I used to be in love with Jericho.
For years. Which was embarrassing, because he was (and still is) my best friend. We’d discuss the fact that I was in love with him, openly, all the time. Joke about it even.
But the bottom line is that the feeling isn’t mutual.
The kind of love he feels for me isn’t the kind that sends his fingers under my skirt to grab hold of my ass and hike me up against the wall. The kind of love he has for me isn’t the kind that makes him lie in bed at night staring at the ceiling fan, imagining me in his arms. The kind of love he has for me—well you get the point.
Jericho loves me, and I feel like a better person for it, but that still doesn’t change the fact that until recently, I was the one feeling pathetic—having to fantasize about him to get off. I’ve never been capable of moving past my heart’s immediate desires. I only had eyes for him.
I’m not sure what it was. Maybe I felt like I’d wasted enough of my twenties. Maybe I just got tired. Maybe I learned to love myself more. Maybe it was that epic fuck I had with Antoine a couple of weeks ago. Maybe I just know Jericho too damn well.
Whatever it is, I still love him, but suddenly I don’t see him the same way. He doesn’t speak to my body the way he used to. I don’t sparkle when he speaks, or watch his movements with the same rapt attention. Took me long enough. I really am, suddenly, just his friend. And it’s liberating.
Our 30th birthdays are both coming up this month, which means we’ve known each other fifteen years now. I don’t usually keep friends this long, and most of my friends are gorgeous goddess ladies. Not tall, dark, beautiful men who spoon my curves perfectly on the sofa and tell me of their adventures with other women.
I met Jericho in high school. He was the badass skater boy with pants always threatening to fall down and greet his ankles. His underwear, and his muscular ass were always peeking out from between his too-short Rage Against the Machine T-shirt and his too-low baggy jeans. I always used to fantasize about undoing his belt and just watching it all drop. All the pretense.
In an all-white small town, Jericho was one of the only brown boys, and, being brown myself, I was drawn to him for that reason too. But it was hard for shy nerd girls like me and skaters like Jericho to be friends in a high school environment. So I pined away, saying hi awkwardly and staring at him for too long on purpose so he’d know I was looking.
And then one day, I worked up the courage to ask him out. I may’ve been a nerd girl, but I did have guts. We played a game of pool, ate a sandwich, and talked. For eight hours. During which time I told him he was beautiful and that I had a huge crush on him. He responded with the whole “I’m flattered” bullshit.
Point is, we became the best of friends, and I tucked my feelings into my pocket. Kept them close, but out of sight. And besides, he seemed to like blondes. What we had was for keeps, which was so much better, right?
Fast forward fifteen years, and I’m sitting around waiting. Drinking wine and waiting for Jericho to come over and complain to me about the latest lady in his life. Something about her not being enough of a conversationalist, or not kinky enough. Can’t keep track. I don’t know. And I’m going to tell him of my latest conquest too. While Jericho’s in and out of committed relationships, I’m in and out of 2-week stands.
We have our patterns. And we always share. Zero judgment.
That’s his knock on my door right now.
“Hi darling,” I say, greeting him.
“Hello dear love,” he says.
He dresses well these days. No more skater pants. Ripped jeans that fit and hug him well. Not too loose, not tight. A thick yellow sweater that compliments his skin tone.
He kisses me on the cheek and falls onto the sofa in one sweeping move.
“Yes please,” he says, sighing deeply, head in hands.
“That bad, huh?” I ask, handing him a glass.
“Oh God, Cynthia. You have no idea.” He looks at me with meaning. This look is different from his usual intense looks that accompany his usual intense relationship drama.
“What? What is it?” I ask, sliding down onto the couch next to him.
I’m wearing a black poofy skirt, a loose purple sweater that hangs elegantly off one shoulder, and black sandal heels. I’m sorta kinda dressed to go out after our little happy hour, because Antoine is supposed to take me out for oysters before showing me his apartment for the first time. Antoine’s great. It’s just that I’m sure his other women are all pretty great too. It’s fun, is what it is. Simple fun.
