The talk about Vicky possibly coming over had made me realize that I hadn't spoken to her much since I had broken up with Joey. Of course we still talked once every other week, but after I had made it very clear that I didn't want to discuss anything relating this issue, our conversations barely scraped the surface of anything. I had told her that I didn't want her to feel weird around him, since they regularly saw each other. I said, that this was the reason why I didn't want to talk about it, even though the truth was, that I simply knew she wouldn't understand why I hadn't talked to her about this before I made the decision to break things off. Then again, I hadn't done that because I had known what she would have told me and I didn't want to hear it. It felt like I hadn't only cheated on Joey but on Vicky as well. Still, I missed her and I wanted to see her. I was sure that if Sasha could make this happen she would learn to like him as much as I did and then she might understand why I had to do what I did. But it also meant that I would have to tell her about him eventually. How else was she supposed to believe that I could afford to get her a ticket to come see me. I decided to call her tonight after talking to Sasha again, if he really meant what he said the night before.
He had to go to work early and I had University in the morning and we had a test that I had totally forgotten to study for due to all the drama that had happened on the weekend. Luckily it was only a small test, that wasn't going to make up much of the credit that semester, but I still had a hard time finishing it on time. When I handed it my paper I saw Lena sitting in the front row, scraping up some papers that had fallen on the floor. I tapped her on the shoulder "Hey Lena, how did it go?" It seemed like it took her a minute to place me and she answered "Oh hi, Emma, it went fine. Thanks for asking." The way she pronounced my name sounded like someone had just introduced me to her for the first time. "Uhm, is everything ok." "Of course it is. Why do you ask?" "Well because you sound weird and you haven't called me on the weekend and I just wanted to know if your test went well." "Well actually Emma, you were supposed to call me and help me with the studying, because you know how bad I am with this subject. I called you twice Friday night, to set up a date for Saturday and then you didn't call me back. Then I called again on Saturday, but your phone was busy most of the time and you never called me back, so forgive me for starting to study on my own, hoping that I would still get all this shit without your help." Her neck had turned bright pink while she was spitting out those last words. I remembered seeing her calls Friday night and wanting to return them first thing Saturday. "Oh shit, I am sorry Lena. Really, I am. Look I had some stuff going on on the weekend, I actually didn't get to study as well. I am so sorry, can I explain it to you? I will definitely help you next time. Please?" I tried my puppy dog expression that I had learned from Joey. I could see her face turn back to its normal color and her shoulders deflating. "Fine, but seriously, don't break your promises with me. I hate running after people." "That's fine, believe me. It will never happen again". She took my arm and we left the classroom to grab some lunch.
"Look Emma, I am really happy for you that you are all in love with the Russian boy, but you gotta keep your shit together, seriously." "What do you mean by that?" I snapped. "Well, you don't return my calls a lot lately, I see you missing class a lot, which is probably not that big of a deal because you are a lot smarter than me, but still. I thought this was important to you?" "Yeah and it is. I mean I get that I have been doing a lot of stuff with Sasha lately, but I am still 100% committed to my studies." "You are not going to bail on me to run off to Russia, are you?" "No of course not!" "Ok good then" she smirked. "Now that I gave you some of my best tough love we can go over to the fun part. Tell me more about all the fancy stuff you guys did this weekend, and more importantly, did you get any more gorgeous presents?" I told her about the dress and the dinner and our first night together and was happy that she dropped the topic so quickly so my head could drop it too.
I waited for Sasha in front of the language school so we could go in together. He was late as usual and I was starting to get really cold, not wearing a jacket over my new fur vest that Sasha had picked out for me. His car finally pulled in front of the school and I could immediately tell that he had been drinking. "Hey gorgeous, why so blue?" he laughed at his own joke. "Seriously, I am fucking freezing and we are late for class." He wrapped his arms around my hips and pulled me closer. "How are you feeling now?" "A lot better." I murmured in his mouth as he closed his lips over mine. "Let's ditch class and go out instead, yes?" "But you cannot miss anymore classes or you will get in trouble with work." Before I even finished the sentence I knew that this was not the way to convince him. "Come on baby, you know they cannot do anything. One call from my dad and everything will be ok again. So stop being such a party pooper. Let's go. There is this new bar I wanted to show you. They make the best Sushi in town and after that we can go to my place and spend the night in my jacuzzi." So far I had never been to his apartment and each time I had asked him about it he told me that they were remodeling it and it was more of a construction site than a place to live. I really wanted to see it. "Ok, fine, but let's at least call Ms Schwarz and tell her we are not going to make it, ok?" We got into the car and he started driving. "Ok, we can do that from the restaurant, yes. How was your day?" "It was ok, we had a test today, and I don't think I did to well." "I am sure it was fine baby." "Maybe, but I didn't study enough for it. And Lena gave me shit for it, especially because I didn't help her." "Why is that your problem?" "Well, I did promise her and then I forgot, because I was busy with you." "And she has a problem with that?" He looked away from the road and at me waiting for an answer. "No, but she just asked me, if I was taking school seriously enough." "You are, end of discussion. It is not her fucking business what you do with your life. You should not have other people push you around like this all the time, you know." "I know, but.." "No but, you know what you are doing and she can go fuck herself." I was about to give him a lecture on how he couldn't talk about my friends like this when I saw a smile creep up on his lips. So it was a joke. I felt relieved and let out a laugh. He concentrated on the road again and we didn't speak until we got to the restaurant.
