Chapter Eight; Part Two
I take a long, luxurious shower then stand in front of my closet to decide what to wear. I have plenty of time before my date, but I want to make sure I look tip-top. I haven’t dated in five years, and I’m nervous. I pull out one outfit after another, rejecting each of them for flaws only I can see. One dress is too short, but the next is too long. One blouse is too frilly, and the next is too plain. I finally settle on a pair of crimson velour pants that flare at the hems and ride low under my belly paired with an emerald green silk blouse that shows an appreciable amount of cleavage. I put large gold hoops in my ears and declare myself done. I shake my hair out so it falls gently to my waist. I am conscious of the thirty extra pounds padding my body, but I clean up nicely if I say so myself. I still have an hour and a half before I have to leave, so I go downstairs to brew myself a hot cup of Earl Grey. The cats are right at my heels, assuming they’re going to get more treats. They are sadly mistaken, but I’ll give them a few each before I head out to Victory 44. I’m meeting Rembrandt at the restaurant because it’s my policy not to relinquish driving control on a first date. If things go badly, I want to be able to leave at any time. Hopefully, it won’t come to that, but I’ve been in dicey situations before, and I don’t intend to ever be in a similar one again. I watch episodes of Iron Chef America until I have to leave. I stop at Walgreens to pick up some condoms on my way to the restaurant—I like to be prepared.
“Megan. You look fantastic.” Rembrandt can’t take his eyes off of me as I approach the table. Once again, I’m struck by his David Bowie eyes, which are filled with lust.
“You look terrific, too,” I reply, looking him up and down. He’s wearing black khakis and a dark brown button-down with the top two buttons unbuttoned. His hair is slicked back, but there’s a cowlick that refuses to be subdued.
“I’m famished,” I say as I sit down. I haven’t eaten since breakfast as I skipped lunch in anticipation of dinner. I glance at the menu, but I’m sticking with the Spicy Clams & Spaghetti. Rembrandt orders the Perfect Burger, so I resolve to steal a bite or ten.
“How are you feeling?” Rembrandt asks, concern shining in his eyes. “You must still be in shock over your friend’s death.”
“I am,” I say, my heart suddenly heavy. “I can’t believe she’s gone. I know it’s trite, but it’s true.” I shake off the gloom with effort. “I don’t want to talk about that right now. We’re on a date. Tell me about your day.”
“I had the craziest client in the afternoon!” With that, he’s off. He only stops when the server brings our dinners. The spaghetti is amazing, and Rembrandt’s burger is, indeed, perfect. We have the Banana & Peanut Butter for dessert, which is a great way to cap off dinner. I find out that Rembrandt enjoys Tarantino films, but no one’s perfect. I wax rhapsodic for my love of musicals, which he doesn’t care much for, I can tell by the look in his eyes. We both agree that superhero movies are overdone, but that doesn’t stop either of us from loving graphic novels. We spend a large chunk of the evening talking about our respective cats, and the time flies by. I feel a stirring in my pussy that I have a hard time ignoring. After dessert, we have a light-hearted squabble about who’s going to pay the bill. Rembrandt insists, saying I can pay the next time. I allow him the win this time, and we leave with our arms around each other.
“Nightcap?” He asks, lifting his eyebrow as we near my car.
“Yes,” I say.
“It’s in Loring Park. Follow me.” He watches as I get into my car before getting into his. I take a second to text Liz with Rembrandt’s deets, and she immediately responds with a thumbs up. Then, I follow Rembrandt to his house. We’re there before I know it. I’m nervous because it’s been many years since I’d had sex with a man. I’m not sure how good I’ll be around the equipment. I sigh and get out of the car, locking it behind me. I’m just going to assume it’s like riding a bike, and I’m going to have a good time doing it.
“This is my home.” We walk up to a modest house, painted a rich marigold. As Rembrandt opens the door, I hear a plaintive mew behind it. The minute it’s open, a small, orange cat throws herself at his shins, and Rembrandt kneels to scoop her into his arms. It’s clear this is their ritual, and it makes him even hotter. “How’s my little girl? How’s my baby?” Ginger mews happily, rubbing her head against Rembrandt’s chin. “Ginger, this is Megan. She is a friend.” Ginger lifts her golden eyes and stares at me for several seconds before tilting her head to one side. I hold my hand out to her, and she daintily sniffs my fingers. She closes her eyes and tucks her head into my hand. I’m flattered that she’s accepted me so readily. “Would you like something to drink?”
“No, thank you.” I smile at Rembrandt, lowering my eyes so I’m peeking at him from under my lashes. “I’d rather have something else.”
