I’d never liked kissing before now.
Because with him… it wasn’t bad at all.
He pushed me up against the wall and the whole length of his body pressed up against mine. He was warm and all hard planes. And… his erection rubbed against my thigh.
Then he reached for mine and just… I couldn’t do it anymore.
I pushed him away.
‘I’m sorry,’ I murmured, not able to look at him as I brushed past him and hurried up the stairs.
With my bedroom door shut behind me, I leant against it, slowly sliding to the floor as I buried my face in my hands.
Just because I liked kissing him… because I didn’t mind that now… it doesn’t mean my body wants to take it further.
Fuck. Fuck fuck fuck.
Yes, the kissing had been nice… but there’d been no reaction certain other places on my body. No blood rushing south, no desire.
I liked him, I really did, but… I wasn’t sexually attracted to him. I wasn’t sexually attracted to anyone ever.
The stairs creaked as he walked back up them.
I drew in a shaky breath as I heard him stop outside my door.
What am I going to do?
I’d run away like a virginal teenager. Thirty-four fucking years old and I ran away from someone who wanted to have sex with me.
A soft knock sounded on the door.
I froze, both afraid and indecisive.
Tell him, a stern voice I didn’t recognise said in my head. Just tell him the truth.
I rose slowly, hand hesitating on the door handle… then I cracked the door open.
Leo was already half turned away, but he whirled back around now.
I held the door open further, silently inventing him inside. He came in and I closed the door after him again, letting my forehead thud gently against the wood.
‘Are you all right?’
I strode over to my bed and sank down on it, mind whirling with what to say.
‘I really do like you, Leo. I meant that. I do want to kiss you. But I—’ I dropped my hands in-between my legs, staring down at them as I didn’t dare look at him. ‘Even as much as I like you—and I like you a lot, which is weird considering you’ve only been here a few days… I just can’t.’
‘Can’t what?’ He sounded calm, collected.
That was… good. He wasn’t angry with me for the childish runaway stunt, and he didn’t sound frustrated with being left hanging.
Honesty’s the best path.
Yes. Yes, it was.
‘All my life I’ve identified as asexual.’ I glanced up at him, fully intending to meet his gaze, but found I couldn’t… so I looked down again. ‘And that’s been fine. I’ve been okay with that. But once you arrived, I thought that maybe, perhaps—but I can’t. I don’t feel sexually attracted to anyone, so my dick doesn’t respond. No matter how much my head wish it would, my body doesn’t agree.’
Never had I hated the fact I worked differently than most people more than I did now.
‘It’s not fair to lead you on—’ I wouldn’t be able to have sex with him, after all.
‘Lead me on?’
‘Yeah. I don’t think I ever want to—you know. Sex.’ Even the word was hard to say. ‘It’s not in the cards for me, no matter how much I wish it was. Well, not really, but now I’ve met you I wish I was normal.’
‘You’re normal. Perfectly normal.’ He took a step closer. ‘It’s just as normal as me being bisexual. There’s nothing wrong with you.’
I couldn’t help but smile slightly at that.
‘Some people don’t agree.’
If only I could screw anyone…
But that wasn’t in taste. I didn’t say it out loud. I cringed even thinking it.
‘But it’s not fair. You feel sexual desire. I felt it. But I don’t, so I can’t give you what you want.’ It hurt to admit. It shouldn’t—he’d been here three bloody days… but it did.
‘But…’ He came closer again. ‘It’s not sex I want. I want you. And obviously sex would be a nice addition to that, but if it’s not on the table, then—well, that’s fine.’
I tilted my head so I could look up at him. I was at a bit of a disadvantage sitting down while he was standing. He stared at me and I searched his eyes for if he told the truth or not. He seemed sincere.
‘Back in school—upper secondary—I had a boyfriend. He made me feel like shit for not wanting to have sex with him. So I did.’ I’d never told anyone about that twat before.
His eyebrows inched up his forehead.
‘You had sex with him?’
‘That’s what he wanted. And I wanted to keep him, so…’ I trailed off, hating myself for being such an idiot back then. To do something I didn’t really want to do just to keep a guy interested in me. It’d been doomed from the start.
‘I’m not going to force you into anything,’ he said quietly.
I didn’t think he would. That wasn’t why I’d told him. I just wanted all the cards out on the table. Wanted him to know what my deal was.
‘I had a girlfriend too, before him. She wanted to take things further, but I didn’t, so she broke it off. Said I was weird to say no when she handed herself over on a silver platter.’ That hadn’t lasted long. A couple months maybe?
And then a few months longer with my ex-boyfriend. Definitely more than six months. I’d actively tried to forget all about it ever since.
‘Their loss. Sex isn’t everything.’
How long hadn’t I wanted to hear that?
