I am not good at the next step. Ask Oona or Sara or Nicole or the woman from the bar in Providence—not Oona's friend, but Oona's friend's friend, who's name I think was Molly. Ask Molly. Amber would have given me the best reference here, but alas, not possible.
Ask Kate and she'll deny everything. But then she'll call at one in the morning to get me all worked up for next time.
I want Marianne to smile at this question, to cross her arms, blink slowly. I want her answer to be in these soft movements. But I don't think 18-year-olds are appreciative of subtlety. Ask Marianne and risk hearing the stripped bare version of the truth in not so many words.
She is out of her jacket, her sweatshirt. I have mine unzipped. It slides off my arms. I put my keys on the table, the jacket, now hanging from the back of the chair.
She heads for me, face expressionless, arms moving by her sides. It's like she'll walk right by into the kitchen, grab a soda or a rice cake or a spoonful of peanut butter, lean against the counter and lick at it, suck the taste from her tongue, and wait to form an opinion on my next step.
But instead she stops at me, places her hands on my waist like she did out on the sidewalk. They feel stronger now, more insistant, less like she's trying to get me from one place to another.
The skin of her face is soft, her mouth tastes like nothing, like cold lips and a warm tongue.