To take a few steps back from where the last chapter ended, I will take a minute to revisit some of the emotions that I felt when Erica first touched down back in Sydney, if only to remind myself of what a silly, insecure, poncy bastard that I was being. Naturally after all that had happened, I still maintain the argument that it would be somewhat arrogant and presumptuous of me not to be insecure!

Now I told Erica to contact me when she landed if only to assure me that she’s arrived safely. You know, that silly worry people have about close friends and family flying…. Anyhoo, I had previously offered to pick me up from the airport but was advised that Jon, whom was babysitting her car, was doing the honours instead. So I told her just to buzz me when she gets the chance. She called me from the Airport just after she got into the car with Jon. She told me that couldn’t talk to me right now as she was in the car with him and talking about me would probably be uncomfortable for the both of them, and that she would call me back.

Now by this stage, communication from Jon had ceased and he had succumbed to all the dogma that Hairul was filling his head with about me. I was at work that day and all I could remember was just staring at my watch, watching the hours pass. Knowing that she was here but yet still haven’t received any return phone call or text from her like she said. I started to get paranoid at the thought of Jon spending the day with her and trying to influence her with all the crap that Hairul was spewing forth about me. I decided not to call her as I didn’t want to sound too clingy and insecure, for lack of a better description, and decided to see how long it would be before she called me.

I believe I got as far as my bedtime before realising that she wasn’t going to call, and so I sadly went to sleep.

The next morning on the long road to Newcastle for work, I sent her a message explaining that after spending the day with Jon and Hairul, I’m sure that she doesn’t want to have anything further to do with me. And that if that’s the case I understand and will back off. She’ll never have to hear from me again. The mind can play crazy tricks on a person when they are insecure. And as such my mind started to take a wander for the worst.

Surprisingly, I got a call straight back from her after I had just sent the message, telling me that I’m just being silly. She apologised to me for not contacting me at all the day before as she was hugely busy apartment hunting with Jon and Hairul. And that by the time she got home she was just so tired that she went straight to bed. We chatted basically for the entire of my drive to Newcastle which was close about 1.5 hours. And on the way home, we chatted for a long time again. I kept asking her (and probably annoying her in the process) if she was sure she wanted to have dinner with me on the Friday, and of course, she said yes.

Over the coming days prior to the dinner we still kept much in contact via phone and text and all seemed to be rather peachy in the world, well… as peachy that things could be given the circumstances anyway. As much as I looked forward to the dinner, all the while I kept worrying that it was more a agreement made by her out of pity and obligation than anything else. And also wondering in the meantime if H was swaying her round to his way of thinking.

And so Friday finally arrived, and that was where the last chapter ended.

12 Months-
1 Year Anniversary-

Dinner going as well as it did, and me wanting to go a second round with her, hesitantly raised the prospect of watching a movie together on the Tight Ass Tuesday following. Now could a date possibly get any more cliched? Not wanting to take her too far from home, and to keep things coming slow, I proposed we watch a movie at Rhodes. The theatre was directly opposite the street from where she had just moved into. As in literally, open the front door, cross street in a straight line, boom…. there.

On the day, I remember that she asked me if I was afraid or worried about running into H or J, whom were now both her housemates. I said that basically I didn’t care. I’ll deal with the situation should it happen, but I didn’t think it would affect me at all. From memory I think it was the Chronicles of Narnia that we ended up watching, which by the way I greatly enjoyed…. even with the large absence of blood or breast!

After the movie it was great. We walked and chatted just like old times, I tried to steer her anywhere but home. I saw the shopping centre start to close, and as much as I was worried about my car getting stuck for the night, I decided to chance it and walked with her down to the waterfront. We just sat and chatted for a good long while. Talking about life, about worries, and about nothings. Sitting near the water would have been somewhat romantic if it wasn’t for the millions of mosquitoes that were feasting upon us. I had bites galore, and Erica had double that. We were about a 10 second walk from her place and even though I still have my fears or insecurities about us, part of me felt that she wanted to stay here with me instead of going home.

