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What Am I To You: Episode 18

#WAITYxbookbed, a serialized fiction released every Thursdays, follows Kit Castille and her chase for love before Before I Do.

by KATH C. EUSTAQUIO-DERLA

bookbed kath eustaquio derla what am i to you episode 18 photo

Photo by the author

I wake up this morning in a bathrobe. The sun is already high in the sky and the breeze from the open terrace windows feels hotter. It must be nearing noon, I think. But the heat I feel has nothing to do with the sun or the breeze. It has everything to do with last night.

I drank about three glasses of champagne but I knew everything that was happening and why. Tristan carried me into the bedroom, kissing me all the way from the Jacuzzi area to the king-size bed. We were both dripping wet from the Jacuzzi waters but we didn’t care. At first his kisses were soft, gentle, assuring. In between the kisses were nibbles on my lower lip. His hands, the same hands that created all those wonderful dishes at the event, were caressing my neck and my lower back.

We were still in our swimsuits but I pulled him to the middle of the bed. He had his back on the headboard and I straddled him. His eyes were on fire. My hands played with his hair. I pulled the black hair tie that held his long curly locks in place. And when I had a fill of what I wanted to see, I swooped down and kissed him, hard, on the lips. I heard him groan and without losing contact, I pulled his shirt off and let my hands do the talking.

I don’t know Tristan’s workout regimen but his upper body is ripped in all the right places. When my fingers found the two sensitive spots on his bare chest, he moaned and then he stiffened and started nibbling and licking the back of my right ear. That alone sent me to the moon. I tilted my head back and started grinding on the bed. With every move, I felt him harden even more underneath me. He locked me in an embrace before doing something completely unexpected—he moved away.

“You’re drunk,” he told me.

“What?” I asked, completely taken off guard and trying my best to answer in the middle of a feeling so high.

“I want this so much but I feel like I’m taking advantage of your drunken state right now.”

“What are you talking about?” Clearly irritated this time. “I am not drunk.” I told him the truth.

We were still in our swimming suits and a good part of the bed was drenched. He walked to the hallway and pulled out two bathrobes. He helped me into mine. I pushed his hands away and put it on myself.

“I don’t know if I should punch you and kick you because I’m telling you I am not drunk. Tipsy, yes. Drunk, no.”

And he did something unexpected once more. He laughed. He laughed so hard that I started laughing even though I felt really pissed. I felt wanted then rejected and then wanted again in a matter of seconds. But, I understood the concern and as much as I wanted him right at that very moment, we have Bellarocca. And Bellarocca is for lovers, even the ones who spent years being friends first.

He walked out of the bedroom and came back with a glass of water. “Drink this,” he said. “You just need to sleep it off.”

I took the water, secured my bathrobe and moved into bed, turning my back to him. I had expected he would sleep on the extra mattress, or worse, outside. But when the lights went off, I felt his warm body behind me. He leaned closer and licked, once more, that sensitive spot behind my ear. I felt his hot breath on my neck and I tingled all over. I felt his hand clasp my right boob and then the left, massaging them.

“I want nothing more than to make you mine, Kit,” he whispered in the dark. “I want every part of you. But I want to do it the right way, even if that means waiting another day.”

I rolled and faced him. Even in the darkness his eyes looked like they were burning. Mine probably looked dazed and he could probably see right through them. He kissed me again, softly this time, while his hand caressed the back of my neck. The last thing I remember doing was kissing him before falling asleep.

I get out of bed. I feel clearheaded despite my tipsy state last night. When I told him that I wasn’t drunk last night, I was telling the truth. A bit tipsy, yes, but not drunk to the point of not knowing what was happening. Every kiss and every caress was real. I walk to the terrace, half expecting the platter of fries and champagne glasses still there. To my surprise, the place had been cleaned and the champagne put back in the fridge.

I find Tristan’s note on the large coffee table.

“Dear Kit, I have a whole day shift today, big event. I’ll be back around 10 p.m., maybe. Sorry. Explore the resort. Go out. Have fun. See you tonight. Love, Tristan.”

