Plan B. Break the rules. All of the rules.

I stared at myself in the mirror. “All dressed up with no place to go,” I murmured as I turned to try to see the back of my dress. It was a deep purple colour, square neckline, fitted to the waist, a flared skirt, and a keyhole cut out in the back, though with my hair loose it really couldn’t be seen. I felt like a 1950’s pin-up girl as I slicked on a tinted gloss, the faint shimmer or purple matching the dress.

I left my shoes off as I rushed to the kitchen and peered in at the lasagne that was cooking, checked the timer. The table was set with wine and cheese so we could snack a little until the lasagne was cooked. I’d cleaned up, put fresh sheets on the bed, been waxed to within an inch of my life. I lit the candles I had scattered around and I was ready for an actual date. Dinner, conversation, maybe even a little dancing.

Then after… I remembered the first time I’d broken a rule with Jay, the always use a condom rule. Then had been the no cuddling, then the no sleep overs. All in the one night. I remembered waking up with his hands on me, my body primed for his. Just like it was now.

“Break the rules.” I reminded myself as a knock sounded and I crossed the room to open the door. My heart was pounding, I was nervous, excited, nervous. I opened the door and he took my breath away. He was muttering to himself so I asked, “Do what?” as I smiled, so happy to see him.

He smiled back, gave his habitual, “Hey baby,” as I stepped back to let him in.

“I have-”

I never got to tell him I had lasagne in the oven for dinner. An apple pie ready to go in after. I never got to flirt with him as we ate cheese and drank wine. I never got to seduce him or ask him to stay the night. I got destroyed instead. Jay’s mouth on me, his hands everywhere, I was overwhelmed, and I loved it, and I hated it. I got what I’d told him I wanted. Sex from my fuck buddy. Not a seduction from a lover. It was hard and fast against the door. Then it was slow but still hard against the door. He dominated me, controlled me, pushed all of my buttons and he didn’t even know it.

And when it was over, I’d smiled and let him leave then walked on wobbly legs to the table where I’d collapsed in a chair and taken a big mouthful of wine. And that was where I sat for the next hour, sipping wine, thinking about what had happened. Thinking about what was going to keep happening.

I had to forget my ‘pretend we’re a couple’ plan. That fantasy was going back in the box, the box was going into a safe, and the safe was being buried deep, deep in my mind. Fresh plan: embrace the buddy. Lots of hot sex with Jay couldn’t be a bad thing. Just because I wouldn’t get the romantic dinners, the after sex cuddling, the early morning wake up sex, so what? I couldn’t miss what I’d never had could I?

If Jay could play by the rules, and if tonight was anything to go by he sure as hell could, then so could I. Okay, we’d already broken them all, but we didn’t have to keep breaking them. We were friends. Who had sex. We would go back to the status quo. I would be Dee, who didn’t do relationships. He would be Jay, who was on a break from looking for love, but who was always looking for love. We would scratch each other’s itches, be each other’s special friend for a while.

And when it was over? I imagined myself out with my friends. Adrian and Tammy would be cuddled together. Mitch and Ben would be flirting with their dates for the night. Jay and his girlfriend would be smiling. And me? I didn’t do relationships and I followed the rules, so my fuck buddies never met my friends. Mark had been the exception to that rule. So I would be alone. I didn’t want to be the lonely girl at the table, I knew who I wanted to be but that wasn’t going to happen.

My life wasn’t a John Hughes movie. Jay wasn’t going to suddenly realise he was in love with me. I had to accept that and move on. So when it was over? I was going to be over Jay. Ready to move on, ready to fall in love with someone else. That was my plan and I was absolutely sticking to it.