The story continues. Start here if you missed Part I.
While my dear, predictable gossip of a best friend Katie was busy spilling the beans about my alleged deflowering to anyone who cared to listen, I just so happened to reconnect with an acquaintance from the boys’ school up the road. These days I have many nicknames for him, but for the time being we’ll just call him The Spaniard. He was good-looking, available, and most importantly, interested.
But because my younger self had a knack for making life as complicated as possible – a tendency I have since, thankfully, beaten out of my nature almost entirely – it also just so happened that The Spaniard and Katie had been out on a date once.
Let me state for the record that it was never part of my master plan to catch the eye of someone who had a history with my best friend, who I was already shamelessly using to spread my own rumor about myself. I’m a terrible person, but not that terrible. But there he was, and there I was, and…would it really be the worst thing?
After all, there had only ever been the one date for him and Katie; neither party had suggested a second, and Katie had never expressed a shred of regret over that.
Then again, this was high school. Drama could and would erupt out of anything. So I figured I’d better talk it over with Katie before The Spaniard and I progressed beyond flirtation, just to make sure he was fair game and there would be no hard feelings.
Katie rolled her eyes and waved my concerns away. “Oh yeah, he’s all yours. He’s nice and all, but he just wasn’t my type. You should totally go for it!”
“Are you sure?”
“Heck yeah. Go nuts.”
So that was that, and The Spaniard and I quickly became an official item with Katie’s blessing. Although I couldn’t shake the feeling that despite her encouragement, Katie was still feeling just a smidge jealous that we had hit it off so well.
Perhaps it was because the next person she chose to share my “secret” with was The Spaniard’s older brother.
“So.” The Spaniard began tentatively during one of our late night phone chats, several weeks into the relationship. “I, uh, well, my brother told me he’d heard something. About you.”
“Well, uh, someone told him that you’ve…slept with someone before?”
How about that. The system works. “…I see. Who did he hear that from?”
There was a pause. “Does it matter?”
“Um, yeah, kind of. If someone’s been telling people stuff like that about me then I think I deserve to know who.”
“Yeah, I guess you do. Okay. It was Katie.”
Well fuck me sideways. I don’t know why, but this was the last thing I was expecting. I guess I thought it was going to be one of those grapevine things where Jesse heard it from Matt who heard it from Susan whose sister’s boyfriend’s cousin’s dog heard it from Carly two weeks before.
Heck, I didn’t even know Katie knew The Spaniard’s brother.
“Don’t be mad at her,” he continued quickly. “I think she was just trying to look out for me. But are you saying…I mean, is it not true?” He sounded unexpectedly worried.
I sighed. “I didn’t say that. I’m just pissed that she took it upon herself to say something before I had a chance to bring it up.” And I was pissed. I had no illusions about the fact that I was exploiting Katie’s chatterbox tendencies for my own benefit and had zero right to play the victim, but benign gossip was one thing; this was clearly a targeted hit and therefore still uncool. I made a mental note to confront her about it later.
“Ah. Well, I’m glad I know, either way. The truth is I’m actually relieved. I don’t know if you knew this already, but I’ve been with someone before too.”
“I didn’t know that, actually. Not all of us have friends who can’t keep their mouths shut,” I laughed.
“Yeah. Girl I met at a concert. She was, uh…” – I could hear the smile creeping into his voice – “…enthusiastic about music.”
I chuckled, and then there was a moment of silence, heavy with anticipation.
“So,” he said.
“So,” I said.
“So I guess we’re just two people that sex isn’t such a big deal to anymore.”
“I guess we are.”
“I’m going to be honest, I would really like to sleep with you.”
“I appreciate your honesty. I would really like that as well.”
“What are you doing this Saturday?”
“Nothing of importance.”
“How does a sunset picnic in the woods sound?”
“It sounds perfect.”
“Then I guess it’s a date.”
“See you Saturday.”
Oh. My. God. This is happening.
To be continued…right here.