red snapper on ice

Brooke regarded her lunch-time love affair (if that’s what it was) as the ultimate thrill. She loved the sex, not the pass/fail guy, who no longer attended the Greek class. At first, he spouted opinions so odious she recoiled. For example, he hated “females in heat.” Brooke should have demanded he stop the car, gotten out, and walked away without looking back. And, she hated herself for not doing that.

Truth was, she actually cared what the Neanderthal thought about her. To have him or anyone else think she was a creature in heat filled her with scalding shame. Of course, she’d heard his misogynistic shit before. She just hadn’t imagined it would apply to her.

But it did. Brooke craved sex. She worried about keeping her desire hidden and wished she knew more about the telltale signs. Tara no doubt knew them all. But then Tara would never succumb to some asshole’s superficial allure.

Brooke wasn’t so lucky. The guy glanced at her and away, ducked his head to hide a smile and rattled his car keys. And Brooke’s much praised mind and natural refinement vanished.

The passion inside her demanded abandon. And when the pass/fail guy (whose name shall never be mentioned) held her and kissed her, she was too spellbound to care if a conceited pig was involved. With new found marvelousness, she took off her clothes, lay down, sat up, knelt before and behind him, stood up, folded in two–anything he asked. Because bright light flashed inside her. And then she fell like a raindrop glistening on the tip of a flower petal.

Even afterward, the delectable sensations reverberated within a tingling atmosphere that lasted half an hour or so.

As for the guy, he told Brooke she was amazing. They were so in sync he couldn’t believe it. Because she got off even faster than he did. Ordinarily, he had to apologize for coming too soon, but she was always right there, with him.

By now, she realized his mockery of desperate-for-it girls was intended to warn her against hanging around his friends. He especially didn’t want his girlfriend, Abigail, to figure out what they were doing. But he liked it that Brooke laughed and cried afterwards. The lunch time rendezvous took just enough time for them to return to school as if they didn’t know the other’s name.

Still, Brooke’s humiliation before and after never dwindled, although she did rationalize it. Foregoing sex with him would be a punishment. And she endured enough punishment. So if having sex with a guy she didn’t respect and who didn’t respect her disgraced and compromised her, she’d make up for it later. Besides, it was practice. (For what, with whom? She didn’t need to examine her motives yet.)

After a while, however, she stopped suppressing herself. When he raved about how special she was, and how in touch they were, she said. “You told me not to talk about you, so don’t talk about me.”

“Not even when we’re alone. I mean, like this?”

“Noise is okay, but no words.”

“That’s the opposite of most girls.”

Over Christmas vacation, without telling anyone, she went to New Paltz and found a doctor to insert an I.U.D. In case the condom broke. During a three-day weekend in February, the guy’s girlfriend went to Florida with her family. So he invited Brooke to his house to watch Palimony. She claimed she’d seen it, because that was the movie Jasper had invited her to watch. It didn’t matter that he’d ditched her. Anyway, the guy suggested Pipeline, Jasper’s heist movie.

On Saturday, he drove his father’s Mustang to Woodstock. Brooke waited for him at the library and hoped nobody noticed her climbing into the red sports car. He showed her his family’s big beautiful home in Boiceville and assumed she was impressed. (She really wished Fletcher was there to point out every vulgarity.) The guy’s parents were in the city. He and Brooke sat on a white leather couch across from a gigantic screen. Music up and Jasper strolls through an airport. And the guy said, “Why a jag-off like Jasper King gets to star in the best movies is a mystery.”

“You think you’d do better?”

“People tell him what to do. It’s not like he knows.”

Brooke asked to go home.

“After the movie, not now.”

“Yes now.” She found her coat and walked, which took two and a half hours.

When school resumed, she and the guy no longer pretended to ignore each other. They silently projected a distinct dislike, if anything.

One evening, Tara said she stood near him after an assembly. “He turned around, saw me, and announced to like everyone: ‘Brooke Logan is a cold fish.’

I tapped his shoulder and said my sister might be a lot of things, but not–totally not–a cold fish.”

Brooke stared at Tara, oblivious to the tears sliding down her face. “Why tell me that?”

“I was sticking up for you.”

“Really? Now the creep and I are local news.”

“Oh.” Tara apologized and asked, “What happened?”

But Brooke rushed outside and jumped on the bicycle she’d gotten for Christmas.

Tara stood on the top step, yelling, “Why are you upset? You never care what people say!”

kathleen maher, more here

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