Sunday, April 5, 2009

Just Plane Fair

Mark rinsed his razor under the tap and tapped it on the side of the bowl. He looked up and saw her through the mirror as she opened the shower door and reached for a towel. Suzanne glanced over and saw him as he stood at the sink. He sported shaving cream on each cheek, a towel around his waist, and he had a sly smile spread across his face. “Hey, I like you. What was your name again?” he slathered while he raised the blade up to the base of his chin.

She finished drying her skin and took the towel and wrapped it around her head. Her skin glistened. His ardor was aroused; her ire echoed it. She reached for the hotel robe. “What’s supposed to be funny about that?” She wrapped the robe around her shoulder and pushed her arms through each hole.

He lowered his eyes down to the basin and dropped his hand to whisk the razor through the water. “I was just being silly. I didn’t mean anything rude by it.”

“Well how do you think it makes me feel Mark?” She picked up the discarded towels that haloed her heels.

“I don’t know baby.” He shook his head while he shook the water from the razor. His voiced dropped to a whisper. “I was just kidding.”

“It doesn’t matter how you meant it.” She hung a towel across the bar. “Your intention doesn’t change how I feel.” Suzanne stopped moving and crossed her arms across her breasts. “It makes me feel like a whore.”

He saw the hotel monogram caressing the spot where his lips had lingered. He shook the spate of desire from his mind, shook the water from the blade, and concentrated on her complaint as he scraped the hairs from his cheeks. “I wasn’t suggesting you were a whore and you know that!” He sat the razor on the counter and turned to counter her accusations. He rested his ass against the marble. “What is this? Huh? We just had a marvelous night. It was spectacular. And now you’re acting all pissed. What? What’s got you so angry?”

“You've just treated me like a whore!” She spread her feet to solidify her stance. “How do you think I feel as it is? I fly into town. We've spent the night in my hotel room. You've spent the evening telling me about a blog that’s about you and other women! And when I finally feel comfortable being with you, you make a joke that I’m a slut you've picked up!” She raised her hands and shook them as two fists. “Where's the joke? Come on Mark! I need to laugh too!”

He stood up on his feet and took steps to soothe her. “Oh my God, I didn’t mean it like that!” He began to wrap his arms around her.

“No! Stop it! Don’t touch me!” She pulled away from him. She turned and left the bathroom. He started to follow her when his towel slipped from his waist and slid to the floor. He bent to retrieve it and grabbed it with his fist.

“Now stop it!” He found her standing near the bureau. She had bent at her waist as she pulled her panties into place. She stood erect and turned toward him.

“Right now we have a sexual relationship. That’s it. Do you see that?”

“I think we have more than that.” He tied the towel around his waist.

“Oh really Mark?” She pulled the robe taut and fashioned it around herself. “What else do we have? Are we in love?”

“What?” he stammered.

“I’m asking you!” She dabbed the damp from her hair with the towel in her hand. “Are you in love with me?”

He looked in her eyes and knew he couldn’t lie. “No. I’m not in love with you.”

She exhaled and bit her bottom lip to steady it. “Well then this is just sex. I’m spending a weekend in a hotel room with a guy who just wants to fuck me.” She took her palms and patted the perspiration from her face.

“Okay that’s a little harsh! Don’t you think?” He whisked the sweat from his shorn scalp with a wipe from his wrist.

“Harsh?” she raised her voice. “You think that’s harsh? I just got off a plane and came here because I’m in love with you!” She started to pace the room, thought better of it, and stood still. Her emotions were in motion. “Do you understand that Mark?” She looked above his head at the wall above the bed. “I’m in love with you. I don’t need to catch a flight for sex!”

“I don’t know what you want me to say,” he said aloud. “I haven't seen you since Chicago. Sure we email and talk on the phone regularly, but we're hardly having a romance. I guess I just don't know what you wanted me to say.”

“I wanted you to say that you loved me too, you jackass!” Her voice vibrated; her shoulders shivered.

