He called two weeks later.
"Is this Alexandria?"
"I’m on the do not call list"
"Telemarketing. The do-not call list. I can report your company."
"I’m not a telemarketer."
"Oh. Well. Then . . . who is this?"
"Todd Jackson. We met at Jason’s birthday party?"
"Ah. The Air Force guy with the girlfriend."
"Without the girlfriend."
"I take it the rocks finally froze over?"
"You could say that."
"Who gave you my number?"
"Melody. Is that okay?"
"Would you hang up if I said no?"
"Is anything ever easy with you?" he laughed.
"Once in a blue moon."
"It’s okay, I like a challenge."
A week later she consented to a date with him.
A month later they were falling into bed.
She had just one rule.
She wouldn’t ask him questions about his past.
And he couldn’t ask her.
"Anything in the past is there for a reason. I don’t want to know about on-the-rocks-girl or whomever was before her. And I doubt that you want to hear my sordid past."
"Works for me."
She didn’t tell him about the trips to the hospital.
She made excuses for her absences.
She had a class.
A group meeting.
An intramural game.
She was in the library with her phone off.
Anything to keep from him that she was sick.
She didn’t tell him about Chad either.
She was almost asleep.
His voice broke the silence.
"What are we doing?"
"I mean between us. Are you seeing anyone else?"
"Are you going to ask if I’m seeing anyone?"
"Do you care if I do?"
"We’ve never talked about being exclusive."
"I thought it was implied when we started sleeping together."
She thought a while before responding.
"I’m not sleeping with anyone else."
"Neither am I."
"Just tell me if you do. So we can decide where to go from there."
"Are you saying that I CAN sleep with someone else?"
"I have no hold on you."
"Neither of us are ready for that."