-"Grace, I think someone needs to point out to you that your rich, handsome, frenchman of a boyfriend is totally kissable."-was the first thing I heard as I shut the apartment door after a long day of tutoring schoolchildren. I sighed at the prospect of having this conversation again for the thousandth time while I set down my bag, kicked off my shoes, and ducked into the bathroom of our small one-bedroom apartment in an effort to evade my over-zealous roommate.
"He's not my boyfriend, Leila, and I'm fully aware of his...kissable...ness." The memory of kissing a french boy is not one easily repressed, let me tell you.
"You say that like you have some experience," my new-ish friend urged, once again searching for information on our relationship. "I can't believe you've been hanging out with that boy for the past two weeks without even attempting to smooch him!"
"It hasn't been two weeks. He arrived in Romania just nine days ago, and I've only seen him a few times," I reminded her.
"Still! You two have the hots for each other. We can all tell. And Ana was saying how he saw you out the window and ran after you something desperate." Leila pushed me onto my bed and stood with her arms folded, staring at me, waiting for me to spill. I never did hold up well to this particular variety of peer pressure, and I think she was beginning to pick up on it.
"Fine! Fine. I met Theo at the beginning of the summer. Happy?" Maybe if I gave Leila just a bit of something to moon over, then she'd finally shut up.
"No! You've got to tell me everything! You two have a history! How can I support you emotionally if I don't even know what it is? Seriously, Grace, you are making it impossible for me to complete my duties as a good roommate and charity-volunteer-sister-lady." She gave me her most serious look.
"Oh gawd, you are so ridiculous," I told her.
"Please, Grace? Pl-eeease?" she pleaded, going so far as to get down on her knees and beg, taking my hand in hers. Geez, what was wrong with this girl? After living with me for six weeks she already feels she's entitled to all the details of my life.
"Leila! Just stop it-okay?"
"Not until you promise to tell me what's going on between you and that complete dreamboat that prevents you from kissing him every ten seconds. He'd let you, you know," Leila said.
"No, I don't think he would," I said. I had left in a rather pathetic position after all. There was no reason to believe he would forgive me so simply, not after I'd lied to him so thoroughly. No, our chance was over. I blew it.
Leila seemed to have picked up on my doleful mood, because she sat up on the bed with me, still grasping my hand, and asked softly,
Ooh, she was good. I was reminded of the way Emma would comfort me when I was agitated.
"Well," I began searching for words, "I lied to him. He only liked me because I wasn't fake, because I was different and honest, and I was lying to him the whole time." I had been trying to avoid even thinking about this anymore, but I guess I had to explain sometime. "I don't think he can trust me again."
Leila gave me a small hug. "Oh Grace. I'm sorry. I didn't think it would be something hard for you to talk about."
"No, it's alright," I told her, giving a little smile while brushing away a couple stray tears. "It's good to have someone to talk to about it, I think. I am having a hard time being around him so much."
"But Grace, are you certain he's mad? He seems to like you."
"He's being polite. You can't spend a week with someone and then completely ignore them, you know? Theo is nothing if not decent." I didn't think I'd be able to completely forgive myself for ruining it anytime soon.
"Walking you home, asking you to coffee, those of not the acts of a person who is only 'being polite', Grace," Leila said. She was clearly reading too much into it.
"No, actually, I think it does in our case. He probably feels like he needs to get to know me as me, just so we can work together without discomfort." That was something he'd probably do. The scars of our last attempt at dating were still there though. He knew better than to try that again.
Leila crinkled her forehead, a little confused by that statement, but didn't push it. I sighed again, wanting to lie there and mope for several hours, but I knew that if I wanted to get over this fiasco, I'd have to actively set my mind on other things. Thinking of Theo was painful. The best thing to do was go to work. I hauled myself to my feet, picked up the bag I had set down not ten minutes earlier, and slipped on my shoes again as my roommate watched.
"Leila, I'm just going to go finish some paperwork I had forgotten about. I'll be back before too late, okay?" I said.
Leila let me go without another word as I headed back to the school.