Lying in Brett’s King-sized waterbed, I wondered if this was going to be one of those life moments you always remember because you want to hold onto it forever or because as much as you try you can never forget it. Until the moment is over, you can’t be sure.
“You’ve got the hottest tits, babe.” Brett moved his hand in squeezy circles over the tiny gymnast’s head on my purple 1986 State Championship T-shirt. I arched back, like the Julia Roberts body double in the sex-on-the-piano scene with Richard Gere in Pretty Woman.
Brett was making slurpy sounds against my neck. His warm mouth felt okay, but I worried his sucking would leave marks that my mom would see. Under the covers, I felt his knee bend up and his toe wiggle at my waist, pushing my underwear down. His fingers worked at the back clasp of my matching pink bra.
After a minute of fumbling, he said, “You should get one a those front kind.” As if it was my fault he couldn’t work a hook and eye. I wondered on whose front-clasping bra he had honed his unfastening expertise.
Brett grew impatient and shoved one barely B-sized cup up to my shoulder. He stared at the lonely, exposed nipple hardening in the air.
When I peeked down, my chest seemed flatter—especially with me lying on my back. This wasn’t how I imagined it with Richard Gere. My still-fastened bra was cutting into my ribs, so I reached behind quickly and, with a twist, released the stretched elastic.
“Yeah,” he said, “Much better.”
Part of me wanted to yank my shirt back down, but Brett’s slack jaw and his trance-like eyes so focused on me caused another part to want to keep the moment going. Blood rushed around inside me faster than my mom’s cart at a half-off sale.
What I was feeling wasn’t exactly desire, but something equally strong. A kind of power. Brett had nothing else on his mind except me. I slowly pulled my shirt over my head. I had transformed in that moment into a thing of beauty and reverence.
“Brett.” I tried to make his name sound like a moan, sexy.
When he bit down on my nipple and I nearly pee myself. I didn’t want to admit he was hurting me, or that I was about to wet his water bed. Maybe I could claim it was a leak. I lifted my head off the pillow and gently pressed my palm against his forehead to unsuck his mouth. His lips were shiny and his large black pupils were glassy like salmon eyes.
“I know you like it when I do this,” he said.
I had revealed that once, after he begged me to describe what turned me on. I said I liked the idea of a man’s mouth on my breast.
But this wasn’t like my idea. “Yeah, I like it…” I glanced at his closed door—the hollow kind, painted black, with a taped-on poster of a bikini girl riding a grizzly bear. “Won’t your parents be home soon?”
The door may as well have been a sheet hanging between us and the rest of the house. I heard every creak and rustle, and in my mind Brett’s mom would be throwing open that black door and seeing me naked in her son’s bed any second. I imagined her disgusted face. Would she call my parents?
“First off, the stepfucker is never home,” he said. “Second, Mom knows that if I’m gonna live here, my room’s off limits.” He rolled one leg over me. His thigh was thick and heavy. “Anyway, who cares about them? We can do whatever we want.”
I was nearly eighteen. An adult. In another century, I’d have already pushed out like three babies. But this wasn’t the olden days. This was me in nineteen-ninety. This was The Super Big Bad Thing. What if I got pregnant or contracted HIV or worse? What if I was damned to hell for all eternity? All seem equally probable and improbable.
“C’mon Merideth. We’ve waited. I love you…”
This was the first time he’d said it, and despite a tiny alarm going off in my head, hearing him say “I love you” in his throaty boy voice made me feel warm and gushy. This was Valentine’s Day, after all. This was the day human beings everywhere declared their love for each other and made gallant, memorable gestures.
Brett reached down and found my hand. I thought he was going to lace his fingers in mine. Hold onto me like he had at the movies.
Instead he pulled my palm over onto the bulge in his boxers. I touched him quickly and retreated, my fingertips sliding lightly over the flannel and functionless button above his open fly.
“Don’t be a tease, Meri.” He grabbed my hand again and rubbed himself roughly with it until his body started shaking. “God, I want to be inside you.”
I rolled away. “Wait.”