I remember Janet said something about a blogger event this Friday. Tristan has his hands full the whole day. And you know what, that’s actually okay. I need time to think.

It’s almost noon. I order room service and eat in the outer dining area.  By 3 p.m., I have meticulously relived every single detail from last night. I hear my phone’s alert for messages. When I open the screen, my heart drops when the alert says I have one message from Matthew.

“I had a dream about you last night,” Mathew’s message reads.

I feel slightly irritated, but out of curiosity, I ask, “What’s the dream about?”

And then he tells me about the two of us in a hotel room having sex. I have to read the lengthy message three times before it registers in my brain. It has been, what, two weeks since we were in his apartment. One week after, he denied whatever it was we had in front of his friends. And now he’s telling me about having sex with me in a hotel room.

“Sure,” I reply.

And with that I decide to take a long walk to clear my head. I put on a red bikini and a flowing kimono-style cover-all. I grab my oversized beach hat and tote bag and walk out the door. I hear new alerts on my phone. I walk back to the villa and leave my phone locked in my luggage, not wanting to hear anymore of Matthew and his games, ever.

I take the long path going to the Meditation Sanctuary and stay there for a short while, doing nothing. Just staring at the view of the mountains and the sea. I need to clear my head. I had made a decision to end whatever it was between Matthew and me but the moment I cut the ties and make my way into the world, the asshole pops back into my life without any prior notice.

I walk some more and soon I find myself in the front of the hotel. The walkway is littered with fresh flower petals. New guests have arrived. There’s a bit of activity in the main reception area; clearly, the bloggers have arrived.

I walk towards the hotel pool area, strip down to my swimsuit and take a plunge. I am not much of a swimmer but I’ve always enjoyed doing a few laps in the Olympic-size pool. Workout done. I order a cocktail, put on my sunglasses and resume my holiday downtime. I want to stay in this place forever. I feel lighter, better.

It’s already 6 p.m. by the time I walk back to the villa. I just finished showering when I hear someone knocking on the front door and to my surprise, a dinner set is being delivered to my room along with a note.

“I made baked salmon with truffle oil. Eat. You’ll need your energy later. Love, Tristan.”

And with that, I feel another wave of heat run through my entire body. The dinner plate he sent smells divine but I only manage to take a few bites. Clearly, my stomach is filled with butterflies the size of vultures and I can’t seem to keep my blood pressure down from the anticipation.

I pour myself a glass of chilled champagne, careful not to overload and have Tristan tell me I am too drunk to think straight. I lay down on the lounge chair outside, sipping slowly as I try to gather my thoughts.

Am I moving on too fast? I ask myself. It has only been two weeks since I’ve been with someone. Physically, at least, with a guy I had a secret relationship with in college. And even in the years in between, I’ve always felt connected to him somehow and in the past months, I realized that my feelings for him are as still as strong as before. But even then, I’ve always known that Matthew is bad for me.

And here we are, in a beautiful place I didn’t know existed, with a guy I’ve known all my life who just confessed his feelings I’ve always suspected right from the start.

The thing is, I love both men, even though it is not the same kind of love, it is love nonetheless. I take a sip and close my eyes, feeling the warm, tropical night breeze. I feel like I am on a cross road. If I choose Matthew, I choose to become stuck in the grey area since that time he chose Bridgette over me. It also means I lose Tristan. If I choose the latter, our relationship will take on a different procedure, which is also a new road I have never traveled before. And to be perfectly honest, I am terrified of being romantically involved with someone who started out to be a friend. The thing with Tristan is even more terrifying because he is my best friend.

But I also know that Tristan could love me more than I could ever love myself. And isn’t that worth choosing? Isn’t that assurance worth the risk? For the first time in many years, I can finally see a flicker of light at the end of a long tunnel. I want to be happy. I want to feel secure. I want to be with someone who sees me as the only choice and not as someone who will always be on the sidelines, settling for crumbs and waiting for her turn.

