I woke up in a panic. My stomach churned out loud. I sat up, groaned. My body knew something I didn’t. My feet carried me down the hall to the bathroom and I knelt, as if at the altar, but I was merely at the toilet.
Vomit. Violent, violent, vomit.
I cleaned myself up. Laid back down. Called out of work. Slept.
My phone buzzed. Two minutes later, it buzzed again, as if it was saying, “Hello! Answer me!”
I slowly rolled over and checked the message on my phone. It was from Roman Kane. “Who?” Immediately I was confused.
I’m really bad about saving people in my phone, but with a name like “Roman Kane” I felt like I should have remembered this guy. I didn’t. I googled “Roman Kane” and dropped the phone when I saw the way chocolate took the form of man and made my teeth throb.
Memories from last night flashed in my mushy mind.
That mahogany skin and that porcelain smile.
“Would you be mad if I said I don’t remember meeting you?” I slowly typed, deleted, retyped and ended up typing, “Roman Kane, you beautiful man. How much did I throw myself at you last night?”
“Enough to get my number. You made me laugh,” Roman wrote back.
I always make them laugh. But with Roman, my sober self-confidence was shook. “He’s gonna friend zone me,” I thought.
“Glad I could be of service. Here’s something even funnier.” Before I could stop my fingertips, I was already defensively typing to Roman, beating him to the punch if he was trying to give me the I’m-out-of-your-league treatment. “I don’t remember meeting you.”
Roman’s response would determine the box he’d place me in. “Well, I’ll just have to tell you that story when you cook me the meal you promised me.”
I blushed. “I’m so charming,” I typed. “Whenever you’re free, I’ll kindly oblige.”
We made plans to meet the next week. Roman lived in Jersey, but told me he’d be in Brooklyn for church that night and could come by after. I made my apartment sparkle like my life depended on the shine and I lit cashmere woods Glade candles so my apartment smelled cozy, like home.
Roman’s body was sculpted like he knew he deserved his name, so I knew to make something healthy. I decided on rosemary roasted salmon with lemon pepper broccoli and bok choy saute. We’d been texting all day to coordinate the plans and all of Roman’s messages were elusive, as if he never made the plans the week before.
“Well, I’m not so sure when I’m leaving church and I went to the gym this morning, so I’m kinda tired.” He sounded like he was changing his mind.
“We can just do it another time. No worries,” I wrote back.
“I’ll come. I’ll actually be there in 10,” Roman wrote back a half hour after I texted him.
The dinner wouldn’t take me long to cook, so I decided to wait until he got there to start. I also didn’t want to serve him cold food.
I opened my door to see Roman standing there, better looking than the pictures I spent an hour clicking through in Google and the kind of HD looks that I could see, even through my beer goggles the night I met him.
“Hey D!” Roman smiled, walking past me into my apartment.
I stood in the threshold of the door for a moment, still waiting on him to lean into my arms for a hug. I closed the door.
“Roman!” I reached for him. He turned to me, smiled and awkwardly leaned in for a hug.
He released himself from the hug. “Why doesn’t it smell like food?” I watched his beautiful white teeth.
“It’s only going to take me 15 minutes to cook it. I didn’t want it to be cold,” I smiled.
Roman sat down on the couch. “Oh, well, maybe you can just give me that massage you were talking about instead.”
I don’t remember promising any massages, but if I know myself, I know that I relentlessly flirted with the model/actor who was perched on my couch. I smiled at the option.
“OK, and after, I’ll cook the meal I had planned for you.” I stood behind him on the couch with my hand on his shoulders. There was nothing but strong, flexed muscle beneath my fingertips.
Roman laughed, “That’s cute D. I told you I hurt my shoulder playing ball. You said you have strong hands and could rub it for me.” He stood up. “I need to take this shirt off and lay down,” He said lifting his T-shirt in one swift motion that left me standing there smirking.
“OK,” I grabbed Roman’s hand and led him to my bedroom. He peeled off his shirt.
