“You promise you won’t tell anyone?” My voice cracked nervously as I asked him while I hide behind the safe confined of the couch “Only if you promise not to either.” He said with his voice a mixture of wariness but marked excitement from where he hid himself as his eyes peaked out mischievously from behind the arm chair. To the left of the both of us was an easel that faced a small backdrop waiting to be used. The plan was while his Aunt was away that we would use her living room to practice my nude paintings because as immature as it was the thought of being in a room with some random naked person unnerved me. So I had convinced Sanguinello in the name of art, to let me use him as my subject but he refused to be in the buff unless I was.
“Oh no, no, no… No… I’m not going to stand in my Aunt’s living room completely nude so you can paint me.” He said when I first asked him about it the week before in the laundry room. “Oh come on Sanguinello no one is going to see it or you.” I argued with him almost instantly regretting my words because I could see an idea form in his head, an idea that I was not going to be too keen on. With a smile that would have made the Cheshire cat’s dim in comparison Sanguinello said sweetly as if he was pledging his undying love to me “If I have to be nude then you do too. Otherwise no deal then Starry.”
Now the only thing left was to execute our plan but neither one of us seemed to want to move from our safe and concealing places. I had never seen a guy up close and nude before and Monday was my nude painting class that had a hired model for us to paint. We had been dating for quite some time now, hedging on taking the next step especially these past few weeks in more than one way. The words always seemed to be on the tip of my lips just rearing to get out and to be heard by him. “On the count of three?” I suggested as Sanguinello bobbed his head in agreement as he said “Right.”
“You didn’t move at all Sanguinello.” I said, surprised at the amount of disappointment in my tone while he laughed and jested while sticking out his tongue at me “Well, neither did you.”
“True, very true.” I admitted as soon Sanguinello chuckled and said “Ladies first then?” Making me glare at him and his lack of seriousness about this, this whole thing seemed to be one big joke to him. “Let’s be professional about this now Sanguinello. There is going to be a naked man in the classroom next week and I need to paint him. How did you do it when you when you took this class?” I asked as he fidgeted restlessly before he replied with an answer that did not help me in the slightest way. “I snagged the easel closest to the door and the furthest away from the model.”
Thought it wasn’t long before Sanguinello became bored with the whole situation and started to turn it into a joke as always. Taking the lead he was the first to show, requesting though that I close my eyes and turn around. “Paint me like one of your Chambery girls Jello.” Sanguinello said airily in a falsetto voice while he struck a pose as he leaned against the wall totally unabashed as the more mischievous side of Sanguinello came out.
Which didn’t help at all with the sudden case of the giggles that I had started to come down with as I began to paint, trying to wrap my head around that I was painting a naked Sanguinello whilst I was completely unclothed myself and how I got myself into this situation.
“What’s so funny?” Sanguinello asked as he immediately moving from where he was supposed to stand at the first sign he could get out of posing for me. “Oh Nothing, nothing at all, nothing is at all very funny. Go back to where I told you to be and hold that book.” I said trying to regain some of my seriousness but failing horribly as Sanguinello refused with a playful smile and I could tell that from that moment he wouldn’t be still enough for me to paint “Not until you tell me what’s so funny.”
“Go back before I paint you and I really mean paint you.” I said in my most severe tone as I threatened him with the paint brush drenched in pink paint before cracking up. “You wouldn’t.” Sanguinello said as he quickly plucked up a paint brush and began to wield it like a sword, in the nude which only made me laugh harder as I felt my eyes water. Putting down my brush and palette I was now defenseless as I dabbed at my eyes trying to catch my breath through my laughter and that’s all it took before Sanguinello launched his attack against me.
Paint was smeared against me before I could react and strike my own foray to get him. Dipping my fingers in the paint as quickly as I could I attempt to get him back but he was too quick as he dodged my assault but he couldn’t dodge me for long and neither I for him. Within minutes we were both randomly smeared with paint and having trouble breathing through our laughing fits when Sanguinello suddenly quicker than I expected grabbed me by my wrists, his eyes were ablaze with an almost crazed zeal.
Losing his footing as his hand gripped my wrists we tumbled to the floor together in a tangled mess. A few strands stuck to my face as I tried to catch my breath as Sanguinello slowly brushed his fingertips pushing them away as they went from my forehead passed my cheek bones to half way circle around my ear as they moved my hair away. His eyes took in every inch of my face as they seemed lost in me for a moment. Looking at San above me with the weight of his body pressed closely against mine, feeling completely vunerable the words came out of my mouth before I even had a chance to fight them. “I love you.”
