My whole world felt like it had been flipped upside down.
I’ve said this the whole time, Janelle—I never meant to hurt anyone with my flirting and my fun. That’s why it was fun. It seemed harmless, with the exception of the few times that it produced a baby (babies, I suppose, in your case).
But now, I couldn’t shake these two concurrent feelings in my stomach—(1) the feeling of diminished returns, the lack of good feeling and (2) guilt, the antithesis of good feeling. It was like I was stewing in a bath of negativity constantly, and it made my head run with horrible thoughts, and I didn’t know how to make it stop. I had no clue what to do.
I just knew that I had to do something.
I don’t know what made me call him, Janelle. It some kind of gut instinct. Or maybe I was just horny, and he was hot, and we’d had such chemistry. That’s how I always solved my problems, remember? Woohoo them away, til you can’t forget them anymore. And when the problems return? Just woohoo some more. What’s the harm in that?
Leo didn’t seem to see any harm with it at the time. He sounded so eager on the phone, so bright and happy. There weren’t a lot of people like that in my life, with the exception of my children—never any adults. They were all like me—not happy, necessarily, just… avoiding the unhappy. It was a shallow kind of non-joy—as long as we weren’t actively in pain, we could consider ourselves content.
But Leo seemed like he was full of legitimate happiness.
Maybe that was the chemistry. We balanced each other.
I was surprised, when he came by, that the chemistry hadn’t dissipated. We still had a cheerful, light kind of flirty banter that floated between us with ease, like we had known each other for years. There was only levity between us, no sense of hidden problems to uncover or baggage to unpack.
At least, that’s what I could sense of him. I, certainly, had no shortage of baggage. Kids, multiple partners, orphaned teen, body image issues…
I hoped he couldn’t sense that in me. There was too much darkness there, that I’d really rather just leave alone.
Chemistry. I told you, Janelle. All kinds of mad chemistry.
It was almost unreal, the way I felt about him. It felt like a connection that I had seen before, in my dreams maybe. It was just so easy and light and airy.
It was like ecstasy. Something beyond fun. I was giddy with it, practically bouncing, all my organs feeling like they were vibrating inside me. It was something I hadn’t felt since Max, maybe. Since that very first man I kissed, the first man I ever slept with, that giddy joy of firsts and maybes and newness.
Law of diminishing returns, my ass. This was anything but diminished.
It was more than nice. It was explosive, ecstatic, wondrous. It was magical. The man knew what he was doing, that was for sure.
The aftermath, though…
Something was wrong. Where had the brightness gone? The moment we finished, the glow faded away until I was back where I started—broody, diminished. Leo was still next to me, still happy and shiny and joyous, but I couldn’t absorb his light the way I had only moments before. Something was gnawing at me, deep in my gut, something dark and dangerous, and it made me feel… guilty?
Leo was understandably concerned. But it was hard to forgive him for what happened next.
Well, this had certainly ruined everything. Damn alien with his damn mind reading and… creator, the look on his face was heartbreaking. Like I’d kicked his puppy. Or murdered it, maybe. A combination of horror and sadness and abject disappointment. Janelle, it made me want to hide. And I’d not felt that urge for a long time.