It’s not easy, trying to find someone to share an apartment with three other people, at short notice – especially over the Christmas holidays. But word of mouth travelled fast, and within a month of Ronnie leaving us in the lurch, we got a nibble.
Rina was a slim brunette with a very pretty face. She wore headbands and fitness gear, or workout clothes. I didn’t know if she was an exercise nut, or if she was just trying to imitate Olivia Newton John.
She was also Barbara’s best friend.
Rina had been over a couple of times, but only when we’d been having a party, or a large group. She took a tour of the apartment, and then asked most of the same shrewd questions that Laurie had asked the landlord before we signed the lease. Rina was especially pleased when she heard what her share of the rent would be.
– “I can move in February 1st.” she said.
– “Super!” said Laurie.
I have to admit that I was a little worried about Rina. It’s true that I barely knew Rose before we became roomies – but Rose was a sweetheart. And I hadn’t been dating her best friend.
It was a relief, then, when Rina set me straight right away.
– “We’re gonna be good friends, Joe. Barbara said you were a really nice guy. She still considers you a friend, too.”
That was nice to hear. We all quickly discovered that Rina was remarkably frank and open. She might not be in Eli’s class, when it came to telling the truth, but she was very, very close. We found that out even before she officially moved in.
Rina brought over a few boxes, and a few of her clothes.
– “I’ll need some help moving in, though.” she said.
– “I can help.” I told her that I could borrow Uncle Ray’s truck, and find a friend to help me carry her furniture.
– “That’s fantastic!” she said. “Oh, Joe, if you could do that, I’d really make it worth your while.” She batted her eyes at me.
I’m sure my mouth fell open. Rose spit a mouthful of soup across the table, spraying Laurie’s arm.
– “Geez!” snapped Laurie.
Rina though that Laurie was reacting to what she just said. Who knows? Maybe she was.
– “I didn’t mean that I’d fuck him.” said Rina. She smiled at me. “I just meant that I’d buy him a case of beer. That would be alright, wouldn’t it?”
– “You don’t have to buy me beer.” I said.
– “Then I’ll buy it for all of my roommates, and we can share.”
I got Eli to help me. I figured that a beer or two and an introduction to Rina would be well worth the price of admission.
We carried her bed and dresser up the stairs, and then load after load of clothes. I swear, this girl had 29 pairs of shoes – at the age of 21. Even Imelda Marcos took a few years to amass her collection.
– “You’re beautiful.” Eli told her. “I’d love to go out with you.”
– “Probably not going to happen.” said Rina. “Nice of you to say, though.”
We had ourselves a new roommate. Once again, we would be splitting the rent four ways, instead of three. Of course, Rina was not an unmitigated blessing.
The night after she moved in, she had her boyfriend over.
She must have bought her bed at the same store where Ronnie and Laurie got theirs. It was the serenade of the springs all over again.
The next morning, Rose couldn’t meet my eye. It was probably worse for Laurie, though; she was in the room next to Rina, trying to sleep through it.
– “Rose, you wouldn’t have any earplugs, would you?” she asked.
Tanya was a bit cold with me, over the phone, for a week or so. Then we just had trouble connecting. I did ask her out, but when Tanya found out that coming back to my apartment afterwards wasn’t on the agenda, she lost interest.
It was almost two weeks later when she called me, and invited me over.
– “My parents are going away for the weekend – and they’re taking my sisters.” she said.
– “You’re not going?”
– “Unfortunately, I’m going to be terribly sick.” she said. “Too sick to go with them. I’ll need my boyfriend to come over and make me chicken soup. And maybe rub my tummy …”
I did end up rubbing her tummy. She also fucked me on their couch, in her bed, and blew me against the wall in the hallway.
She also wanted me to fuck her in her sister’s room. I could just picture her gleefully telling Sam all about it afterwards. I drew the line there.
– “Why not?” she said. “I never say ‘no’ to you!”
– “Tanya, I’m not about to be some kind of weapon for you to one-up your sister. Don’t drag me into your … battles.” I had been about to say ‘squabbles’. I don’t think she would have appreciated that much.
She was angry enough as it was. I ended up leaving hours before I had to.