A black cat comes to greet us as Matt takes off my jacket. He’s a gentleman like that.
“Meet Iggy,” he introduces us.
Iggy is a skinny little fellow but with a soft and shiny fur. I pet the little thing who greedily nuzzles my hand.
“Hi Iggy,” I greet him. A murderer or not, Matt did seem to take good care for his pet. “How old are you?”
“He’s only two, just a little baby.”
“He seems very sweet.”
There is an awkward silence as he gestures for me to make myself comfortable. This must be new to him as well, I think. Even with one-night stands there is usually a little more courting involved. What we are doing feels almost like we are conducting necessary business.
“So,” Matt begins, “how do you want to do this? You just want to get into it?”
I breathe in and try to keep my cool.
“Too bad,” he says nonchalantly.
I stare at him in confusion.
“We aren’t doing it that way. Would you like a drink?”
I am a little taken aback.
“Sure,” I finally mutter.
“I got OJ, sparkling water and beer.”
“Water will do.”
“As you wish. I hope you don’t mind me drinking a beer.”
I take a seat on her sofa, wondering what’s up. Perhaps I have come off as too aggressive? Desperate even? A lump is forming itself in my throat. I’m a great catch, even for him. He can’t have gotten cold feet now.
He hands me the drink, for which I mumble a thanks. He takes a seat next to me, his elbows resting on his knees, looking at his hands. I feel myself shrinking in anticipation of a lecture.
He sighs and takes a sip from his beer. He leans back.
“So, how did we get here?” he asks me.
“We took a cab.”
He rolls his eyes with a smirk.
“No. What made you… this?”
“Well, both of my parents are natural blondes…”
“Stop pretending like you aren’t comprehending me,” Matt pleads. “You were standing alone at a party with no intention of engaging. Look at you, you are even dressed for a funeral.”
Guiltily I look at my little black dress. I always liked its simple elegance but it’s hardly something anyone would wear to a funeral. Too informal.
“I’m sorry you don’t like my dress,” I say, genuinely upset that he isn’t pleased with it for some reason. “I thought it would contrast well with my lipstick.”
“Neon orange and black? Is that what’s trendy now?”
Unexpectedly he places his hand under my chin and pulls my face closer for him to inspect. My heart immediately jumps up to my throat. It’s not that he isn’t being gentle. His green eyes calmly study the mask I had painted on my face. I see his concern; it makes me feel ashamed. Why must I be such a poor actress?
I try to pull away, but he hushes me quiet. Obediently I let him assess my face, avoiding his gaze as much as I can. With his thumb he brushes over my brightly painted lower lip. The wax leaves a shiny stain on the fingertip.
Slowly he leans in, his eyes locked in mine. There is an assurance in them: he doesn’t wish to startle me. And he presses his lips against mine.
I respond to it uncertainly. His lips are hot and wet. I don’t remember ever having been kissed like that before, so painstakingly elaborately. His palm from my cheek moves up to the back of my neck, pulling me closer to his face. His other hand he places on mine, warming my cold fingers endearingly.
It is an exceptionally long kiss, like one of those make-out sessions you have as a teen, when kissing alone would startle the butterflies in your stomach. Too late I realize that the kiss has another purpose. And that is when it’s already over.
He wipes his mouth on his shirt sleeve.
“Much better,” he whispers, looking at my face lustfully.
I feel the heat on my face, on my lips. There is nothing to distract him from my eyes now. I pray the foundation masks my embarrassment. Does he enjoy looking at my miserable face? Is he one of those sadistic bastards who get off on other people’s agony?
My breathing is uneven and I’m finally beginning to doubt my decision to have come there.
“You have the most beautiful sorrowful eyes I’ve seen,” Matt says regretfully. His face is soft with compassion.