The first time James saw Celine, he was standing on the south side of the quad at his new private school in Melbourne. She stood at the opposite end, surrounded by a group of girls. She had thick dark hair, flawless tan skin, beautiful white teeth, a petite frame, enormous breasts and tons of energy. He’d just moved to the school on a full sporting scholarship two days earlier from a small country town and knew nobody, so he turned to the closest person – a nerdy looking guy with thick glasses and a bad haircut – and asked, “Who is that girl?” The nerd stared. “Celine Martelli. Join the queue.” Within a couple of weeks James’ spot on the first fifteen rugby team had afforded him some handy popularity, and despite being in year 10, he’d been asked to the Year 11 semi-formal by a girlfriend of Celine’s. He wanted to swap his date.
One day he walked over to Celine in the quad and said, “Listen. Your mate has asked me to the semi-formal, but can you take me instead?” She laughed and said no. Every day he’d see her across the quad and give her the ‘Are-you-going-to-take-me?’ double thumbs up. She’d reply with the double thumbs up then laugh and turn them upside down.
A few weeks later, there was a dress up party for a mutual friend’s 16th birthday. James turned up dressed as a cop, and he walked in and saw Celine dressed as the sexiest mermaid he’d ever seen. He gave her the thumbs up, and she beckoned him over. “Do you actually wanna come with me?” she asked. He gave her the thumbs up, she nodded and said okay. A minute later, she grabbed him and kissed him. They spent the entire night lying on a couch, drunkenly making out in front of the entire party, as people watched, took pictures and gave live commentary. When they finally finished and stood up, the entire party cheered. James took a bow, Celine started crying.
Life went on as usual at school. They’d hang out every now and again, but nothing more than friends. The night of the formal, they spent the entire evening kissing, but on Monday it was all business. For the next 12 months it was the same: Every time there was a party, they’d see each other, jump on each other and spend the entire night together, then go back to normal mates as soon as Monday morning rolled around. They never mentioned their romantic liaisons during the day time.
By the end of the school year, they must have kissed at least 20 times at parties, but as soon as the holidays came along, they lost contact. And when they returned to school at the beginning of the following year, Celine wasn’t interested anymore. She ignored James, she didn’t want to hang out and it looked like it wasn’t going to happen. James was devastated. At the first party of the year, she continued to ignore him, and he spent the evening sitting with his friends and watching her as she flirted with other guys and danced with her friends. He decided to leave. But as he was walking down the driveway he heard footsteps behind him. It was Celine. She grabbed him and kissed him. This time, it felt different.
On Monday morning, she found him in the quad at lunchtime and sat with him as he ate his peanut butter sandwiches. They swapped cellphone numbers and texted the whole night. The next day was the same. She sat with him as he ate his lunch, talking nonstop, then they texted back and forth all night long.
James was in love – Celine was the perfect girl. She was affectionate, didn’t care about what anybody thought and had endless energy. Then there were the adorable quirks – she was fussy with food: She’d only eat spaghetti bolognese, celery, carrots, fruit, and plain french fries with no ketchup. The things she liked she would OD on – she’d eat a punnet of strawberries and drink an entire bottle of orange juice in one sitting. She only ate orange lollies, and she was obsessed with Aussie Rules.
For the next 18 months, it was a blissful relationship. They fell in love, and everything was amazing.
Then the summer of 2010 came along. James had just finished high school, Celine had completed her first year of university, they were kissing one day and it didn’t feel as good. Things that had never bothered him in the beginning of their relationship began to bother him now.
Celine was spoilt. If she didn’t get her own way then she’d sulk. If they went to a restaurant that didn’t have spaghetti bolognese on the menu then they’d have to leave and find a restaurant that served spaghetti bolognese. Her obsessive love for Aussie Rules caused James to start loathing the sport. Every time she went to the cinema she’d get a frozen coke and put popcorn in it then discuss loudly how amazing it tasted – James felt it was nothing but a ploy to gain attention, not unlike her insistence on only eating orange lollies.
