I opened my car door and got out, Ethan was standing in front of the entrance to my apartment building. It was only 23.30 pm so Keely wasn't going to be home for another two hours or so, depending on the customers. I slowly walked up the steps without looking at Ethan, I pretended to look for the front door keys.
"Gemma" he whispered my name and as I took the final step I looked up into his eyes. He looked insecure, his hands were in his pockets.
"Ethan" I whispered back. He looked so handsome. "I, uh…" He took a deep breath and continued "I came here to apologize" he whispered.
"Ethan you don't h-" he covered my moth with his hand and came closer to me. Why is everybody covering my mouth today! I thought as I looked away from his knowing eyes. "I'm sorry that I saw you fucking that guy in an alley, I should have left" he said as he pulled his hand back from my lips only to lean it on my shoulder.
"Are you really?" I whispered. He looked confused "What?" he asked, I sighed, Don't go there Gemma, you don't want an answer to that! I ignored the little voice in my head and said it anyway "Are you really sorry that you saw that?".
His eyes flared and before I even knew what he was going to do he took my head, pulled me to him and kissed me. I was shocked at first and just stood there while his tongue probed my lips to open, but then he gently nipped at my lower lip and while my mind was screaming at me to run away, my body gave in and I opened my mouth and let him in. He didn't waste any time, as soon as I opened his tongue plundered my mouth like a thirsty man in a desert drinking water for the first time in days. His hands pushed me against the front door and his leg gently parted my thighs . I could feel his erection probing against my hip and I moaned.
Someone clearing his throat made us jump apart and I looked up at Mr. Smith, my old next door neighbour. "Good evening" I whispered out of breath. "Evening Miss. Salento" he said, eying me evilly. "Ethan" He nodded and then walked inside the apartment building and to the elevator.
"Can I come up?" Ethan asked and I looked back at him, his hair was dishevelled and his green eyes looked hungry. He's your FRIEND Gemma, stop this right now or you'll get hurt again! "No , Ethan, I don't think that that's a good idea" I shook my head and turned to open the front door but Ethan took the keys from me and put them in his pocket.
"No Gemma, I've had enough! Seeing you like that tonight only made me want you even more!" he pulled his hand true his hair in a nervous gesture " I can't even look at you without wanting to touch you and kiss you and fuck you like a mad man!" he said angrily.
"Ethan I…" "Don't!" he put out his hand to stop me "Don't give me the friends bullshit anymore I can't take it!" he shook his head "Can't you see how crazy I am about you? Can't you see that every time I look at you I get hard! And now to top it off I have your moans haunting my thoughts and making me want to fuck you like a mad man, because I want to be the one that makes you moan! I want to be the one that makes you come every single time! I want to be the one that makes your panties wet and I want to be the only fucking one that eats your pussy!" he came closer to me , his eyes flaring "I tried to get you out of my mind! I tried to see you as a friend, but I fucking cant be your friend while every single night I get off thinking of you, every time a woman tries to hit on me I compare her to you and find her lacking! Can't you see that!" his face was only inches away from mine and I could see that he was breathing hard.
My mind was blank and suddenly the old known fear crept over me. I was panicking No no, no, no not again, no! "say something!" he yelled. I took a deep breath and tried to suppress my fear but nothing worked , I looked in his eyes and the feelings he had for me were all there. This is not the first time you see these feelings in a friend, get a grip! Tears were streaming down my face and I couldn't seem to move, Ethan had me in a corner without even knowing it. Why did he have to say those things , why couldn't he just leave things the way they were? "I can't" I whispered, my voice was broken.
His eyes changed then, he took a step back, and then another "I'm sorry Ethan, I can't give you that" I whispered. He turned around to walk away but then he changed his mind and turned back to look at me. "No!" he said "No, I won't accept that, not until you give me a good reason, I won't back off until you tell me why the hell we can't be together when we both feel the same way about each other! And don't give me that look, you can deny it as much as you want to, but that kiss you just gave me said it all!" he took my face between his hands "Give me a fucking good reason for why I have to stay away from you?" he asked gently and my heart ached for him. Could I tell him? NO!
"Ethan…I…I can't " I shook my head while tears streamed down my face "It hurts to much to even talk about it" I whispered and looked away. He pulled my face back to his and kissed my tears away "Let me in Gemma, tell me who and what the fuck made you so miserable that you froze your own heart" His eyes were sincere and I gave in. "Come on up, I have some wine we can share before I even want to think about my past!" he took the keys and followed me to my apartment.
