“So tell me about this story that your father used to tell you.” You’re delicately stabbing your fork in a neatly cut piece of potato with one hand while simultaneously pushing your long hair behind your ear with the other. Looking up at me you stop for a moment as if to say, “Well go on, I’m waiting.” before lifting the garlic crusted potato to your inviting mouth. “I’m curious.”

“Well..” I start, but stop. I close my mouth and a confused scowl crosses my face, “…it’s silly really.”

“I can handle silly.” you retort with a smirk.

“Well Zale was a character in a story he made up for me.” I provide, before cutting into a piece of chicken in silence.

“That much is obvious. You’ll have to tell me more.” you chuckle, doing your best to keep it light hearted while the mystery and intrigue ate away at you from the inside.

“When I was younger,” I pause realizing the importance to clarify, “much much younger, I used to have night terrors.”

“Night terrors? Like nightmares?”

“Yes…they’re are similar to nightmares but they’re much worse.”

“Oh ok. So your dad told you stories to get you back to sleep?”

“In a way. Because the night terrors were so intense I would dread going to sleep. I used to try to stay awake as long as possible. Of course I didn’t know it, but that made things worse.”

“How so?”

“Well they usually happen in waves. Maybe you’d have a night terror three nights in a row, but after that you wouldn’t for another month or two.” I slice another piece of chicken and deftly mix it with the potato, tomato, and onion before bringing it to my mouth. “But when you’re overtired, that gap becomes much shorter and the night terrors happen more frequently. At least that’s the way it was for me.”

“I see.” you place your fork down on your plate indicating that you were now giving me your complete and undivided attention, “So what did your parents do?”

I ignore the plurality of parents and continue, “My dad was desperate. I was desperate. The worse the terrors got the more I tried to avoid sleep, and the terrors continued. It was a never ending cycle.”

“That’s awful.”

“It was.” I shake my head thinking back to that time. While I couldn’t remember certain details of my young life, the fear and anxiety that I felt could be recalled with pristine clarity. “I guess it was my dad that figured out that the more tired I was the worse I got, so to combat that he started to read me stories to try to get me to bed.”

“Smart move.” you agree taking a small sip of wine.

“It was, but the stories we had were of little consolation to me until one night we were driving to my grandparents cabin.” I finish the last morsel of food from my plate and continue, “It was a long drive. Just he and I.”

“Your mom didn’t come?” you ask innocently.

“No just my dad and I.” I reply, once more avoiding that story for the time being “So as I got more and more tired I got more and more scared. Since he was driving he couldn’t exactly pull out a book and read it to me while he drove.”

“No that wouldn’t have been a good plan.” you chuckle, thinking of my car still stuck in the ditch and covered with snow, then you think of your own parents and the smile slides off your face like ice melting in your hand. “So what did he do then?”

“He started to make up a story as he drove.” I smile to myself.

“Impressive. So he was a creative guy then?”

“To a degree.” I shrug, “The thing is that when an adult makes up a story on the fly, the story has a tendency to have more adult themes. Instead of pigs in straw houses, or green eggs and ham, there’s knights, fighting, love, adventure and all of that wonderful stuff.” I stop for a moment to take another sip of wine before continuing. “So my dad made up a story and the main character was an adventurer named Zale. He was all the things a little boy wanted to be. He was big, strong, could fight anyone or anything, and was fearless in the face of impending doom….which in Zale’s case seemed to happen pretty frequently. Every night to be exact.” I laughed.

“That’s pretty cool.” you smile, “You’ll have to recount one of Zale’s adventures for me someday.”

“Oh you’re part of one of Zale’s adventures already.” I chuckle lifting my glass and finishing of the last of my wine. You shake your head and laugh before collecting your dishes and taking them to the kitchen. I follow suit with my own.

“So are you satisfied?”

“With your explanation?” you clarify causing me to smirk, “Yes I am.”

