“Myra! Wait! Don’t do this. I was wrong!” Penn’s voice howled down the street, running towards her, onlookers stopping to watch the commotion.
She stopped in her tracks, her grasp on the door handle tightened as her heart began to sink, her stomach lurching and twisting into tight knots. Puffed and panting she could hear him at the bottom of the steps. One lonely tear escaped and fell down over her cheek.
“Please Myra, listen to me, you don’t have to do this.” His voice wheezed. “Please.” He pleaded.
Letting her grip loosen, she let go of the handle. Hesitating a moment, she slowly turned towards him, searching for some courage within herself. “No. Don’t you do this, we both know this is the right decision.” She turned her gaze away from him as she could feel herself about to break into a million tiny pieces.
Penn moved up the steps, reaching out taking her hand. “No it’s wrong, we” he paused “we created a life; you can’t just take it away like this. I froze for a moment but I’m here now.”
She wanted to tug her hand out of his, but she couldn’t bring herself to do it, not yet anyway. “We’re in college. We have no money, no home, we don’t even know if we will work out. It’s been 6 weeks Penn.” Finally she tugged her hand out of his. “6 weeks. We barely know anything about each other.”
“We know that you fell pregnant, that it’s our child. We know that the past 6 weeks have been more than just hookups and that there is something real here between us. I know that I love you and our baby and that no matter what happens between us good or bad we will be there for our child. Isn’t that enough? Can’t that be enough?” Penn searched her face.
Myra shook her head, she had been so sure that abortion was the right thing and she hated to admit it but she had fallen in love with him too, but this was too much, she had a five year plan. Children weren’t a part of it, at least not yet. Her evening job at Brooklyn’s downtown bar wasn’t going to be enough and Penn had to pay back his tuition and was only earning enough to just keep his head above water.
“Look, you don’t have to make up your mind now, but just give it one more day at least. Let’s properly talk about this, let me convince you that this is possible.”
Myra let her hand rest on her belly as she looked over her shoulder at the door that stood behind her, sighing, more so to herself she gave in. “Fine, one more day, but I can’t guarantee you my mind will change Penn. Just know that.”
Penn smiled and nodded, like all hope in the world had changed. “I do.”
“I’m telling you man! This girl is my dream girl. She could be the one.”
“What’d you say her name was again?”
“Never heard of her.”
“Of course you haven’t she’s from downtown Brooklyn and you, well, you never leave the house.” Penn laughed once, sprawling out on the couch, passing Nico his joint back.
“Someone has to keep the house clean.” Nico smirked, taking a drag. “So are you seeing her again?”
“Actually tonight at eight, we are meeting up at the campus library. So you know, don’t wait up” Penn winked.
Nico laughed. “Penn, at a library? Wow this girl is already changing you. Before you know it you’ll be saying no to weed man. Watch out bro.”
“Shut up I was drunk when we made the plans, and no she’s the sort of girl who doesn’t expect a guy to change for her.”
“You got that from like a couple of hours? Drunk? Yeah right man, we’ll see.” Nico stood and gave the rest of the joint to Penn. “Well don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.” He laughed and left for his room.
Penn arrived at the campus library exactly on time, he felt stupid for not actually getting Myra’s number the night before, so he wasn’t even sure if she was going to show or not, but something told him she would. Heading inside he looked around to make sure that she wasn’t already there, she was. It only took a matter of moments to spot her. Books were sprawled out across the table like she was planning an all-nighter; her mousy brown hair was up in a messy bun and he was pretty sure she was in her pajamas. She wasn’t even aware that someone had entered the library. He couldn’t help but smile to himself. She was so focused, so content, so unbelievably cute. Walking over to the table, she finally noticed his presence and smiled up at him.
“So I’m both super late and my watch needs a new battery or you’ve taken up residency here and you actually invited me to your home in which case I’m grateful.”
Myra laughed, shaking her head playfully. “Neither. I’m actually surprised you’re even here. I thought you were just joking about the whole thing, considering you didn’t even take my number.”