“Well.” Rembrandt shuts the door with his hip as he’s still cradling Ginger, then walks further into the house. There are photographs on the wall, presumably his, of gorgeous vistas. The walls are a riot of deep colors, and there’s something oddly comforting about his house. We walk into his living room which has a large framed portrait of a family with one man looking suspiciously like Rembrandt.
“Your family?” I ask, pointing at the painting.
“Yep. Me, my brothers, Monet, and Gaugin, plus our parents.” He looks at me, accurately guessing my reaction. “My mother is really into artists. When we were kids, she had a dog named Van Gogh.”
“What about your father?” I look at the painting again. Mr. DiCampo, Rembrandt’s father, looks like an older version of him.
“He was a doctor—a pediatrician. He died last year. Heart attack.” Rembrandt’s mouth twisted into a rueful smile. “He was only fifty-five years old. My mother took it really hard. I visit her every week. She lives in Edina.” He sets Ginger on the couch, and she curls up in a ball. “How about your parents?”
“My mother died when I was twenty-eight. It was pretty devastating. My father,” here I hesitate. “He left us when I was three. My older sister was eleven, and my younger sister wasn’t even a year old.”
“That’s horrible!” Rembrandt says sympathetically.
“It’s OK. He was an asshole, anyway.” I have hazy memories of my father screaming at my mother because of some perceived slight. My mother would sit there, stoically taking it, until he ran out of steam.
“Want to see my bedroom?” Rembrandt asks, his eyes searching mine.
“Yes.” I smile at Rembrandt, shaking off the past. I follow him up the stairs and to his crimson bedroom. He has a photograph of Ginger on his nightstand, and it makes me smile.
“Come here.” Rembrandt pulls me to him and kisses me long and hard. I moan as his cock digs into my thigh. I grab it in my hand and squeeze, and it’s his turn to groan. I pull back so I can take off my shirt and bra. He does the same, minus the bra. He grabs my tits in his hand and massages them. I’m panting lightly as I jam my tongue in his mouth.
“God, I want you,” I growl, tugging at his khakis. He has a belt on, however, and it’s confounding me. He pushes my hand away and undoes his belt. He pulls off his khakis, revealing his black boxer-briefs. His cock is rock hard underneath the boxer-briefs, and he’s a big boy by the looks of it. I pull off my pants, and since I go commando, I’m in the buff before he is.
“Very nice.” Rembrandt cups my pussy and slips two fingers up me. I arch my back, thrusting my tits into his chest. He lowers his face so he can suck on them while fingering me. He transfers his tongue to my pussy, and I nearly jump out of my skin. He knows exactly what he’s doing, and within minutes, I’m close to coming. I press harder on his hand until I come.
“Oh my fucking god.” I lean against Rembrandt, my legs quivering. “Give me a second, and I’ll return the favor.”
“No sweat.” Rembrandt pulls back and lazily smiles at me. He pulls down his boxer-briefs inch by inch until his cock springs into sight. As I thought, it’s thick. I swallow hard because I’m still tight—it’s an Asian thing. We’re going to have to take it slow, or he might do damage to my insides. He kicks off his boxer-briefs, and I sink to my knees. I take his cock in my mouth with difficulty. I have a mild case of TMJ, so he’s stretching my mouth more than is comfortable. Still. It’s delightful to have a real cock in my mouth once again, and I savor the taste as I suck him off. “Goddamn that feels good.” Rembrandt cradles my head in his hands and gently guides my mouth up and down his shaft. After several minutes, he pulls me off. “I don’t want to come yet.”
“I have condoms,” I say hoarsely. My throat is raw, but in a good way. I am so ready to be fucked.
“So do I.” Rembrandt leans over, opens the drawer in his nightstand, and pulls out a six pack. He rips open a condom packet and rolls the condom down his cock.
“I’m too old to do it standing up,” I inform him. “I think I’d throw my back if we tried that.”
“I don’t want to have to drive you to the ER,” Rembrandt says, laughing a hearty laugh. He gently pushes me onto the bed, then he crawls up between my legs. He kisses me firmly on the lips and his cock thumps against my thigh. I spread my legs as wide as possible so he can have easier access. “Are you ready, baby?” He asks, biting my earlobe in anticipation.
“Fuck, yeah.” I grab his back as he slides the tip of his cock into my pussy. He waits for my body to accommodate him before he feeds me another inch. I haven’t felt this filled in a long time, and I’m loving it. He keeps going until he’s buried to the hilt, and then I wrap my legs around his back. He starts moving, careful to gauge my readiness. I use my heels to pull him deeper into me, then snap my hips up to meet his.
“You feel so good, Megan,” Rembrandt groans, kissing my neck and ears as he continues to thrust.