He pulled up the covers and scooted closer. His fingers had grown cold and clammy. They crawled blindly up my inner thigh. I resisted the impulse to clamp my legs together. I knew where he was going. He’d done it before when we were making out in his Bronco. He had said he was getting me ready, so it wouldn’t hurt when we finally did. But I didn’t want his cold fingers jammed inside me.
The house creaked a loud warning, and I bolted upright, pushing his leg off me. I listened for his mother’s footfalls, my hear racing. as I waited for the click of his opening door.
“Chill already.” Brett leaned toward his nightstand. My folded Guess jeans fell from the bed to the floor. He hit the top of his clock radio and a scratchy version of Def Leppard’s “Pour Some Sugar on Me” shrieked out.
“Better?” On his side he propped himself up on one elbow, half-singing along.
My teeth ground together. Sometimes you just want to be done. You get sick of holding on so tight. Sick of not knowing a thing. Sick of worrying and protecting and dodging and resisting.
He held my shoulder and gave a little shake. “Loosen up.”
“I am loose.” I hated all that it implied, but I had already built too much momentum. It was like in gymnastics when you first throw a trick. You commit a hundred percent. You can’t back out. You get through that first time and afterwards, you fix your mistakes.
Brett moved on top of me as I lay on my back making self-conscious breathing noises. Tiny white stalactites covered his ceiling, twinkling like constellations. In the center a circular light fixture stared down, a milky full moon. Even with the light off, I could see its dark, body silhouetted on the other side of the glass. A dead fly.
Brett touched me between my legs. “Relax, babe.”
I focused on that fly.
Air bubbles gurgled in Brett’s waterbed beneath us. His sheets reeked of Calvin Klein’s Obsession for Men mixed with his own body smells. I leaned my head back and breathed through my mouth.
This is no big deal. Animals do it every day.
I closed my eyes and pretended we were in the fancy hotel room from the Pretty Woman scene where Julia Roberts finally breaks her no-kissing rule with Richard Gere. Right before she tells him she loves him.
Brett re-balanced his hands on either side of my head. He kept shifting his weight because whenever we moved, the waterbed sloshed and tipped us like we were in a raft about to capsize. He bent himself forward, anchoring his damp forehead against my shoulder.
At first he just slid his parts along my parts, which felt surprisingly good, but his knees soon coaxed my thighs wider and the heat became pressure. Not horrible like when you straddle the balance beam, but definitely no Julia Roberts pleasurefest.
Oh shit! What if this messes up my internal organs?
I honestly didn’t know if what I was feeling was him inside me or just him trying to get there. His body began gyrating slow and then fast, keeping time with MC Hammer’s “You Can’t Touch This” playing on the clock radio.
Brett didn’t put on a condom, and just as I was beginning to freak out and stop him, he groaned and collapsed on top of me.
“I love you, I love you.” He said it like thank you.
My belly was warm and sticky between us. The whole Super Big Bad Thing couldn’t have lasted more than a few forgettable, unforgettable moments.
Brett reached down and grabbed his boxer shorts off the floor, rolled back, and wiped himself. He grinned and pointed to a spot above his belly button. “You’ve got something right here.” He chucked the wadded flannel at me.
I mopped off my stomach and when I throw his boxers back, he ally-ooped them into a laundry basket filled with dirty clothes.
I reached for my Championship tee, wedged between the bed frame and the rubber waterbag. The shirt was warm, as if I had never taken it off.
“You want a little Brett cuddle?” He patted the pillow next to him. Tiny flecks innumerable as stars dotted the dark expanse of his pillowcase.
My mom said we shed thousands of skin cells every minute. House dust is mostly old skin cells. If I thought about it that way, Brett was already in me a long time ago. We probably inhale and swallow and get bits of each other in our eyes and mouths every day.
He waited for me to snuggle up next to him, his eyes drifting closed, head on his pillow. Without a hat and with his hair stringy from sweat, Brett’s scalp surfaced like the white belly of a beluga. I followed the line of his jaw as it rounded and thickened near his neck. I thought about what I would do differently next time. I watched his chest rise and fall.
Meagan Macvie grew up in Alaska writing poems about injustice and hot boys. Her work has appeared in Narrative, Fugue and The Anchorage Press, as well as the regional anthology, Timberland Writes Together. Find her on Twitter @alaska_chick or at hotpinkunderwear.com.