Genre: NA Rom-Com
Graham Malone is my roommate, my personal eye candy, the reason I get up in the morning smiling (that could be from the illicit dreams I have about him too, I suppose. Let's move on.). He's also beautiful to look at, but his heart is where his true beauty lies. Take away the exterior and the interior still shines.
I love him. I mean, I'm pretty sure I do, having never been in love before. Anyway, it seems legit.
And now his brother Blake is here, and, well, he's the complete opposite of Graham. Sarcastic, brooding, and totally available. But he's leaving soon, and Graham's the one I want. I shouldn't have to remind myself of this, right? I wouldn't have to if Blake would quit looking at me like I'm something yummy and he's starving.
Here's a toast to roomies; the ones you should never fall in love with. Or something.
The apartment is dark and quiet when I get home, which is odd because it's not even ten yet. I stumble around in the dark, not wanting to turn on any lights—why, I am not sure. Because Graham turned them all off, I suppose, and turning even one on, would be letting him win, in some stupid, childish way. But, hey, have I ever once said I was mature? If I did, I was totally lying. Just so you know.
“Why is it that you say you don't have a thing for my brother, and yet every time I turn around, you're with him?” The voice is low, too even to be natural, and creepy since there is no body to accompany it.
“Why are you turning around all the time? Maybe you turned around a few times and got super dizzy so you just think you're still spinning around, only you really aren't,” I spew forth in a rushed manner only a truly gifted person is capable of.
A light turns on and I feel all 'naughty girl caught in the act'. Of what, I don't know. I blink in the sudden light and focus on Graham's form. He's standing against the wall opposite me with his arms crossed. I pay a little too much detail to his bare chest, but I am merely reacquainting myself with a sight I have missed, so it's totally acceptable. His golden hair is standing up in a few spots, he's sporting a scowl, and he looks so good my mouth goes dry.
“You know he needed someone to talk to.”
“They have shrinks for that. Since when is he your responsibility? Last time I checked, even with how orally gifted you are, you do not have a license to be dragged into the mess that is Blake's mind.”
Orally gifted. Why did my face just burst into flames? And I feel like giggling. I school my features into a mask of calmness. “What happened to being real? What’s really bothering you?”
He gives me a look, shaking his head. “You know what I find funny? Women say they want a nice guy, but who do they usually go for? Not the nice guys. Any woman ever given the choice between someone sweet and someone rude, takes the rude guy. And you know why? Because women like to think they want the nice guys, but they really don't. Nice guys look good on paper, but in real life, not so much. Women don't even know what they want, so how do they think men are ever going to figure it out?”
“That should be on a shirt. And are you trying to imply something?”
“I’m the nice guy here.” He rubs his face, giving me a bleary-eyed look as his hands drop to his sides. “I feel like a complete ass, but I have this—this insecurity inside of me, telling me you want Blake. It’s this monster of doubt and I keep telling it to shut up, but it just isn’t going away.”
“Well, I want you to seduce me, but that isn’t happening either, so I have my cross to bear as well.”
“What?” His voice is faint.
Graham’s expression tells me he didn’t appreciate that jab. “What happened to being real?” he mocks.
I scowl. “Can you make brownies again? I have too many clothes on.”
His jaw tightens. “There are brownies in the kitchen.”
“It's just not the same as when they come fresh out of the oven.”
“Did you sleep with him?” His voice is blunt, razor-edged. He doesn't even sound like Graham anymore. I thought I would like that, but I don't. I want old Graham back. He was so much sweeter.
My good humor dissipates likes droplets of water under the sun as his words sink in. “You did not just ask me that.”
He shrugs, his shoulders stiff under the guise of nonchalance he is trying to portray. “You said if you didn't get it from me, you could get it from him. So? Did you?”
“You know, I change my view on you. You...are an asshat.”
Whatever. I'll give him whatever. My mouth puckers up in distaste and I storm past him to get to my room. He grabs my arm as I pass by, but I jerk it away. I slam the door behind me and slide down its length, my butt firmly planted in the carpet beneath me. I stare into the darkness, seeing nothing but blobs of black over more blobs of black. What has happened to us? Our relationship used to be so effortless. We've turned into these two insane people that snap at each other and make little sense. I mean, I'm pretty much the same, but Graham? What the hell happened to Graham?
You happened to Graham.
I figure he's gone to bed, but then his voice talks from the other side of the door, startling me so that I kick my leg out and my foot connects with my bed. I inwardly curse, rubbing at the throbbing toe as I listen.
“You want to know why I chose to be a golf instructor?”
So you can flirt with women all day? I bite my lip to keep the words unspoken. He's not really a flirt. He's just a super nice guy and women like to think he's flirting with them because he's attractive, and attention from an attractive guy is hard to come by sometimes. I have it all figured out. Don't ask how many hours I spent analyzing it all.
“I hate confinement. I acted like I didn't know what Blake was talking about when he said the same, but...I know exactly what he meant. I just—I didn't want you to know how truly messed up my childhood was. Blake has no problem playing the victim in his own twisted, sarcastic way, but I can't do it. I won't.”
There are other jobs that require being outside, my hateful side sneers.
“I mean, yeah, there are other jobs I could have picked and still been outside.”
I whip my head around to frown at the door.
“But I actually do like golf. And I like teaching people something they want to learn, not something they have to or need to learn.”
“Why are you telling me this?” I whisper, not sure if he can hear me or not.
Silence is my answer for a long time, and then, quietly, he says, “I just want you to know me. All of me. Even the asshat parts, but especially the non-asshat parts.”
I twist around so that my head is resting against the door, and somehow, I feel that Graham's is as well. I do know him. And I love him—every part of him, even the ones that would be considered flawed by many. I have to, 'cause I have been given no less of the same from him. Friends or roommates, lovers or nothing, he's always cared about me, even when I was probably unlikable.
I hear him sigh. “Good night, Kennedy.”
“Good night, Graham.”