As the weeks went by, Sevin was softening toward me a little bit, but it seemed to be at a snail’s pace. And he never touched me. Ever. That was painful. Sitting across from him at night while we watched TV, I could smell him and practically feel the heat of his body. I’d catch him looking at me when he thought I was fully immersed in a show. I knew he was holding back intentionally, that even though he wanted me, he wasn’t ready to let himself cross that line. Understanding his reasoning, though, did nothing to ease the cumulative ache building inside of me. My physical attraction to him was at an all-time high, not only because I hadn’t been touched in so long but because at nearly twenty-seven, he was truly all man and more handsome and built than he’d ever been in his life.
So, frustration was really starting to get the best of me. It all came to a head one night when the house phone rang during our TV time. Sevin got up to answer it before taking the handset into his bedroom. Bogged down by a mixture of fatigue and jealousy, I knocked on the door.
“Who are you talking to that you have to take the phone into the other room?” Before he could answer, I snatched it from him.
“Who is this?”
“It’s Nancy,” she said.
About to explode, I had so many words at the tip of my tongue. But I knew that none of it was fair. She was there for him when I wasn’t. To expect him to just drop her from his life and take me in was unfair. Instead of going off on her, I gave him the phone and marched out.
Sevin was visibly upset when he emerged from the room. “She’s just a friend, Evangeline.”
“Then why did you have to walk away to talk to her?”
“Because I didn’t want to upset you.”
Having reached my wits end, I cried out, “I’ve been trying so hard. I don’t know what else to do to get you to forgive me. I just want to make you happy. I’m so tired. Just tell me what you need, and I’ll do it!”
“I wish it were that simple.”
“Do you want me to leave?”
Rubbing his eyes, he breathed out slowly. “No. I like having you here.”
“You just seem so complacent about my being here.”
“I’m trying to protect myself. There is no halfway when it comes to you, Evangeline. There never was. It’s all or nothing. Finding out about Rose rocked my entire world. I just need time to forgive you organically. It’s not something I can force. I can’t be with you until my head is in the right place again.”
“What do I do in the meantime?”
“Just keep doing what you’re doing.”
“Trying to kill you with my cooking?”
We both broke out into much needed laughter.
He surprised me when he leaned in and cupped my cheeks gently. “Don’t leave.”
Hearing him say that he wanted me to stay was all the motivation I needed.
I smiled. “Okay.”
Nothing that’s worth it comes easy. But when the payoff comes, it can be spectacular.
In the weeks after my outburst, Sevin seemed more cognizant of my need for reassurance. One of the changes was that he started to cook alongside me at night. His fingers would sometimes brush along my back as he passed me in the kitchen. Even the slightest touch sent shooting tremors of sexual awareness through me. I savored every last bit of subtle contact he offered me.
Another thing was that he started to leave me little sticky notes around the house. Some were just standard thank you notes: My clothes have never smelled cleaner. I don’t know what the fuck you’re doing to them, but I can’t stop sniffing myself. It’s a problem. Others were polite suggestions about my less than gourmet meals: Maybe let’s not do Chicken Piccata again. Some were downright funny, like one I found on the bathroom mirror: Your hair sheds more than an Old English Sheepdog. I’m collecting it to make sweaters for the poor.
For several days, the notes were pretty vanilla. Then one day, I was putting some laundry away in Sevin’s room. A note on top of his chest of drawers was staring me in the face. I had to clutch my chest because this one made my heart feel like it was going to leap out.
You looked so fucking beautiful at breakfast this morning. You make it really hard to want to go to work.
We never talked about the notes. I took each one and kept them in a box in my room. He’d leave me new ones every day. While his actions toward me at night hadn’t changed much, the notes were his safe way of expressing the evolution of his feelings.
Another afternoon, I had just returned home to change my clothes when a yellow sticky taunted me from my nightstand.
That shirt you were wearing last night with no bra…wear it again.
That night at dinner, his eyes travelled down to my breasts, and he simply said, “I see you got my note.”
Flushed in the best possible way, I smiled and answered, “I did.”
That kind of innocent flirting went on for a while. It was a slow burn until one afternoon when the note on the kitchen counter was anything but innocent.
Don’t bother with dinner. The only thing I’ll be eating tonight is you.
I stood there in shock for the longest time, my heart pounding and my body buzzing with excitement. Looking over at my alarm clock, it hit me that he’d be home in a little over an hour. Stripping off my clothes, I ran to the bathroom to get myself ready for him.
Unprepared, I hadn’t shaved my legs in days. After I finished making sure I was clean and smooth, every orifice of my body was tingling from the anticipation as I closed my eyes and let the water pummel down on me.