“And I’m not trying to make any crazy moves on you. I just like your company,” Roman said laying down.
“Fine time to hit me with that good boy line, with your shirt off and all,” I laughed. Roman laughed.
“I am a good boy,” He groaned as I rubbed his broad shoulders, straddling his butt. Adonis would have been jealous.
I rubbed Roman’s back in silence, marveling at his build. After about 15 minutes, he said, “You finally want to hear about how you met me that night?” He leaned up, trying to turn towards me. “Your turn,” he palmed both sides of my plush waist, attempting to lift me. I let his strong hands squeeze me.
“Good Lord, where do they make this man?” I thought to myself as I took off my shirt and laid down on the bed, with his hand guiding the small of my back.
He straddled me and rubbed my entire back, taking extra care to squeeze my lower back and I groaned, thinking, somewhere, somehow, I died and this was my personal heaven.
As Roman massaged my back, he told me the tale of a very drunk Danielle telling him that he’s beautiful and “us beautiful people need to stick together.” He said that he’d had a rough month and I made him laugh, “like genuinely laugh,” and he loved how warm I was, even in my inebriation. “I wanted to see you more,” Roman said, digging into my shoulder blades.
He was leaned into my back and I could feel him throbbing on me. I got up and stood there. Throbbing through his jeans. I reached for my hand and pulled me up to stand in front of him. His hands wandered all over my body, slowing down over my fuller assets and grabbing handfuls. He teased my lips with his mouth, close enough to whisper a secret directly into my mouth, but far enough to where our lips didn’t touch. I couldn’t take it, but I loved it.
His hands reached into my panties, touching, teasing, flicking, slipping. When I wasn’t distracted by the pleasure, I reached into his pants, grabbing, sliding, squeezing, pulling on him. He kept teasing my lips, without letting them touch. Breathing moans of pleasure onto my tongue, he smiled my name, “Danielle…”
We climaxed together into each other’s hands. He laughed. I kissed his lips, asking him to finish what he started.
“I can’t. I shouldn’t have,” Roman stopped his tongue from continuing. He was going to say he shouldn’t have done what he just did. I saw the conflict furrow in his brow. “I should get going.” He zipped up his pants.
My heart sank. I was too embarrassed to question his decision, so I walked Roman out.
“See you soon,” he said kissing my cheek.
I was genuinely confused. I know that I like to romanticize my interactions with men, but Roman had given me a few signs that he was interested and then within the very same moment, he’d do a 180, completely changing how he’d just behaved with me. I couldn’t read his signs and I didn’t know how to proceed with him, so I didn’t.
His messages would sporadically light up my phone, asking how I was or just checking in. He wouldn’t ask to see my again, nor would I see him again until I asked him to come with me to see Floetry live at BB Kings. He came.
We had dinner, drinks, laughed, caught up and he didn’t notice, but I watched every girl in the room stare at us together, all of them thinking the same thing, “How did she pull him?”
We grooved to Floetry’s hits and leaned into each other’s ears to say, “That was my song!”
Afterwards, we walked through the city, laughing about how we met, neither of us bringing up that night we handled each other. (See what I did there?) The closest I got to mentioning that night was to tell him that I still owed him a meal since he didn’t have one that night and he declined the offer, saying the concert was more than enough.
My heart sank.
We made it to my train, he hugged me and thanked me for inviting him and just like that, he was gone. There was no lingering, no romantic body language, nothing.
The last time I saw Roman was when I showed up to my old roommate’s rooftop birthday shindig to see him sitting next to her. His smile knocked every word I wanted to say off my tongue. I hugged my old roomie, wished her a happy birthday and ordered a drink.
“Good to see you D!” Roman hugged me. He squeezed my shoulder, and let his fingertips trace their way down to my hand. He held it.
“Let’s sing happy birthday to the birthday girl!” Someone yelled, shaking Roman from his daydream. He dropped my hand.
Men say that women send mixed signals, but there’s plenty of men who send mixed signals too. And I don’t understand signals, so when you mix them up, I’m lost.