TWO years ago I am in the bed of a former French supermodel. She is on me, in fact, as we kiss. I am near blinded by her red hair. The only thing that stops us screwing at that point, is a thin black piece of fabric between her legs, still a little damp from the pool.
I am nervous at how rough she is treating me, how she forces my mouth to move to hers to avoid pain. She pulls apart and looks down and in the room’s shadows I see her smile. “You’re a nice boy,” Luce says, and I’m confused.
Then she yawns. We’ve been up all night and it’s nearly seven. It’s catching. I yawn too. When I close my mouth I see she is watching me, eyes squinting. She is thinking about something other than sex.
“Do you want to be inspired to write more?” she asked.
“Yes,” I said, “I’ve love to be able to write better,” and I did. I had relaxed in Bali enough to envy writers, sculptures, creationists. I just didn’t know how to start.
“If you mean that,” Luce said, humping me teasingly. I gasped. “Then I’m going to do something that seems cruel. But I’m doing it because I like you for more than your body. I like you for the potential your mind can bring. And also because I’m so bloody tired.”
She slowly got off me, dragging her leg to make me feel so good. I understood then I wasn’t getting a screw and I am ashamed now for the glare I must have given her, the frustration expressed knowing that what I’d hoped to happen for half the night wasn’t going to.
Luce watched me with a serious expression on her face, checking for any danger signs. She then stroked her hair and stood. She dressed in bright pants she must have bought from the market, and then settled on the bed back to me. I put my hands on her hips and she let me keep them there.
She fell asleep, but I was too tense. My body was filled with adrenaline and ranting chemicals that screamed “why can’t we leave now?”
I wasn’t angry at Luce. Understood that for whatever reason, no meant no. I still felt wounded. I took it personally. Why would she stop when things were going so well? I forced myself to stay where I was. I didn’t want her to think I was leaving because I was sulking.
A toilet break and a light dip in the pool later, and I had enough. Other writers staying in the same villa were awake now, and they made awkward conversation with each other, presumably wondering “who is this guy?”
I dressed in her bedroom, and squeezed her hand. “Wazz up?” she asked and I told her I was leaving.
“Okay,” she said, not comprehending, and I left the villa and the resort, and walked the road to Ubud. The tension I felt in the villa lessened as my legs stretched, and as I heard the birds and smelt the greenery.
Still, I was confused as to what had happened, and when I realised I felt cheated, I knew I was in the wrong. I told myself I was glad we did not have sex. Luce owed me nothing. I enjoyed her company all through the night, she helped me into the VIP party, made me feel special, made out with me in the ravine.
As soon as she asked me to come back to her place, I didn’t care what she was giving me. I only hoped for what more I could get; the communication between gender that defines success to man. It was only much later – after I took the plane back to Brisbane, after I failed my uni degree, after I had a story published in a magazine based on the events that just happened, that I understood what she had done.
This amazing, generous, wise girl had deliberately given me something much more lasting.