By Justin Jones
He throws me to the bed, hops on top of me, and kisses me. He pulls away to tell me I’m beautiful, tickling my neck with his scruff. I play innocent, he plays captor. He holds me down and nibbles my ear. My body flushes with adrenaline.
We’re home after dinner (and a few glasses of wine). The scent is deliciously Parisian: We’ve come from a French restaurant, and I can smell the alcohol on our breath, the food on our clothes, and our mingling cologne. A fragrant romance. Yes, I am cliché.
We roll around on my bed, somewhere between tickle-fighting and full-blown sex, but before the passion crests, we pause to freshen ourselves up. As romantic as are the scents we collected tonight, they don’t taste good. OK, maybe the wine does. But at the very least, a tooth-brushing is necessary. We stop to brush our teeth and wash our faces, and we joke as we do. He pinches my butt through my underwear. We make silly faces in the mirror. The break tempers our lust. Afterward, we lay down in bed, reading books and playing on our computers for a while. We kiss occasionally, but nothing like it was post-dinner.
Finally, he shuts off his computer and kisses my neck. He’s ready for bed, but I postpone: “Just a few more pages,” I say, wanting to finish the chapter. I kiss his forehead; and he’s asleep by the time I finish. I turn off my bedside lamp, and slip beside him.
“Look at us”, I think, snuggled in the dark next to him. We’ve been dating only a couple of months, and it feels like we’ve been together forever. We read in bed after romantic dinners, and snuggle instead of—well, instead of doing what you would otherwise think a newly-minted, honeymoon-soaked couple would do in the infancy of a romance. I turn to my side and find his arm to wrap it around me. He squeezes me, and we drift asleep.
Make no mistake: Lust still makes her appearances, but not like before—and not like with past bedfellows, for which the sex was both the goal and trivial. Sex with him is different. “Dalliance” is nowhere implied. It’s more about restraint and sensuality. To put it plainly, it’s a ton of foreplay, which is often just as pleasing (for its more explosive, satisfying finale).
Morning comes and we cuddle in silence. I complain about work. And we get silly. He tickles to awaken me. I try to avoid his kisses—I don’t want him tasting or smelling my morning breath—and we roll around until we’re wide awake and out of breath.
I’m on my back, panting from our play, and he’s on top of me, looking at me, brushing my hair back. He isn’t looking at my eyes. He’s—studying me. It makes me uncomfortable, feel awkward. I think: “He’s looking for a new wrinkle, another blemish, a reason— some kind of detail—to stop liking me.” “Why do you look at me all over like that?” I ask. “Because I like looking at you,” he responds. “It makes me feel insecure,” I say, and I recall how I cower from my own face when seen in one of those obnoxious magnification mirrors. In the morning light I must look terrible. He says, “I think you’re beautiful.”
And so there IT is:
That awkward moment when he’s looking at you, and you’re insecure. That awkward moment when you find yourself falling asleep without NEEDING sex. That awkward moment when you stop to catch your breath, when.
Justin Jones, 25, is a writer based in Minneapolis. In addition to his column lovejones, Justin pens Through These Eyes, a bi-weekly column for Lavender Magazine. He writes about things like being alive, being in love, and drinking too much. Facebook.com/JustinJonesWriter.