Chapter 15: The Star
They fell into romance like a Hollywood movie. After dragging herself to work the next day, Rosemary went home, packed a bag with the necessities, and promptly moved into Fabricio’s room. For the next two weeks, they did nothing and saw no one besides each other. Work and school excepting, and then Rosemary felt like she was counting the minutes until they could be together again.
It was amazing how easy they were together. Rosemary could never have believed it possible, to find someone who matched her so well. On Friday night, she lounged naked in his bed, nibbling on a plate of fruits, cheese and crackers he’d brought up from the dining hall. Fabricio sat in his wheelchair beside her, lazily stroking her ankle.
“We should adopt a Pit Bull,” he said suddenly.
“Why a Pit Bull? Why not, I dunno, a Beagle?” Rosemary asked, popping a grape into her mouth. She chewed slowly, enjoying the fresh, cool burst of it. This moment—him, the light through the window, the green grapes; all of it felt exactly as it should be.
“Because they’re sweet dogs, and so misunderstood. You know, there are more Pit Bulls in kill shelters than other breeds? People think they’re dangerous. Fighting dogs. But that’s not the way it needs to be. No animal should have to suffer just because people are idiots. Plus, they’re actually sweet. Did you know they used to be used as nanny dogs for kids on the farm?”
Rosemary rolled onto her side, offering him a view of her breasts as she leaned up.
“Okay, a Pit Bull,” she said. “We’ll name it Mr. Pickles and it will be adorable.”
“Nah, we’ll call her Dawn. Like a new day.” He chuckled, bent down and kissed her on the lips. “She’ll be super protective and intimidate everybody, but secretly she’s a softy.”
“Like somebody else I know…” Rosemary twined her arms around his neck, like ivy vines, pulling him close. They kissed for a long, silent time. Moments stretched into hours. By the time they finished, grapes had rolled all across the floor.
On Saturday and Sunday they did nothing besides lolling in bed, ordering pizza, watching mindless TV series on Netflix, and making love. They took their time, gently exploring one another’s bodies, figuring out what their partner loves. Rosemary discovered that normal sensation for Fabricio ended a couple inches below his belly button; by stroking one finger right at the edge, and dipping her tongue into his navel, she could have him moaning and twisting in seconds. His nipples were amazingly sensitive, which already had her thinking about fun toys for the future.
The strength in his arms and hands was unbelievable. He held her by the hips, supporting her above his mouth as he licked and sucked, forcing her to come—shaking; helpless, braced against the wall and shuddering between his hands. For his part, Fabricio was very visual. He loved watching her suck his dick; or ride him, back arched and torso undulating as she rubbed at just the right spot.
They spent hours talking. More and more, Rosemary got the feeling that they’d been together for months, instead of mere days. The way they thought, communicated, planned and dreamed for the future—it all seemed impossibly perfect. Though she’d never been one for signs and destiny before, Rosemary began to feel like they were fated to be together. Like they had been made for one another.
By the time Monday rolled around, they were both exhausted. Not to mention sore from all the sexual positions they’d tried out. Rosemary trudged off to work and Fabricio wore dark sunglasses to class, so he could snooze. It was hard to focus on the kids, with Fabricio always on her mind, and Rosemary made several dumb mistakes. She muddled through more or less unnoticed, though, until Latysha showed up to relieve her.
“Girl, you sick?” Latysha blurted.
Rosemary turned to her with dreamy eyes. “Hmm?”
“Uh huh.” Latysha gave a curt nod. “Yeah, you sick all right.”
“No, just tired. I had a busy weekend, didn’t sleep much.”
“Yeah, and I can tell you why. You was in bed with somebody all weekend, weren’t you?”
“How did you know?” Rosemary asked, truly shocked.
Latysha shrugged. “I got an eye for these things. And you got the look of somebody who is not doing okay. You’re sick with love. Worst kinda sick there is.”
“What’s the cure for it?”
“Marriage. That’s the only thing can fix love.”
Rosemary thought this over on her bus ride back to Fabricio’s dorm. Was she a total idiot to be thinking about marriage with a guy she’d only just started dating? Did it even make sense to bring it up to him? She hadn’t used the ‘L-word’ yet, but Latysha had done so right away… so did that mean she loved him? How would she know?
All her good questions were erased with a single kiss. Fabricio drew her into his lap, tilted her head back, and slipped his tongue into her mouth. And with that, Rosemary was lost in passion for yet another day.
By Wednesday Thyme was starting to get concerned. He’d sent several texts, none of which Rosemary had answered. When he actually called and left her a long, convoluted message, she knew it was time to get back on the grid.
Also, she was running out of underwear.
