Authors: Tellulah Darling
Tags: #young adult, #friendship, #love, #funny, #romantic comedy, #fiction, #sex, #teens, #male protagonist, #coming of age, #contemporary, #comedy
I knew it! I knew there was no way to turn girls from clingers to players. How long did Ally last? Barely a month and she is already back to dating.
After all that hard work and effort. For what? Fuck. All. Those chicks are a lost cause.
I decide to get over my extreme disappointment by going rock climbing at an indoor rock wall with Etienne. Clear my mind, Zen out, just me and the holds.
I’m snug in my harness, halfway up the toughest route with Etienne next to me. I search for my next hold and try not to be completely distracted by the horndog beside me tilting his head to check out every girl’s ass in the place.
“I love yoga pants,” Etienne muses.
I wish he’d give it a rest already.
“You’ve always been a clever boy,” he tells me, searching for his next move, “but you’ve really outdone yourself.”
“How you managed to convince a chick to buy into the ‘get in, sleep with a guy, get out quickly’ idea. I bow before your genius.”
No way am I letting him know the entire thing just failed.
“That’s me,” I say cockily.
“To be able to nail her over and over again with no strings attached. Brilliant. You’re living the dream.”
Right. That dream is dead too. Not dream. Aspect. Of my life. “Over and over again,” I lie.
He keeps talking.
I stretch out for a far hold, hoping to put some distance between us so I don’t have to listen to him drone on.
Nope. I can still hear him.
I speed up my climb, tag the top, and rappel down.
So much for Zen.
Where rock climbing fails, Wii baseball succeeds.
Ian and I are in the middle of a very close game. I’m up to bat now and savagely nailing his pitches. Screwball, curveball, bring ‘em. I hit every one, all while entertaining Ian with a particularly pathetic Darwin Award anecdote.
I’m feeling better. Bros over hos every time.
“I don’t care how drunk this farmer is,” Ian protests. “No straight bloke is going to suggest stripping naked and playing games with his friends.”
“To be fair,” I reply, “they were very macho games. Hitting each other over the head with frozen turnips, grabbing chain saws and cutting off the ends of their feet.”
“It’s a Darwin Award winner. You can’t make stupidity like this up. So the farmer decides he doesn’t want to be outdone after the foot thing, grabs the saw, says ‘watch this’ and chops off his own head.”
The Wii cheerfully directs us to switch positions.
I pitch a changeup.
“People like that make me feel better about my own life,” Ian comments, striking out.
“Best part? His buddy commented that when he was young, he put on his sister’s underwear. But he died like a man.”
Ian strikes out his second and third players.
“Kicking. Your. Butt.” I gloat.
Attila scampers in and tugs at my leg. I shake it to dislodge her. She tugs again.
“Not now cat,” I tell her, taking up position as batter once again. I brush her to the side.
Ian pitches a low ball but I hit it and get to first. I shake out my shoulders.
“That’s good. Work off that sexual tension.”
I adjust my stance. “What tension?”
Attila tries to get my attention by purring at me but I’m on a winning streak here so I ignore her and she leaves.
“Ally’s out with Adam. You’re here with me,” Ian explains.
“If I wanted to be out having sex, I would. Don’t need Ally.”
“Yeah. About that. I think as the honorary cousin, dating Rachel and all, I’m supposed to punch you.”
“Statute of limitations is up. And I’m not sleeping with her anymore.”
“Not that it’s still an option,” he replies and strikes me out.
I brush it off. My first out of the inning. “Plenty of fish in the sea,” I retort.
“And I’m sure you’ve reeled in lots lately. Other than Al. Right?”
He strikes me out a second and third time in rapid succession.
Ian’s cell buzzes that he has a text. He pulls it out of his pocket and glances at the screen. “Gotta go.”
“What about our game?”
“Rach finished her essay. She’s free.”
“I feel used.”
“Because you’re a dirty boy.” He tosses his Wii controller at me and leaves.
Whatever. Who needs guys when there are such excellent girls to play with?
I sit on my couch, phone in hand, chatting to Nikki. “Thought you might want to go see a movie. I know it’s short notice but…”
She cuts me off with an excuse about a friend’s birthday party.
I rub my jaw, irritated. “No. Another time. Talk to you later, Nik.”
So what? There’s a whole wide world of chicks to pull. I dress to kill and head out to make some foxy lady very happy.
Except when I get to the club that’s lax on IDs and rich in females and see all the people queued up hoping to get in, I just can’t stand the thought of joining them.
Even though the bouncer nods at me and opens the rope to let me pass, I give a small shake of my head and a wave goodbye.
My favorite indie theatre is just down the block. A much better idea.
“One please.” I hand my money over for a ticket to the fly cashierist who is all Southern charm.
“You all alone tonight, sugar?”
She smiles at me.