“Say it, say it again.” Sanguinello said as he crushed my body against his, his lips brushed against my neck as he spoke in between kisses sending shivers down my spine. The paint that had been jokingly applied was now intermingling causing the colors to slightly mix as they begun to dry causing us to slightly stick together but I didn’t care. For once I didn’t have a care in the world, nothing was holding me. No sarcastic or brash remarks made to push others away and no baggy clothes to hide myself from the world that never understood me. It was just me and him “I love you, I love you, I love you Sanguinello Moro.”
“For as long as I breathe, I will never tire of hearing you say those words to me.” Sanguinello pledged so genuinely with eyes so serious yet so hopeful, that even a cynic such as myself would ever question or doubt as he breathless struggled to say. “I love you Starry.”
Most girls falter at being told those three little words spoken to them by someone that they do have those feelings for. But my next decision had little or actually everything to do with those three simple words. Who was I kidding I was a fool for Sanguinello and him saying those words to me I would have done anything afterwards. For the first time I didn’t stop Sanguinello, I just let go of every nagging thing in the back of my mind, pushing aside my mother’s voice about waiting till my wedding night and I just went with it.
Of course with this new level in our relationship came some new worries and fears. It seemed like every now and then we were hearing about some girl in our dorm getting pregnant and that made me really nervous. I might have scoffed at them before stupid girls and boys, the first time their away from mommy and daddy. But now I felt as if I was holding an invisible ticket as I waited in a proverbial line for my turn in misery. “Well I don’t have anything to worry about.” Can-Can said almost gleefully one night that we were in our floor’s kitchen while she cooked us dinner. She had recently confessed to me that she kind of had been seeing my older brother for a few months now. I guess I should have felt something else besides surprised but I didn’t really care that she was seeing Porfirio, I just honestly hoped they wouldn’t break up before we graduated.
“Yeah well not all of us are lucky enough to be in relationships that require us to take a plane to see our boyfriend.” I said sarcastically as she laughed and turned around from the stove. “You know if you are really bothered about this you can always just stop yanno? It’s not like you always have to…” Can-Can tried to in her well-meaning way be helpful as Froot Loop came in with his shoulders slumped and basically just looking worn down in general. “Hey Frootie-Tootie, you want to share some dinner? I think we have enough for a third here.” Can-Can asked as soon as she caught eye of him but he just shook his head. “I don’t think I’m ever going to be able to eat again. I uh… I seriously fudged up and I don’t know what to do.”
“What’d you do now Froot? Forget that we had exams yesterday and sleep through them all again?” I joked as he buried his head in his arms. “No I… I mean we… Umm Mai Tai is pregnant.” His muffled voice came through the fabric of his hoodie. “What’s that? You’ve got Mai Tai pregnant?” I said in shock as Can-Can just gaped at him in surprise. Froot and Mai Tai had been dating since last year when he according to Melon stole her away from him. “Yes…No… I guess. What am I going to do now?” he bemoaned when he finally lifted his head up, gone from his face was his well-known devilish smile and in its place was downturned corners that formed a frown. Within a few weeks Froot was working and going to school full time and that smile all but disappeared.
“Do you… Have you… What are your feelings about having children? You know the wee ones, babies and all. Things that cry in the middle of the night and throw up a lot.” I tried to approach the subject with as much care I could but as always the words got stuck until they came out in a jumbled mess that vaguely resembled nervous rambling. “Are you trying to tell me that you are pregnant?” Sanguinello asked me back instead, no longer was he lounging comfortably next to me. Now he was sitting up facing me with all of his attention directed at my answer. Worry and panic were written all across his face as it paled at the very thought.
“No… Oh Berry no. I was just wondering what you thought about them.” I answered quickly, nervous at the thought of me ever being pregnant while Sanguinello got up and began to pace. “I don’t really want to… ever have children. Starry you know how I am and what I’ve dealt with. I don’t ever want to pass that down. So I guess this is when you tell me that you want to eventually have kids one day isn’t?” He asked me as he came to a halt waiting for my reply. “Not really.” I said as I felt a mixture of feelings flowed through my mind, though the biggest one was Thank Berry as I involuntarily let out a sigh of relief “I… I don’t think I would be a very good mother to tell you the truth. I don’t know I’ve never really had an interest in them. I’m not really like my sisters who look forward to the day they get married and push out a few babies. So I guess no I don’t want to be a parent either.”