After work, Rosemary texted Fabricio to let him know she would be a little late, and hopped on a bus toward her North End neighborhood. It felt strange to enter her apartment after so many days away. Her empty rooms felt accusing, as if the furniture was grumpy about having been left alone so long. She laughed at the kitchen table’s squatting indignation.
“Hey, don’t be like that!” she told it. “I still pay rent here, so I’ll be back.”
She wandered through her bedroom, grabbing underwear and a few other things as she went. It was only on the way out, when glancing over at her bookshelf, that Rosemary remembered the Tarot.
“Woops. So much for the whole card-a-day thing…”
Feeling rather guilty, she reached into the abandoned Tarot bag and drew out a card. The Star was a beautiful woman kneeling by a clear pool of water. Above her, bright stars dominated the evening sky, and were reflected in the pool. Everything—from the gentle colors, to the serene expression on the woman’s face, to the shining water and rich, green grass around it—conveyed a sense of rightness, of well-being. It felt like a blessing. Of her; of Fabricio; but mostly of their relationship together. If this is a message from the Universe, it’s a pretty damn strong one. And, for once, a good one.
She set the card carefully alongside its mates on the top shelf. Even there, The Star seemed to shine out from among the other cards, standing as it did at the end of the line, like the happy ending of a story. With a happy sigh, Rosemary gazed at it for several long, satisfying seconds, before closing the door and heading back to Fabricio’s.
It was Sunday again when reality began cracking their blissful cocoon. Spring was well and truly entrenched, almost ready to cede its place to summer, and along with that came academic midterms.
“Rosemary, I hate to do this,” Fabricio said, sounding miserable, “But if I don’t do some serious studying, like, tonight, I’m not sure I’ll be able to pass my Renaissance Art exam. And if I want to graduate in June…”
“I get it,” said Rosemary, cutting him off. “You’ve got to do what you need to get the grades. Especially since you’re still waiting to hear back about grad school.”
“I know, but… this sucks. I don’t want to spend the whole midterm week without you.” He raised his eyes to hers, and she melted into their liquid depths. “I don’t know if I’ll be able to sleep without you,” he added, softly.
She felt his words resonate straight to her heart. Tenderly, she stroked a lock of curly dark hair away from his forehead. “You can do it,” she insisted. “I believe in you.”
Rosemary leaned in for a soft, lingering kiss, and when she pulled back again she was smiling. “Besides, I need some time to recover. Don’t you?” She trailed her fingers down his chest as she said this, tugging suggestively at his chest hair, her nails grazing across his nipples.
Fabricio growled deep in his throat. His eyes went dark and smoldering, and Rosemary knew she had woken the monster. He reached for her, grabbed her arms and pulled her roughly to him.
“I’ll never get enough of you,” he murmured, while kissing her neck and tugging her skirt up above her hips. She cried out as he lifted her, holding her up with one arm while undoing his jeans with the other. They came together hard. Rosemary groaned and rocked against him, taking him deep as he bent his head to her shoulder in erotic surrender. Their breath came in tandem as she pumped rhythmically in his lap, until he and she released almost at the same time, shuddering and gasping until they were both spent.
In the aftermath, Rosemary held him inside her, dropping butterfly kisses all across his face as his breath gradually slowed. He wrapped his arms around her with a great sigh, tugged her against his chest and laid his chin on her shoulder. They were silent for several moments, just enjoying their closeness. Rosemary tilted her head so he could kiss her neck. This, she thought, this instant right here – this is perfection. Nothing in my life has ever felt so right.
Fabricio kissed his way up to her ear and gave it a playful nip. She giggled, and finally he began to talk. “Hey,” he said, slowly, shyly, “I know I’m not supposed to say this so soon, and especially not just after sex…”
“During sex,” she amended. “You’re still inside me.”
He smiled cheekily and gave her ass a squeeze. “Well, that makes it even worse, then.”
“Why? What are you not supposed to say?” Although she asked, Rosemary knew in her gut what his answer would be. Her heart pounded so hard she was sure he could feel it, and her skin began to tingle, as if thousands of tiny wings were fluttering against it. She tightened her grip on his shoulders to steady herself.
“That I’m falling in love with you.”
Even expecting it, the words hit her with shock. She began to tremble, overwhelmed by the intensity of her emotions. How suddenly her world had changed! Fabricio pulled back with a worried look, keeping his arms securely around her.
“Oh, Fabricio. I… I was hoping you’d say that because… I think I’m in love with you, too.”
On the bus ride home she thought it over, reliving the way they had made love again, slowly, with aching tenderness, after their mutual admission. The Star came to mind once more, and Rosemary realized it must be the North Star: a beacon of light, a solid direction, never changing. Reliable and true. I guess that’s what love is, she realized, wide-eyed with wonder. Like a guiding light. Something to count on. He’s my Polaris.