"The first day of senior year is emotional for everyone. So, I hereby therapize you to go to your happy place whenever you feel stressed," Britta said from her position next to me on the couch we occupied in my apartment's living room.
I heard her words. I knew she was using them to calm me, but why was Britta mentioning my happy place? She knew (or at least I suspected she did) that my happy place was somewhere best left to my imagination when the two of us were alone and not in a classroom full of others.
Before Britta and I began dating and subsequently started having sex, my happy place had always been pulled from TV. I'd go into my brain, find my favorite episode from whatever show I currently felt strongly for and I'd act out my favorite part with me in the starring role. All of this would be done in my head, of course, as to not upset those around me. They can't see inside your brain, Abed I would remind myself. Well, Troy could If he tried really hard, but it always frustrated him when he would get it wrong, which honestly was about 90% of the time. Maybe even 95%, because I habitually lied to make him feel better about being able to read my mind.
If I had to choose a show now to consider my happy place it would probably be Inspector Spacetime. Although, I'd grown tired of it lately or rather it was that I didn't want to frustrate my girlfriend with my obsessions all the time, so I was taking a break from my preoccupation with Inspector Spacetime and focusing that energy on something different, but just as nice … Britta Perry. She had already done her best to dress up as a few of the Inspector's companions to placate my desire of acting out my favorite show sexually, which was actually really hard to do, because Inspector Spacetime liked to tease, but never satisfy sexual tension. Eventually, Britta would get tired of the hand holding and the ambiguous phrases of love I'd say to her as the Inspector. She would then go off script and once we got to that point I considered what we were doing as M rated fan fiction. I had to admit that I enjoyed her interpretation of Inspector Spacetime very much.
"Abed are you visiting your happy place right now?" Britta asked, obviously noticing the faraway look in my eyes as I remembered the last time she'd acted out her fanfiction with me.
"Yes, but not because I need to. I just like imagining us having sex," I replied.
I must have been too honest with Britta, which was a character trait of mine that usually caused a stir in others because her mouth dropped, and then in a very atypical move, she blushed. Britta didn't get embarrassed. Not usually. She felt it showed weakness, especially if a man had been the one to cause the rush of blood to her cheeks. Why should she be embarrassed about anything? She was just as experienced as any man … or so she had told me once before when her blushing had happened in front of me. Sometimes Britta's views on things were silly, but I tried not to point this out. I also didn't let her know that despite her dislike of blushing, I enjoyed this part of her that not everyone else got to see. Apparently I was one of the few people that could get this reaction out of her and it made me feel special. Not a bad -different from everyone else- special though. In a good –I'm special to Britta– way.
"Troy and Annie are in the next room," Britta's whispered, giving me a reason behind her sudden flustered state … she didn't want Troy and Annie to hear me talking about my sex life with her.
"Troy and Annie live here. You don't think they know we have sex. Annie banged on the wall last night when you–"
Britta covered my mouth with one of her hands, which forced me to stop talking. Then she slid it down my neck and rested it on my shoulder, "-had an orgasm," I finished.
"Abed!" Britta nearly yelled as she lifted her hand off my shoulder and used it to lightly smack my arm.
"Why are you embarrassed about me mentioning our sex life?" I asked, wondering if this was one of those things that was easy for everyone else to get, but not me.
I tried to connect Britta's reaction to something I'd seen happen to a romantically linked couple from TV, in a comic book, or even a movie … some rom-com starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan perhaps. Then I remembered that neither actor had moved beyond kissing in any of their movies together. Maybe another Meg Ryan vehicle.
When Harry met Sally.
Yes, she had sex with Billy Crystal in that one and an orgasm had even been acted out in one scene … perfect movie to use for a reference right now. I reached into my brain and tried to pull out the 1988 romantic comedy from the mass of movies I cataloged there, but my mind was having a hard time recalling any of these. I'd mentioned Britta's loud climax from last night and it was distracting me. Now my mind only wanted to locate that movie and once it did I began running over the camera angles (which were mostly of Britta's breasts) and script (which were mostly moans from Britta) of the X rated film we had made in my bed.
I noticed that fully clothed Britta was about to speak in the here and now and not as the partially dressed woman from my memory, so I pulled myself back to the present, knowing that relationships not only required sex to be maintained but also listening. Britta had taught me that.
"Because …" Britta hesitated, "I didn't know I or … us … being intimate with each other … was uh, your happy place. You told me before that you always thought about pop culture when you felt stressed. "
"Not anymore. I don't have to, not since we started dating. I thought you already knew. Your reaction is making me think this is a problem. Is it?" I asked.
Britta seemed indecisive. She removed her therapist glasses, an item she didn't actually need to see, and slightly smiled before moving her lips over to mine. We kissed. It was short and sweet. When she pulled away she was biting her lip, something I noticed she did when she was thinking.
"I guess I'm flattered," she admitted, "but at the same time, I'm worried. I don't want you putting too much stock in our sex life. Relationships do tend to cool over time and sex, while still good, may not always be as hot as ours is right now when it's so new. When the inevitable happens, I worry about your response. You won't have a coping mechanism anymore."
I shook my head and then countered with, "But, sex isn't the only part about our relationship that makes me happy and it isn't the only thing usable for my happy place. Your smile, your eyes, the way you hold my hand, your sometimes silly yet strong convictions, the way you care about me, the way you have cared about me from the beginning, the way you sacrifice your time and energy for others. I could go on and on, but experience has taught me people don't like it when I make long lists that go on and on. They usually walk away."
Britta laughed and I was glad that it was at a joke I had intentionally made and not some socially awkward flub. I was learning. "Well, let me tell you that is a list I wouldn't mind going on and on. It helps with my insecurities."
"Don't be insecure about my feelings for you. I'd like you even if you were Meg Ryan in a man's body."
Britta gave me a look I had grown to predict from her when she didn't get one of my references. "Prelude to a Kiss. 1991," I explained, "but that actually wasn't the Meg Ryan movie I was reaching for before. Too obscure and it has nothing to do with what we are talking about now."
I stopped talking, realizing Britta had no idea that I had been trying to reference When Harry met Sally before. None of this made sense to her. She was about at good at reading my mind as Troy was.
Britta shrugged it off and instead grasped my hands in hers. Then standing she pulled me up along with her. Our bodies were close and she took the opportunity to snake her arms around my torso. "Well, anyway I liked your list so much that I would like to show you just how much I enjoyed it. Let's go into your room, so I can take you to a real happy place and not just the one in your head? Call it a way to remove stress before class."
"What about Annie and Troy?" I asked.
"I'm not embarrassed. Why should I be embarrassed about sex with my boyfriend?" she replied with conviction and then led me into my room, locking the door behind us.