"I think we should talk about sex," Georgie says.
And here's the thing: Jon doesn't like white wine, but he's been nursing a glass of it for the past twenty minutes anyway, because Georgie likes white wine, and because she'd poured them both some, and because, and that's the entire point, Jon just sucks at saying no. Which, admittedly, is much less of a problem when it's just about some bloody wine.
"Okay," he says, and idly thinks, I should absolutely break up with her. Right now.
Which might be correct. He's better at that than at saying no, and it's what he did last time, with Shane, which had left him crying himself to sleep every night for almost two weeks, because, he thinks, he'd really loved him, a lot, but it had definitely taken care of the problem. (His grandmother had, on more than one occasion, called the way he likes to tackle interpersonal issues "rash" and "thoughtless". He prefers the term "thorough".)
He's halfway to opening his mouth to tell her that, on second thought, hm, maybe we don't need to talk about that, because actually, I can't see this working out, on a, uh, long-term scale-
But then Georgie smiles at him, in that ridiculously attractive way, eyebrows slightly raised, and there's that soft sparkle in them, and one corner of her mouth (the left one, always the left one) is raised slightly higher, and she leans forward to place her wine glass down on the coffee table, the light pouring in through the window and the half-transparent, white curtains catching in her hair, and-
And, no, he can't do this, not with her, because he might suck at communicating what he wants, but he very much does not want to break up with her. So instead he sighs and, contrary to her, picks up his glass, because he desperately wants something to keep his hands occupied with.
"Right," Georgie says with a slow exhale. "I'll just ... talk for a moment, and I'd really appreciate if you just let me finish before asking any questions. Alright?"
Jon frowns at his glass (there's a few fingerprints on it, Georgie's and his own). He's not sure there's all that much to be said about this specific topic. He nods, anyway. "Alright. Of course."
"Good," Georgie says, and then, "I don't want to have sex with you."
Jon looks up sharply and opens his mouth to ask Why not? and it takes him a long moment to realize that he's feeling slightly offended; the emotion bordering on genuine hurt, which, honestly, is absolutely hilarious. (Behind the offence, though, there is of course the overwhelming relief, stringing itself vaguely-shaped through his head, because he's not sure he can quite grasp what she's saying, and why - what she means.)
Before he can actually get the words out, Georgie's holding up a hand.
"Like I said - please let me finish speaking, first. I've had this conversation a few times, so you'll get to enjoy my 'So Georgie Barker doesn't want to have sex with you' FAQ. Question one: Is it something I did? Answer: No. It's not you, I promise. Question two: So you think I'm not attractive? Answer: Au contraire - you're extremely handsome."
Jon's head is swimming with the complete absurdity of this conversation already. He desperately tries to catch up and keep track; make sense of everything Georgie says, but it proves hard, because all he can think about is I don't need to have sex with my girlfriend over and over.
"... four: Does that-"
Ah. He should really try to listen; he seems to have seriously lost track and entirely missed item three of her Q&A. He feels a little bad for it, because she's clearly put a lot of thought in it, judging from the way she never hesitates between her sentences.
"... promise I still love you."
Ah. Happened again. Damn.
Jon finally stops staring at her and directs his gaze back at his wine glass, right about the time Georgie lifts an eyebrow at him.
"... So?" she asks. "Now's your turn to ask follow-up questions. If they're good, I might add them to the FAQ!"
Jon smiles entirely against his will, overcome, for a moment, by intense fondness for her dry sense of humor - and then he frowns again. "Why- Georgie, that sounds as if you fully expect to have this exact talk in the future, with another person. That's- that's not very flattering."
Georgie is quiet for a moment, and then laughs. "Oh, God, you're right. No wonder that Christine looked at me the way they did. Uh..." She scoots a little closer and nudges him with her elbow. "Let's pretend I didn't make this more awkward than it already was and just expect you to forget a few important points so that I'll have to go over it with you again, alright?"
Jon keeps frowning at the too-dry wine for a moment, but then sighs and nods. He doesn't think her entire speech makes much sense to him - doesn't understand how this fits into the fact that, clearly, she doesn't seem to want to break up with him - but he's not about to question it, nonetheless. "Of course," he says. "Uh. I ... do not think that I have any, er, any follow-up questions. I think you made yourself rather clear."
His words are meant to be a compliment, appreciation - he vastly prefers people being direct and open than vague words he has to try and interpret (and fail to do so accurately, more often than not). But he doubts it came across as that, because Georgie elbows him again.