“Well I can’t say that.” He sat his seat on the edge of the bed.

“Just out of curiosity,” Suzanne trembled, “don’t you think it’s awfully cruel to make love to women when you don’t intend to have any future with them?”

“I don’t have sex with a lot of women,” he admitted. “You know that.”

“That’s not the point,” she charged. “Don’t you think it’s mean for you to treat me like this?”

“I never said we’d have a future.” Mark put his hands on his knees and bent toward her as he spoke. “I never did.”

“Bullshit Mark! You've promised it every time you've talked to me!”

He stood up. “I did not! That’s a lie!”

“No!” She raised her hand from her hip and punctuated her point with her finger. “It’s the truth! You've promised a future every time you were real and open! You gave me hope! It’s crueler than if you just gave women money!”

“But you knew we weren’t going to get married!” he rebutted. “We've never even discussed it.”

“No!” The force of her voice slapped his face. “You knew we’d never get married! How was I to know you weren’t playing straight with me?”

“I always play straight!” He started to pace his place. “I always say exactly what I mean! I don’t lead people on! I don’t talk to you any differently than I talk to anyone else!”

She began to cry. “Well how was I to know you've talked to everyone the way you've talked to me? People aren’t like that! You can’t talk to everyone the same way! You can’t tell everybody the same thing in the same way and expect everyone to understand they’re just anybody! No one can get that!” She grabbed a tissue from the table. “I thought you talked to me! I thought our conversations were just us! How was I to know you've talked to everyone the exact same way? How the hell am I supposed to know you tell everybody everything?”

“Wow!” He dropped down on the side of the bed. “I’ve never thought of it that way.”

“Get out!” Her tears stopped their seep. “Get out of my hotel room.” Her voice grew calm and her emotions became contained. “You've got what you wanted. But before you go, let me give you a little advice Mark. If you don’t intend to have a relationship, quit having them. You’re just making women your emotional whores.” He started to protest. “Shut up,” she continued, “just shut up.” His mouth was still. “Yeah that is what you’re doing. You use us for sex and sounding boards. You can justify it all you want by saying you’re honest, but if you were really honest you wouldn’t be intimate with someone you’re not going to be intimate with. And I’m not just talking about sex.” She tightened the cloth around her chest. “I don’t want to see you ever again! And quite honestly, you should think about what I've said because if you have a conscience, I don’t think you’ll want to see yourself like this anymore either.” She uncrossed her arms and she pushed them into her pockets.

Mark started to speak but her expression left him emotionally chilled. He gathered his clothes from the chair and pulled his trousers up his legs and over his ass. One hand held the fabric and one hand raised the zipper. Although he stopped holding his tongue, he had no intention of raising a ruckus. “You’re exactly right,” he said. “I’m dead wrong. I’m sorry. I can see what you’re saying exactly.”

“Oh good,” she snidely said through a corner of her lips, “you’ve learned a lesson. Just for the record,” her sarcasm dripped like the sweat on his neck, “I’m not so thrilled I was the teacher.”

“Fair enough.” He pulled the shirt over his shoulders. “For what it’s worth, I’m sorry I’ve been such a creep.”

Suzanne started to cry. She shook her fists inside the pockets of the robe. “You’re not a creep! But you’re not a good man either.” She shook her head from side to side and dangled it near her neck. “No, you’re not.”

He silently slid on his shoes, tied a bow, stood up, and grabbed his coat from the closet. The silence in the room permeated the air like the steam had smoldered in their shower. He turned to walk toward her but stopped when her hand forced his halt. “Don’t even think you’re going to kiss me goodbye!” She spat.

“Fair enough.” He turned to take his leave.

“Come here,” she whispered; he turned around.

Suzanne's lips parted from his and she pulled away from his hands. His lips assumed a new purpose. “Goodbye.” He took a step back.

“Goodbye Mark,” she said to his retreating back. Neither spoke another word. Their silence was shattered by the clasping of the closing and the clicking of the locked.