Plug in my iPhone.
Select a decent playlist.
And shut off the lights.
I stand back and check out the room.
Before I leave, I take a condom out of my dresser drawer and set it on the table next to the bed.
I'm usually not so obvious about it.
I like to make it seem like it appears out of nowhere.
But there's going to be a lot of pressure as it is, and I don't want to be searching for it when the time comes.
Last minute, I decide to take off my boots and socks.
They're always the worst mood killer.
There's no subtle way of removing them.
When I step out of the room, the shower turns off.
Wasn't expecting that.
I grin, already anticipating the scent of her clean skin.
I still can't believe Kyle and Nicole never had sex.
I'm not complaining.
But I could have sworn… * * * RAE: WHERE ARE YOU? ME: DOWNSTAIRS RAE: AT FRONT DOOR.
COME GET ME.
"Rae's here," I tell Brady and Craig, who are playing some sort of drinking game with darts.
"I'm going upstairs to get her.
I'll be right back."
"Okay," they respond in unison without looking at me.
I cut through the crowd and up the steps.
No one's upstairs, since the party's in the basement and outside.
I have no idea why Rae needs an escort, but whatever.
"Where is she now?" Vi huffs.
"I'm not waiting around here forever." I pause before I turn the corner.
"She's upstairs with Kyle.
God, they've spent the entire summer together.
You'd think they could keep their hands off each other for one party," Heather adds in that tone that drives me crazy.
So much drama out of one person.
"I wouldn't be able to keep my hands off of him either," Ashley says with a seductive lilt in her voice.
"Ashley!" Heather giggles.
I almost bump into them when they come around the corner.
They don't acknowledge me directly, but sigh dramatically, like I'm in their way.
When I reach the front door, Rae isn't there.
Actually, no one's around.
I pull out my phone.
ME: AT FRONT DOOR.
WHERE ARE YOU? RAE: BATHROOM.
WAIT FOR ME.
I take a seat on the stairs leading to the second floor and wait.
I hear a door click open at the top of the stairs and stand, expecting Rae.
"I just don't want to do it here, okay?" Nicole says.
"We're at a party, and that's not exactly what I had in mind."
"Do you ever have me in mind?" Kyle demands.
"Hey, you're getting exactly what you want out of this," Nicole snaps back.
Listen, I'm sorry," Kyle says, "but I've wanted you for so long, and you're about to go to college-" The door clicks shut again, thankfully.
The last thing I need to hear is Kyle telling Nicole how much she means to him.
"Ready?" Rae asks, appearing in front of me.
"Let's go," I reply, following her downstairs.
* * * Looking back, I guess I didn't hear that conversation right at all.
The bathroom door opens and Nyelle steps out, pulling her dry hair out of an elastic and letting it fall over her shoulders.
She put her clothes back on, which makes me happy.
I'd rather be the one to take them off.
"I'm ready," she declares, like she's about to run out onto the basketball court.
We're going to take this-" She jumps up on me, wrapping her legs around my waist.
I stumble back a step and tuck my arms under her butt to hold her up.
A sexy smile appears on her face.
She leans in until her lips brush against mine, teasing.
Just the feel of her breath against my skin ignites me.
Her mouth moves with mine, slowly.
Nyelle kisses along my jaw and down my neck as I carry her into the bedroom.
I set her on her feet, cupping her face to kiss her again, unable to get enough of her.
Her hands slide under my shirt, and I help her pull it over my head.
I shiver when her fingers dance along my skin, and her mouth finds my chest.
I ease her shirt off, and she reaches for the buttons of my jeans.
I'm undoing her zipper as I attempt to kick my jeans off, which is taking way too much effort.
We're both standing here in our underwear, staring at each other.
I search her eyes again for any sign of hesitation.
I really could spend the night looking into these eyes.
She stands up on her tiptoes and whispers, "I want this.
I promise." That's all I need, and I'm sliding my hands along her waist and kissing her with more passion and want than I've ever felt in my entire life.
I swear I'm on fire.
Every inch of me.
Nyelle slowly lowers onto her back, and I'm right there, over her, kissing her, touching her.
Her breath is heavy as I trail my hands down her skin, taking my time-getting to know all of her.
I accept that there's not much I can do about the sex itself being uncomfortable for her, but I can make what happens before it worth remembering.
And from the sounds escaping her, I believe I do… I hold myself above her, taking in the girl below me.
My heart hurts she's so beautiful.
