“Girl, you know you don’t gotta worry about that with me,” Paris says with spirit. He is the poster boy for safer sex; I wish all queer men would follow his lead. I’m tired of losing so many of them to AIDS. “Guess who emailed me last week? Jenna.”
“No way! I thought she gave up.” Jenna was Paris’s last girlfriend—the one he broke up with just before meeting Lyle. Paris had been dating her a month when she wanted to take it to the next level. Problem is, the shine had already come off the relationship for him. She did not take it well when he broke up with her. His ex-lovers rarely did, but hers was the worst reaction in a long time. He considered having her served with a restraining order, but she backed off just enough to make it a non-issue.
“I thought so, too. Apparently she heard about the break-in and was concerned that I might be hurt. She won’t be satisfied until she sees me with her own eyes that I’m ok.” Paris’s lip twitched as he relays the information. I struggle to keep my face solemn as well, but can’t. We both know it’s just an excuse to see him again. Paris has the misfortune of being utterly captivating to the people he dates, making it difficult for them to let go when he dumps them. Make no mistake about it, he’s always the dumper not the dumpee. The only time he didn’t dump his lover was when Brett died of AIDs. Other than that, he’s batting a thousand. I, on the other hand, am much more likely to be the dumped than the dumper. By the gods of karma, it’s my right to dump the next five people I date.
“You going to see her?” I know the answer before Paris even opens his mouth. Any attention would only encourage her. In some ways, I’m surprised. She was such a drab mouse when he dated her. He tends to be attracted to people who don’t shine as brightly as he does because he likes to be the one in the limelight. Not physically, necessarily, as he likes beautiful people, but personality-wise. Unfortunately for him—and for his lovers—then he gets bored because the other person can’t keep up. This has been his pattern since I’ve known him. Only Brett and now Lyle have been anomalies which is one reason I have high hopes for Lyle. Another is that he’s just as good-looking as Paris is with his thick, dark curls and intense blue eyes. He lifts weights religiously as does Paris; in fact, that’s how they met. At Paris’s gym. One look and it was instant lust.
“Hell, no!” Paris says emphatically. “I haven’t even answered the email, and I don’t intend to.” He knows it’s better to be firm than to waffle. “I’m hoping she’ll go away peacefully this time.” I have my doubts, but I keep them to myself. I don’t want to harsh on his high over Lyle. “Hey, you said you were going over to Lisa’s tomorrow?” He watches as I mix the batter and start shaping the cookies into little balls. “Is Vashti going to be there?” He doesn’t offer to help for the same reason I never offer to help him—each of us is fiercely territorial when cooking. It’s hands-off for the other person.
“Yes.” I nod my head, my eyes dimming. I’m not sure I can face her. I unconsciously finger the bridge of my nose where there is a bump from being pistol-whipped and broken. Of course, I get dough on my nose and Paris wipes it off for me. My right knee twinges as if it senses my thoughts. That’s where I got sapped with the same gun that night. My injuries are mostly healed, but they like to remind me now and then of what happened.
“You ready for that?” Paris rubs my back sympathetically as I continue dropping cookie dough balls onto the cookie sheet.