“So then you can continue with your own story.” I pass my plate to you as you rinse it in the sink. “I believe when we last left off, our beautiful heroine was in scenic Paris, showering with cute lesbian women and daydreaming about handsome french photographers.” I smirk at you before giving you a quick wink.

“Oh shut up.” you laugh, flicking water from your wet fingers into my face.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The hot water cascaded over your body and momentarily you stood transfixed staring at the opposite wall. You came to Paris because your parents wanted to see you happy again. You came to Paris because it made you happy. And now you stood in this fogged up bathroom not sure what was going to happen next, even though it was entirely up to you.

In so many romantic comedies you watched the heroine jet off to a foreign land to escape the drudgery of her current situation. Once she lands the movie begins it’s cheesy plot. Woman runs into a man randomly. They fall in love in ten movie minutes. Fifteen movie minutes later something pulls them apart. Maybe it’s a disagreement, or some absolutely bizarre misunderstanding. The woman laments all of her decisions to this point. The man, while stubbornly complaining to his friends at first, realizes that everything he’s said or done is wrong and spends the rest of the movie trying to get back with the heroine. With only minutes to spare the two end up together in what’s assumed to be a happily ever after.

You thought to yourself if it was time for your own romcom moment. Was this the point in your personal movie where you meet the guy and fall in madly in love only to be torn apart soon after? Was Leon the leading man? Or….

….and in that moment of quiet contemplation Celine slips into the shower with you.

“We have to hurry.” she says quickly, her thick parisian accent so adorable. Celine herself is adorable. While her frame was smaller than yours she was proportioned perfectly. Her breasts just right, her hips just right, her legs her shoulders. Everything about Celine was just right, even the pout of her lips or the perfect perkiness of her nipples. You were staring at her now. No longer phased out and hypnotized by the wall. Celine was also staring at you. Your naked feminine body the first she’s been close to since Michelle. Her eyes drew across your own curves, your legs, your stomach, your breasts. Celine looked at you, drenched by the water and took a step closer to you.

“Celine…” you say softly but nothing more.

Celine takes one more step towards you. Her body close enough that you can feel the heat of her skin despite the water. Reaching up she pushes your wet hair from your eyes, gently sweeping it behind your ear. Her hand softly sliding down your neck, across your shoulder to your arm, then to your waist where it remains simultaneously comfortable and awkward. Your heart is racing the pulse blasting in your ears mixing with the thunder of the water splashing roughly onto your head and down your now quivering body. With her other hand Celine repeats the same action on the other side of your face. Pushing your hair back, around your ear, then trailing her hand down your body to rest on your waist.

“Celine…” you mumble again unsure of yourself. Unsure of this moment. What are you doing? Do you want this? How could you not? Are you a lesbian now? But you still like men. Why do you want Celine so badly. You’ve never wanted any other woman, why her? Your mind is racing with so many introspective questions. Then it happened.

Celine leaned forward and arched her back as she inched her face closer to yours. You knew what was coming. You watched as her face came ever closer to you. Her eyes darting from your lips to your eyes and back to your lips. Inches became millimeters, and millimeters became nanometers. Her lips hovered so close to yours. Despite all of your reservations and all of your questions you wanted this now, more than ever. You closed your eyes and Celine kissed you.

The passion in her kiss was so intense. You felt her hands wander back up to your head, cupping you face as she gently kissed you. The tenderness was incredible. So soft, so delicate, so utterly perfect. She broke from the kiss for a moment and looked you over. As you opened your eyes she kissed you again slightly opening her mouth as she did. You mimicked her and opened your mouth slightly as well. She darted her tongue deftly up to your lip then down again. She pulled back once more from the kiss but pulled at your lower lip with her mouth and unconsciously you let out a gentle whimper. You were falling into this moment like a penny into a wishing well.