On a scale of one to ten, I’d give it a “pleasant”. The deed got done but the earth did not rock, the mind was not blown.
If Ally has wrecked sex with other girls for me, I’ll kill her.
Best not get into that dark head trip. Pleasant happened. Happens to everyone. No need for worry.
I haven’t done my customary après-sprint. I’m thinking that maybe I should extend my new philosophy of just talking and hanging with girls to hookups as well.
Show Ally that guys, at least, are capable of change.
I smile as Southern honey Gemma enters the living room in a bathrobe. She gives me a surprised look.
“You still here, hon?”
“I was wondering if you wanted to go out and grab a coffee or something?”
“Can’t,” she replies in a tone that really means “won’t.”
She tosses me my shirt. “But it’s awful sweet of you.”
Gemma waits pointedly for me to get up.
Yeah. I get the hint.
This is messed up.
No big surprise I get grilled by Rachel.
“I should have seen it coming.” She shakes her head as she sits on her bed folding laundry, like she’s mad at herself.
That makes two of us. “And what if you did? It’s my life, Rach. I know you love me and you mean well, but I’m not your baby cousin to watch over anymore.”
Rach is silent for a minute. “You’re right. And I shouldn’t treat you that way.”
“Thank you.” I snag a cute top of hers and hold it up to myself in the mirror, checking myself out. It’s a keeper. “I’m borrowing this.”
Ian arrives and kisses Rachel. “What are you two ladies chatting about?”
“Her sleeping with Sam and how she’s a grown up and it’s not my business,” Rachel replies.
“Good girl. Though I did threaten to punch him,” Ian tells me.
“Sweet, Ian. But not necessary.”
“As your friend, not your older and wiser cousin, may I just remind you for future reference that friends with benefits never works. Someone always gets more involved.”
Ian agrees with her. “That’s why I started dating you before we could become friends.”
“I’m just your ho? Leave the cash on the dresser and no talking?”
“Not just talking,” he says. “No kissing either. Full on hooker sex only.”
He puts his arm around her. She rests her head on his shoulder.
“I can live with that,” she says. “I’ve got enough friends.”
“If you’re finished being nauseating, I thank you for your concern. But Sam and I are fine.”
“And I have a cute boy to meet.” With that, I take off.
The boyfriend has racked up an impressive number of awesome points. So I’ve brought him to the bowling alley to see if the boy’s dexterity extends to the lanes.
All I can say at this point is that Adam certainly applies the same level of concentration to everything. He’s been holding his bowling ball for about three minutes, so laser-focused on those poor pins at the end, I’m amazed they haven’t exploded in a cloud of dust.
Since I’d like my turn sometime this century, I decide to interrupt whatever meditative state he’s in.
“Hey, hon,” I begin.
I get no further because he turns around with a look of patent exasperation.
“I’m trying to concentrate.”
That’s fair but let’s get real here, shall we? It’s a one-off bowling game, not the Middle East peace talks. If I learned anything from my time with Jeremy, it’s that I refuse to be anything other than equal to my boyfriend.
Jeremy did, in hindsight, have a bad tendency to dominate.
“It’s just bowling,” I point out, making sure to keep my voice cheerful. No need to come across as a bitch.
“Just?” Adam’s expression seems practically sorrowful. “Done right, it’s a Zen moment of connection between man and ball ending in the triumph over the pin.”
“And done wrong?” I can’t help but ask.
“Ally.” Said with maximum displeasure before turning back to his contemplation of the lane.
I’m so happy to be dating someone who is smart and into me and who so obviously has so much passion. For everything.
But where is this guy’s sense of humor? I’m inappropriately tempted to bowl a Flintstone ball on my turn and see how that goes down.
I won’t though. Instead, I apologize. “Sorry. I’ll keep quiet.”
He turns around. “Babe, you spoke again.”
I mime zipping my lips and throwing away the key.
He shakes his head. “No. Speak. Otherwise I’ll just feel your tension.”
This is what you get when you date a guy whose single mom is a New Age practitioner. Whatever the hell that means. It seems to involve a lot of flaky language.
Give me “bow chicka wow wow” anytime.
“It’s no big deal,” I tell him. “I just wanted to speed up the game a bit so that I could invite you over to watch the Na’vi save their tree.”
He shrugs in an “I have no idea what you’re talking about” way.
That can’t be right.
? Eco-positive mega hit?” I prompt.
“God,” he groans. “Not sci-fi.”
I can’t be hearing this right. “What’s wrong with sci-fi? You want to be a robotics engineer.”
“Not you, too. I’ve been fighting that prejudice my whole life.”
“You’re eighteen. I hardly think you’ve had to take to the streets over this.”
Adam gets tight-lipped and takes his turn.
Seriously? I talk to Sam like this all the time. Man up, buddy.
