Chapter 5: Bennet – The Morning After

I wake up with a nagging headache in someone else’s bed, yet again. 

I scramble for my phone on the nightstand to check the time, it is nine o’clock already. I put my phone back on the nightstand then I dress up as fast as I can while struggling to remember everything that happened last night. 

“Good morning…  Coffee?”  A cute guy wearing a light blue boxer appeared on the door as I tie my shoe laces. 

Hi there, I’m sorry but I really have to go now… I’m late for work.”

“But it’s a Saturday…”

What’s your name again? I’m sorry last night’s a blur…”  I ask as I try to change the topic. Mr. Light Blue Boxer is cute as fuck, he’s got this sweet smile on his lips and eyes. But no, this is just a hook-up and hook-ups are just hook-ups. 

I made you a cup of coffee; I’m just not sure how you want your coffee.” He replied not acknowledging what I just said. And yet again that smile. 

Thanks for the coffee but I’m really late for something, it was nice meeting you though” I say. 

I plant a kiss on his forehead, and make the usual routine of leaving my number, asking for his and promising to give a call as soon as I can and then saying goodbye. 

Saturday morning, me on the street, making my way home right after yet another one night stand. I’ve just broken Rule No. 1 in my hook-up rule book, which is to “Never ever spend the night. I was hammered extremely last night; I actually cannot remember most of what happened. I may have broken rule number 1 when it comes to hooking up but I won’t let myself down by breaking Rule No. 2 which is “If ever you break Rule No. 1, leave as soon as you wake up, don’t linger, make sure to leave as you came, as a stranger”  That’s the way it goes. No strings attached, purely physical and just for fun. 

That’s how I have survived being single for five years now and I’m enjoying every moment of it. Relationships are messy. It messes with your plan, it messes with your time, it messes your head, and it messes with your heart. I have been there and I have no plans of going back. 

Saturday morning also means brunch date with my two best friends, Harry and Simon. I decided to go straight to our favorite café instead of going home and taking a quick shower. Based on experience, my bed always wins in luring me back to sleep instead of me taking a shower. 

Simon is already having his first cup of coffee when I get to our usual table.

Messy hair. Same clothes as last night. Good morning, you slut.”  Simon greets me in his usual bitchy monotone voice. 

“Good morning, queen bitch, coffee hasn’t kicked in yet?”  I sassed back.

Give it three more sips… So, details of the conquest?” Simon inquires.

It’s the usual thing… he’s cute… nice apartment…” I say.

I was still trying my best to remember everything that had happened last night so I can give the full details to Simon when Harry arrived and sat beside him and took a sip of coffee from Simon’s mug. Harry looked harassed and tired, seems like he didn’t get sleep last night.

Are you okay, dear? Simon asks.

“Nick and I got into another argument last night.” Harry explains

“Wait… the last time we talked you were also fighting about that wedding you missed, are you guys okay? I ask. 

We are. It might just be a phase…”

“Can’t deal with that emotional chow-chow, you people in relationships had to endure. I’d rather be single.” I quipped.

“Yeah, so you would rather go on hookups every Friday and Saturday night.” said Simon.

“That’s a better option for me than try to figure someone out, make him like me, try to like him but then still end up hating each other. I get what I need from hook-ups, no drama. no strings attached. I like my life that way.” I fired back at Simon.

You were just hurt before and have not never recovered from the heartbreak… Do you want me to refresh your memory?” says Simon.

Relationship just doesn’t work for me. that’s all.” 

One day you’ll meet someone and you’ll understand why your LAST relationship didn’t work out… emphasis on the LAST, stop generalising. It was your LAST relationship that didn’t work out…” Simon, my bitch of a friend snaps back.

Final words. Relationship. Not. For. Me.” I reply with finality.

“Just try, one last time… Life might surprise you” Simon says.

Not. For. Me.”, my final say. 

“You know guys, I went here to have breakfast and a light happy conversation. Can we change the topic? Harry snaps.

“So, how was your Friday conquest, Bennet? details please. I want to live vicariously through you…” Harry continued.

I essayed everything that I remembered from last night, while Simon accompanied it with his usual sassy commentaries. 

After brunch we all went with our usual Saturday activities. Simon picked up his laundry, Harry met up with Nick to watch a movie and I went to the grocery.  

As I do my round at the grocery store I can’t help but go back to what I said at the coffee shop, do I really believe that relationships doesn’t suit or work for me, or did I just say that to justify why I’m still single. 

Starting up a relationship is hard as hell. There’s the “getting to know you” part wherein you try to impress your potential partner with all the positive qualities you have, and he does the same thing, so you kinda just get to know all the parts that he think you would like. Then comes, the part of who falls in love first, let’s face it, it’s a game… and we try to play it long and well, so that whoever wins gets the upper hand in the relationship. Then there’s the mid part, the part where all the not-so-positive qualities of your partner manifest one by one, maybe he’s always late, maybe he’s bad at grammar, maybe he’s temperamental… it will all show up eventually… and the next thing you know is that you’re deciding whether these traits are deal breakers… and when it really gets out of hand you break up with him. That’s how tiring a relationship is. Trust me. Been there.

 “You again, what a surprise…” a voice from behind me says.

Hello…  yeah, you again” I turn to face the owner of the voice.

It was Mr. Light Blue Boxer Guy, my hook-up last night. Still as cute as fuck as he was earlier this morning but fully clothed this time.

Rule No. 3 in the hook up rule book is to never say hi to a former hook-up if you see them in public, it diminishes the mystery, you become acquaintances rather than just strangers. 

But Mr Light Blue Boxer and I are already done with our Hi’s and Hello’s, and just like that the expected awkwardness follows.

“Seems like grocery shopping is ritual you do alone, I’ll let you be. It was nice seeing you though…” Mr. White Boxer Guy sensed the awkwardness and was polite enough to crush it before we both freezes. He smiled and walked away from the cold Dairy Section. 

 I stand there at the Dairy Section, contemplating about the conversation I had with Simon earlier today. Am I really done with romantic relationships? 

I don’t know what clicked inside me but I find myself looking around the Grocery Store for him. I have to meet him again.

And there he is. In the middle of the Condiment Section, holding a jar of mayonnaise. I approached him, a smile slowly lighting up my face.

Hello again… Sorry for not doing this earlier this morning and a few minutes ago… My name is Bennet, and you are?

Ludovic, you can call me Ludo. Nice to meet you.” 


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