He had been right, it was probably the best Sushi I had ever eaten and he kept ordering and ordering more until I was sure I couldn’t eat another bite without exploding. He ordered two Sakes and moved his chair next to mine. He took my hand in his and looked at me with that intense look he always got, when he wanted me to listen to him. "I love you." , he almost whispered. The chair under me seemed to give way and I crashed onto the floor looking at him helplessly. I felt like I was out in the ocean with an unknown force trying to pull me under with nothing to hold onto but those three little words.
I don't know how long I sat there looking at him. People started staring at us, the silence screaming so loud even they could hear it. Sasha was paler than I had ever seen him. I struggled while getting up from the floor but he kept his hands on his legs. He looked like he was about to scream. I sat back on my chair and tucked a strand of stray hair behind my ear and forced myself to breathe. What did I have to lose, except him? "I love you too." I could feel the entire room gasp for the air they had so desperately been holding in.
He kissed me hard on the mouth and held onto me when our drinks came. When he finally breathed again he took the little sake cup the waiter had filled up and finished it, motioning me to do the same. The sake was hot and burned my tongue but it was good to feel something while my brain was still trying to register what had just happened. I didn't want to be the one to speak first so I kept sipping my sake. "Do you want to go?" Sasha asked softly. I swallowed the hot liquid as quickly as I could. "Yes, let's go." "Ok, let me get the check." He got up to pay with the waiter directly and I finished both mine and his drink before I put on my jacket and grabbed his to meet him by the door.
Sasha had a big grin on his face, when we left the restaurant and I couldn't help but adapt. What I had said was true, I just wasn't sure it was the right time yet. "Why are you so quiet babe?" I detected a hint of uneasiness in his tone. "Oh I am just excited to finally see your place," I beamed at him. He seemed to relax instantly. "Well I hope you are ready for something amazing." It only took a couple of minutes until he pulled up in front of a tall building with windows as empty as the eyes of an old woman. The hallway was as dark as the streets and I began to feel uneasy without really knowing why. "Why don't you turn on the light?" I asked him. "Shh ", he pressed his finger to my lips. "It's a surprise." He led me into an elevator with mirrors on each wall and pressed the 5th floor button. The lights were flurecently yellow and made my reflection, pale and ghost like. The hollow sound of the elevator arriving on the right floor snapped me out of my thoughts. Sasha grabbed my elbow and lead me out of the tiny space. When he put the keys in the door I held my breath, and closed my eyes a little, like I sometimes did when Vicky convinced me to watch scary movies with her. Finally the light came on and I opened my eyes again. I don't know what I had expected but it wasn't this. It was all so surprisingly boring ad normal that I let out a loud laugh of relief. There was no Jacuzzi or black latex sofas or mirrors everywhere it was just a regular boys apartment, with dirty socks carelessly hidden in the hamper by the bathroom door. Sasha took my laughter as an insult of some sort. "What, don't you like it?" "No, no it's not that, I was just expecting something a lot, uhm, weirder," I chuckled, hoping this would be an acceptable answer. I went over to him to hug him but he pulled away. "So you think I am boring, yes?" "Oh no, baby, come on, I love it. Don't worry, it's perfect." I took his hand in mine. "Can you give me a tour, so I can see it all?" He squeezed my hand tighter but he started walking. The apartment was big enough for 3 people to live in it and he seemed proud finally to be able to show it to me. When he was done with the tour we sat on his dark brown leather couch and he offered me a glass of wine. I should really stop drinking so much but I had acquired a taste for the good red wine that he always brought so I said yes. I decided to bring up Vicky's visit again. "So babe, I wanted to ask you again, were you serious about brining Vicky over here?" "Of course I was. I don't joke about these things, I always want to see you happy." "Wow, really that is so sweet of you and I am still not sure if I can take you up on the offer, but I will think about it. It would be so nice to see her." "Of course it would." He took my glass from my hand and put it on the table. "Whatever you want, you can have it, you know that right. I love you so much." And I love you too." We didn't need anything else after that.