Your hands now no longer at your sides were instead wrapped around the smaller but beautiful woman and you pull her close. There was an odd but exciting tremor that cascaded through your body as you embraced her. Feeling her breasts pushed against your body, her nipples hard and distinct, the feeling was so foreign but wondrous. Celine broke from your kiss and began to nibble at your neck, then your ear, and back to your neck. You were melting into her. She had complete control of you and it felt wondrous. No one had ever kissed you like this. No one had ever made you feel so alive, so loved, so important. You felt your stomach fluttering and your legs twitch as a pulsing almost electric feeling began to emanate from the centre of your body. You weren’t sure what to do but all you wanted was more. More kissing, more touching, more tenderness, more passion, more of it all.

It was then that the hot water ran out and ice cold water slammed into your unsuspecting skin causing you to squeal and squirm uncontrollably as you and Celine tumbled out of the bath with all haste possible. Celine passed you a towel and then steps close to you again, but the moment has passed and you stop her. “I…..I…can’t Celine. I’m sorry.”

The disappointment on her face was evident only for a brief moment before being replaced by serene acceptance. “It’s ok cherie. I understand.” she leaned into you and kissed you on the cheek then turned to grab her own towel. As she did she turned back to you, looking over her shoulder she grinned and said quietly, “You know…..you’re a pretty good kisser Al.”

You giggle nervously before managing to stammer, “Thank….thank you.” before continuing, “You…um…you’re pretty good yourself.” you giggle again completely unsure of how to act in this situation. “Not that I would know though.”

“What was that?” Celine asked. She stopped patting down her hair so she could hear you better. “What did you say?” she repeated.

“I said that I think you’re a good kisser too, not that I would know…though.”

Celine raised her eyebrow, “Thanks?”

“Well I just….I mean….oh Celine I don’t know what to say.” you shake your head and look at the floor utterly ashamed of your awkwardness.

“It’s ok. I’m just kidding with you.” she patted you on the shoulder reassuringly and kissed you on the cheek once more.

“It’s just…well…this is embarrassing….”

“Kissing a girl?”

“No…nooooo..not that…..that was….lovely.” you grin, unconsciously touching your lips reliving the moment briefly, “No I meant that it’s embarrassing that I don’t know any different.” Celine furrowed her brow and you realized you’d have to get over the embarrassment and explain yourself. “I’ve….I’ve never kissed anyone like that.” you admit finally. “Never.”

“So I’m your first girl then?”

“No Celine….you’re my first everything.”

“Everything?”

“I’ve…never kissed anyone like that. No girl….no boy. No one.”

“Cela est vrai?” Celine says, somewhat in shock and you nod slowly. “Oh merd Al…you’ve been missing out.”

“I realize that now.” you laugh heartily clutching Celine to your towel covered body, “I never understood why it was such a big deal.”

“But you know now.”

“Yes…..yes I know now.”

“Guys are different though.” Celine explains, returning to friend / mentor mode once more.

“Different?”

“Yes, they kiss much different than us girls.”

“What do you mean?”

“They’re……rougher…more…aggressive…like wolves with a deep hunger.” Celine looks at the expression of distress on your face and continues, “Especially if they haven’t shaved.” You look at her puzzled for a moment. “Stubble. It may look rugged and handsome, but it feels like sandpaper.” She giggles at your grimace then tosses her towel back onto the rack to dry before sauntering out into the hallway completely naked. Feeling bold after your first romantic kiss you do the same, tossing your towel onto the same rack and following her. Just as she turns into her tiny room, however, you can see a figure at the end of the hallway. Leon was home.

You stop dead in your tracks and mutter under your breath “Shit!” You’re in no mans land now, caught between the safety of the bathroom and the sanctuary of Celine’s room. Leon walks toward you slowly, never allowing his eyes to stray from yours. In a moment of unconscionable daring you walk up to him in all your naked glory till you’re merely feet away. You stop briefly before leaning up to Leon and kiss him with the same passion and zeal that Celine just kissed you. Leon, who was at first confused slips into the kiss with ease. The attention of his strong rough hands much different than Celine’s soft delicate touch. You break from the kiss slowly and look Leon directly in the eye before whispering, “She was right…..very different…” before turning and walking down the hallway back to Celine’s room well aware of Leon’s eyes wandering over your naked body.

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