An Evening at Home
It was a particularly windy winter evening with snow falling from seemingly every direction. The streets were covered in thick layers of white and frost formed on the branches of the leafless trees. Lillian closed the front door behind her, the warmth of the flat being a welcome change after the biting cold of the outside world.
She absently combed the snowflakes from her tangled hair, and headed straight to her room, paying little attention to Mr Kitteh, who being the second laziest member of the household showed no interest whatsoever in his owner's return, and continued his never-ending beauty-sleep on the sofa. Lillian's only thoughts moved around getting out of her wet coat, getting under the warm blankets and instantly falling asleep.
"Home, finally. Oh cosy little bed of mine, how I longed to be in your loving embrace. What sweet dreams await me? What
"You're supposed to cover my eyes, Roomie, not my boobs."
"Oh, shucks aren't you a party killer
Lillian tried to peel the offending hands from her breasts, and break the hug, only partly succeeding, as Roomie now held her closely by her waist from behind.
"Come to the kitchen, sleepyhead," Roomie whispered in her hair, "or would you prefer if I carried you out?"
She felt herself being dragged out of her room and away from the sweet-sweet dreams. She didn't exactly resist, but she wouldn't make it any easier either much like the way she treated everything else in life these days.
Mr Kitteh commented on the commotion with a short, frustrated "Meaow
" and went back to sleep. Lillian truly envied him. In the kitchen door she started to tell Roomie she really needed to doze off for an hour or so, but then she turned around and froze in midsentence.
"What's with the candles?" She finally managed to ask, "And the wine? And
and you're all dressed up. I mean
"Well yeah, the pants and the shirt are yours. The tie however is Alan's. And consider the wine an apology."
"Apology for what?"
"Occupying your home, invading your private space, popping up in your dreams
Wearing your clothes
Basically everything I've done
and everything I'm planning to do," Roomie's facial expressions slowly turned from puppy-eyes-apologetic to a mischievous grin.
"And here I was nearly forgiving you. Nonetheless I still appreciate the wine. As you evidently won't let me sleep, we might as well drink it."
"That's the spirit LT!" Roomie smiled, loosening her tie with one hand and pulling up her shirt with the other, "Isn't it a bit hot in here?"
"Hoooold it! Clothes stay up, or I'm going to my room. And I'm taking the wine with me."
Roomie reluctantly tucked her shirt back in. "It was worth a try," she murmured.
Lillian went on to take a closer look at the table.
"I didn't even know we had a white tablecloth. Or candles, for that matter. And when did we buy those glasses? Ok, now I'm talking about Roomie and myself as 'we'? When did that happen? She's Roomie, for Zarquon's sake!"
"Heeey! Earth to Lil' Tyke! Are you there?" Roomie offered her a glass of Tokaji, while Lillian tried not to look too confused by her own thoughts and failed miserably. She began to like Roomie and that quite frankly frightened her. Liking someone, letting someone close, confiding in someone (even a little bit) was a dangerous thing, something she decided not to do a long time ago.
"Don't get too attached to anyone. Trust no one. Don't rely on anyone but yourself. Don't get hurt. Don't fall in love. Wait a sec! Who said anything about love?!"
Roomie raised her glass, "Here's to doing stupid things now and making amends later!" and flashed one of her trademark smiles that seemed to have the potential of cheering up even certain inanimate objects.
"I'm not sure I want to drink to that. But there seem to be awfully little I'm sure about nowadays, so cheers!"
They raised their glasses, looking into each other's eyes. Roomie somehow managed to smile like the Cheshire cat and drink at the same time, without spilling wine all over herself.
"No doubt, practice makes perfect," Lillian thought and put down her own glass before returning the smile. The wine had the colour of liquid gold and tasted almost disturbingly sweet on her tongue.
She couldn't quite decipher Roomie's personality, which made her feel uneasy at times like these. Of course, on the surface, Roomie seemed pretty single-minded: beer, sex, more beer, more sex. But the more time they spent together, the more sides, the more layers of her seemed to come to light, even if only for short periods.
Sure enough, there was a feline-like predator in there, that loved booze and pretty girls, but there was also great understanding, acceptance and, yes, a genuine, general love towards nearly everything and everyone. But how can you love everyone? Then again, Roomie seemed to be carried away by little things ever so often. It wasn't as if she wouldn't care about important things, just that she was more like a little kitten chasing butterflies she let herself being distracted too easily. It's easy to love something for two minutes and then move on immediately. Or is it?
