SHYLOH WONDERED HOW long he’d have to lay there with Judith’s head in the crook of his arm. Her afternoon visit to his dormitory room on the university campus had been unexpected, her aggressive sexual behavior had not.
“Are you gay?” Judith said.
“Why do you say that, Jude? Did I do something wrong?”
“Just the opposite.”
Mind games. Judith was good, but Shyloh was the master. Still, what she said was disconcerting. She’d seemed to enjoy herself.
“Well, are you?”
“Why do you ask? You said I did nothing wrong, and you appeared to enjoy the act.”
“Okay, the sex.”
“You call it sex, not making love?”
“You know I love you, Judith. I’m devoted to you.”
“As you are to Aiya.” A statement, not a question.
Was Judith jealous? Shyloh was surprised that Judith, seemingly infused with self-confidence and self-esteem, could be so insecure, so vulnerable. Jealousy was such a primordial, base emotion. It clouded reason, suspended intellect. According to literature and crime reports it was the root cause of more poor and destructive choices than any other emotion.
Still, he couldn’t dismiss it. He needed to proceed with extreme caution and even then he felt anything he said would only make it worse.
This shouldn’t have happened, but he’d been deflecting Judith’s advances for months now and it was straining their relationship. She was used to getting what she wanted. People did what she asked. Shyloh doubted there was a male on campus who would turn down sex with this Nordic goddess. His reluctance fueled her determination. Perhaps once they had sex, Shyloh reasoned, they could return to being normal with one another. But reason, he knew, had nothing to do with it.
Shyloh say up and swung his feet out of bed. Judith’s cool hand stroked his naked back.
“Have you had sex with Aiya?”
Shyloh stood up.
“Answer me, Shyloh.” Judith never raised her voice. Her orders were always chillingly enunciated and without ambiguity.
Shyloh pulled on his jeans. “You just asked me if I’m gay?”
Judith studied him. “She’s very beautiful.”
Shyloh picked up the white cotton shirt from the floor where Judith had flung it after nearly ripping it off his body. It was wrinkled. He hated wearing wrinkled clothes.
When he turned Judith was standing naked before the full length wall mirror braiding her dusky blond hair. Her lithe tall body was flawless, her breasts were large and firm and muscles defined her arms, legs, back and buttocks.
She turned and walked toward him. “If you’re not gay and there’s no one else, then what is it?”
“What is what? It’s not like you to talk in riddles, Jude.”
“You’re not emotionally engaged, Shyloh. Making love is more than technique. You give pleasure but you don’t take any. It’s like you’re following a manual.”
That wasn’t far from the truth.
Shyloh understood relationships, the complex, emotional minefields between humans better than most because he was more an observer than a participant. However, since he’d never felt sexual desire, he didn’t understand the passion that fueled these highly charged interconnections.
At a young age he realized there must be something wrong with him, but by reading and watching he concluded he might be blessed rather than cursed. If he had to choose between blind passion and clear logic, it was a no-brainer, which ironically was how passion made most people act.
Shyloh believed, “An unexamined life was not worth living” and so he’d engaged in a few sexual encounters.
It was easy to find willing partners. He was nearly six feet tall, thin, with thick dark hair. His almond-shaped brown eyes came from his Chinese father, his high cheekbones and Roman nose were bequeathed to him by his Scandinavian mother. He’d been called a lot of things in his life; a mud by skinheads, a half breed by just ordinary racists, a banana (yellow on the outside, white on the inside) by the Asian community, and as he got older exotic, by women who made no attempt to hide their interest.
So what to tell Judith? After all, he wasn’t dealing with the lumpenproletariat, she was one of the triumvirate, more intelligent and capable than anyone he knew, except perhaps its other two members.
Honesty. He’d employ the truth.
“I don’t like it,” he said.
“You don’t like what?”
“I don’t like sex.”
“What don’t you like about it?”
Careful. How to tell her how unseemly it was, two otherwise rational people groping, gasping, slathering, grunting and groaning, a sweaty physical cliché. This wasn’t love, this was a primitive response to pheromones, a biological drive to procreate, primal, banal, even degrading, not to mention unsanitary.
“It’s just not my prime directive.”
Judith’s expression was blank. Shyloh was an expert at reading people’s body language and expressions, but Judith wasn’t giving anything away. He was still in deep water.
“When I look at you I see a beautiful woman, but I’m more excited by your intellect, your natural ability to lead, your amazing capacity to assess the risk in a situation and plan the appropriate response. I’d rather have a conversation with you than have sex with you.”
“Do you feel this way about all women?”
“No, most I don’t want to have a conversation with.”
Judith laughed, full and throaty, almost a growl. Aiya’s laugh was like a wind chime. Why was he always comparing the two?
Shyloh exhaled and relaxed.
“And you’ve never made love to Aiya, because you know she loves you?”
“As she loves you.”
Judith smiled. “I doubt that, but she’s too pious to seduce you like I did, right?”
“You wouldn’t take no for an answer.”
Judith stepped closer. They were the same height and now six inches separated their faces. “So you’re not gay, you’re just weird?”
“And you love me?”
“To the moon and back.” It’s what they told each other in grade school. It still was true.
Judith leaned in and kissed him. Eyes wide open, lips sealed, time suspended, bond re-forged.
She put her arms around his neck and leaned against him. “Are you ever afraid, Shy?”
“No.” He wasn’t, ever. They planned, prepared and executed. Mostly they succeeded. If they didn’t, they took what they learned, regrouped, refocused and re-initiated. Fear never factored into it, at least not for him. It was just another emotion he didn’t seem to have. But Judith afraid? Now that was interesting.
“You’ll always be here for me?”
“How could you think otherwise? He didn’t need this intimate complication with Judith. He felt he hadn’t handled it right. And now she said Aiya felt the same way about him as she did?
“I’m sorry I can’t be the person you want me to be, Judith.”
“So am I, Shy, but it’s for the best don’t you think?”
“I do, but I’m afraid I’ve hurt you. I never want to hurt you. I love you.”
Judith stepped close, put her hand on his cheek and looked into his eyes. “You’d better.”
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish