You’ve known her for more than half a year; and you’ve slept with almost everyone who you’ve seen in her immediate vicinity by now. Well, not everyone, but it feels like it.
These were people who you weren’t not attracted to, but they didn’t drive you particularly crazy, either. They were… comfortable. You liked them well enough, but didn’t like them so much that you’d be disappointed if they turned you down.
She was always the one you wanted the most, which was probably why you could never bring yourself to approach her. You remember seeing her dancing at Zeta Mu’s disco party that one time: tall and awkwardly graceful, like a swan who hadn’t quite learned how to cut cleanly through the water.
The press of people made the dancehall hot, and her short brown hair was stuck to her pale skin. Sweat dripped in small rivulets down her neck. This picture will be forever burned into you mind: her shaking her bangs out of her face, glistening beads of moisture flying in the strands’ wake.
She’s renders your alcohol-induced uninhibition absolutely useless. You want to kiss her, tell her how gorgeous she is (the words are on the tip of your tongue), you want to do something but, as drunk as you are, you can’t. You know you’d be too hurt if she rejected you.
The steps you took were tiny. You put your hand on her waist and pulled her close, moving and swaying to the music for mere minutes until the heat rushed to your face and you pulled away. She didn’t follow you…
That night you desperately pulled that slightly dumpy, shy butch girl into kiss; daydreaming as she went down on you in your bed; imagining other people in her place; hating yourself for it afterwards.
Maybe, you ask yourself, you’re working your way up the ladder. Screwing up your courage to finally approach her. But you know all that isn’t really true.
Everyone thinks she’s dominant, even she does. But you’re not fully convinced. She stomps around in her combat boots, yells abuse at her beer pong opponents and mock-spars with her best friend in her spare time. She thinks that starting a real Fight Club would be pretty damn cool.
Underneath all that (all the hardness and Zhenka and cigarette smoke), however, something is a little off. Something about her strikes you as deeply vulnerable. And you realize that she’s akin to an oyster: hard shell. But soft, soft insides. And pearls. That only those who get past her defenses can touch.
It’s all the Emperor’s fault, really. At least that’s what you tell yourself. In actual fact, you were the one who finally caved and confessed your feelings to her. Once again, it all started with one too many plastic cups of booze at Zeta Mu.
“By the way, I’m insanely attracted to you.” That’s what you said. And not even to her face – you texted her and then left before anything could happen.
The next day, she still hadn’t replied. This was probably her way of indicating her lack of interest. You’d expected as much. Oddly, you didn’t mind. But you felt immensely relieved, like a large weight at been lifted off your chest. (You realized that your desire had been sitting inside of you for all this time; clamouring so loudly you felt as though you’d burst.) She said nothing about it when she saw you next, and you both acted as normal.
…But it didn’t end there, like you’d thought it would. When the Emperor came to visit, he bombarded you with questions about your “newfound” attraction. (It had been one of the first things she’d mentioned to him upon his arrival.)
And then he decided that you and she would be a very good idea, so started attempting to not-so-subtly get the two of you together. (As in: telling her more about you and picking you up, unceremoniously dumping you in front of her, and announcing that the two of you should hurry up and hook up already.)
Nothing happened until two weeks after the Emperor had left. It started with a few emails. Then lunch. Then the inevitable conversations about your views on sex, hooking up, having a “fluid” sexuality, women (and how frustrating they could be). You can usually never tell when someone is interested in you, but once the “sexual & relationship history” conversation happens, that’s a pretty good indicator. You felt like you were being evaluated…
To be continued…