“THE MARK-MANIA: THE FLIPS AND THE SPINS”

“What’s gotten into you? What do you see in him?”

“I don’t know. Maybe it’s just what he does: showing me that by JUST BEING ME, it’s already GOOD ENOUGH for him. How many NORMAL GUYS out there who will do this to me?”

That’s right, I have no idea. Since that Saturday night, I’m not the same girl I used to be. Mark has changed me, even just a bit.

And no, it’s not just because of the kiss. It’s a whole lot more than that.
There’s more that I forgot to write about that night.

I still remember Robbie’s warning about Mark (and men like him.) That’s why – as much as I’d honestly enjoyed the first kiss – I was also freaked out by it and Mark had somehow sensed that too. He pulled away gently, caressing my cheek and stroking my hair. He was grinning down at me as he took his hands away. There was that mischievous glint in his dark brown eyes.

“What?” he asked. I just smiled and shrugged awkwardly. We were already walking again.

When I told Mark that I was catching up with my friend and her date somewhere nearby – but had to text them first, he just shrugged and said okay. So we sat down by the stairs in front of Jakarta Cafe (another spot where the writers’ club sometimes hangs out) and continued talking.

However, I knew that things were different after that long, passionate kiss. I tried to keep my cool, but he clearly couldn’t get his hands off of me! Nothing too gross, really – just placing an arm around me while holding my hand as we sat and talked. Sometimes Mark would stroke my hair and caress my cheek. He had that look in his eyes which gave me a mixture of strange feelings: flattered and frightened at the same time!

“Lovely…you’re so cute…so tiny…” That was mostly what Mark said as he smiled at me. Somehow, I was half-enchanted by the way he lightly massaged the back of my neck. It felt good. I began to relax and let my guard down. I rested my head on his shoulder and he tightened his grip around me. His skin was warm but surprisingly not clammy.

Then it happened again. Mark turned to me, touched my chin, and slowly drew my face up to his. We kissed again. He brushed my hair strands away and started kissing my cheek, my jaw, and my earlobe.

His lips returned to mine. I knew I should’ve run off home then, but…somehow, I was paralysed. I was stuck there with him, locked in his powerful embrace and fierce kisses. Time seemed to have stopped. I couldn’t let go; I realised that I actually didn’t want to.

Worst of all, I was still picturing Steel Blue Eyes in my mind.

I finally managed to pull away from Mark. He sighed. We were staring straight in silence, still holding hands. I was still feeling guilty, so I put my hand on his temple. He was grinning, speculating that it was my turn to give him the kiss. I did, but on his forehead, as if in a silent apology. Mark found that amusing, but he pressed his nose against my jaw, his forehead on my temple. He started nuzzling me. I sighed.

“I’ve never done this before.” Kissing a guy in public while cruelly imagining him to be somebody else, I added mentally, guiltily. Mark smiled with more amusement as his arm around me grew tighter.

“Your self-doubt,” he murmured into my ear. “That’s just so cute.”

We parted at two.

—***—

My friends’ reaction:

Farida: “Oh. My. God.”

Robbie: (To Farida, from across the room) “Tell her I disapprove of that!”

Hazel Eyes: “WHAT?!”

L: “…”

I visited my family with Hazel Eyes and L that Sunday, playing with my nephews and niece. I kissed them and let them kiss me back. (Except Gama, though, since he’s still a baby. I only held him in my arms and sniffed on his sweetness.)

Guess what? I couldn’t take Mark out of my head.

Bad news.

—***—

I know I’d promised Robbie and Farida and Hazel Eyes that once was enough. I’d not see Mark again, even after we’d exchanged links to our blogs. (Not here, no worries. I’m not that stupid. I have another blog which only consists of my poetry and fiction writings.)

However, I couldn’t resist. I was still curious and tempted. Mark texted me, saying he wanted to see me again. At first, I told him I was busy (which was true, actually.) My week was pretty hectic already.

“Well, if you want to meet again, let me know when you have the time.”