“About that, I didn’t even think to ask, I was pretty drunk last night, I barely remember anything from it actually.” He shook his head once and looked down, not believing he actually said that. “But I couldn’t forget your face or our study session tonight.”
“Nice save there Captain America” she laughed.
“They don’t call me a super hero for nothing.” He laughed in harmony with her. “So looks like you’ve taken over the table, guess I’ll claim the floor.”
“Sorry.” She said coyly. “I mean, I could move it, but since you forgot to ask for my number I’m keeping the table.” She smiled.
“Fair call,” he chuckled as he pulled his books and laptop from his backpack and began to sprawl them out on the floor next to the table. “So seriously, how long have you been here?”
“Just a few hours, I have an essay due tomorrow and well I procrastinated and left it to the last minute as I usually do and now I’m paying the consequences and get to have an all-nighter. Yay me” she joked sarcastically.
“We’ve all been there. I can help you if you want? What are you writing about?” he questioned as he went and looked over her shoulder.
“Shakespeare.” She replied.
“Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.”
“You know Shakespeare?” Myra questioned smiling softly as she actually started to look at him.
“Some.” He grinned, noticing her observing him, like this was the most fascinating thing she’d ever heard. “My mom use to read a lot of his work. She would always quote him in times of need.” He smiled at the memory of her.
“I’m sorry.” She paused. “All that lives must die, passing through nature to eternity.”
“Hamlet. One of her favorites, you’re the first to ever say that quote to me since her passing.” His smile kind and soft.
“I’m sorry.” She said suddenly.
“Don’t be, I needed to hear it, she’s in a better place now.” He closed his eyes momentarily before opening them to find her blue orbs gazing into his. Only just realizing how close he had leaned in next to her and how the smell of jasmine and citrus had consumed the air. Taking a cautious breath, he could feel himself already falling for her, looking down at her laptop screen he picked it up. “Let me read what you’ve done so far.”
Seven minutes had passed when her voice suddenly broke Penn’s attention away from the screen.
“So what do you think?”
“I don’t think I’ve ever read something so compelling. You really know your way around essays and Shakespeare.” He said rather honestly with a hint of surprise.
“Liar” Her lips forming a half smile “but thank you.”
“No seriously, I can see why you’re an English major, you have real talent.” He handed the laptop back.
“I never said I was an English major.”
“Aren’t you?” He looked suspiciously at her.
Myra let the silence linger briefly before smiling. “Of course I am.” She chuckled softly.
“Ha! See I know everything.”
“You know nothing, Jon Snow.” She laughed, her smile beaming up at him.
“Don’t even.” He cackled, shaking his head dubiously.
Myra yawned as she looked over at Penn who had passed out on a pile of his history books roughly two hours ago. She smiled to herself as she watched him sleep. At some point she had spread out and was now on the floor opposite Penn. Looking back at her screen, she attached her now finished essay in an email and sent it off to her professor. Closing the lid of her laptop she looked back over at Penn.
“Hey. Penn?” She said softly, but he didn’t stir. So moving closer she shifted some books and tried again. “Penn? Wake up.” Still nothing, so she began to reach out to shake his arm.
“BOO!” He yelled.
Myra gasped, her reached out hand instantly responding and hit into his arm. “Penn!” She yelled back before falling into a ball of laughter. “You scared the crap out of me!”
Penn just laughed, not even flinching at the hit that had landed on his arm. “I’m sorry I couldn’t help myself. You just seemed so vulnerable.” He chuckled.
“I could have seriously hurt you.” She looked at him again and shoved his shoulder playfully. "You're lucky i didn't hit you with the English Oxford Dictionary!" she exclaimed.
“I’m sorry, don’t hate me,” his grin wide and cheeky.
Myra shook her head at his silliness, his chestnut hair ruffled, eyes tired. “Buy me a coffee and we can call it even,” her smile filling her cheeks.
