Chapter One

A Day Off

IT WAS Sunday morning, the second morning in a row that I had been able to sleep in rather than haul myself out of bed at zero-dark-thirty to get to either work or school. I could not remember the last time I’d had two days in a row such as this. I liked it! Given my choice, I would build more days like this into my schedule. And with any luck, I would be doing just that relatively soon.

I was able to afford this rare luxury of sleeping in, not just one day but two days in a row, because I had just finished final exams from my second quarter as an undergrad at UCLA. And now I had an entire week with no obligations. What a glorious feeling. I wasn’t going to answer the door, the telephone, or anything other than the call of a nap for the next week.

If only it was more than a week, I would have been so happy that I might have imploded. But, to get more than a week I had to get through one more quarter of school, and then we come to the all-hallowed summer vacation.

My boyfriend, Bill, and I had journeyed out to the great state of California the previous summer to get ourselves settled and find gainful employment before school started in September. All had gone great the first quarter. But then it all went to hell in a heartbeat, and it had taken months to begin to get back to a steady state where life might once again be a little more manageable.

Somehow, through all the turmoil and chaos of the last quarter, I had managed to work full-time and ace all my classes. When I finished my last final exam, three days earlier, I had done so with great confidence that I knew the stuff backward and forward and had done well.

And to celebrate—I had worked a double shift at Starbucks. I hadn’t planned it that way. I had planned to work my usual eight-hour shift and then come home. Unfortunately, though, a couple of people called in sick (yeah, right!), so my boss had practically begged me to stay on and help him through closing. Never one to refuse someone who was begging, I had agreed. Reluctantly, I called home and informed my boyfriend that I was going to be delayed. We were both disappointed, since we had been planning to veg out in front of the TV and do absolutely nothing, a very rare treat for both of us.

When I finally crawled home that night, I was absolutely wiped out. Totally. There wasn’t enough energy to do anything. In fact, I made it inside the door of our apartment, dropped onto the couch, and promptly fell asleep with my coat still on and my book bag still on my shoulder. My sweet boyfriend had kindly awakened me and taken my coat. In an effort to keep me awake for five minutes, he moved me to the table and placed some kind of food in front of me. Don’t ask me what it was—I couldn’t tell you.

Sometime after eating, I made it to bed—I’m sure with Bill’s help once again—and started my long-awaited and much needed rest. The last months had been tough. No, “tough” doesn’t begin to describe the experience. The last few months had been just plain hell. They had been draining. They had been torturous.

But that no longer mattered. Those days were over. Those days were but a memory now, albeit it a fairly fresh memory. It was time to move those bad memories even farther aside and replace them with something that was better, something fun, something relaxing. At least I hoped to, if I didn’t sleep away my entire week’s break.

Even if I did, I knew it would be because I’d been working like a big dog and had earned a break, even if it was only a break spent sleeping. At least, for the first time in weeks and weeks and weeks, I wouldn’t be working flat out at the equivalent of two full-time jobs.

But I’m getting off subject. Where was I? Oh, right, I was in bed, waking up at a civilized-person hour. And even better? I was in bed with my boyfriend. Now, if you’d seen the last few months of our lives, you would understand why this was noteworthy. It seemed that when I was up, he was down. And when he was up, I was down. When I was awake, he was asleep. You get the idea. We seemed to be cosmically out of sync, which sucked, big time.

With our inverse relationship over the last few months, we’d sort of not had time (or the inclination) to have sex until just recently. Of course, once we got back to it, we couldn’t keep our hands off each other, and we’d been going at it night and day since we’d rediscovered how nice it was to be together again. This probably also helped by taking a few quarts of testosterone out of each of us, which made us easier to live with than we had been for the last few weeks.

So that morning, when we finally crawled out of bed to shower and forage for food and try to rehydrate, we were faced with the big issue: what should we do with our day?

Since we both thought better while running, we decided to clear our heads and get a little exercise at the same time by going for a run. I had been running more recently than Bill, but, once I got him back on track, he was doing pretty well himself. We were both now running at pretty much the same pace and for the same duration. Finally, something about the two of us was once again in sync.