“You look really good,” says Jericho, rubbing my bare leg with his thumb, staring into my eyes. I never and I mean never, feel uncomfortable with him touching me, but there’s something different this time. He’s gripping my thigh.
“Jericho. Talk to me. What’s happening?”
“It’s not working out with Zahra. We’re just not connecting beyond the superficial. She’s hot and all, but I just don’t know. I’m really not sure what the hell I’m doing anymore, love.”
He downs his glass of wine with one hand, keeping his other hand firmly on my thigh, and it’s starting to move up my skirt.
“I mean, you’ve seen me,” he continues. “I go from girl to girl. Each time, I think I’m in love, and each and every time, it fades so fucking fast. It’s becoming embarrassing.”
“Ok, but don’t be so hard on yourself, babe. Relationships are the most difficult challenge there is. We’re all fucked up, all of us, and I think the only reason we’re on this planet is to learn how to actually love. Love is the master plan. That’s my favourite Prince quote, as you know.”
I smile, pleased with myself, and run my fingers through his hair and down his face. We’ve always been touchy-feely. There is nothing out of the ordinary about this. He smiles, closes his eyes.
“Oh god.” He sighs deeply and heavily. “Cynthia, I have to say something to you, and I don’t want you to hate me.”
“Don’t be ridiculous. What?”
“I’ve been thinking a lot lately. About life, love, about the push and pull of relationships, how we run from what’s best for us. Out of fear.”
He looks up at me. That meaningful look again. He puts his other hand on my lap, one on each leg now, and pushes my legs apart ever so slightly, so it almost seems like my imagination, but it’s not. I feel a hot rush coming from the back of my neck. It’s shock mixed with fear mixed with delight mixed with anger.
“Jericho.” I look into his eyes.
“Cynthia, it’s you. For me, it’s you. And it has been all along. And I know I’m an asshole. But I’ve been giving this a lot of thought. The truth is, I’ve been in love with you for a couple of years now, and I just didn’t want to admit it to myself. I don’t want to fuck up what we have, but I also feel like, we’re both gonna die, and it’s stupid to just let something real pass you by. So I’m saying it now. Better late than never, right?”
He’s gripping both my legs now, holding on for dear life, looking me in the eye, looking for that sparkle I always gave him. Looking, looking.
I’m not gonna lie. I know I said I was over him. And I am. But of course there’s a part of me that needs to allow this. Out of sheer curiosity. Fifteen years.
“Fuck you,” I say softly. “Jericho. Fuck you. Do you know how embarrassing this is for me to hear from you?” He still has a grip on my legs, and he pulls me closer.
“Jericho, I cannot fucking believe you.” I am crying now, I realize, as I the tears wet my face. “I am over you. Haven’t you noticed? I’ve finally managed to move on and let you go. Great fucking timing.”
I pull myself up, out of his grasp.
“Get out. Please. I need some time.”
“I needed fifteen years, so you take all the time you need,” he says. He walks out, softly closing the door.
Before I know what I’m doing, I am chasing him down my hallway, slamming him against the wall, and we are kissing, kissing, for the first time in a million years.
“Cynthia,” he chokes out my name, and he’s grabbing my face in his hands, and then his hands fly to my perfect ass, and he’s lifting me, turning around, pinning me up against the wall. My heels fall from my feet. I’ve heard a million stories about the things his hands have done with other women, to other women, and now they’re on me, holding me up, feeling me. His breath is hot and he smells sweet. He is so familiar, so close. My mind can barely process what is happening.
“Can I take you back inside?”
We’re back inside, and we’re in my room, and he’s kissing my face, and stroking my shoulders, and I am inhaling him, trying to slow my heart.