One day her family decided to get a dog. James was excited – he loved dogs. Celine hated dogs. She threw a tantrum, saying that her family didn’t care about her, they were being so selfish, she was going to be allergic to it, and that she hated them all. James couldn’t even be bothered to show any form of sympathy. He lost it and started shouting. She cried, but ended up loving the dog. These kinds of fights became more and more regular, and James was the one who’d always initiate them – he’d shout when he got angry, and if it didn’t end in her crying, she’d give him the silent treatment. James began to pray for the silent treatment – anything to stop him from having to listen to her talk. He found himself hoping for a big enough fight that would end it all.
The ultimate decline of the relationship occurred in the final week of 2010. James’ guardians had gone to Byron Bay for New Year’s Eve and Celine came and stayed with him for the entire week. Two times during the week he woke up and went to sleep on the couch, giving the excuse that it was too hot.
New Year’s Eve rolled around and James was in a vile mood from the moment he woke up. He had no desire whatsoever to spend the evening with Celine and her friends, and he complained all day. They started the evening at her friend’s house and James did everything he could to avoid her. He drank a lot, refused to sit next to her, hid in the pantry, played with the spice cabinet, snuck into one of the bedrooms and watched porn on the computer, and generally acted like a sullen child.
As midnight approached, the group headed into Melbourne city to celebrate the occasion. They made their way to Flinder’s Street Station and got engulfed in a huge crowd of people. The girls went to the bathroom and James took the opportunity to get lost among the crowd. For the next hour he wandered the streets, ignoring 46 missed calls from Celine, and spent the countdown alone on a bridge over the Yarra River watching the fireworks in silence. He felt free.
Just after midnight, James met a group of Sudanese businessmen who took a liking to him and told him to come party. They went to a club, and James made no effort to spurn the advances of girls inside. One came and talked to him on the dance floor, danced up close to him, wrapped her arms around his neck and began to kiss him. He didn’t pull away. They kissed for five minutes, then she took his hand and lead him into a bathroom in the back of the club where they had quick, frenzied sex. His phone was vibrating the entire time, but he didn’t care or feel guilty (he even had missed calls from her mother).
When he arrived home at 4:00am, he eventually called her back and told her he’d blacked out and woken up in his bed. She caught a taxi straight over from the city, and burst into his house distraught, saying she was so worried about him and that she’d hated every moment they were apart. When he eventually calmed her down, they had sex.
For the next month, everything went on in a spiral of decline, and one day they were discussing the upcoming weekend’s events. Celine wanted James to go watch her friends play their first gig as a band, and he wanted to go to his friend’s 21st birthday party. He told her he didn’t care if she came or not, but he was going. They didn’t talk for two days – this had never happened in three years of their relationship.
On the third morning, James called her up and asked if she was at home, because he was going to come talk to her. In between the time it took for him to get ready and drive over, he received eight different text messages saying she was really upset and that he didn’t need to come over, that she was sorry, please don’t do this.
When he arrived at her house, he walked in the door and her Mum stopped him to talk – she asked him what was going on and he mumbled a feeble excuse about how her daughter deserved better. Her Mum started crying, he apologised, then walked into Celine’s room and told her it was over. The moment he left the house he felt an instant wave of relief wash over him, despite the loud sobs that could be heard from the house.
For the next three months they slept with each other sporadically, but she was a mess every time he left. One day James decided that it had to stop so he cut contact entirely – screening her calls, ignoring her texts, not going to parties if he knew she was going to be there. After two weeks, he naively assumed that she was over him and everything would be settled so he texted and asked if his sister could borrow id so that she could go to a concert. Celine replied immediately, saying that the last time they saw each other he slept with her then ignored her for two weeks. He apologised and told her he’d leave her alone. They never spoke again. That was 12 months ago.
Celine is now in a happy relationship with a lovely man, and James hasn’t had a girlfriend since. Every now and again he stalks her Facebook page to see how her life is going, and last week he discovered that she’d taken down every photo of them together. He was surprised to find that it hurt his feelings. He hopes one day that they can be friends. It doesn’t seem likely.
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