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The Unspoken - The Medallion
Chapter 1: The Medallion
It was there all along, in the tight wrinkles at the corners of her mouth, the eyes that never seemed to look right at him, the way she shrank away inside herself when he put his arm around her. "Have you ever thought of doing it with another guy?" Alexa asked him once, ever-so-tentatively, and when he said no, definitely not, she turned away.
Gatsby knew he should've broken it off right then, on their fourth date, but it was already too late for him and now her unavailability attracted him. He saw in her all the women he wanted but could never have, and he spent lonely hours counting the ways she was not his; he knew she wanted to love him, but didn't know how. People fall in love with souls, not bodies, he comforted himself. Perhaps in time she'd learn to love him.
A week later they stood in line for a romantic movie. Scott, the soccer team captain, spotted them together. "Alex the Lesbian," he called out. Alexa was stoic, silent until they finally left the theater, and then she started crying and couldn't stop. Gatsby wanted to brush her tears away, but she pushed him away. She reached inside her denim jacket and pulled out a bottle of tequila. She took three gulps, then started coughing uncontrollably.
"Why are you with me?" she asked.
He couldn't answer.
Later, in her room, she unzipped his pants and reached inside. He tried to kiss her, but she turned her head away.
She unbuttoned her own pants and kicked them off, pushed him onto the bed and mounted him. She was dry and she winced when he first entered her, but she impaled herself on him again and again as if to prove to herself that she desired him.
Sunlight streamed through the open window of her dorm room, the air moist against their damp skin as they grappled on her bed. She was moist now as he slid in and out of her, and her nipples puckered.
"Kiss me," he said.
Alexa thrust harder, faster, as if she felt desire for him at last, but she didn't kiss him.
"Kiss me," he said again.
She looked at him with a mixture of pity and disgust, but she bent down and pushed her tongue in his mouth.
Gatsby felt her breasts brushing on his chest, her inner muscles squeezing him, her tongue thrusting in and out between his teeth, and he came, groaning.
Afterwards, she lay next to him without touching him, as if her skin were scraped raw and too sensitive to touch.
"Why do you stay with me?" she asked him again.
Gatsby didn't answer.
Alexa wiped herself off on the sheets, then put her pants back on. She lay in bed and fingered a silver chain around her neck.
"What is that?" he asked.
"It was my mother's," she said.
She took it off and showed him the silver medallion attached to the chain.
"It's the Virgin Mary," she said, and then she laughed. "No, I'm not a Catholic. I don't believe in anything. But if I did, I'd be a witch." She reached over him and grabbed a bottle of scotch from the nightstand. She took a swig, and a little drop rolled from the corner of her mouth and fell onto the pillow.
"Yes, the Wicked Witch." She laughed again.
He wanted to ask her why she wore the medallion, but he didn't.
"What do you think of Laura?" he asked.
"Why, do you want to fuck her?"
"No, but she's your friend, and she's so different from you."
"I dunno, she's ... sweet."
"Yeah, you want to fuck her alright. Admit it." Her hand began stroking him slowly.
"Don't do that," he said.
She kept on stroking him. "Admit it," she said again.
"No, I don't think of her that way."
"Don't you think she's pretty?" Her hand moved faster.
Gatsby pulled away and turned to the other side of the bed.
"So what if Laura's a nice girl?" she said. "What's strange about that? Why can't I be friends with a nice girl?"
Gatsby turned and looked right at her. "Because she treats you like shit."
Alexa hit him on the shoulder.
"Don't you --" she started to say.
"-- You've got a crush on her," Gatsby interrupted.
"I'm not ... I don't think of her that way," she said.
"Fine," he said. "Fine."
Gatsby pulled up his pants and started for the door. He turned to look at her, but she was taking another swig of scotch.
He opened the door and left.
The next day Gatsby met Laura outside her history class and asked if she wanted to have a cup of coffee with him.
Laura tossed her head and combed her fingers through her dyed red hair. "Sure," she said.
As they walked along the cobbled sidewalks, they talked about their teachers and classes and campus politics. Times were becoming more conservative, and the administration made cuts in the liberal arts departments. Laura was a studio arts major, but lately she was thinking about taking computer classes.
"I know it's practical, and it pays more money, but I suck at computers," she said. "And if I don't get a good grade, I might not get a scholarship next year."
"Hey -- I'll help you," he said without thinking.
"Coolness!" she said.
They avoided talking about Alexa.
Gatsby found it was very easy to talk to Laura, and she always looked right at him when he spoke. She had wide brown eyes and long lashes, and she wore a tie-die skirt. "My mom made this skirt," she said.
The cafe was a little shop that also rented cult movie videos like Toxic Waste Avenger and Revenge of the Killer Tomatoes.
A Starbucks had opened a few weeks ago just a block away, and already the little cafe seemed less crowded than usual.
