“It's... I think... Robert, I think you're the one.”
I was afraid she'd say that. Trembling lip, my sweaty hand clenched in hers, she blinked in rapid succession; this girl was going to cry. I tried to look past her to see what was on the TV. I'm not sure what a bear had to do with a laundromat, but much as I tried, it is hard to focus on figuring out the commercial when fifty-seven kilogrammes in nothing but a night gown weighs down on your chest, twenty minutes after you asked her what she was still doing in your apartment.
“You're wearing Luna's dress.”
I don't think it got through to her. Seeing her in my girlfriend's clothes, I don't think it got through to me. Bitch was crazy. Of course I liked that about her yesterday. Judging the direction my hands are going, I still liked that about her... Oh... No. Fuck no, Robert, you're not doing this. You will keep it down, you will not turn around, you will not... Her trembling lip slowly transformed into a smile.
God damn it.
It's not that I didn't realise what was going on until I lit a cig afterwards, then contemplated burning the sheets with it. I knew this would happen. That girl's arm weighed down on my chest like a ton of bricks and her legs wrapped around mine like a pair of green anacondas. An embrace in which I could feel my soul being sucked out, kiss, by kiss, by kiss. It happened just as I predicted.
“Roooooooobert...” She moaned my name like a five-year old who really wanted the puppy in the window; high-pitched and annoying, “I have to go to woooooooork.”
She started moving again and slowly crawled out of the bed. Finally. Half-way getting dressed, she suddenly turned to me and asked me to call her. “You never gave me your number.” I answered truthfully, only to have her pick my phone out of my pants, press buttons and throw it at me. Her first name was Kendra. I never learned her last, but to this day I am sure it isn't less than three.
“Oh Robert, come here!”
Two minutes of soul-sucking later, Kendra finally got out of my apartment. I locked the door behind her, while already pressing the buttons on my mobile. “Are you sure you want to delete 'Kendra<3' from your contacts?” My display asked. I waited until I no longer heard her footsteps; twenty-two gruelling seconds to be more precise, before I removed her from my phone's memory forever. I watched her cross the street from behind the curtains. She startled me when she turned around and looked up, but it was at the wrong window. Again, thankfully.
Now that Kendra was out of my home and sight, it was time to assess the situation. Luna was only out for the weekend and I would pick her up from the airport around midnight. That left me with approximately thirty-six hours for damage control. Enough time to do the laundry, open the windows to let out the perfume, clean up the entire apartment and knock over a framed picture to excuse it all. But first a joint.
Which is how I met Lillian.
“Northern Light?” She asked nonchalantly. I sat on the veranda of the old couple across the street. They had given Luna the keys to water their plants. She forbid me to come here, but Luna was about three hundred and eighty kilometres away from me. She could not stop me and it was difficult for me to resist Just sitting here made me feel relaxed; to lean on the railing and watch the cars and passer-bys.
“You've got a good nose if you can smell that. Especially from all the way over there.” I replied and offered her a share. “Something you like?”
She did. Lillian smoked with me. She put the paper shell to her lips and inhaled the sweet hell I offered to share. Smoking came to Lilian as breathing. Long strands of black-dyed hair fell across her face. You could see the shape of her skull if you studied that face carefully. Lillian noticed my eyes pry, but didn't pay them attention. Instead she looked through the window of the old couple's house and watched the living room for two breaths. “Fancy place,” she commented, “You come here often?”
I had done it again. Still naked I opened the curtains and let the light in. The prospect of anyone down on the street seeing me now wasn't nearly as shameful as facing the semi-transparent reflection of myself was. I'd better clean the windows.
She found a hair in my bed, Lillian. She held it up between her thumb and pinky finger, causing the sheet to slide down her pale shoulder. Lillian caught me looking again, but didn't even bother to cover herself, even in broad daylight. Instead, she just ignored me and kept finding more hairs.
“These your girlfriend's?” She asked, presenting me the small strand of long red hair. I shook my head. “Oh? You don't expect me to believe a guy buys peach-flavoured body-lotion? I've been to your bathroom, you know.”
“Can't a guy smell good?” I tried to joke about it, but Lillian hushed me;
“If you did, I would've noticed.”
So far Lillian had proven herself hard to fool. She had seen through all my lies so far. I decided to pass up my only chance of her believing one. “It's not Luna's.” I admitted eventually. “It's a girl's. Named Kendra. I met her last night. She bet she could take more shots than me. She lost, so she came back here with me. Told me she loved me. Then we fucked.”
I waited. I expected Lillian to start calling me names. After all, that was what I deserved. Something in the fashion of how I was a demon from the inferno's second circle, or how I was unable to control my desires; blinded by them to see right from wrong. I expected her to point out me starting to sweat and shiver, tell me how that is just like the pig I am. She would at some point scream at me, utterly shattering my already failing 'ironed façade' and then tell me that I had used her, that I had used Luna and even used Kendra. Finally, she would slam the door out of it's frame before she was even fully dressed, leaving me to wallow in my pit of self-pity and by drowned and cooked in my boiling pot of sin.
I watched her finish her cigarette, contemplating in what she'd say. Any minute now... I thought. Lillian breathed out, like a dragon let smoke escape from it's nostrils. She looked at me and said, “Well, I can help you clean if you want.”
Lillian had startled me with this offer. More than startled me, I believe she scared the living hell out of me. I was rendered absolutely speechless.
“Well, you know.” She said with a straighter face than even I could wish for, “You wouldn't want Luna to find my hair in your bed.” She got up and closed the curtains. “And this wasn't smart. Not my fault if the neighbours start talking.”
While my face dressed in the most dim-witted, blank stare she must ever have witnessed, Lillian began to take the sheets off the bed. “Oi, you don't get to stand there.” She commented, with more emotion than I had heard her use in any rational sentence so far. “Help me.”
I hurried to get another end. “Like this, right?”
Finally in the doorway, I took a good look in Lillian's eyes. They were unwavering again. I was still unsure if everything that had happened had really just happened. From Kendra, to Lillian, to cleaning my apartment and knocking over the picture Luna and I took with Mickey Mouse in Disneyland. “Shame of that picture though, the frame was cute.” She said.
“Yeah...” We had agreed that excuse was in order. “It was a good memory.” Lillian and I looked at each other faintly. We both realised I must've been crazy to mess that up.
“Well, goodbye Robert.” She said, preventing the incoming awkward silence. There wasn't much I could reply. I watched her figure shrink in my eyes as she neared the end of the corridor, then descended down the stairs. Even when she was gone, I wondered. Lillian had been the strangest thing, it was as if she had come down, just so that she could watch over me.