Touched, maybe. Similarly possessive. Also wary.
We’ve never established that we’ll be faithful in any way.
“I spent so much of the last four years trying to get a job,” he says quietly. “Relationships absolutely took a backseat. I think I auditioned for everything. But classical guitar is tricky. People want guitar to be rock.”
“You play rock, too.”
He eyes me. “Yeah, but not as a passion.”
“No,” I say, “of course not. But you could do rock if you wanted.”
“The problem isn’t only that I didn’t want to do that, it’s that there are a million people playing rock guitar.”
“Well, now there’s only one person playing classical guitar down at the Levin-Gladstone.”
He does a cute little fist punch in the air.
“But speaking of,” I say, nudging his head off my lap, “tomorrow you head down and start rehearsals.” I point to the clock that tells us it’s far past midnight. “You should sleep.”
He looks up at me. “Tonight was hatchet.”
I laugh. “Is that a good thing?”
“Aye, means I had fun.”
His smile straightens. “I don’t like to think of you playing a side part in your story.”
I bite my lip, struggling to not look away. I’m not entirely sure what to say to this.
“You’ve suddenly become a very large part of mine,” he says quietly. “And I yours. No? Why not make it epic?”
Calvin sits up, leaning forward to press a chaste kiss to my cheek that I feel long after he’s walked into the bathroom.
I head to my room to put on my pajamas and then sit on my bed, staring at my phone. His last text has gone unanswered. I reply impulsively.
I feel the same way.
What am I doing? I’m less afraid of getting in trouble for this fake marriage than I am of falling in love with someone who could be playing me completely.
I have no idea how long I sit there, but when I step out to use the bathroom, I see Calvin on the sofa bed, tucked under blankets, eyes closed.
My phone lights up again.
And I despise every night I go to sleep without you.
I remember the first time I saw Working Girl. It was at Robert and Jeff’s—of course—and they had the VHS tape of the film. There are so many classic lines (“I am not steak! You can’t just order me!”) but my favorite scene is the end—spoiler alert—when Melanie Griffith and Harrison Ford are in the kitchen together, making coffee and packing lunches for her first day on the job. They’re all private smiles and shoulder bumps and it’s obscene how cute it is.
I’m going to be honest with you and say that our morning before Calvin’s first rehearsal is not like this. For one, we both oversleep. Our panicked sprinting around each other in the tiny apartment—to brush teeth, to make coffee, Go ahead, you shower first; Oh shit, Holland, can I use your razor?—is interrupted only when my cell phone rings. It’s Robert: Calvin’s phone is on silent and my uncle’s been calling, asking him to come in an hour early to rehearse before Ramón shows up.
Calvin emerges from the steamy bathroom with a towel around his waist. I have the absurd thought that he reminds me of the plastic torso from an anatomy course I took: each of his muscles seems perfectly defined beneath his skin.
He shuffles past me. “I forgot my clothes out here.”
What was I supposed to tell him again . . . ? Oh, right.
“Robert called,” I say, and part of me wants to warn him to hold that towel tighter because he might drop it when I pass along the request. “He wants you to come in earlier.”
Calvin blanches. “When earlier?”
I peek at the clock over his shoulder. “Now earlier?”
He explodes into action, grabbing his clothes from the couch, jogging back to the bathroom. I catch a flash of bare ass and find religion. I throw on whatever clothes are on top of my clean laundry pile—no one cares what I’m wearing today, or any day, for that matter—and pour coffee for each of us into travel mugs, waiting by the door.
And then we’re off.
It’s so cold outside that I’m legitimately worried about his wet hair freezing. Apparently he is, too, because he tucks it into a knit cap and bends into the cracking wind, cradling his guitar case to his chest. We pass the Fiftieth Street station without comment—he doesn’t even look at it this time, but I do—and my heart is pulled into a bittersweet knot.
“What else did Robert say?” he asks, wincing in the wind.
“Ramón is coming in at ten. He wanted to go through a few things with you first.”
Calvin stops abruptly on the sidewalk, stunned. “Oh my God. It’s Ramón’s first rehearsal, too.”
Once he’s said it aloud, he seems to come to the same realization I did when Robert mentioned it—there’s no point in Ramón rehearsing with Lisa if Calvin is coming in. Today, they’ll begin working together in earnest.
Calvin turns, continuing on his frantic march to the theater, and I jog to keep up with his long strides.
“You’re going to be amazing,” I assure him.
He nods into the warmth of his scarf. “Keep telling me that.”