Penn nodded. “You just love making agreements, don’t you?” He paused, “but ok,” his smile growing. “Wait, what’s the time?” his face suddenly filled with question.
“Almost 4” Myra replied casually.
“Serious? Did you finish your essay?” Penn ran a hand through his hair as he stood up beginning to pack up his books.
“Yep, just sent it off before trying to wake your lazy ass up,” she smirked up at him and began to pack up her sprawled out mess.
“How did you go? Sorry I fell asleep, study and I don’t mix well when I’m coming down off a high.” Penn handed a few of Myra’s book over to her.
“Yeah fine, easy stuff,” she smiled, taking the books and placing them in her bag. “I don’t think study mixes well with anyone,” she paused “high or not,” her infectious laugh once again filling the silenced library.
Side by side they walked, every now and then their arms grazing past each other’s more so deliberately then accidental. Myra was crushing, she knew it and she knew he did too. She hadn’t been able to play around with anyone this way, ever. It felt like they had been a part of each other’s lives for years and it’d only been two days. She wondered if maybe she was dreaming but when she pinched her arm she didn’t wake up. Her heart raced anxiously in her chest for no apparent reason and her cheeks were almost constantly flushed, the only good thing was it was night, a moonless, starless night and not even the street lighting was able to show how rosy her cheeks had become.
“So have you always lived this side of the bridge?” Myra finally asked overcoming the nerves of trying to remain cool and casual. It’d felt easy in the library but now being out in a populated area, well not so much.
“Actually no, I’m originally from New Orleans. We moved upstate when mom got sick. That was about 6 years ago now.” His hands burying into his pockets, “I was 16. I acted out pretty bad, not about moving” he clarified, not that he needed too, she knew. “Got into a bit of mischief with the law, drugs, alcohol so on. Guess it was my way of dealing with her cancer.” He fell silent and stopped walking.
“You don’t have to talk about this now or ever if you don’t want to, I understand.” She smiled reassuringly, playing with her hands nervously, feeling way too privileged to hear this story.
“No it’s ok, for some reason I just want to tell you, like you get it,” he paused and laughed to himself. “It probably sounds weird, considering we’ve only just met, but I don’t know what it is, I just feel like sharing everything with you right now, like I won’t ever get to experience this again,” his hazel eyes looking down at her, the streetlight reflecting in them.
“I know the feeling,” she admitted and turned her stare down to her feet. She could feel his orbs still on her but didn’t look back at up him, however he continued.
“She died not long after.” He said as they began to walk again. “I know I shouldn’t but I feel like I’m responsible, like I’m to blame. I caused so much more stress then she needed. I was so selfish and caught up in my own little world that I couldn’t see the pain I was causing my parents. Dad disowned me after she died.”
“Penn, you are right you shouldn’t blame yourself for this.” She pulled her gaze up and looked at him as he stared off down the street. “My dad left when I was 18 months old. I was too much of a handful, a mistake if I recall right and mom was still being diagnosed with bipolar. It’s been mom and me for as long as I can remember.” She shared.
“If it’s any consolation I’m glad you’re here. You’re not a mistake to me.” He smiled and turned to look at her, stopping once again.
“Oh no, don’t do that.” She looked up at him pointing, lips pursed.
“Do what?” He questioned, confused.
“Talk about how bad we’ve had it, tell me it’s his loss and then stop to kiss me like the lonely self-sabotaging people we are.”
“That’s not what I was doing at all.” He smiled, stepping closer.
“Wasn’t it?” Her smile warm as she felt his hand against her cheek caressing gently before sliding it around to the back of her neck and softly pulls her in closer so she can feel his breath on hers.
“No, but now you mention it.” He leaned in and kissed her softly once, before pulling only inches away.
Her heart fluttered, butterflies overwhelming every inch of her body. No one had ever kissed her like that before, so desperate, so fierce in one little kiss. His lips had been soft and heaven like, she wanted more. Her hands instantly found the back of his neck and reaching up to him she kissed him like it was going to be the last kiss she’d ever receive.
