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"so, was it good?"

in her early childhood, maya could always remember being surrounded by outgoing personalities. often brushed off for being not only female, but also natively chinese, her mother often struggled to support two young girls on her own. although her english still held a reasonably strong hint of an accent, she was never afraid to speak her mind and earn her place at the table. it was a necessity more than a preference, to be heard and respected, she needed to voice her opinions, and strongly. she would often encourage maya to share more, and communicate with her, although she never really had enough time to listen.

melanie, on the other hand, had acquired many aspects of their mothers sociable attitude, if for an opposite purpose. she loved people. wether it be a childhood friend or a stranger on the subway, melanie couldn't help but strike up an easy conversation. maya couldn't count the amount of times her sister had dug herself out of trouble, simply through a polite and passive conversation. she didn't need to be the funniest in the room or even the nicest, being the most approachable was simply enough.

with two examples of strong, cordial women in her household, maya was expected from a young age to be just as extroverted as her sister, if not more. however, developing a stutter at a young age, the young girl seemed to retreat into herself, like a clam suddenly snapping shut and isolating the world. attending speech therapy classes and additional tutoring sessions did little to aid her self-esteem, especially as her older sister came closer to her graduation, ending her senior year with honours.

she buried herself in books and poetry, becoming fascinated by the fictional worlds held within each page. a new life, accessible right at her fingertips. she would find herself immersed in the library for hours at a time, reading and rehearsing the words until they resonated easily in her brain. although her speech therapist assured her that the constant studying had helped greatly in diminishing her stutter, maya had never grown into the social butterfly her mother now expected her to become, too fascinated by the endless realities on the page to really pay attention to the one passing by all around her. even now, at the solid age of twenty, maya still had difficulty expressing herself and her emotions, and would degrade her speech to 'word vomit', as mel would say, where she could potentially blurt out anything on her mind, even if it wasn't exactly supposed to come out.

calum, however, was not as experienced with maya's unexpected outbursts as her family, and couldn't quite decipher what she meant.


she could feel the heat building up inside her face. she hated her word vomit, and how often it backfired. "i, um, you know, how was it?"

calum hesitated as he sipped his scalding coffee, his brow furrowed. "how was what?"

maya found herself fidgeting with her hands, picking at the skin around her nails as she examined the countertop. "you know, when we, uh, you know..." damn it, brain, work!

eyes widening like saucers, calum nearly coughed up the coffee he was attempting to swallow. maya turned her eyes to her jeans, studying the tears along the leg, anything to avoid eye-contact. she didn't know what she dreaded more; a blatant lie? the horrible truth? she certainly would not describe herself as a 'sexually ambiguous' being, and with they way he looked, there was no way that calum hadn't gotten around. either way, she certainly wasn't expecting the surprised giggle that broke through the air.

shooting her gaze upward, maya felt the grip around her heart tighten. she hadn't expected her skills to be astounding, but she had hoped they weren't laugh-worthy.

"oh, we uh," he broke himself off with a small laugh, and despite the heavy feeling she felt in her stomach, maya couldn't help but admire the large grin that spread across his face. "we didn't have sex."

"wait, what?"

maya could feel her back stiffen as her eyes grew wide. the heat from her mug of coffee now seemed almost too hot, filling her fingers with a tingling feeling. she didn't understand, it had all made sense; the flirting from the night before, the lazy rush of alcohol, waking up in his bed - in her underwear, no less.

"yeah, unfortunately we didn't exactly get that far." maya could feel the knot in her chest diminishing, even as her face flamed from the insinuation.

"so, we didn't sleep together?"

"no, you-uh" despite his large, looming stature, calum seemed nearly sheepish as he thought back to the previous night. "we got back here pretty late, and we were kissing and i was trying to lead you to my room, and you were so drunk." with each passing word, maya could feel the apples of her cheeks go hot. she could only imagine herself, giggling madly and hiccuping as her intoxicated mind tried to navigate the small apartment. calum, on the other hand, couldn't help but smile at the thought of the extremely tipsy maya, flushed and stumbling and so talkative, it was as if he had brought home a completely different girl.

"you kinda pushed me into a chair and did this awkward, but sexy, little lap dance." although he was trying to be reassuring, maya could still feel her skin tingle with embarrassment. she suddenly found herself hoping she had worn some more appealing underwear. "and i don't know, we were on my bed and i was kissing your neck, and i don't know how because i swear you didn't have that much to drink, but next thing i know you're snoring."

maya's eyes widened, her back going rigid. "i fell asleep... while you were kissing me?"

"um, yeah."

the pounding in maya's head was becoming unbearable, and she could feel the humiliation creeping up like wildfire across her skin. she could hardly hear her mumbling over the rapid beat of her heart in her ears. "shit, of course i did! an actually decent guy brings me home and i fall asleep he's trying to get it on with me."

maya could feel herself spiralling downwards, her embarrassment was growing and suffocating, her hands shaking around her coffee cup. she couldn't believe that she had let herself get this out of hand, she had known letting melanie influence her out of her comfort zone was a bad idea, and now she was paying the dear price.

"maya, it really isn't-" maya couldn't quite hear the end of his sentence, as she had already rushed out the front door, leaving behind a stunned calum, and her fresh cup of coffee, still steaming on the table.

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