We were sitting on my couch drinking our second glass of whine when I finally found the courage to open that old wound. "It's a pretty long story, are you sure you have the time to listen?" I whispered .
He picked out his cell phone and dialled a number while he was still looking at me "Yeah, Chris? Yeah I wont be in to close up tonight, could you take care of it for me?...yeah thanks man I owe you, good, see you tomorrow" he closed his cell phone "I have all night baby" he smiled and I smiled back weakly. "Okay" I took a deep breath. Where do I begin? From the very beginning I guess. " So as you know I was born in Italy, my parents had me late in their lives, I wasn't planned and they were already in their forties when they found out that my mother was pregnant with me. I was a mistake for them. They never wanted children, all they could ever think about was making money, and all they ever cared about was what other people thought"
I took another sip of whine and continued "My parents never hugged me or told me that they loved me, my mother was always gone and my father was always working so I was home alone a lot, or sometimes they left me with my grandmother. I was only eight years old when my mother left with another man. She never said goodbye to me, she just disappeared one day. My father was devastated and blamed me, he said it was all my fault, that I had ruined their marriage. That I was the biggest mistake he ever made. He started drinking and was almost never home. I went to school, cooked and cleaned all by myself. I thought that if I tried hard enough, if I did my best to be a good girl that my mother would come back. I watched a lot of TV growing up, to avoid feeling the loneliness at home. My father stayed away for months some times and came back only to leave me money and say hi to my grandmother. I watched all the family TV shows, family matters, full house, and always compared my family with theirs, they were so perfect. That is how I learned to speak English by the way"
I smiled and looked up at Ethan to see if he was still with me , he was looking at me with those big green eyes full of understanding and I took another sip of my whine "Anyway, long story short, I grew up all by myself until I was twelve and they discovered that I was practically living alone, they took me away from my home and put me in an orphanage. I stayed there for several moths , everybody teased me there, because I got good grades at school. One day this young couple comes to greet me and they tell me that they would be my foster parents until I was 18. They had a beautiful home at the beach and they were rich, I was their first foster child and they spoiled me as much as they could, Rita, my foster mom, thought me how to kook and play the piano, while Marco, her husband, helped me with my studies and told me all about America. He travelled a lot and showed me pictures of New York and other important cities in the States. I guess that is why I chose the states to run away to, he made me fall in love with it. The only problem was that they tried to hug me the first months I was there, but it was so strange for me to be hugged that I tensed every time they did it, after a while they stopped doing it and left me alone."
I took another sip of my wine "Anyway, those were good years for me, until one day, I was barely sixteen and this officer comes to our home to tell us that my parents wanted me back. Ten days later both my parents came to take me away from Rita and Marco and brought me back home, apparently they decided to get back together and be a family again. They really did try to be good parents the first few months, but slowly they fell right back on their old habits. My father didn't drink anymore, but was always working again, my mother was always shopping or visiting her friends… anyway they didn't really know me or love me, they just did their jobs as parents and that's it." I shrugged and looked up at Ethan.
"I'm so sorry Gemma, you deserved so much more than that growing up! Is that why you never hug me or Keely back?" He asked, and I swallowed. "Yes and no" I smiled sadly and took a deep breath "Ok, this is the hard part. As soon as I finished school I left my parents home and went to live far away from them, I found a job in an office where I needed to help American customers and I rented a small apartment on my own. I was happy with myself, and for the first time in my life I felt like I could make it you know? I could take care of myself. One day this blonde girl with big brown eyes comes to live in my building and as soon as I see her , I just know that she's special" I shake my head and look at Ethan.
"There is something that I've never told anyone before Ethan, but I guess you'll find out now" I swallowed the lump in my throat at the memory of her and continued "Her name was Marianna. She was on her own too, and we became friends immediately. I soon discovered that we had a lot in common and we became best friends. For the first time in my life I didn't feel alone anymore, for the first time in my life I felt like someone cared. We went everywhere together, to parties, clubs. We defended each other from everything and everyone. She had some issues with her past just like me and we helped each other by talking and sharing. I had never trusted another person in my whole life like I trusted her. We were so honest with each other that I didn't think we would ever need to lie to each other. I gave her all the love and affection I never gave another person and she told me she did the exact same thing for me."