Penn’s lips responded kissing her reverently and passionately. They both found solace in it and oh boy did it create intense sparks.
Myra woke up smiling; she didn’t even care that the morning sunlight beamed through her curtains disturbing her morning like it usually would. All she had on her mind were the events of last night. The trail of kisses Penn left on her legs, starting from her ankles and up to her inner thigh, the soft touch of his hands that trailed over her boobs and down the side of her body, grasping her hips, holding her to him, her lips still pinging from the kisses that they shared, right down to the ones he left of her neck, oh and the abs how could she forget the abs, the firmness of his muscles. Her whole body was on cloud nine, a high she never wanted to come down from. She turned her head to see Penn still fast asleep, the fact that he was still here in her bed and hadn’t done a runner dumbfounded her, maybe he felt exactly like she did she wondered, then again maybe he was just a deep sleeper and had a late night and was still recovering from it. Feeling conflicted; she sat up on the side of her bed, pulling on her shirt. She contemplated his but she wasn’t sure what last night meant to him let alone her, getting up quietly she headed out to the kitchen, her roommate already up and getting herself breakfast.
“You came in late” Becca smiled deviously.
“Yeah, sorry I hope we didn’t wake you.” Myra blushed, not being able to contain her smile.
“Oh even if you did, which you did, don’t apologize, you needed it.” She laughed.
“Shh, he’s still in there.” Myra shook her head embarrassed, never being the girl to bring a guy home, nor be the one to wake up her roommate in the middle of the night.
“Oh my gosh, really? Myra you bad girl!” Becca placed her bowl full of cereal down on the counter and took off to Myra’s door, peering into her room.
“Becca NO!” She yelled loud as she could without waking Penn chasing after her brunette friend.
Becca turned and winked. “Nice score! Must be pretty good in bed to have him still in your bed at 8 in the morning,” she laughed.
“Shh!” She grabbed her by the arm and dragged her back towards the kitchen.
“You think? I mean I’ve never done this and I know it was stupid to have sex with him on what I didn’t even consider a first date. I didn’t even think he was for real about meeting up last night, but there he was, and then here we were. I have no idea what this means, but I think I fucked up. I was crushing on him, I still am!” She blabbed to her friend.
“Take a breath. It’s ok. This sort of stuff happens all the time. You’re allowed to go out and hookup, have sex, whatever. You’re 21 Myra.” Becca comforted. “I’m just surprised my little angel even did this, I really want to throw a party to be honest.” She laughed hugging Myra.
“Dear god no, did you not just hear anything I said? I’M CRUSHING on him! Tell me I haven’t totally fucked up any chance of something by sleeping with him so soon?”
“Sweetie, he’s still in your bed, I’m pretty sure you didn’t fuck up. One way to know for sure is” she paused. “MYRA!” she called out loud enough to wake Penn.
“I fucking hate you Becca.” Was all Myra could say, shaking her head, burying her face into her hands, not being able to deal with her friend nor feelings.
A few moments later out came Penn, dressed thank god. “Morning” he said rather sleepily as he wiped sleep away from his eyes.
“Well hello there handsome.” Becca said smiling behind the spoonful of food she was about to shovel into her mouth, Myra hoping she’d choke on it.
“Oh hi” Myra said shyly as she slowly turned to face him “Sorry if we woke you, well if Becca woke you, she has these moments where she just screams out people’s names, I think it’s a side effect of all the sex she’s been having, I really should take her to the doctor, I’m sure it’s not healthy” her smile devilish as she looked at her friend, loving the feeling of revenge.
“And that’s my cue to be anywhere but here.” Becca said before hurrying off to her room, but leaving the door open so she could eavesdrop.
“Ah, okay?” Penn said as he watched her leave, smiling to himself. “So are you two always like this?” he questioned.
