“Ok, baby,” I say, touching his cheek. “I’ll do my best.” Paris leans forward and touches my lips with his. He presses his body against mine, and I can feel his hard cock digging insistently into my thigh. It would be so easy to have sex with Paris, and it would feel so good. That’s precisely why I gently push him away.
“Come on, Rayne,” he mumbles into my hair, not letting me go. “You know you want to. It would comfort me a great deal.” He slips a hand down my back and rests it just above my ass. It has been a long time since I’ve had sex, and I can feel my body responding. Paris is the best lover I’ve had, beyond compare. I bury my face into his shoulder as Paris starts to slowly massage my back. It takes the last ounce of strength I have to push him away, not as gently this time.
“Paris, you know you’ll regret this in the morning.” I quickly stand up to put some distance between us. Paris stands up, too, and gives me the puppy-dog eyes. I feel my resolve begin to crumble as he starts stroking my arm. Because he’s Paris, he knows that a slow, sensual stroking of my arm is the quickest way to arouse me. “I think, oh God, I am going to my room. You are not following.” Before he can stop me, I race into my room and shut the door. I feel guilty for turning him down, but this is not the way I want him. I don’t want the manifestation of his grief to be the driving force of him falling into my bed.
I return to my computer and wake it up. I remember the note found on the bed on Moira’s pillow. I find the purse I was carrying the night of the party and start digging through it, eventually uncovering the copy I had made of the note. I smooth it out and start by looking up each individual quote by typing in the main words and the author into Google. I can’t find much more than who quoted it and when. I tap my fingers impatiently on my keyboard as I try to think of fresh angle to finding meaning in those quotes. I fiddle around a bit more, but can’t come up with anything. I make a note to ask Paris because he is better at internet research than I. I surf a bit, but find nothing of interest. I decide to call it a night because I’m pretty worn out. I shut down my computer, but remain seated in front of it. There is a knock on my door. It’s Paris, of course, so I yell, “Come in!”
“Hey, Rayne.” He is shamefaced and can’t look me in the eyes. “I just want to apologize for groping you.”
“Hey, we all grieve in mysterious ways,” I say blithely. I don’t want him to think that he unnerved me even though he had. It’s hard enough for me to monitor my own desire for him without having to monitor his desire as well.
“Rayne, don’t joke about it,” Paris says solemnly, sitting on my bed. How does he expect me to deal with it other than by joking about it? It’s too dangerous to talk about it seriously. “I don’t want you to think I was just…using you.”
“Paris,” I stop. What can I say? Yes, Paris, you were just using me, but I understand that? That sounds patronizing. “It didn’t happen. Let’s let it go at that.” I smile at him, not wanting things to be awkward between us. Still, Paris doesn’t look at me. “Paris, honey, come on. We’ve been friends too long to get tripped up over something like this.”
“You’re right,” Paris says, finally dragging his eyes up from the floor. I stand up and walk over to him; he stands up, too. We embrace. He is still hard; I pull away.
“We really should talk about Max’s death,” I say, nodding at him to sit down. He does, and I sit down next to him, careful to leave some space. Paris is still freaked that he might have been the last one to talk to her. It would freak me out, too, if someone I had talked to just hours ago was suddenly found dead. I think that’s a normal response to an abnormal situation, but what do I know? I’m not a psychologist or even a psych major. I ask him softly is he can remember exactly what she had said. He pauses to collect his thoughts, then plunges in.
She was hyper when he called, sounding like she was amped up on something. He knew that she took E once in a while and hoped that she hasn’t resorted to doing that in the middle of the day. She was talking at a rapid clip, so fast he had to ask her to slow down more than once. She was slurring her words, sometimes whispering, sometimes shouting. After giving Paris Emil’s phone number, she went off on a long rant about how she had been too trusting of Moira, how Moira had fucked her over, how she (Max) should have realized that she was being taken for a ride. Max continued to say that she had seen someone at the party who hadn’t been invited, but didn’t think twice about it because this person was a friend Moira’s. It was only after Moira’s murder that Max began questioning what this woman was doing at the party.
“She didn’t give you a name?” I break in the narrative, pretty certain what his response will be. He shakes his head regretfully.
“She just kept saying, ‘that bitch’, and shouted about confronting her. She probably called her the minute I got off the phone with her.” Neither of us speak. I, because I’m absorbing the information. He, well, I don’t know why he isn’t speaking. Too choked-up, most likely.
“Well, we can talk more about it tomorrow,” I say finally, glancing at my clock. It is only ten o’clock, but I’m exhausted. “Get some sleep, Paris. You look like you need it.”
“I’m sorry about earlier,” Paris reiterates as he stands up. “I’m glad you didn’t freak on me.”
“No, you’re just relieved I didn’t take you up on it,” I say with a smile as I stand up, too. I don’t mind joking with Paris about having sex as long as we’re not doing it. It’s strange that I am the one to turn him down, though, for a change, since it’s usually the other way around.
“I wouldn’t have regretted it,” Paris insists, giving me a fierce hug and a peck on the lips. “It’s just better if we don’t.” On that note, he exits my room, leaving me to get ready to go to bed. I fall asleep the minute my head touches the pillow.