“Fuck me harder, Rembrandt,” I say, biting his shoulder. Hard. Not hard enough to draw blood, but hard enough to leave a bite mark. Rembrandt complies, and I feel my orgasm building up inside of me. I come without warning, my pussy clenching his cock. Once my orgasm subsides, I start cresting again, building towards my next orgasm. This doesn’t happen often, multiple orgasms, I mean, but when it does, it’s fucking fantastic. I come again, then the tension builds again. I come two more times in rapid succession, and I think it’s never going to end. “Oh my god!” I gasp, hugging Rembrandt to me. I claw his back as my orgasm takes over me once again. I’ve reached the point where I’m continuously coming, and I temporarily forget my name. I’m barely conscious when Rembrandt grips my shoulders and thrusts extra-hard into me. He holds himself still before shuddering and collapsing on top of me. We lie like that for a few minutes until Rembrandt rolls off me and flops onto the bed.
“Mercy,” I croak, feeling as if I’ll never walk again.
“You almost killed me,” Rembrandt retorts, his face muffled by a pillow. We’re aware of a plaintive cry outside the door, and Rembrandt drags himself over to the door and opens it. Ginger bounds into the room, scolding at him for closing the door. She stops in her tracks and eyes me on the bed. I’m probably in her place, but I haven’t the strength to move. She hops up on the bed and plunks herself on my stomach before grooming her hind end.
“Hi, Ginger,” I say, stroking her head. She closes her eyes and purrs in approval.
“That’s rude, Ginger.” Rembrandt lifts Ginger from my stomach and places her on the bed besides me. He lies next to her, and we simultaneously pet her, our hands bumping. A jolt of electricity surges through me as our fingers touch. Incredibly, I want him again. I glance down at his cock, which is still soft. It’s a cruel twist of fate that dudes have such a long refraction time in general, whereas I’m ready and raring to go right now. Rembrandt closes his eyes, and his breathing becomes louder. “I’m fading,” he says apologetically.
“It’s OK. I know how you guys are.” I wonder if I should leave. I have a hard time sleeping next to someone I don’t know, and despite our just fucking each other’s brains out, I still don’t know Rembrandt very well.
“You can stay. I don’t mind.” Rembrandt pauses for a second. “In fact, I’d like it.”
“OK. I will. I don’t think I’m in any shape to drive right now, anyway.” I slide under the sheets, careful not to annoy Ginger. Rembrandt is out in two seconds, and I reach out to pet Ginger’s soft fur. I’m wide awake, but I don’t feel like getting up. I close my eyes, reminiscing over the last hour. I haven’t been that hot in a long time—years, if I’m going to be honest with myself. I am ready for round two, but I restrain myself with difficulty. I reach under the sheets and touch myself—I’m still damp. Near the end with Tessa, I had to use lube to get wet, which hurt Tessa’s feelings.
I push her out of my mind because I don’t want to harsh my high. I had just had one of the best fuckings of my life, so I don’t need to think about things that bring me down. I move restlessly, and Ginger moves, too. I open one eye and see her curled on Rembrandt’s stomach. She has her tail wrapped around her nose, and she has one eye open, too. She blinks slowly at me, and I do the same in response. I’m touched that she’s accepted me so easily because I’m pretty sure that my cats won’t do the same with Rembrandt. Well, Jet will probably be friendly, but Onyx has a difficult time with new people, especially men. I snuggle up to Rembrandt, placing my hand on his chest. He’s lightly furred, which is how I like my men. I don’t like a lot of gross, coarsely-matted hair, and I don’t like smooth, either. I rest my head on his chest, rubbing his stomach as I do. I can feel his cock stirring, but he’s still deep in sleep. Suddenly, I’m restless. I want to be home, snuggling with cats on my couch. I slip out of bed, trying not to disturb Rembrandt or Ginger. Rembrandt doesn’t stir, but Ginger opens one eye and stares at me. She doesn’t move, however, and I simply wave at her before getting dressed. I scribble a note to Rembrandt and place it on his nightstand under a cup that’s resting there. I leave the bedroom, my emotions mixed. I had had a great time with Rembrandt, but I had really wanted to wait before having sex with him. Now, I just want to fuck him again and again, which is good for my body, but not great for my emotional state. I don’t want to become obsessed with him, which is my tendency when I have sex.
“Meow!” Onyx is pissed when I get home. She’s puffed up to her full stature, glaring at me for being gone so long. Jet is mournful, his head hanging low. They are the perfect combination of good cop, bad cop, and they make me feel like shit for neglecting them all night. I go to the kitchen and give them each several treats. Once they scarf them down, they forget their pique and butt their heads against my shins. I go upstairs and change into sweats and a sweatshirt before padding to the living room and throwing myself on the couch with my phone. I check my TL to see what’s happening, but not much is going on. There’s a lot of talk about drinking, per usual, politics, and food. That’s pretty much what weekend Twitter boils down to, along with random hookups. I don’t feel like talking about my date because for all my public flamboyance, I’m an intensely private person.