I smiled at the memory of her smiles, her jokes… God I miss her so much! The pain came over me then and a few tears escaped. I filled my glass with some more wine and finished it immediately. "So we were friends for years, we even believed to be each others soul mates. One evening, five years later, I was 24 and she was 23 , we went out to a club like every other night. We danced and had fun, until like always, some men tried to dance with us or offered drinks. We were almost never interested because we were happy just the way we were. That evening I had an Idea of how we could keep them away. I whispered in her ear that we could make them believe that we were in love with each other so that they would leave us alone. So we told the first men who approached us that we were lesbians and we danced close to each other to keep them away, but the men didn't seem to mind at all and acted even more interested in us. We kept up our act the entire night and when we walked to our car in the morning we were still laughing about it. We got into the car and I could see Marianna stare at the steering wheel in front of her. I asked her what was wrong but she started to cry silently. I hugged her, because she was the only person in my life that I knew would hug me back, and the only person that I ever hugged. When I pulled back to my seat she followed me. I was confused as she placed her hand on my cheek and looked me in the eyes. She told me she loved me and of course I told her I loved her too, but she cried some more and told me that I didn't understand. So I told her to make me understand, But she said she was afraid of losing me. I told her that she could tell me anything, and she looked up, told me I was her soul mate and kissed me on the lips. I was shocked of course, I had only dated guys before that and I had never looked at a girl like that. But somehow she made me feel things…so I gave in, I kissed her back and we made love in the back of her car. We were in love, or I was in love, I'm not so sure about her…" I wiped away some tears and took a deep breath to calm the pain that came up whenever I thought about her.
"Ok, so what happened next?" Ethan poured us some more whine and gave me my glass, I took another sip and continued. "Well we went to live together, we made love every night, we were one. Everything was so good, I was so happy. One year passed and I was almost twenty five when I came home from work one day and found our apartment empty. All of her stuff was gone, all of her clothes ,her pictures, her suitcases…she was gone. I panicked and tried to call her but she didn't pick up. I tried some more but after awhile the phone was shut. I called her cousin to ask if she knew and she told me that Marianna left to visit her mother. I freaked out and called her mother, but she told me to leave her daughter alone. I cried myself to sleep for weeks until one day I was visiting a mutual friend of ours and I found her there, sitting in a kitchen chair. Marianna looked over me and nodded like I was just another stranger to greet. I felt my heart break into a million pieces that day. I sent her mails and tried to talk to her but she never answered , she never explained. Several months passed, and one day while I was looking out the window I saw her walking down the street, hand in hand with another guy I didn't know. They kissed and looked happy and my world crumbled. I wanted to kill myself, I was about to take some pills when a postcard from Marco cached my eye. I picked it up and saw that it was from New York. I looked at the pills in my other hand and made a decision right then and there. I was never going to let someone else make me feel like that ever again. I threw the pills away, packed my bags and took the first plane for New York". I wiped away some tears and took a deep breath before I looked up at Ethan.
"So you're bi?" He asked, and I shrugged "I don't know, she's the only girl I ever looked at like a lover you know? All the other girls don't do it for me, I guess I just fell in love with her soul, no matter what her sex was." I sighed and took another sip "Do you hate me now Ethan?" I whispered. "What? No! why would I hate you?" I shook my head "Because I've been with a girl?" He smiled and took my hand in his. "Gemma, I have nothing against gay people, I think everybody should be able to love whomever they want as long as no one gets hurt, but even if I didn't, I could never hate you Gemma" I looked up at him and he hugged me. "Ethan, I…she , she was the only person I have ever really hugged and now after all that has happened, I don't even know if she meant it…I'm so sorry if I'm weird" I shook my head and cried on his shirt "It's ok Gemma, I'm not going anywhere, I can wait, and one day you will trust me enough" he whispered as he kissed the top of my head.
"Ethan, what if I can't?" he pulled back to look at me "Can't what Gemma?" I took another deep breath "I don't think I can ever love again Ethan, I don't think I can ever stop dating different guys…I'm ruined, can't you see that?" He looked away and nodded "You may feel like that now Gemma, but I know that you'll have to face your fears some day, and when that day comes I will still be here for you, I don't care if it takes months or years but I will never give you up!" he kissed my cheek and looked me in the eyes "I'm not leaving you , even if you don't believe it now, I will prove it to you!" I looked away "I don't want to hurt you Ethan, I will never do to another person what she did to me!" I pulled away and stood up. Ethan stood up too and took my face between his hands "Well Baby, I have bad news for you. Whether you fuck me or not, I can't help it, I already love you" He kissed my lips softly and left.