I had fallen asleep. I feel warm hands caressing my hair and a pair of lips gently kissing my forehead. I see Tristan, still in his chef’s uniform, kneeling before me beside the lounge chair.

“I’m sorry I woke you up,” he says. “Are you tired?”

“I was waiting for you,” I reply. “You must be tired. You had a day-long shift.”

He smiles. “I’ve been thinking about you all day. I couldn’t wait to get out of the kitchens.”

And with that, he scoops me up from the lounge chair and carries me back to the bedroom just like last night, only this time, we are both as clearheaded and sure of what we both want. By the time he puts me down on the bed, the straps of my flowy, sheer white dress have fallen down from my shoulders, exposing the warm, bare skin on my neck.

Once again, he kisses the sensitive spot behind my ear while his hands pay close attention to my breasts, tugging the dress further down. I bury my face in Tristan’s hair, getting rid of the black band that holds his wavy hair in a bun. He smells like sandalwood, and even though he spent the whole day in the kitchens, he smells wonderfully musky.

He gently pushes me down on the bed, sits upright and removes his chef’s jacket and inner shirt. I am one again gifted with the wonderful sight of his chiseled upper torso. He bends towards me and locks me in a kiss. My hands find their way to the back of his neck and chest, feeling parts of him I’ve never touched before. He, on other hand, seems to be exploring the parts of me he had never tasted. The kisses start off slowly and then gain momentum, as though his actions are trying to catch up on the lost years, as if trying to make sense that our lives in the past years could have been different if only he had never migrated in college.

And from where I lay, I feel that somehow, all those years and musings have led to this night. As if the years in between and the things that happened in our separate lives helped make this decision to jump right. If I had not known rejection, I wouldn’t have yearned for acceptance. If I hadn’t known pain, I wouldn’t have known love.

(Adult content alert! Highlight succeeding text to read.)

“Tristan…” I moan. I want to tell him that I couldn’t wait any longer. That we have already waited years. He gently parts my legs wider and rips open a pack of condom with one hand. His way of answering has been a gentle nudge, a tentative pause and a slow entry. I can feel a tinge of hesitance with every thrust, as though he is afraid that I would break. I arch my back upwards to meet him and soon enough, we are acquainted with a brand new rhythm.

The thrusts soon gain both rhythm and need. He decides to keep my flowy white dress on but the straps are hanging off my shoulders. I feel different, not only because it’s the first time we have sex. I feel not just wanted or sexy. I feel beautiful. I feel respected. I feel loved.

I meet his thrusts and pull him closer to me. He kisses me on the mouth and I feel his need even more. I can feel him inching towards the cliff and soon, he collapses on top of me.

“Did you…” he asks.

“Yes,” I lie and pulls him close to me in an embrace. I figure the first time isn’t always perfect.

To be continued…

KATH C. EUSTAQUIO-DERLA is a journalism graduate from the University of Santo Tomas in Manila, Philippines. She wrote Bedroom Blog by Veronica, a relationship blog for Cosmopolitan Philippines from 2009 to 2011, which covers most of her single dating life. In 2015, she published her first book, Before I Do. She’s passionate about coffee, red wine, books and “Mad Men.” She stopped collecting hearts when she got married in 2013 and went back to collecting Archie Comics ever since. Send the author a tweet @kceustaquio.

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Edits: Jacquie Bamba S. Zamora
What Am I To You is the prequel to Before I Do by Kath C. Eustaquio-Derla. Before I Do is available at National Bookstore, Powerbooks and Uniqube.
What Am I To You
Philippine Copyright © 2016 by Katherine C. Eustaquio-Derla
Disclaimer: This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are products of the author’s imagination and are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, places or persons, living or dead is entirely coincidental.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any written, electronic, recording, or photocopying without written permission of the publisher or author. The exception would be in the case of brief quotations embodied in articles or reviews and pages where permission is specifically granted by the publisher or author.
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