I suppose it’s a good thing that I’m graduating early, in about two months, to be precise. Because my instincts tell me I’d be looking for a new roommate soon if I weren’t.
It’s twenty-one minutes before Dylan’s bedroom door opens, and the two of them return, fully dressed with hair damp from what I’m guessing was a shared shower. My roommate looks sheepish, and the wicked look on her boyfriend’s face makes me think of my nonna’s lectures about the tempting beauty of Lucifer.
Somehow I don’t think Dylan would appreciate me comparing Silas to Satan, even if the strict Catholic upbringing I received in my family didn’t quite take with me.
I keep my head down and focused on my books as the two of them say good-bye at the door. There are some definite kissing noises, a few giggles, and a low murmur of words I’m glad I can’t hear. I should be able to ignore them, but for a reason I can’t quite identify, I’m hyperaware of the two of them wrapped up together in my peripheral vision.
Even when the door closes and Silas is long gone, there’s still a strange otherness in the room, like their relationship leaves behind specters to taunt single people with their glowing happiness. It doesn’t help that Dylan is still leaning against the door, her eyes sort of glazed over and her lips lifted in a smile. Huh. That must be what really good sex looks like. Note to self.
“So . . .” I say. “That seems . . . serious.”
She floats over to the couch so serenely, I actually check to make sure her feet are on the ground. She sits next to me and pulls her legs up onto the couch to wrap her arms around her knees.
“It is. It really is.”
“And you don’t think that’s fast?” I ask. They’d only known each other for a few months, and they had been kind of together but kind of not. Then they had some kind of split at the beginning of the school year before they worked things out. As far as I can tell, they’ve only officially been together for around two weeks.
She laughs. “Oh, it’s incredibly fast. But it was never going to be any other way with him. He’s an all-or-nothing kind of guy.”
“And you’re good with . . . all?”
Dylan’s eyes meet mine, and something twists in my stomach. Maybe I am a little bit envious. But not of the guy or even the relationship . . . more of the ability to have such a relationship. After a few completely bland liaisons over the years, I’ve decided that I just don’t have that thing in me that lets people fall in love. Nonna says I’m picky. Dad says I’m stubborn. Mom thinks I just need someone who’s as smart as I am.
I say I’m better equipped for ideas than emotions.
I can’t picture myself in a satisfying relationship, period, let alone one that forms and flourishes in a matter of weeks. If I were Dylan, the prospect of all would freak me out.
“I can’t really put it into words,” she says. “At least not ones that don’t sound cliché, but I’m okay with choosing it all with Silas because not to do so feels like I’m wasting time. I don’t know, being with him just feels . . . inevitable. In the best way. And to slow things down or box them in just doesn’t feel natural, you know?”
I nod my head even though I do not, in fact, know.
“I am sorry, though,” she continues, “about not giving you a heads-up before bringing him over. You stayed so late at the library, and there were a bunch of people at his house, so we came over here for some privacy. We both meant for him to leave, but we fell asleep. I promise I’m not going to turn into one of those roommates who practically moves in their significant other.”
I nod again, and I believe her. Dylan is a fantastic roommate, and she has a tendency to put all others above herself . . . to a fault.
“How about I make you breakfast as an apology? Brain food and all that jazz.”
“You don’t have to do that.”
“It’s not a big deal. I was going to make something for me anyway. I’ll just make extra.”
She stands and lopes off to the kitchen. I should leave it at that and get back to my studying, but there’s something bugging me, and I can’t resist the urge to dig a little. Curiosity and cats and all that jazz. Following Dylan, I lean on the wall just outside the kitchen and watch as she pulls out pans, bacon, eggs, and utensils.
“You seem different,” I say. “Happier. Not that you seemed sad before, but . . .” I trail off, not exactly sure what she was before. She’d always appeared perfectly content, intelligent, outgoing even. From the outside, her life had looked damn near perfect. So either there was something I didn’t know, or this Silas guy is the superhero version of a boyfriend.
Or again . . . maybe the sex really is that good. Perhaps she’s just drowning in an overabundance of endorphins.
“I am happy. Happier.” She grins to herself as she sets about cooking breakfast. “Have you ever been certain you knew something only to be proven completely wrong?”
I think for a moment. “Not in recent memory, no. I don’t usually think in terms of certainties until I’ve tested a theory multiple times.”
“I’m not talking about science or math, Nell. I mean . . . about yourself. Have you ever thought one thing about your life only to change your mind?”
“There was a period in middle school where I thought white eyeliner was flattering.”
She laughs. And I’m glad for it because her words don’t sit right in my stomach. Because there is something I’ve been questioning lately. Or more accurately, stubbornly refusing to allow myself to question even when I want to.