After we had our little talk we decided to go back to taking things slowly but that didn’t last too long before I found myself deep in the carnal throes of Sanguinello. He kissed me hard than before, passion driving us both to the near brinks of insanity as we pressed our bodies up against each other with my back against the cold metal lockers that held his clothes. My pants were quickly discarded first without any second thought along with my hoodie and his shirt. When suddenly there was the sound of cloth tearing quickly, I felt my shirt fell loose as it was pulled quickly down past my shoulders and quickly removed. Then he set on doing the same to my skirt with his long artistic hands that instantly found the seam before I stopped him and gasped “I’m not going to have anything to wear back to my room.”
Without moving his hands away, a mischievous grin that spread across his face. But Sanguinello didn’t answer at first but kissed me again before his lips traveled to my neck as he spoke in between them “Maybe I want you to have to wear mine on your walk back to your room so everyone can know that you really are mine.” What used to be my skirt was being slowly torn in half almost teasingly as he went on, every fabric layer of protection that shielded me from the world was now gone and destroyed. Maybe that was really his plan all along or maybe I was over thinking things once again.“Or maybe I want you to stay here with me forever and never leave.”
Lying in his arms afterwards almost compelled Sanguinello began to talk about his family taking a more serious note “My uncle heard voices or rather one voice when he was still living with my grandparents. I used to think that he might have been my real father since we look almost exactly alike and both my parents would never let his name be spoken in their house. My mother if she heard it wouldn’t speak for days as she went on a sedative bender and my father was not a berry that anyone would want to be around during those days.”
“What happened to your uncle?” I asked expecting to be told that he was living alive and as well as he could be somewhere he could be kept safe but that was further than what Sanguinello really told me. “I don’t know. He disappeared around the time I was two. Gone completely without a trace, just gone with no clues as to where he went. Not too long after that my grandparents passed away but not before they spent a considerable sum, practically everything they had to find him. But they never did.”
“Shortly before I came to live with my aunt I started hearing a voice too. I’m so sorry I lied to you about that but it’s one of my darkest fears is to become like him even though I don’t know what has actually became of him. My uncle is the main reason why my Aunt became a psychiatrist; she grew up hearing his lucid conversations with his voice that was in his head. ” Sanguinello admitted as he moved away from me and towards the end of the bunk bed but I wasn’t going to have any of that as I pulled him back to me and I held on to him tighter than before pulling him back to the waiting pillow “Don’t…Don’t turn away from me Sanguinello. It’s ok, I understand why but I wish you would believe in me that I am here because I love you and whatever problems you will or are having it doesn’t matter. You can’t get rid of me so easily.”
“It never told me to do anything or said anything regarding myself and the berries around me. But it was like hearing someone else’s thoughts and their deepest darkest secrets; you know the kind that you never want anyone to find out. And they were filled sometimes with the most unusual names that I have never heard before, like Danielle and Hailey. For a day I thought that they could hear me too, but then she went silent. Everything went silent. I spent most of my time in a daze before my medication was switched. Then everything was chaos and I really don’t remember much of it. If I think hard enough I get flashes of what happened during that time and it’s enough to know that I really don’t want to remember any of it. So once again I got a new medication and for the first time I felt normal. It was like all the time I spent beforehand was like being like a fish out of water, always gasping for air when suddenly I could breathe. Suddenly I had control and I was in control of myself.”
“Now I find myself not in control again. In a few weeks I’ll be graduating and I’ll have to move out of the dorm.” Sanguinello said as he ended his story with a yawn as I felt my own eyes closing. His graduation was coming up quickly and it was something that we had both just put off dealing with. “Are you going to move back in with your Aunt?” I asked as I nestled in closer to him, feeling his heart beat through chest in a comforting rhythm. “I don’t know… I guess until I find a job that’s my only plan.” He answered with a sigh that echoed how I felt. I didn’t want things to change. I loved spending the night in his room in the warm and safe confines of his arms as we slept while his roommate was sleeping in Mizu’s room. With Sanguinello graduating and moving out of here I didn’t know how that would affect our relationship. The only thing I did know was that I wouldn’t be seeing him as often as I did now. As I listened to the thumping of heart I said almost anxiously “I know of a place where we could live together that is only a few blocks away.”