I let myself into my tiny studio and grab a granola bar from the cupboard. As I munch on it, I text Sasha with my free hand.
ME: I don’t need to dress up for dinner or anything, right??
I’ve never actually gone out with Lisa and those girls, so I have no idea what to expect. But we’re only meeting at the diner, so, really, how fancy can it be?
SASHA: Dress up?? I’m not. Jeans + tank + leather jacket + boots = me.
ME: Ok, good. I’m keeping it cas too.
HER: You bringing C? :P
ME: Why would I be bringing C??
HER: Lisa said bf’s were welcome…
Sasha knows damn well that Conor isn’t really my boyfriend, but she’s getting a kick out of teasing me about it. Or maybe she thinks if she refers to him as my boyfriend enough times, then it’ll magically transform from pretend to real. Poor, naïve Sasha. I have no doubt Conor will get bored soon, which means the charade can’t last much longer. A shame, really, because our supposed love affair continues to piss the hell out of Abigail.
Last night at a mandatory house dinner, Abigail’s boyfriend wouldn’t let up on all the “jock cock” I was gobbling while blatantly staring at my tits. During dessert he remarked that I looked like Marilyn Monroe only “extra curvy,” at which point Sasha asked him what it’s like living life with a micropenis. Abigail, meanwhile, kept scratching at the side of her neck every time Conor’s name came up, until her skin was red and raw and flaking off her. Is it possible to contract jealousy hives?
Of course, such pettiness would be entirely beneath me.
ME: You don’t think Lisa invited Abigail, do you?
SASHA: God I hope not. I don’t have the patience for 2 dinners in a row with that witch. If she’s there, we turn around and walk right out, deal?
Luckily, when Sasha and I walk into the diner later that night, Abigail and her douchebag boyfriend Kevin are nowhere to be seen. Lisa brought her boyfriend Cory, though, and Robin’s sitting with some guy who introduces himself as “Shep.” Olivia came solo, and I end up seated next to her, with Sasha on my other side.
I get barely a bite into my BLT before the girls start in on me.
“Okay, but, like, how is he in the sack?” Lisa asks, thoroughly ignoring her boyfriend’s uneasy squirm. Clearly he’d rather be anywhere else than smack in the middle of Conor Edwards’ exploits.
You and me both, brother.
“How big is he?” Olivia demands.
“Is he circumcised?”
“Grower or shower?”
“Could we not?” Sasha says, dangling a chicken finger in the air. “I don’t want to hear about dicks while I’m eating.”
“Thank you,” mumbles Cory.
“Fine, but is he a good kisser?” Olivia has her phone out, openly salivating at Conor’s Instagram. The boyfriends have at this point been reduced to chewing their burgers in emasculated silence. “He looks like he’d be a good kisser. Not too much mouth.”
“What does too much mouth even mean?” I ask with a laugh.
“You know, when they’re like trying to swallow your lips. I don’t want to feel any part of the kiss on my chin.” Olivia plants her elbows on the table, a fork in one fist. “Spill it, Taylor. I want filthy details.”
“His kissing is…” A mystery. Unascertained. None of my business. “Apt.”
“Apt, she says.” Sasha shakes her head, smirking. “Only you would call kissing ‘apt.’”
“I don’t know, it’s kissing.” I shrug awkwardly.
How much is there to say on the topic? Nothing, in fact, when I’m working on entirely fabricated experience. Not that the idea doesn’t hold some appeal. Conor is incredibly attractive, and he has really, really nice lips. Full, in a masculine way. He seems like the kind of guy who treats kissing as its own pursuit rather than a means to an end.
To be fair, I haven’t kissed many people—only four, to be exact, and three of those four were terrible experiences. Junior year of high school was my first kiss, and we both sucked at it. Waaaay too much tongue. We made out a few times after that but it didn’t get any better.
Then came freshman year of college, when I was pressured into kissing Rebecca during pledge week, and sophomore year, when I accidentally kissed Abigail’s boyfriend on a dare.
My fourth go at kissing wasn’t awful. Not earth-shattering, either, but at least it didn’t include buckets of saliva or forced contact. I dated a guy named Andrew for four months and he was a decent kisser. We never went further than dry humping, though, which is probably why we broke up. He claimed it was because I couldn’t “open up” to him, and I suppose that played a part in it too, but we both knew the no-sex part wasn’t cutting it for him. I just… I didn’t feel comfortable doing it with him.
Sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever meet a guy who makes me feel secure enough to take all my clothes off in front of him.
“Oh my God.” Olivia all but dives under the table. Beside her, Lisa chokes on her soda and begins hacking up a lung.
I turn around to see what’s got them in such a fit.
Conor Fucking Edwards.
Why am I not surprised? I feel like he’s got Spidey senses that alert him whenever chicks are discussing his penis.
All six feet and two inches of him comes striding through the diner toward our table. He’s in his black-and-silver Briar Hockey jacket and a pair of dark-blue jeans that hug his long legs. Steely gray eyes sparkle with mischief as he combs one hand through his long blond hair. When his gaze lands on me, the excitement in his full, broad smile does a number on my head. And my pulse.
Oh Lord. Men shouldn’t get to be so pretty.
“Babe, I missed you.” Conor snatches me up from my chair and wraps me in his arms.
He smells so good. I don’t know what kind of products he uses, but he always smells vaguely of the ocean. And coconut. I love coconut.
“What are you doing here?” I whisper.
“Having dinner with my girlfriend,” he says with a sly smirk that suggests he’s up to no good. “She tries to keep me locked up in her bedroom all day,” Conor tells the table, “but I thought it’d be fun to meet her friends.”
For one terrifying moment I think he’s leaning in to kiss me and I lick my lips and inhale slowly, my entire body braced and rigid.
Instead, he presses the lightest touch of his lips to the tip of my nose. In the aftermath, I don’t know whether I’m disappointed or relieved.
“So this happened fast.” Olivia makes room for Conor to pull up a chair and sit between me and her. I don’t miss the way her hungry gaze follows his every movement.
“Did you two know each other before the party?” Lisa asks. Her eyes aren’t as ravenous—probably as to not humiliate her boyfriend any further—but she’s as focused on Conor as Olivia is.
“No, we didn’t,” I answer for him. “We met for the first time that night.”
“She blew my mind.” Conor puts his arm around my shoulders, drawing tiny patterns with his fingertips. “Time is relative.”