“Your roommates are nosey,” Everett commented, sitting back on the bed. He reached into the suitcase again.
“You would know,” I said, snatching a bra from his hands.
Everett shrugged. “It’s underwear. More specifically, it’s your underwear. I’m intrigued.”
“Yeah, well don’t get any ideas.”
Everett leaned back into the pillows, resting his hands behind his head again. “Oh, but I have a lot of ideas.” He winked at me.
I stalked away towards my dresser and began pulling things from drawers. When I turned back around, Everett was holding another bra.
“You don’t wear padding,” he commented, his fingers feeling along the lined cup.
“I like that.”
My hands stilled. And then I moved them again. “Why?” I didn’t care. Really, I didn’t.
I turned around. “Lies?”
“I like the truth. In every way.” He seemed lost in thought so I turned back around and packed my things.
“Am I really doing this?” I asked myself.
“Yes, you are.”
I turned around again. “Why?”
It wasn’t a question he should know the answer to. But he did. “Because you hate and you love the way I make you feel.”
I was naked under his gaze. Skin was just that: skin. But to see your soul stripped, laid bare for the eyes of someone you barely knew – that was terrifying. I’d walk down the street naked a hundred times before I would let someone see what lay underneath.
I’d spent my life alone. Bounced from foster home to foster home. When my tastes outgrew my age as a teenager, I traded boys for men and found myself still alone. I reveled in the loneliness. No one could hurt me but me, and did I really care if I hurt me? Did I care? If I found pleasure in anything, it was my lack of feeling.
And that’s how I knew, when Everett told me not to fall in love with him, that I wouldn’t. I didn’t love myself. And wasn’t loving someone also loving yourself, the parts that saw the beauty in other people? I didn’t have that part. And I didn’t want it.
“I don’t love anything,” I said.
“I know.” His eyes were unsmiling.