Gilly was too much like Ryan for him to ever love her. Ghanian by way of London, she had a way of being that an American would describe as “scrappy”—a euphemism that only seemed to be applied to people made ruthless by terrible circumstances. Ryan and his friends back home would call her a hustler. The type of chick who knew how to take care of herself.
            Tonight she breezed in, brown sugar-colored skin, long, straight weave and bright pink lips. Neither of them French, they kissed each other on both cheeks anyway, before she gave him a peck on his lips.
            “Ça va?” She asked him. “You look happy to see me.” Gilly looked down at the hard-on Ryan had been nursing for the past hour, thinking about when he’d see her.
            “Bah ouais, tu es en retard,” he replied, in the slow and deliberate French that made native speakers lose patience.
            They were both foreigners in a city where they could be whatever they wanted to be, yet, still, they’d managed to be exactly who they always were.
            As such, Gilly didn’t need preamble. Sweet talk seemed to upset her and foreplay didn’t hold her interest. It was only sex, but that was enough because sex with Gilly was like nothing Ryan had ever experienced. Sometimes he thought it was her height, at almost six-feet, her frame overwhelmed him, enveloped him and some part of her body seemed to be always around him when they fucked. He could smell only her when he breathed, his tongue would recognize only the taste of her, he could only see her.
            On a more practical level, she was a shameless freak. Her body was all-access. She gave every move her all.
            After, one of his faded Georgetown sweatshirts covering just to her crotch, she made the English-style tea she always craved, using the whole milk he bought only because she liked it.
            Balancing a small mug on his mattress before lying in his creaky, low-slung bed, she puffed on a small wooden pipe filled with weed. Occasionally he took a drag.
            “Milk kills,” He told her, stretching his arm around her shoulders and dropping the pipe in her upturned palm.
            She refilled the little groove on top with plants and then lit the tip again.
            “So does sex,” Gilly said. “Doesn’t mean we have to abstain.”
            “You going to church tomorrow?”
            “Every Sunday. You finally ready to come?”
            “I don’t speak French,” he said.
            “You haven’t got to. God speaks to you in your language, eh?” Smoke billowed from the round bed of her o-shaped lips. “The spirit will be high tomorrow. I can just feel it.”

Whitney Teal is a journalist, essayist and creative writer from Fort Worth, Texas. Her nonfiction has been published in lots of magazines and on lots of websites devoted to women. Read some of it at whitneyteal.com. She swears a lot on Twitter @whitney1016.