Lillian wasn't sure about how to ask these questions, and she was even less sure about whether she wanted to hear the answers, but there are some things that you can't keep ignoring for too long.
"Why do you like me, Roomie?"
"Stupid question. You're a great girl, LT. You're fun to be with that is, when you're fully awake. You're smart and pretty. What's there not to understand about this?" Roomie emptied her glass then added with a soft smile, "And you have more in you than you let other people see perhaps more than you are aware of."
"No, I mean you have a lot of friends, or lovers, or I don't know how to call them," Lillian felt herself blush, but decided to carry on, "I mean, these people are like you, and they feel easy around you and I do not. I've seen you amongst them, and you felt at home there, like you belonged and I did not. Still, you're here with me. Why?"
Roomie helped herself with the Tokaji, and let out a sigh.
"You and I are not so different, you know. And the differences we do have are just as they supposed to be. I don't want to change you. I wouldn't want you to be like the others at the bar. I just want you to be comfortable with yourself, and once that's done, you'll feel easier around all the others as well."
"But how? I mean
how do you do it? You say you love someone, you sleep with them, and yet, you don't feel jealous or cheated when they do it with others. Or don't you feel you should drink wine with Aggie or someone, instead of with me?"
"Well, you see, Lil' Tyke, it works like this: I'm a free spirit, going my own way. I drink, smoke weed, or make love when and with whom I see fit," Roomie said as she refilled both their glasses "I don't let others tell me how to live my life, but in return I keep my nose out of their decisions. Everyone is responsible for themselves and only for themselves. "
Lillian contemplated the wine in her glass for a short time.
"Gee, Roomie, you actually sound coherent. It's either one of us is way too drunk, or what you're saying really makes sense. Weird
Roomie started to laugh, and Lillian once again noticed that she really liked the way she giggled. To be honest, she liked almost everything Roomie did, except for the running-around-naked thing. To be really-really honest, she liked that as well, but she still wasn't sure how to feel about liking it, and sure as hell, she wasn't going to tell Roomie about it. Instead she laughed with her, and that felt good. That felt right.
As their laughter faded to wide grins, Roomie raised her glass and continued:
"What I mean is people often confuse love with possession. The fact that you love someone and preferably they love you back doesn't mean that you should get involved in every little aspect of the other one's life, know everything about them, tell them all your thoughts, spend every minute together, or tell them what to do and how to do it, even with the best of intentions. You are not one with the person you love. You can't control their actions neither can you change them in any way. That's important, still everybody seems to forget it. Have your own life and let others have theirs plain and simple."
Lillian was silent for a while, not sure if she felt more confused about the normal Roomie, who just wanted to get in her pants, this new Roomie, who got in her thoughts, or the fact that she didn't really want to resist either of them.
"I wonder if the others at the bar know that you are not completely and utterly insane after all," she said after drinking the last drops of the Tokaji.
"Well, you can always try to tell them, but I have a feeling they won't believe you," Roomie replied, and they laughed, their eyes interlocked again.
When Lillian glimpsed down, she noticed that they were holding hands over the table, but she couldn't have told since when. But that didn't matter it felt good, and for now, that was quite enough.
Finally Lillian got up and put out the candles. "We should get some sleep," she said.
Roomie looked at her with her wide-eyed lost-puppy-gaze, but she didn't say a word. Lillian went round the table, leaned down and looked Roomie in the eyes while stroking her messy hair above her ear.
"Yes, I mean we should sleep together," she smiled "But I do mean sleep. I'm dead tired, and considerably drunk."
"Yeeeeey!!!!" Roomie jumped up and hugged her, nearly causing both of them to fall. They staggered a bit and ended up with Lillian's back against the fridge and Roomie still hugging her closely, drinking in the sweet smell of her hair.
"And wear a T-shirt or something, will you?" Lillian added, but whatever Roomie answered, it got muffled as she dug her head even deeper, trying to kiss Lillian's neck.
They eventually got to Lil's room, and curled up in the bed, Roomie once again holding her from behind. As they slowly drifted to sleep, sensing each other's heartbeat, a strange feeling started to build up in Lillian, a feeling that at first she couldn't identify. Then she smiled to herself. She felt at home. She felt she belonged.
"Sweet dreams, Roomie."
"Sweet dreams, Lillian."
"Did you just call me Lillian?" She turned her head incredulously, but there was no answer, as Roomie was soundly asleep, as pretty and innocent as ever. Lillian smiled, and kissed the girl on the cheek. The girl she loved and who loved her, who was free and who freed her.
Finally, reality seemed almost as good as her dreams.