‘You say that now.’ I cast him a furtive look. ‘So did he way back then.’ When we’d first started going out. Then he’d become increasingly annoyed and frustrated until I eventually gave in.
He sat down next to me now. Not so close we touched, but not too far away either.
‘Difference is I mean it. I like sex, of course I do, and I’ve had it. But it’s not the most important thing in the world. I want a relationship. I want to be with someone who gets me, and if that someone is you and sex is out of the question, then—I’m fine with it. I can live without sex.’
‘I’m not sure I believe you.’
‘I told you about my past yesterday.’ He leant back, staring up at the ceiling. ‘I’d rather have a close, good relationship with someone without sex than to have sex with random people I have absolutely no connection with.’
Yes, he had told me about his past. And it was horrible. Which was why he deserved someone who was compatible with him in every part of life—including in the bedroom.
‘But downstairs, you instantly went for—’ my dick. I couldn’t say it. I really was a virginal teenager when it came to sex. I had no interest in it, it embarrassed and flustered me. When it was directed at me, anyway. I could talk about it fine with patients and the like, but as soon as things got personal… I got all flustered.
‘Because that’s what I’ve always done. That’s what everyone does. If I’d know you wouldn’t like it, I wouldn’t have done it.’
His words sounded sincere.
I turned sideways so I could face him, crossing my legs.
‘I know. Sex is everywhere. I know that. I should’ve explained right away instead of pushing you away. Instead, I ran off like a deer caught in headlights. Now that’s embarrassing. I’m thirty-four, I should be more mature than that.’
‘If you haven’t been in a relationship since upper secondary, it’s been a while for you,’ he pointed out lightly.
‘Have you ever been in a relationship?’ I asked, curious.
‘None of those teenaged relationships either? Those you feel are so important, but once you grow up and look back, you cringe a little?’
He shifted, clearly uncomfortable.
‘No one really wanted anything to do with me through primary school.’
‘Kids can be cruel. But then again, so can adults.’ We both knew just how cruel people could be.
‘I thought you said you were mostly ignored?’
‘Isn’t that a cruelty in itself?’ I saw how much Alex suffered from the neglect he’d suffered from his parents. Leo had suffered even more because he’d had it tough at school as well. Me… well. All in all, I personally hadn’t had it so bad, but watching everything else that went on in my family… it hadn’t been a good childhood no matter which way I looked at it. ‘But no, I wasn’t bullied. I got some nasty comments from time to time and was shoved around a bit. But that was always because of my sister. They all thought she was weird.’
And she was weird. But who could blame her?
‘Yeah, she was… odd. Who can blame her though, after everything she’d experienced and everything she struggled with?’ I closed my eyes as I imagined Hanna, the way she’d been before her whole life had imploded. Shy, nervous, anxiety-ridden Hanna. ‘Kids are cruel. But grown-ups can be just as cruel—if not more. I don’t know who I detested most back then, all the people at school or the grown-ups around us.’
‘For me, I hated school the most,’ he said. ‘At home, I could hide away, but not at school.’
The bullying he’d suffered… I was pretty sure he hadn’t told me everything, but from what he had told me… I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.
I decided to let the subject drop and go back to our original one. We could, perhaps, delve into our pasts at a later date if whatever this was worked out between us.
‘So no relationships.’
‘So you don’t know if you can be with someone without sex involved.’
‘Well, no, but—sometimes you’ve got to take chances, right?’
I watched his face, looking for… something. I didn’t even know what.
‘I’m afraid I won’t be enough for you.’
‘How do you know I’ll be enough for you?’ He stared back at me now, almost challenging.
I couldn’t hold his gaze.
‘We can’t know if it’ll last. No one knows that. Life happens… but if we don’t take the chance? We’ll regret it.’
He sure had one hell of a point there. I did like him, I wanted to be him, kiss him some more. I just didn’t want to have sex with him.
I swallowed a lump that threatened to stick in my throat.
‘Okay,’ he repeated almost automatically. ‘So, just to clarify, what are you comfortable with?’
He wanted me to say it?
Well, at least if I did we’d avoid another spectacle like the one downstairs. It was good he asked… I just hated talking about my lack of a sex drive.
‘Hugs. Kisses. Cuddles, I guess. Just nothing, uh, down there.’ I motioned dumbly to my crotch.
He turned sideways now too and crossed his own legs. Our knees bumped.
‘Kisses and cuddles. I like that too.’
Then he kissed me, hands coming up to cup my neck as he held me in place.
Not that I planned on going anywhere anytime soon.
And really… why had I never known kissing could be this satisfying? This great? Thirty-four years of avoiding that particular activity, and now here I was, enjoying it for the first time.
If only this could be the case with sex too—that I’d enjoy it as long as it was with him. But alas, my dick didn’t so much as stir. My heart though was another matter entirely.