And she trusts me… * * * Nyelle is lying quietly against my chest, and I'm tense, waiting for some kind of reaction.
I had a hard time deciphering her quick breaths and closed eyes while it was happening
I had no idea what was going on in her head.
"Uh…" I finally say.
"How are you?" There's a pause.
I remain still, practically holding my breath.
"Is that… good or bad?" I ask quickly.
She laughs lightly, drawing circles on my chest.
"Just, different." Nyelle lifts her head and grins at me.
Then she leans in and kisses the tip of my nose.
I still haven't moved, fearing I just became another horrible first-time statistic.
"Cal, it was our first time," she says-not helping.
"I don't have anything to compare it to."
"Oh," I reply, trying to relax.
"So we'll have to do it again," she says lightly, pressing her lips to my shoulder.
I grab her waist to flip her onto her back.
"Not today," she states adamantly.
"I couldn't do it again today.
But we will… again."
Whenever… whenever you're ready," I reply, faltering over my words in relief.
I pull her to me and kiss the top of her head.
"I'm going to go to the bathroom.
"Okay," Nyelle says.
I lean down and kiss her again before reaching for my boxer briefs.
When I return, Nyelle's wearing one of my T-shirts, which hangs to her thighs.
She's pulling a fitted sheet over the last corner of the bed.
I throw on a pair of shorts from my dresser before helping her tuck in the sheet and tossing the comforter and pillows on top.
She steps up on the bed and walks across it to where I'm standing, bends down with her hands on my shoulders, and gives me a quick kiss.
I slide my hands along her bare thighs, and before I can stop myself, she's toppled over onto her back, and I'm following up her small kiss with a much deeper one of my own.
"Cal," she breathes.
I moan in response.
"We can't." I collapse on the bed next to her.
"Oh!" She jumps up, abandoning me.
"You're going to love this." I follow her into the living room.
She's crouched in front of her bag, digging around.
I sit on the couch and wait, turning on the TV.
I hear plastic rustling and a bag of chips opening.
I'm a little nervous because I know what's coming.
"Close your eyes," she demands.
"Nyelle, is this one of your chip experiments?"
"This one's going to be good," she promises.
"But close your eyes so you get the entire experience.
No prejudging." I close my eyes.
Then I feel her sit on my lap.
So far, I'm liking this experience.
"Open up," she instructs.
Then there's a marshmallow in my mouth.
And… "That's disgusting," I complain after swallowing it down.
"Was that a Cool Ranch Dorito in the middle?"
"I think it's so good," she says, biting down on one.
"You're the strangest girl I've ever met."
"Gud," she says, kissing me on the cheek with her mouth full of marshmallow.
* * * I open my eyes the next morning and look right into Nyelle's bright blue ones.
We're both curled up on our sides, facing each other.
Her hands are tucked under her pillow.
"Hi," I say, trying not to breathe too heavily.
She smiles lightly.
"You okay?" I ask when she continues to just lie there, staring at me.
"Been awake long?" Nyelle makes a twisted face.
"Did you sleep at all?" She reluctantly shakes her head, her eyes darting around.
"Are you sure you're okay?" She presents a small smile and nods.
But there's a strange tension in her smile.
"You're not going to talk to me until you brush your teeth, are you?" She smiles wider, her lips still pressed together, and shakes her head.
Well, I'm going to take a shower now, if that's all right, and then the bathroom's all yours." She nods, but she still doesn't move-even when I get out of the bed.
She remains on her side, staring straight ahead.
I glance back at her from the doorway.
Something doesn't feel right.
When I get out of the shower, I return to my bedroom.
I'm about to open the door, but I stop with my hand gripping the handle.
I swear I hear… She's talking to herself.
I risk opening it a crack to find Nyelle pacing the floor next to my desk, her hands stretching and clenching by her sides, her head down.
She's going off on one of her incoherent rants.
I can't make out everything she's saying, but she's definitely worked up.
"What do I do now?" she mutters.
I think I hear her say, "This wasn't supposed to happen." I can only assume it's about me and what we did last night.
And now I feel like shit.
I'm about to close the door when she throws herself on the bed and screams into a pillow.
I can't move.
A chill rushes through my body.
* * * "I'm going to go find the bathroom," I tell Rae and the guys, standing up from the chair I've claimed for the duration of the party.
I'm not sure why we even go to these things.
We just sit in the corner and keep to ourselves.
Well… Rae and I do.
Brady and Craig wander off every so often, using us as home base when they strike out with whichever girls they've hit on.