I can’t think straight. I can’t think what to do, but I do know that it’s not my choice, that a part of me simply needs to get swept up in this moment, for better or worse. I am hugging him, holding on tight, and he is moving down to kiss my stomach. I cry out at the slightest touch. There’s a storm happening.
I hear myself cackling out loud as he kisses my navel.
“Nothing! Well, I mean, don’t you find this a bit hilarious?”
“Yes, I do,” he says. “But I also don’t.”
His eyes get full and dark and beautiful, and he grips my thighs so tight it hurts, and moves down to breathe warmly on my pussy, through my underwear. My head falls back as I feel him, Jericho, my best friend, breathing into me. He kisses me through my underwear and I am suddenly warmer than I’ve ever been, wetter than I’ve ever been, lush, open, wide.
The sparkle is back. Maybe it wasn’t too late. Maybe he’s been my destiny after all. All along.
“Cynthia, you are so fucking beautiful. I’m sorry if I ever made you feel like you weren’t the most beautiful woman in my life. I was just a scared little boy. I—I just know now, beyond a doubt. It’s you.”
“Jericho, I’ve worked hard to fight off my feelings. But if you’re for real, there may still be hope of reviving it. Maybe.”
“Yeah?” There’s a mischievous glint in his eyes. He’s peeking up at me from below my skirt.
“I know you pretty well, Cynthia. I think I have what it takes to revive it.”
“You just know it all, don’t you?”
“I know what you need. And I know you’re not gonna find it with anyone else. ‘Cause it’s me. And it’s you.”
“You cocky motherfu—” before I can finish, he places his hand firmly but gently over my mouth.
“Be quiet, and open yourself to me. Right now, you let me see your body, you don’t say a word, and you let me bring your love back to life. Understood?”
“Hold onto the headboard with both hands, and don’t let go, no matter what. And keep your legs open for me. I’m gonna show you how I really feel about you. I’m gonna show you we can be even more than best friends.”
There’s fire flowing through me, and it’s reaching every cell in my body, stretching me back to an impossible place. I will let him in.
Jericho pulls off my skirt, pulls off my underwear, and then pulls my sweater and bra off over my raised hands. I immediately put them back to work on the headboard.
I am completely naked. I didn’t think there were any firsts left to be had with Jericho. But I was wrong. I’ve never felt so exposed.
He stands above me, fully clothed, just staring. “You’re so fucking beautiful, it’s insane.”
He gets undressed, completely, piece by piece, in front of me. And he stands there, naked, hairy, buff, dark. Beautiful. Uggh, it is too much.
He lies down next to me and faces me and wraps his arms around me, and I lose my grip and wrap my arms around his neck, and we just hold each other, naked, eye to eye, breath to breath, chest to chest, and his hard cock throbs against my smooth, swollen pussy. My pussy that is aching wet inside. My pussy that knows without knowing that he will fit perfectly and I’ll never want him to leave, ever again.
We lie there together like this for minutes, hours maybe. Breathing hot life into one another, throbbing against each other, kissing softly, looking at each other as if for the very first time. As he grows against me, as I lean into him, as we press together, my leg shoots out to wrap around him, to bring him closer. He abides and pulls me closer, hands on the small of my back.
A rush of love washes over me. This is the man I have always wanted. Has he really come around? Does he finally see me?
Yes, the answer is yes, simply.
He kisses my neck, gently bites my ears, and my legs wrap tighter around him, until finally, I am sitting on top of him, looking down. I am so wet that I feel my pussy seizing up. I grab his cock and it slides in immediately. My pussy grips it tightly as I fall forward onto him from the shock of it. We kiss, and he begins to rock me gently back and forth, as we stare into each other. I grind my hips slowly against his to meet his movements at just the right angle, with just the right pressure.
“Oh my god,” he says.
“Yes,” I breathe.
I sit up straight so he can see me in all my glory, my curves, my bouncing tits, my messed up hair, my face that’s known his all this time.
He grabs my hips and pulls me down hard to meet him. And then we collide.