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A Thing, That's All

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“We had a thing once.”

They did. Rachel still isn’t sure what to call it. It wasn’t a relationship, but it was more than a one-night stand. She supposes the right term is ‘fuck-buddies’ but now, that makes her feel cheap. Still.

Rachel is just about to finish her shift at the club when she spots him. Tall, with fair curly hair, and she has to admit he is attractive. He walks, no, glides, up to her behind the counter, and she can’t help but roll her eyes.

They all want the same thing, and it’s something I’m not selling.

“You’re impressive, you know.”

“Thank you,” her reply is polite, but clipped. She’s tired, and she wants to go home – sometimes this job wears her down. Tonight, she’s heard more sleazy pick-up lines and inappropriate compliments than she knows how to deal with, which is saying something because she’s been working here for months, now.

Please leave, she thinks. He doesn’t.

“No, I mean it. Your voice is quite exceptional, really. I’d say it’s a shame you’re working here, except,” he looks her up and down, “you’re hot.”

Rachel brightens immediately at the praise of her singing. “Thank you. I do make sure my vocals are always superb, even if I was hired as a dancer. You never know who might hear.”

The stranger smiles. “Well, you’ve impressed me, and I’m not easily impressed. Want to get out of here and grab a drink?”

Rachel thinks for a moment, and makes her decision. “Oh, why not? I finish in 10 minutes, wait for me outside?”

“I’ll be there. I’m Jesse.”

“Rachel.”

He saunters off, and Rachel turns her attention back to the bar she’s supposed to be wiping down.

What the hell am I doing?

The rest of that night passes in a blur, and Rachel can’t remember ever having that much fun before. They wind up at her place, and she remembers a flurry of movement, of kissing and of touching and just feeling good. When she wakes up, naked, with Jesse in the same state beside her, she can’t even bring herself to be ashamed.

They never plan it, they never plan anything, he just shows up to pick her up from work and they drink, they dance, and they fuck.

Until one morning, when Rachel sees him. Sees them. She can’t believe it. She’d been under no illusions, no, she knew there was nothing real between them – it was just sex, and it was just fun. But there was one thing that Rachel would never be, and that was dishonest. Even if just by association.

So she waits.

Sure enough, that night he shows up as usual, and they go out – but this time Rachel doesn’t drink. She needs a clear head.

As soon as they enter her apartment, Rachel turns abruptly on her heel to face Jesse, and demands “And when were you going to tell me you have a girlfriend?”

Jesse sputters, “Rach, babe, calm down. You know we mean noth-“

“Of course I know that. That’s not what this is about. This is about the fact that I may be a stripper, I may fuck you just because we can, but I will not, I repeat, I will not, help you cheat. So tell me, why exactly should I calm down?”

She pauses for breath and glares at him, one eyebrow raised.

“Rach, Rach I can explain-“

“You know what, just get out. Go.”

Jesse freezes.

“I don’t ever want to see you again. I won’t ruin your relationship by telling her, but I swear if you ever try to contact me…” she lets the threat hang, unspoken, and looks meaningfully at the door.

Jesse opens his mouth to speak, changes his mind, and shuts it again. He strides back to the door and slams it behind him.

Rachel throws herself on her bed and wonders how something so easy can turn so sour.

Three months. Three months and he’s still around, he’s still managing to make her life hell.

The irony is, Rachel threw him out for involving her in infidelity. If only Noah would just listen, maybe he’d understand that.