Tess kicks Sam out and he walks down the road in the rain, waiting for her to call and say come back, I’m sorry, just come back.
She does not text and she does not call and he has nowhere else to go, so he goes back to her apartment and she opens the door. She is on the phone and she looks at him and walks back to the couch, where she sits and laughs at whatever the person she is talking to is saying.
The bathroom attached to her room is the best room in the apartment, which is a fancy apartment. He likes bathrooms. Has always liked bathrooms. But this is the best bathroom he has ever been in. Or at least it’s in his top five. The floor is covered with peach marble tiles, and so is the shower, and the basin is also peach with lights around the mirror, and every surface is covered with her premium skincare products. He knows how much these cost. He has been with her when she has bought them, and he was amazed and impressed that he was with a woman that would spend so much on night cream or some kind of serum. He likes to sit and read the backs of the bottles. He likes the way they sell the stuff inside. He likes to take long showers in her shower too. The showerhead is made from copper and he likes the way it looks with the peach marble tiles when they’re wet. And the pressure is good pressure. Plus there is a second showerhead if you want added pressure. He stands in the shower and he wonders if he loves her for real, or if he just loves being in her fancy apartment, with all the fancy things she has in there.
Her sheets are nice and they are also peach. And her duvet feels like it is filled with feathers that have been plucked from a fancy goose, because it is very warm and soft.
Some nights, when it is cold, she will rip the duvet from his body. She will say he does not deserve to be warm. This is a thing she does when she is drunk, also when she is sober. Sam laughs when she does this. It is laughable how childish and petty she can be. He is the one who is meant to be the baby. He is seventeen years younger than her. He is the one with no job and no apartment, with no money of his own. And yet she is the one ripping off the sheets and saying you don’t deserve warmth.
And yet, when he wakes up, he will spend the first minute of his day staring at her sleeping face on the pillow. And he will smile at the halo of messy blonde hair around her face.
Speaking of the bed, there were issues here early on. He had been raised on internet porn, and she was of the generation that came before internet porn. Sometimes she would get mad and say, “I’m not one of your porn sluts, Sam!” Other times she would say she did not have the time nor the inclination to teach him how to fuck her right. He took it on himself to be good in this area. He could not buy her shoes or perfumes or take her out for nice meals, or go halves with her on a holiday to a nice resort somewhere, but he could be good at fucking. He devoted his time to learning how to go down on her. He worked very hard. Paying close attention to the things the tip of his tongue was doing, and to the slightest shifts in her physical being, like the quiver of a thigh or a sharp intake of breath. He concentrated all of his powers on the task at hand. And it paid off. He went down on her twice a day, and he made her come twice a day. She was still annoyed at him for certain things, like leaving wet towels on the bed, but she could not be mad at him for this. If he could not contribute to the rent or the groceries, then this would be his contribution. He felt like less of a freeloader.
But the main thing is not the shower or the sheets or the duvet, the main thing is the clothes. She has so many clothes. One wardrobe for the clothes she wears, and two for the clothes she doesn’t wear. And she’s always ordering clothes online. Packages arrive at the door almost every day. He has no clothes. He has a nice suit that his parents bought him for his high school ball, which is now shabby. He has a pair of jeans that are ripped around the bottom from dragging on the ground, and he has a pair of loafers that have holes in the toes, so his feet get wet when it rains. He loves clothes and he hates not having nice clothes. He feels that his life would be a lot better if he had some nice shirts and two pairs of pants, jeans or chinos, and maybe three pairs of shoes. At least he could look good. She once bought him a fancy pink polo shirt out of pity, and he was happy to have a new shirt, but he also felt it would be another thing she would have over him, which it was.
He does wonder how it got to this point. He knows she is the first woman he has ever loved, and prior to falling in love with her his main goal in life was to make women love him. But not for real, only for one night and some of the next day. He loved talking to them in bars. He loved it when an arm brushed his, which made the hairs stand on end, and the fibres under the skin flicker with a kind of kinetic energy. He loved getting into taxis with them, and he loved looking in their make-up drawers.
And now here he is. He is stuck but he is not stuck. He loves her and he is pretty sure that she loves him. She is just one of those people who get angry when they hear the word mentioned. She is pretty tough like that. She would love him more if he had a job and money and nice clothes and an apartment. In short, she loves him for who he is (he thinks) but she does not love being a mother to him. She wants an equal and he is not her equal, not materially anyway. And he does not want her to be a mother to him. He wants to pay his own way. But he likes being in her apartment with all the nice things, eating the nice food and drinking the nice wine. And he wonders when his expiration date will be.
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