“Brian,” Kate says, quietly.
I turn, hoping that she’s about to give me a pass on the damn shorts I swiped from her dad’s dresser drawer while she was in the shower. Kate drops her towel and offers a naughty smile. She crosses to her desk and switches on the radio. “These Dreams,” by Heart, sets a romantic mood. Kate lies down on her bed and inches back until her head is on a pillow.
“Come here,” she coos.
I’ll tell you, even though I’ve seen her naked more times than I can count, Kate’s body still takes my breath away. It’s flawless. Every line on her body seems to flow, like a painting by Degas or Renoir.
I know every inch of her. The scar on her shin and the firm muscles of her thighs. The light trail of hair that extends down from her belly button. The red bumps she gets on her sternum when she gets chilly. The birth mark between her collarbone and her neck and the mole behind her right ear. Staring at her ankles and her shapely calves, I relive our entire sexual history in a matter of seconds. I imagine the times she wrapped her legs around my legs, around my back, and around my head. As my eyes work their way up her chest, I recall the first time I took her shirt off, unclasping the front of her bra, and what her nipples tasted like. I get to her full lips and should have the urge to kiss her.
But I don’t.
I’ve never felt so intimidated by her presence until now.
I don’t know what to do. Well, no, obviously I know what to do, or what I’m supposed to do, what Kate wants me to do, what I should want (and be able) to do as your typical teenage boy. But at this very minute, it isn’t getting excited, if you know what I mean. Even if I wanted to do what Kate wants me to do, it won’t let me do it.
But I can’t let her know that. I mean, studies show that I should be able to do it at the drop of a hat… or a towel.
I start for to the bed, still dressed only in my boxer shorts, the ones with a hole in the left leg. My foot gets tangled in my B.T.O. T-shirt and cut-off khakis, which I dropped in the middle of Kate’s room. I do a little dance, recovering my balance, hoping that maybe she’ll think I’m being seductive. In reality, I’m begging for it to move, to do something.
I lie down beside her and start kissing her soft lips. I’m praying that this will perk things up. Nothing perks. I try touching her breasts, hoping that this will bring the perks. It doesn’t. What the hell is going on?! Now I’m starting to think too much about it, and I start to worry about what Kate will think if nothing perks and I can’t do it. What does that say about me? What will she say? I break into a cold sweat. My kissing starts to get a little lifeless, and I can feel a different vibe coming from Kate. I know she knows that I know that there’s no perk and that this may not happen, and I decide to peek open an eye and…
She’s staring at me. “Is something wrong, Brian?”
“Of course not.”
I kiss her even harder and pull her to me. Her breasts press against my chest, and I place my hand on her bare bottom. I massage her butt with one hand and run the other hand over her back very lightly. Kate places a hand on the side of my face. Nothing. And Kate is, like, just pressed against me, and if I don’t do something fast, this is going to end in disaster. That’s when I think about the one person I shouldn’t be thinking about when I’m making out with my naked girlfriend who wants to do it.
Maybe if I fantasize about Allison, it will get me through this awkward situation. I close my eyes, tightly, trying to conjure the image of Allison’s lips kissing mine, of Allison’s naked body being pressed against mine. And… and…
And is this what it’s come to? I have to fantasize about another girl when I’m with my own girlfriend? This isn’t right. What am I doing?
And it’s not even working. This is, like, some kind of betrayal to Kate, isn’t it? And doesn’t it cheapen whatever it is I feel for Allison (not that I feel anything for her, because we’re just friends) if I’m thinking about her when I’m with another girl? But this isn’t just some other girl. This is your girlfriend, dumb ass! Your. Girl. Friend.
Stop SAYING that!
I have a gorgeous, naked girl right beside me, just waiting and… and… and I can’t. Or maybe I don’t want to.
Maybe that’s it. I don’t know. I have to stop now or I’m going to throw up.
Kate moves away from me.
“Brian, I need you to brush your teeth. You taste terrible.”
My out, she’s given me my out. I can pout and start a fight about her nitpicking and how it was really only one swig of Jack. I could place this all on her.
“Oh, sorry, sure,” I say, practically leaping off of the bed. In doing so, I smash my pinkie toe into the heel of one of her clod hopping riding boots and let out a loud scream. As I hop around holding my foot, Kate sits up, concerned.
“Boot. Toe. Smashed on fucking boot!”
I glare at her.
She rolls her eyes, and then says, “I guess this isn’t going to happen.” Kate gets off of her bed, opens a dresser drawer and finds some underwear. She quickly pulls them on. Then she gets one her bras and is putting it on as she exits the room.
Plopping down on the bed, I rub my toe, the pain subsiding. Looking around the room, I suddenly realize for the first time that there are more pictures of Kenny in here than there are of me.
I can’t handle being in the room another second, not with all of these pictures of the horse staring at me, his eyes… laughing at me, judging my manhood. I grab my shorts and scramble out of the room.
Today’s artwork is by Brian Mahoney. Bryan is a Los Angeles-based writer and marketer. Each week you can find his writing in the Burb’s Eye View column of the Burbank Leader / Los Angeles Times at www.burbankleader.com/opinion/columnists/bryan-mahoney/.
Heart’s song, “These Dreams” is found on their 1985 album, Heart.
Read Chapter 13 of Legendary