It was then that I told her that seeing as we were getting eaten alive out here, and that I’d probably end up walking home tonight, I had best check on my car to see if I could still get to it. Now this was the teller for me. This would be a good indicator for what she was feeling. She was 10 seconds from home, and I had to go fetch my car. All the tell tale signs, and the perfect opportunity to call the night quits, and to go our separate ways. If she chose to go home, then she probably wasn’t having that much fun. BUT, if she followed me to my car, she probably didn’t want the night to end. And so I gambled….

And won! :) As some would say, small things amuse small minds. This may or may not be relevant to me, but I was yelping with joy inside. Okay, maybe not yelping. More like the punching of air with the arm and going “Yessssss!!!”. Now Erica, Baby, as much as I hate to say this, but it was at this very moment when I realised that I had my chance to get you back. And at this very moment, unbeknownst to you, I started playing chess.

I didn’t know exactly what I was going to do, but I know what my intentions were, and that was to get you back this night. To capitalise on the confusion that was probably raging in your mind, and strike whilst the iron is hot. To make the most of the moment and the night because who knows, it may be our last if you changed your mind on the morrow.

Now what happened next, is a moment that even now we look back upon and laugh. For if one was to believe in fate, destiny, or symbolism, they would nod their heads in understanding or perhaps even expectation of what transpired. After pulling out of the car park, I decided to drive and park the car somewhere close by where we could just chill and chat without being interrupted. Where we could just spend the next indeterminate amount of time just being, just enjoying, and just relishing. Much of Rhodes at the time was still under construction, with most of the apartment in the final stages of completion. So I just drove here and there a couple of times looking for a suitable place to park and where did I finally end up? Directly outside the exact apartment block that was to be our future home. The home were we would live together, and were our children were to be born and raised.

Yes…. on this night, the night that was home to the moment that Erica became mine, the moment that would forever seal the future for the two of us, we were home. But we just didn’t know it yet. And so we sat in the car, facing the water and just revelled in the moment. We talked, we joked, we laughed. It was a repeat of the banter that we shared at the Opera House just a few nights ago. Where we would talk face to face, and all I could think about was kissing her. Where I walked away wondering what would have happened if I had mustered up the dare and courage to give her the gift of a kiss, to leave my taste upon her lips.

I’ve always lived my life by the saying that a life lived in fear is a life half lived. I don’t want to live in fear any more. And I don’t want to live half a life. And so I waited for the right moment. And that moment came when Erica and I were in the midst of laughs and giggles, with me leaning over her and my face close to hers. I then apologised to her. I told her I was truly sorry for what was about to happen. She paused to ask what there was for me to be sorry about. And I said “This”. And that was when I kissed her. I cupped her face in my hand and gave her a long, deep, passionate kiss.

If there’s one general rule every guy should know, it’s that one should never ever ask for a kiss. Either a man does it, or he doesn’t. There is no ask. Better to kiss and get slapped, than ask and still receive. There is a moment that surrounds that first kiss. A special moment that comes only but once and never again. For pain or pleasure, you have to try to make that moment yours. Carpe Diem.

With that kiss, the darkness…. the shadows that were haunting me for so long melted away. I felt her body melting against me, her lips fusing with mine. The mercury soared, the windows steamed. In that moment I realised that this was what we were both longing for, what we both had missed so much and had feared lost. But the only thing that was lost that night were the two of us into each other.

Our hands wondered as our hearts raced. Before we knew it, we were both in the back seat, our bare bodies intertwined. The car jostled in rhythm to our love making, the windows fogged. Whether we realised it or not, there would be no going back now… only forward.