“We have our moments.” She grinned. “Can I get you anything? Or should I not offer? I’m sorry I have no idea what I’m doing, I’ve never done something so reckless as last night, not that I think what we did was reckless, just the whole not knowing each other very long kind of reckless,” she trailed off. “I’m just gonna shut up now.” She said turning around and began to fix herself a coffee.
Penn laughed. “A coffee would be great thanks.” He reassured her before coming up behind her wrapping his arms around her waist “Sometimes reckless is good.” He said before placing a long gentle kiss on her neck.
Myra turned in his arms, cupping his face with her hands and began to kiss him, Penn lifting her up and sitting her on the bench, his hands trailing up her thighs. “Wait” Myra said giggling softly, stopping his hands. “Becca’s home.”
“Hmm looks like we have to postpone for now then” he grinned, kissing her once more before letting her hop down off the bench. “So maybe I can grab your number now?” he chuckled as he took over the making of the coffees.
“I think that can be arranged, phone?” Myra smiled, biting her bottom lip as she looked at him with her hand out. Penn smiled digging his phone out of his pocket and handed it to Myra.
“Don’t give me a fake” he joked.
Myra rolled her eyes playfully as she typed her digits into his phone, putting the winky face emoji next to her name. “There you go, shoot me a text and I’ll have yours.” Her smile sweet as she slid his phone back into his pocket, making sure her fingers lightly grazed the side of his shaft that was still hard from their brief make out session, looking seductively up into his eyes.
“That’s it the coffees can wait you’re coming with me.” Penn said, taking her hand and leading Myra back to her room.
“Well, the great Penn returns.” Nico chimed, watching his friend walk in.
“I swear you pay more attention to me then you should Nic, it can’t be healthy.” Penn rolling his eyes at his friend, taking his jacket off and hanging it on the coat stand he’d picked up for a couple of dollars from a flea market a few weeks before.
“Well I do when my bro doesn’t come home, you could have been murdered, date raped even” Nic’s eyes widening at the thought, joking with his friend.
“Could’ve yes, but wasn’t.” he walked over to his friend and patted him on the shoulder. “You should stress less; it’s not good for the high man.” Penn joked, flopping himself down into the armchair.
“Talking about getting high, my dealer dropped me, so I’m not sharing the last of what we have, you can find your own.”
“Shit man, what happened?” Penn now understanding Nico’s current mood of playful and pissed.
“Fell behind in payments, same old shit.”
“You really need a job Nic. I can’t keep holding us up like this. I can only cover so much on my own.”
“Dude, not now. I know. I’ll get one.”
“Make sure it’s soon, or we will have no place to live.” Penn paused looking around the shared dining and living room, the paint falling off the ceiling, three smashed windows covered with tarp, the bathroom being in the same room as the kitchen, lucky to be separated by a makeshift wall they’d created out of scraps of wood and mesh fencing, the goddamn door being a sheet they’d hung over a piece of rope. They were lucky to even have their own rooms, “Although the street appears to be nicer then this shithole.” He spoke softly out loud to himself.
“Yeah yeah, it’ll be fine.” Nico replied like what they were living in was ok, like this situation was ok.
“I’m going out.” Penn replied blatantly.
“You just got home”
“So, you’re an adult sulking and you’re ruining my mood” Penn snapped, having enough of his friends tantrums.
“Woah man, I was just saying.” Nico taking one long drag of his joint.
Penn stood and headed for the door, grabbing his jacket back off the coat stand leaving the building. Pulling out his phone, he scrolled through his contacts, stopping on Myra smiling to himself at the winky face she had placed next to her name. Hovering for a moment he then pushed new message.
I know I said it on my way out, but we should meet up again later on during the week -Penn.
Clicking send he leaned against the buildings wall, hoping she would reply sooner rather than later. Sure enough a few moments later his phone buzzed.
I’m going to a party with Becca Friday night, you’re welcome to come with us. :)
Friday, he thought. That’s still four days away, can I even wait that long?