Gatsby ordered a mocha with whipped cream and Laura ordered the same.
Laura went to the counter and poured several packets of sugar in hers, then added several spoonfuls of powdered chocolate.
"I like to put a little kick in them," she said.
Laura ran her fingers along a thin silver chain around her neck.
"What's that?" Gatsby asked.
Laura showed him the medallion that hung from the chain.
It looked exactly like Alexa's medallion.
"It's the Virgin Mary," Laura said. "A ... friend of mine gave it to me as a joke. I'm not religious or anything.
I don't even know why I wear it."
She took the medallion off and put it in her purse.
Laura leaned forward and touched Gatsby's hand. "Would you come over tomorrow and help me with my computer stuff?"
"Okay," Gatsby said.
"Great!" Laura said. She looked at her watch. It had a purple wristband with hot pink flowers. "Uh-oh. Gotta jam," she said.
"See you," Gatsby said.
All through the night, Gatsby thought about Laura's medallion.
He couldn't sleep. He kept thinking about why Alexa gave it to Laura and not him. She loves her, he thought. She never slept with her, but she loves her.
The next day, on his way to Laura's, Gatsby tried to picture her face, but all he could see was Alexa's.
He knocked on her door.
"Come in," Laura said. Her hair was damp and she wore a terry cloth robe.
The room was tidy -- nothing at all like Alexa's room.
Shelves of books lined the wall. Deborah Anapol's _Love Without Limits_ was sandwiched between textbooks of art history.
He took it from the shelf and flipped through it.
"Do you think someone can be in love with more than one person at a time?" he asked.
"Sure," she said. "Parents can love all their kids, can't they?
Of course, jealousy can be a problem."
"You make it sound so simple," he said.
"It's not, of course. My parents were swingers, back in the '70's. It's really strange listening to them talk now about how they used to go off and sleep with another couple. I mean, these are my parents, right?"
"Did it work out? I mean...."
"Kinda," she said. "For a while the four of them were like one big family, but then, well, you can guess. They drifted apart slowly, and then there was this argument, and then they were two couples instead of a foursome."
"You're lucky," Gatsby said. "My parents got divorced when I was thirteen. My father was having an affair, and my mother found out about it and divorced him."
"That's terrible," she said.
"I wonder what would've happened if my mother was more like your mother. Maybe my parents would still be together."
"Maybe, but polygamy's a tricky thing to handle. If you can't juggle one relationship, you won't have much better luck juggling two."
"Maybe juggling just takes practice," he said.
"Maybe," she said. She leaned towards him.
Gatsby felt her breast press against his arm. He closed his eyes and pictured Alexa.
He felt Laura shift around, and the soft rustle of her robe as it fell to the floor. She held him in her arms, tenderly as if he were a babe instead of her lover.
Gatsby imagined it was Alexa who held him, and that it was Alexa's hands that wandered on his body. He kissed her, deeply, brushing his fingers through her hair and smelling the scent of her.
"Hey, where are you?" Laura said, jolting him out of his fantasy.
"I'm here," he said, touching the stiff nipple of her breast.
"I'm here," he said, parting the lips of her cleft with his fingers. "I'm here."
Laura smiled and touched his crotch with her finger.
"Yes, you are," she said.
She covered the toes of his shoes with her bare naked feet, and together they wobble-walked like a penguin towards the bed.
She tripped him and they fell together onto the mattress with her on top.
Laura flicked out her tongue like a kitten, tickling his ears, his nose, his lips. She kissed him with a loud smacking sound.
She undressed him as if they'd been lovers for years, expertly undoing the buttons on his shirt, his belt buckle, and unzipped his pants with her mouth. She pushed her nose inside his pants and rubbed it against him. Slowly, awkwardly, she used her mouth to take his dick out of his pants, then slid her lips over him.
Gatsby closed his eyes again and thought about Alexa.
"Yeah, suck on me, girl," he said. "Do it like that, oh, just like that."
He pulled off the rest of his clothes and threw them to the side, then rolled on top of her. He felt around for her opening, then pushed himself in her wetness. She groaned, then squeezed her legs together to make the fit tighter.
He pulled out, then thrust in again.
"Oooh!" she said, "like that."
He pushed himself in again and again. Laura's right hand snaked down between them and settled on her clit. She made rapid little circles as he thrust in and out. She came quickly, crying out in sudden gasps, and he came seconds later.
"Yum... nice," she said.
"Yup," he said.
Laura slept for a while wrapped in Gatsby's arms. When he thought she was fast asleep, Gatsby got out of bed and put on his clothes as quietly as he could. He fumbled in the darkness until he found her purse. He open the clasp and rummaged inside until he found the medallion. He took it and put it in his pocket.
There was a noise behind him. Laura was awake.
"Mmmm.... C'mere, dear," she said.
"I've got to go," he said.
He went out the door and closed it quietly behind him.