I hesitated. I could’ve stopped the interaction right there and then, hinting him to walk away and never talk to me again. However, a bigger part of me didn’t want to; he was just much too interesting to deny. So Mark and I ended up hanging out that Tuesday at one of the small coffee shops. Sitting and talking with our coffee for hours, holding hands too occasionally.

Thankfully, no kisses this time. Even if he did, it was only on the back of my hand as usual and my forehead. We still talked about random, various topics. As usual, he did most of the talking.

He still invited me back to his room that night, for a drink and…another thing. Of course, I said no. Besides, I had to conduct a seminar that night.

“How about travelling with me?” Mark asked while holding my hands gingerly. That was also the second time he asked me that. “Take some time off from being such a tired workaholic. Accompany me on my photoshoot.”

“I…” I hesitated. I wa tempted, but at the same time afraid. “I don’t know, Mark.”

“Look, I’m not asking you to merry me or something like that.” Gulp. Why did he have to say that?

“I…I’ll think about it.” No promises, though, I added silently. Mark smiled at me before he started kissing my cheek gently…then my jaw…and my earlobe.

After that, we parted.

—***—

Alright, I suppose I’m still clumsy in this department. I still don’t know what to do. I enjoy hanging out with Mark and like his attention to me. At the same time, I’m scared:

Is he for real? What’s he up to? What are his real intentions?

Honestly, I’m not expecting too much out of this. Mark is a nomad; he can’t stand being in the same place – and definitely the same relationship – for too long. At least he was being fair with me by telling me that in the first place.

I guess that’s why I was also being honest with him about what I was thinking while he was kissing me back then. I even apologised, because I wasn’t being fair with him and the guilty conscience affected me.

His response?

“Aww, you’re in love with him.” Mark had smiled at me that Tuesday afternoon, gently patting me in the head as if I was a kid talking about my childhood crush. “That’s cute.”

Really?? He’s not mad at me?? Before I’d managed to ask that, he kissed my forehead and then winked at me, as if he’d wanted to assure me that it was alright, that he didn’t take it personally or anything…

—***—

Mark came again to the writers’ club on Thursday night after that Tuesday. It was at Henry’s house. (Henry is one of the members.)

And things were going rather awkward that night.

Robbie has already made it clear that he doesn’t like the guy and has got a bad vibe from him. (Fair enough.) Farida is also worried. Others were probably wondering why Mark was holding my hand the entire time and had devoted most of his attention to me that night.

My best friend Gigi? She thought we were kind of cute. (Cute – the word I often hear nowadays.) She said that although I still had to be careful, that didn’t mean I should’ve denied Mark a chance to be friends with me and get to know me – and vice versa. He may not have had a clue that I was not the ‘casual’ type, unlike most girls he might have come across during his travelling…

—***—

I hung out with Farida and Robbieon Saturday night, having coffee at Starbucks, GI, and a two-hour karaoke session at Diva, Thamrin City. My songlist that night included:

– “You Know My Name” by.Chris Cornell
– “Feels Like Home” by.Chantal Kreviaszuk
– “Why Can’t This Be Love?” by.Van Halen
– “All About Loving You” by.Bon Jovi
– “Crazy” by.Gnarls Barkley
– “All Of Me” by.John Legend
– “Addicted” by.Kelly Clarkson
– “Better Than Love” by.Sherina Munaf
– “Angels” by.Robbie Williams
– “Whatever It Takes” by.Lifehouse
– “Rock and Roll All Night” by.KISS
– “Hole-hearted” by.Extreme
– “Not One Night” by.Mr.Big

I think I’ve pretty much impressed Robbie with these choices.

I’ve kind of agreed with them, though: this is all too fast for me. That’s why I finally turned down Mark’s invitation to go travelling with him. I mean, I don’t know him that well yet. I still want to be friends with him, though. (He’s still out of town now, by the way.) But if he has different ideas, then there’s not much I can do, right?

R.

(Jakarta, 10/10/2015 – 10:15 am)

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