My friend Alyth has been rather subdued of late, partly because of all the stress in the wake of Tina’s disappearance, which does seem to have died down, mostly, and partly because the end-of-year exams are looming. I think also she’s a little depressed that her grand plans for Equinox didn’t yield any life-changing revelations.
‘So, no adventures?’ I asked over coffee this morning.
‘No,’ she replied. ‘Just boring old life.’
‘No new boyfriend?’
She laughed. ‘No.’ She was quiet for a minute, meditating, eating the chocolate-dusted foam from the cappuccino, then sighed. ‘I’ve always thought of Lindsay as the weird one of the family. She’s so beautiful, and yet she has absolutely no interest in men. Or women. Or other.’
I chuckled. ‘I remember several occasions where she chucked books across the room disgusted with the way romance had ruined an otherwise perfectly good plot.’
‘Yes, exactly. Usually the sort of books that I love. I know you’re always bitching about alpha males, but I do love them. Or at least the idea of them.’
‘Yeah. He’s so hot. Even now, after everything, I get butterflies when I see him. Part of me just wants to go straight over and rip his clothes off…’ She drifted deep into thought for a minute or two, then shook her head. ‘It’s a shame he’s such as asshole.’
She took a sip of coffee, and continued. ‘I never felt that intense connection with Tina,’ she said. ‘I loved her’ – I’ve noticed that Tina has crept into the past tense as far as Alyth is concerned – ‘but I wasn’t in love with her. The sex was fun – really great, actually – and all the kissing and cuddling was nice, but it all felt like such a lie. That’s why I’ve always considered myself as straight.’
‘Maybe you’re heteroromantic bisexual.’
‘It’s not that simple. Remember Lily?’
‘The blonde librarian?’
‘Yes. I feel terrible admitting this, but I miss Lily more than I miss Tina. I used to love going to the library, hoping to catch a glimpse of her, my heart bouncing happily whenever I did. At the time I thought it was just the mystery of her that attracted me so much, but it was more than that. I had a crush on her.’
‘Biromantic bisexual, then.’
‘It’s still not that simple. When I think back about my various boyfriends… They’ve all been really sexy. All my relationships have been based on sex, and they never really lasted. I simply wasn’t interested enough in them to make the relationships work. But with Cray…
‘I couldn’t get enough of Cray. I hated having to go to lectures when I wanted to spend every minute of every day in his arms, and I really hated that he kept disappearing without explanation for days – I used to lie awake at night, burning with jealousy at some imagined lover he was visiting.
‘I didn’t love him, but I was head-over-heels in love with him. And the only other person I’ve felt anything like that way about is Lily.’
‘Okay, but what’s your point?’
‘I’ve been in love exactly twice. Once with a werewolf, and once with a vampire. I’m not biromantic, I’m pararomantic – if there’s such a thing. Bisexual, yes, okay, but romantically attracted only to paranormal creatures.’
‘Ah,’ I said, lost as I usually am whenever Alyth wanders off the map. ‘That is weird.’