"Come on, don't be like that. We can talk about it. This doesn't mean our sex life has to be non-existent, you know?" The grin is audible in her voice when she speaks her next words. "I'd be happy to ... well, give a hand, as it were."
It takes him a few moments to understand what she means, and then he grimaces. "I, uh, no, that ... won't be necessary, I don't think."
Georgie shrugs. "Alright, then. Let me know if you ever change your mind. I really don't - well, care much, as long as I'm not more actively involved."
They sit in silence for a while, after that. Jon replays her words in his head, still trying and spectacularly failing to make sense of them. They don't seem to fit into the kind of relationship they've agreed on - they both had said they want to call it dating-
"Jon? Any ... thoughts?"
Georgie sighs and gently pries the wine glass out of his hands (he hadn't realized, until then, how hard he'd clasped his fingers around it) and sets it down on the table. "You are very quiet. This either means you're completely fine with what I just told you, or it means you have some serious issues with it but don't want me to know. Care to tell me which it is?"
Jon ... doesn't know. (Maybe he's still a little hurt by it, as ridiculous as it is.)
"I ... don't have any serious issues with it," he says slowly. "I just ... fail to see how I'm supposed to ... not take it personally or think it's anybody's fault but mine. But I don't- don't mind it. I do not want to have sex with you, either."
Georgie looks like she wants to say something, then pauses, frowns, and squints at him. "Wait- what?"
"What?" The word comes out more defensive than anticipated.
"I- alright, so, first off - and I really hope this won't hurt your pride too much - as much as I love you, you won't manage to just change my entire sexual orientation, so again, I assure you, it's nothing personal and not your fault."
"Second, you say that and then tell me you don't want to have sex with me either? Are you sure you thought the implications of this through?"
He did not. He does now.
And then stares at her in mild horror, quickly shaking his head. "Oh, I- No, no, it's absolutely not- my, er, my aversion towards the entire concept of sex has nothing to do with you, personally! I just, I never had any interest in it, no matter who I was with, but it's nothing you did wrong." A second passes, another, and Georgie's eyebrow is raised in that way that's reserved for when he's said something- "Ah. Uh. I ... just said the same thing you said and I didn't want to accept. Right, I, er. Apologize for that." Slowly but surely, he's starting to think he's being silly. He clears his throat and relaxes his shoulders (only just now realizing how tense he's been) when Georgie gently takes his hand into hers. "What ... did you mean, when you said- You said I won't manage to just change your sexual orientation, and- and obviously, no, I won't, but ..." He trails off, because Georgie breathes a heavy sigh.
"Were you listening to my FAQ? Because that's covered in the answer to question four: No, I'm just ace, but that doesn't change my romantic feelings for you and I promise I still love you."
Jon blinks. "I ... might have missed that one. You're, er ..."
"Ace?" she finishes his sentence. "Yes. You are ... too, then?"
Jon blinks again. "I- No, I ... I'm sorry, what?"
Georgie looks a little like she can't decide if she wants to laugh or not. "Jonathan Sims, am I about to explain your own sexuality to you?"
"I don't know, are you?" he asks weakly. By now, he's pretty sure he doesn't know anything and important parts of this conversation went just straight over his head.
She shakes her head, but there's a soft smile playing around her lips, the one he loves a lot, the same like the one when he'd first clumsily stammered about finding her pretty, months ago. She pulls her feet onto the couch and curls up against his side, then presses a kiss to his cheek. "I'm asexual," she says. "Which basically just means that I don't experience sexual attraction. There's people who are ace who still like to have sex. There's others who don't. And yet others who just like it under specific circumstances, or are okay with being involved in sexual activities in certain, specific ways but not others. You ... should probably google it; there's a lot to read. It has also nothing to do with falling in love; you can still be romantically attracted to people."
Jon's first instinct is to say, That can't possibly be a thing. Then he wants to ask, That's a thing? Then he takes a moment to just reflect on her words, analyze them, store them away. (Apply them to himself; see if they fit right.)
In the end, he looks at Georgie and simply says, "I love you."
Another kiss, pressed to his shoulder. "I love you, too. A lot."
Later, still curled up on the couch together, Jon tentatively types the word into the google search bar on his phone. Georgie, with her head on his shoulder, sees it, and removes one of her earphones. "Just don't go on tumblr, people there are really stupid."
He acknowledges her warning with a slight nod, and then says, without looking up, "Georgie? I ... really, really hate white wine."
She shifts a little and reaches for his hand again. "Oh. That's good to know. I'll keep it in mind for next time."
He nods and gently squeezes her hand.