After bowling a spare, which apparently is a massive failure that is all my fault, he sits down sulkily on the plastic chair beside me.
I have no desire to have a fight over a stupid movie, even if it is excellent and he should totally get over himself and watch it. “What would you like to watch?”
“Wrestling.” His face lights up. “But first I’ll take you to this great raw foods place.”
“I’m actually more of a cooked foods kind of girl.”
“Yeah. You’d do great with a cleanse,” he informs me.
Lucky lucky me.
The night totally sucked. I tried to muster up enthusiasm for roidheads throwing each other to the floor and cold veggies but all I could think about was one of Matt’s teriyaki bowls.
I’m not going to cave in to my baser instincts, though, and am determined to prove to Adam I can stick with the program.
That doesn’t keep me from stopping by the diner on my way home from school the next day for a healthy cranberry juice. I can just sit and smell all the yumminess without falling off the wagon.
Sam has come with me and he’s chowing down on fries.
Everything feels normal between us. Status quo restored.
“Want to go bowling?”
I suppress an involuntary shudder. “No thanks. I’ve done enough of that for a while.”
I guess I’m leaning over a little too close to smell his French fry goodness. Or maybe he notices how fixated I’m staring at them, because he pushes the plate closer to me.
“Just take one.”
I sigh. “I can’t. I’m doing a cleanse.”
Why indeed. Because I’m trying to impress my new boyfriend? Because I’m trying to show I have willpower? Because I’m trying to be a better human being?
“Adam thought it would be good for me.”
“Told you he wasn’t the one for her,” I hear Matt say to Rosie.
I flip him the finger.
Rosie winks at me then tells Matt, “Don’t gloat. You get a double chin.”
So much for being on my side. I can’t flip her the finger because she’s like my grandma.
I turn my attention back to Sam who is, at the moment, my only friend in this dump.
“How are things with you? Out manwhoring around?”
“You know me,” he replies.
That’s not an actual answer. I’m not sure what to follow up with, however, so there is this awkward silence between us.
I throw a subtle glance at his fries.
He picks one up and holds it out to me. “Eat it, already.”
“No. I’ve committed to this and I need to see it through.”
“Like you did with becoming a player? ‘Help me, Sam. You’re the master, Sam.’” He pops the fry in his mouth.
Seriously? “What didn’t I see through?”
“I tried it. It was fine.”
“Really? Because you sounded like it was more than fine.”
Out of the corner of my eye, I see Matt perk up so I whip up a hand to shut him down. Don’t even go there right now, mister.
“Are you mad because I’m not living my life according to your wisdom or because we’re not sleeping together?”
I refuse to admit which one I want him to pick. Okay. Yes. I want him to want to sleep with me. Ever since I found out he hung with Nikki, I’ve felt like I was demoted in his life. So yes, the petty side of me wants to see Mr. Calm, Cool, and Get-the-Hell out have his feathers ruffled by little ole me.
That’s dominance, baby.
Just one small sign. Then I’ll go back to equality on all fronts.
“This is stupid,” he says, picking up another fry and bringing it right up near my mouth. “If it’s not making you happy, then don’t do it.”
I’m not sure if he’s talking about the fry, Adam, or what.
He pops the fry in my mouth. “Chew.”
I do. I moan in delight.
Sam leans in slightly, probably in horrified fascination of how orgasmic I’m finding this French fry.
I swallow and look at him, hoping for another fry.
“Here it comes,” Rosie says in a low voice but loud enough to catch.
Goody. More fries.
No. Sam’s kiss.
It’s the sweetest kiss I’ve ever had.
I’m melting inside. Nothing has ever been so perfect.
It’s totally different from every other kiss we’ve had. Not throw me down and take me now.
But scarily way more intimate.
And that realization hits us at the same time because we both stop kissing and freeze.
Except our lips still touch. They’re not doing anything other than being pressed against each other.
My eyes scan back and forth rapidly, somewhat panicked.
Sam seems to hang there, doing a perfect impression of a Medusa victim who has been turned to stone.
And yet, there we sit, connected at the mouth but not doing anything except breathing at each other.
This is now the worst, most awkward kiss ever.
Matt makes a noise of disgust, which jars us out of our purgatory smooch.
I move my glass of juice at the same moment Sam fumbles and the red liquid gets sloshed all over the table.
We scramble apart.
“And there it went,” Rosie comments, not even bothering to be subtle about it.
“I gotta get home,” I mutter, grabbing up my stuff.
“Me too,” Sam says, not moving.
I race for the door, head down, brain racing.
That kiss wasn’t supposed to happen with Sam. That kiss was supposed to happen with Adam. Or some other future boyfriend.
Because that kiss, that once in a lifetime perfect kiss, is only supposed to happen with someone you truly, shamelessly, unconditionally love.