‘I dreamed about you last night.’
Denise stabbed at the battered fish in her plate, suddenly too embarrassed even to look at me.
She’d been acting strange all morning, on the edge of saying something. I’d caught her staring at me a few times, but always she’d flinched away guiltily and buried herself in her work.
But she hadn’t hesitated when joining me for lunch – Friday fish and chips – sitting opposite me, the two of us semi-alone, no one to overhear. ‘So, what is it?’ I’d asked her, and she flushed crimson in answer, staring motionless at her food for a good five seconds before answering.
‘I dreamed about you last night.’
Usually when people dream about me, it’s because it’s not really a dream, but I’ve never visited Denise while she slept. ‘Oh, yes?’ I prompted eventually.
If possible, I think she turned even more red, before finally looking at me. ‘We were kissing.’
‘Ohh,’ I said, and smiled. ‘Was I a good kisser?’
She laughed. ‘You were amazing.’
I grinned. ‘Now I’m jealous. I’ve kissed you, but you haven’t kissed me.’ Denise started to object, but I interrupted, ‘A quick goodbye kiss in an open doorway doesn’t count.’
She laughed again, then turned serious. ‘I think I’d like to.’
‘You think you’d like to?’
‘I want to kiss you.’
‘Don’t let me stop you.’
‘Not here,’ she whispered, frowning. ‘People will see us.’
‘I’m sorry, I can’t tonight. I have to leave early to collect my parents from the airport.’
‘Tomorrow, then,’ I insisted.
She smiled cheekily. ‘Sure, what time?’
‘I’ll pick you up at six. I won’t promise to have you back before midnight.’
‘Okay. It’s a date.’
Of course, having agreed to a date, having asked for one, I had no clue what to do about it. I hadn’t been on a date since I was a teenager, before my life changed completely. And even then I hadn’t really known what I was doing.
I mean, dating seems such a waste of time when you can just skip straight to the sex. Pure, uninhibited, animal-passion sex. I love releasing that sexual animal, using it, feeding from it. I love it and I need it, at least once a week. Twice is better.
It’s not romantic of course. Slipping into someone’s room while they sleep, awakening the animal but not the human, hours of orgasmic bliss… It’s fun, and fulfilling in a very physical way, but I sleep at home. Alone. When I open my eyes in the morning, there’s no one next to me.
I can have anyone I want. I could have Denise throwing herself at me, just by fluttering my eyelashes. And not because I’m beautiful or anything, because really I’m nothing special to look at, but I have the power of Meridiana in me, a coiling hunger that having been awakened can never be truly appeased. And that power, if I let it show, draws people to me like moths to a flame.
But I don’t want Denise the animal. It’s Denise the human, the cute girl who sits next to me at work and makes me smile so often. I wonder what it would be like to wake up next to her.
So. A date. I must have changed my mind ten times about what to wear, where to take her. My bragging about not having her back by midnight started to seem increasingly absurd. In the end, I dispensed with sexy and stylish and dressed in jeans and a T-shirt, a leather jacket. Sunglasses would be cool, but not on a winter’s night.
I got lost on the way to her house. I usually only drive to work and to the shops, otherwise I use public transport. Or I go through the mirrors. I pulled up outside her house at 6.15, and Denise appeared immediately, running down the steps gracefully despite wearing impressively high heels. She had also opted for jeans, and was wrapped warm in a red duffel coat.
She flashed me a nervous smile as she slipped into the passenger seat. ‘I’ve no idea what I’m doing,’ she said. ‘I’ve never dated a woman before.’
‘Neither have I,’ I said, pulling out into traffic. ‘The last time I dated was five years ago, when I was still trying to prove I was straight.’
‘So you are… gay? I mean, you said you weren’t a lesbian.’
‘I am and I’m not. I have a lesbian heart in a body that’s gender-blind. Or, to be technical, I’m homoromantic pansexual.’
‘I have no idea what any of that means.’
‘Well, on the principle that you should never sleep with someone you wouldn’t want to wake up next to… I will fuck just about anyone, but I only sleep with women. And I don’t even do that.’
‘Huh,’ was her only response to that, and she stared out the window for the rest of the journey.
The table was booked for 7 o’clock, so we had to wait at the bar for twenty minutes. We both had margaritas, salt-rimmed.
‘I’m not a lesbian,’ she said. ‘I like men. I love sex with them.’ She laughed. ‘I say that like I’ve had sex with hundreds of men. I’ve had two serious boyfriends, but I loved them both and the sex was great, no complaints. I have never been with a woman.’
She paused to sip her margarita. ‘I don’t find women unattractive, and the idea of kissing a woman, or even having sex with a woman, is not something that disgusts me, but I’ve never really thought about doing anything. Not until I met you. Now it’s all I can think about.’
She was telling me exactly what I wanted to hear – and I hadn’t even used my power. Or had I? Maybe she has sensed it all along and been drawn to it, corrupting her natural inclinations.
Denise bit her bottom lip. She does this when she is anxious, and it always makes me want to kiss her. ‘I want to kiss you,’ she said. ‘But I want more than that. If tonight is just a game for you, or a chance at a one night stand, then let’s stop right now before either of us gets hurt.’
I sighed heavily. ‘Denise,’ I said, taking her hands in mine. ‘Please believe me that what I feel for you is real. For the first time in years I’ve found someone I want to open my heart to. I want to wake up tomorrow morning, and every morning after, and find you in my bed.’
And then I did something unbelievably foolish. ‘But if that’s really what tonight is about,’ I said carefully, ‘I need to be honest. I will promise you my heart, that I will love no one but you, but I have sexual needs that no one person can fulfil. Not even you.’
She frowned in confusion. ‘So you want to keep seeing other people?’
‘No, I don’t want to. I need to – but it’s purely sexual, not emotional.’
‘I don’t think I can do that,’ she said. Suddenly angry, she slammed her margarita down on the bar. ‘I don’t think I can do this,’ she shouted, and grabbed her coat.
‘I’ll drive you home,’ I said quietly.
‘Don’t bother,’ she growled, and stormed out of the restaurant.