(Cass Part 9… continues from here)
When the person you live with has an acute sense of smell, honesty isn’t an option it’s a requirement. It should be anyway but in my case there’s no hiding the bar of chocolate I ate on the way home or the scent of another man on my skin. I let myself in to find Luka at the dining table his attention on his computer screen. Our apartment wasn’t big enough for an office so he either sat on the couch or at the table and I was relived it was the table tonight.
“You’re back.” He looked up with a distracted smile as I paused by the door to step out of my boots. “Good run?”
I didn’t say anything more as his attention returned to the screen but I knew we needed to talk so I grabbed a bottle of water and sat across the table from him and I waited. After a minute his eyes flicked up as his fingers kept moving then slowed before stopping as he sighed.
I shrugged and took a sip of water. “Whenever you’re ready. But yeah, tonight please.” A couple of minutes later he closed the machine and pushed it away to the side then sat back to look at me.
“So. We have come to this,” he said softly, his voice touched with the kiss of the country where he had spent the first few years of his life and many summers since.
“This?” I repeated, biting back the urge to say ‘I’m going to make you an offer you can’t refuse’ in my best Vito Corleone voice. Which isn’t really very good.
“Isn’t this the ‘we need to talk’ talk?”
Luka’s question drew me from my The Godfather sidebar and I blurted out, “No!” with a shocked laugh.
“No?” Luka spread his arms wide and shrugged in a very European way. “Then what is this Cass?”
I leaned forward and placed my hand palm up on the table, needing that connection with him before I could talk. He mirrored my position but took my one hand between both of his.
“This is…” I looked down at his hands holding mine and blurted, “Do I have submissive tendencies?”
“Do you… what? No. Cass? Look at me.”
“I don’t want to,” I muttered but sighed and looked up into Luka’s puzzled face.
“Where is this coming from? Do you want to be submissive -”
“No!” I shook my head vehemently because that wasn’t in my wheelhouse. My brother on the other hand… “It’s that crush.”
I looked up to find Luka watching me, his face inscrutable. He lifted his chin in a ‘go ahead’ motion.
“I…” I faltered, not sure what to say, my thoughts foggy.
“You kissed him.” Luka filled the silence with the matter of fact statement. “I can smell another man on you but… it’s not deep, not intimate?”
“No. Just a brush of lips, I swear Luka -”
“Cass stop. I trust you, I know you’ll tell me, you are telling me now, what’s going on?”
“I don’t know. I… he says what to do and I do it.” The words came out of me in a rush, feeling like a confession. “He says stop, I stop. He says don’t look and I don’t. He says trust me and I do.”
“I think you better tell me everything that has happened tesora.”
So I did. From that first rooftop meeting, to seeing him at paintball, to that night with the story about his father and the blindfold and the kiss.
When I stopped Luka’s jaw was tight and he was squeezing my hand a little too tightly.
“All this and you don’t even know his name?” He let go of me to drag his hands through his hair.
“His friends call him ‘X’, I found that out at paintball.”
“But nothing else?”
I shrugged. “He’d been so secretive, it didn’t seem right to ask them plus how would I explain my interest?”
“How about ‘who’s that guy? I want to fuck him?’”
I gaped in shock as Luka surged to his feet and glared at me.
“What? You didn’t think I realised that? I asked if you wanted to go back to the clubs and you said…” his voice trailed off and he scrubbed his hands over his face. “Because you don’t. You don’t want a random, you want him.”
His hands dropped and the betrayal in his eyes hurt my heart. I couldn’t deny it so I said the only thing that I could at that moment. “I want you too. I love you Luka.”
Even as I said it I knew it wasn’t enough. “I thought we were happy Cass, the two of us. I don’t know … ” He shook his head and stepped away from the table. “I need some time Cass, some space.”
“Luka please…” I wanted to beg him to stay, to talk to me but he was already at the door and he wouldn’t look at me.
“I’ll be back soon.”
Only the empty apartment heard me say, “I’m sorry.”