae observed, "I remember when that was me."
"That's still you."
"Yeah, but now I at least pretend instead of hiding."
Bored, I picked up a Wii controller to join the game of New Super Mario Bros. Before I knew it, Ken had joined in as one of the Toads. I made some stupid out-of-character comment about how this brought me back to my childhood, and he replied by asking "Since when did you ever play Nintendo?"
I almost had to smash the controller into the TV. It seems stupid, but months of comfort have done a lot to make me forget I ever WASN'T Tori, so when I'm reminded of the difference between Cliff and Tori, it can be very, very frustrating. Add to this the fact that I still haven't gotten the hang of my extended family and the awkwardness expands tenfold.
After dinner, Ken asked me what was up. Suddenly I was playing video games and dating, in his words, "Kind of a geek." I asked what was wrong with any of that, and he said nothing, it was just unusual.
"I'm making changes, Ken," I said, pretending for once that any of this was my choice. "I'm trying to be different from what I was."
"Well don't change too much," he said with a hopeful smile, trying to indicate he didn't mean to accuse me of anything. "We like you plenty for who you are."
I smiled back, "It's too late, Ken. I'm already different. But it's okay. You like me no matter what, don't you?"
"Of course. And as long as you like this new guy... I'm glad you're with him."
Buddy did stop by later that night, but as predicted, the parents were tired and went off to bed after about a half hour of chitchat. That left the two of us alone, for all intents and purposes. Buddy was curious to see my room, and I was... reluctant to let him. But I couldn't say no.
So I brought him up to my supremely-unsexy room. After all this time it's still largely-unpacked boxes, a few personal items, and some piles of clothes here and there.
"This," he chuckled, "Is not a girl's room." There he goes again.
"Then what are all these bras doing around?"
"You're a ladies' man. You collect them," he said.
"Oh yeah," I smiled, playing along, trying to turn it into sexy-talk, "You're just another notch in my bedpost aren't you?" I pulled him close and stuck my hand down his pants. Rock hard. For all his "guy"-talk, he knows I'm all woman. We started to mess around.
He pushed me back on my bed and I undressed as we made out. We did it on my very cushy but very small bed, and spent the night cuddled closer than before. The heat's not great in my room, so I had to re-dress before bed.
It was considerably more awkward than doing it in his hotel room. Especially since he had to get out the next morning without dad seeing him. He didn't succeed but let the guy go without commentary.
Me, however... I got a box of condoms thrown at me. Thanks, pop, for being so supportive.