Sure what time? I’ll meet you there? He replied casually even though he wasn’t feeling casual about it at all.
9, it’s at Marty’s, 16 Dean Street. See you there. x
Penn smiled, a kiss.
See you there he paused contemplating an x but decided not to.
Stuffing his phone back into his pocket his mind hovered briefly on the memory of Myra’s hand grazing his dick with her fingertips earlier that morning. He smiled, before realizing that he needed help. He was falling too hard for this girl, way too quickly. They’d just met, had sex, twice. She liked him he could tell, but like he did? Penn was putting too much thought into it; he was usually the calm one, the chill one, the casual one. Sex was just sex nothing more than that, one night stands were his thing, this was no different. Yeah she may be the girl he’s been waiting on, but no, he couldn’t allow himself to fall into the web of falling in love, not again, not yet. Suddenly a car honked, snapping him from his tirade of thoughts. Looking he watched as the traffic fought its way through the streets of Brooklyn, deciding that the best place to be right now was the gym.
Lucky for Penn he always kept spare clothes in his gym locker for times like these, once changed he headed for the punching bag, angry and unsure he let his feelings beat out into the bag one hit at a time. He hadn’t even realized how long he’d been doing it until one of the new gym instructors ‘Veronica’ came over.
“Woah there tough guy, do you even realize how long you’ve been punching that bag?”
Stopping briefly to acknowledge her, sweat dripping from his face, using his arm to wipe his forehead, he didn’t reply, hitting into the bag again.
“An hour,” she continued. “Surely whatever’s going on in your mind is not that bad.”
“Who said it was something on my mind?” He replied giving one last hit before stopping and looking at her.
“Please, you’ve been talking to yourself the whole time about some girl, sounds to me like your psyching yourself out or self-detonating, one or the other.”
“And now you’re my therapist, thanks but no thanks,” his tone sharp and cold.
“Hey I’m just coming over here to tell you what I see and that you need to break, this is too much on your arms, let alone your mental health. A punching bag can only help so much.” She said raising her hands as she stepped back.
“I’m sorry.” Penn finally said “just one of those days.”
“I figured. Just maybe let up and give someone else the chance to take their anger out on the bag.” She laughed softly.
Penn smiled. “Can do” he nodded, watching as she began to head over to a guy on the press bench. “Hey Veronica,” he called after her.
Stopping she turned and looked at him before taking a few steps to close the distance between them. “How do you know my name?”
“It’s a gym us guys talk,” he smirked.
“Okay,” she looked at him slightly worried. “So what did you want?”
“I was wondering if you wanted to go get some drinks with me tonight?” he questioned.
“Firstly, I’m not allowed to go out with any of the members and secondly it’s a Monday night, don’t you have study or something to be doing?” She crossed her arms, studying Penn’s face.
“Probably but drinks sound more enticing,” he paused. “And I won’t tell if you don’t” he smirked watching as she bit her lip.
“I don’t know, I just started here,” Her face filling with concern and worry.
Penn pouted “I’ll make it worth your while.”
“Are you sure you’re not just doing this to get over some girl, I mean I heard a lot of what you were saying, I’m not a play toy or something you can use to feel better.” She said honestly, lowering her arms as she began to fiddle with her fingers.
“It’ not like that at all, I just want some drinks and company whilst I do it,” he reassured.
Veronica hesitated. “Fine, but just a couple,” she smiled giving into Penn’s charm. “I finish in half an hour, meet me out front?”
“Can do, I have to shower anyway” Flashing his smile he grabbed his drink bottle from the floor and headed for the showers.
Letting the cool water trickle over his body, his muscles tightened, running a hand through his soaked hair, he zoned out, allowing the water to aid his aching muscles.
‘This is what you need, a few drinks, a good time, it’ll solve everything, bam. Myra will be out of sight out of mind and it’ll just be sex again on Friday.’ Penn tried convincing himself. “This is what you need,” he told himself as he opened his eyes, believing that this was exactly what he needed.