Our next date was to be at Bondi Beach on Saturday, for a session of swimming and tanning. To me, it seemed an eternity to wait from that Tuesday to the Saturday until I could see Erica again. Come Friday, I decided to try my luck to see if we would be able to meet up that night. During the day, I told Erica that I was craving pasta from Bar Italia in Leichardt, one of my favourite Italian places, in hope that she would pick up on the hint and offer to join me for dinner. I waxed and whined about how much I was craving my favourite Spaghetti Sicula, and that I wished I could have it for dinner. Eventually I heard the response I was fishing for when she asked if I would like her to accompany me to dinner seeing as I told her that “All my friends are busy” :)

And so we had an enjoyable dinner, then headed down towards the Italian Forum to look for a place to grab a coffee. We ended up at a lounge bar instead grabbing a couple of cocktails. The waitress told us that we had to order food if we wanted to order the cocktails. I can’t remember hour it started, but we ended up making out on the couch for almost the entire duration of our time there and I believe the waitress whom returned to take our order probably decided to risk breaking the house rules as opposed to the awkwardness of interrupting us instead! haha!

The long awaited Saturday finally came round and and we got an early started as I proposed kicking the day off with a breakfast of eggs benedict at one of the many cafes along the always lovely and scenic Bondi Beach. We hit the sand around 12pm for some much needed sun and surf! We lay there in the sun chatting, then took a break from that by jumping into the water for a swim to cool off, then retreated back to the sand to soak up more sun. Rinse and repeat.

Before we realised it, the sun had started to set and upon the checking of the time, found that it was already 7pm!!! We had been there for 7 hours! We discussed getting some dinner and I can’t exactly remember what happened next, but we ended up in some horseplay, tickling and rolling around with each other. Next thing we knew, we were making out on the sand…. for about 2 hours. All we could hear were the people around us laughing and joking about us as they walked past. These two people with obviously no sense of decency, pawing at each other and making out as it they weren’t in the middle of a busy public beach!!! By the time we actually left the beach, it was 9pm!!! We had been on that beach for 9 hours!!! I couldn’t believe it!!! By then we were both hot, bothered, and horny as all hell. I raised the prospect of getting a hotel room for the evening it ended up not eventuating. I think Erica at this point was still afraid of what Jon and Hairul would think if they found out she was seeing me, or that she had even slept with me. Jon and Hairul still had no idea what had happened between us since she got back, and have been lecturing her about seeing me at her own risk every time we went out.

We grabbed some dinner and I finally dropped Erica home. On the way back to my place, I suddenly got a call from Erica in tears. She told me she didn’t know how or why, but she suddenly felt so lonely all of a sudden and just didn’t know why. Her housemates weren’t home and so she was there is her new place all by herself. I quickly turned around, and headed straight back to her place. I picked her up and we parked along the street somewhere just to talk. She said she didn’t know why she felt this way, as it’s a totally bizarre and strange feeling. I told it was understandable and just put my arm around her shoulders to comfort her. It wasn’t long before she fell asleep as it was a long and tiring day. Mind you, she had fallen asleep with my arm around her, from drivers seat to passenger seat, in a big car. Needless to say, as much discomfort as it was causing me spending about 30mins in that position, I didn’t want to wake her up. By 1am, when my back was probably about to break, she finally roused and I asked her if she wanted to spend the night at my place. She agreed and I dropped her back at her place to pick up a change of clothes.

I then got a call from her saying that her housemates are home, and that they probably wouldn’t approve of her staying over at my place. As silly as I thought this was, I let it go, bid my goodbyes and left.

More than content, I was happy. To me, I had won back the girl of my dreams, and we seemed to be very quickly putting the horrors of the past few weeks behind us. From what I could see from here, the future looked absolutely rosy. Nothing Jon or Hairul could do would affect the feelings that were growing between Erica and I. Or so I thought…… And there was still the matter of her bf Paul…. which turned out to be more complicated that I ever thought it would be.

And so we are nearing the final stretch of this epic saga, thankfully and much to my relief…