I check my blog, and there are more comments on my latest post. Impulsively, I start a new post.
I am alive. I know that’s self-evident, but the words feel foreign in my mouth because I should not be alive when Julianna is dead. She is the Thelma to my Louise.
I stop writing and frown. I used to think Susan Sarandon was sexy and fucking cool until she lost her damn mind. She voted for Nader back in 2000 and has gone downhill ever since. No wonder Tim Robbins donated a pittance to Sarah Palin during the 2008 campaign—he probably did it out of spite. Now, I cringe every time I see Sarandon talk or tweet, and I wish she would just keep her mouth shut. I delete that sentence and say Julianna’s the Amy Poehler to my Tina Fey instead.
We were crazy together when we were in our youth. We once drove to Austin, Texas, in a weekend just because we were curious to see a progressive city in the South. She was driving a twenty year old Corolla at the time, and it broke down somewhere near Oklahoma City. Julianna was able to talk the garage mechanic into fixing it for a very cut rate, and we were on our way in less than three hours.
We got soundly drunk one night and started calling each other’s exes. I called her exes pretending to be her, and she called mine pretending to be me. It was hilarious to string along her exes and to listen to her string along mine. We ended it by making dates with each other’s exes and not keeping them. Looking back, it sounds cruel now, but it was funny at the time.
Another time, she talked her way into a Vikings game, dragging me along behind her. She wouldn’t listen to my protests or to my very rational question of where we were going to sit. She started talking to people around us and found a group of rowdy young men who were sitting in a suite. Before I knew it, she had convinced them to allow us to watch the game with them in the suite. I don’t remember much about the game, but the food was incredible.
We haven’t done anything that crazy in the last five years because as she often said, the mind is willing, but the body is weak. She can still party all night long, but then she has to recover for the next day or two rather than just bounce right back. Instead of clubbing all night long, we were more likely to have a good dinner and then just chill at her crib or mine. She once joked that she was becoming geriatric because she turned down a particularly tempting booty call when she had a gig early the next morning. “I’m finally an adult,” she declared, right before she drank a large carafe of sake on her own.
I write about how our friendship has matured over the years, but how she was still the most exciting person I know. Knew. Tears flow down my face as I write about how she’s the yang to my yin. I have a small tattoo with her initials on my left ankle that I don’t talk about much. She has, had my initials tattooed on her left ankle as well. We got it done on my thirty-fifth birthday to celebrate our friendship, and I added a circlet of flames around it five years later. She added some black hearts to hers around the same time. They are symbolic of our lifelong friendship and how we’ll always be friends. Now, it’s up to me to carry on our legacy because she’s dead. I write about how she had a renewing donation to Planned Parenthood because she was passionate about reproductive rights. She also gave to various animal rescue operations because she loved animals, even though she couldn’t have pets because she was severely allergic to animals. She had to take a Benadryl whenever she came over to my house just so she could pet Onyx and Jet. They adored her and would stick to her like glue whenever she was over. Onyx even tried to sneak out after her once, much to my dismay.
She was such a positive force in my life, despite her dark outlook on the world. She brought such joy to me, especially when I was in the depths of despair. She once dragged me to a Bosch retrospective at the Walker when I was feeling depressed because she knew how much I loved him. You might think it’s a weird choice to make someone who’s depressed see, but it worked. I cheered up as I walked among his triptychs and horrific paintings.
I laugh as I remember Julianna cheerfully pointing out the gorier details of the paintings as the other patrons shot nasty glares her way. She didn’t give a shit as she rarely did, and after an hour, I felt better than I had in weeks. I could write about her for days, but I restrict myself to a few thousand words. I add a few pictures of her, then I hit publish. Afterwards, I feel gross, so I go upstairs to take a shower. As much as I love sex, I hate the aftermath and like to take a shower as quickly as possible. I take a long, hot, shower, soaping up my entire body. I am pleasantly sore between my legs, so the steam feels good. Do I want to see Rembrandt again? My body says yes; the rest of me is not quite as sure. I like him. I’d like to get to know him better. But if we keep dating, most of our time is going to be spent fucking. Suddenly, I wish I had waited before tumbling into bed with him. That’s faulty reasoning, however, as I would then have spent most of the time wanting to jump his bones. Dating is shitty, and I wish there was a better way to get to know someone than contrived experiences in which two people exchange small talk—or bodily fluids. I shiver, suddenly feeling cold. I turn the water hotter and continue to let it stream over me. Once the hot water has run out, I turn off the tap and step outside the shower. I towel off as my cats watch me in bemusement. I go to the bedroom and flop down on the bed. I fall asleep the minute I close my eyes.