“Hey, are you working Sunday?” He sits down on the bed next to me, adjusting the dials on his camera.  “I want you to to come to this wedding. It’s my friend’s sister and I’ll be doing the photography.”

“Yeah, I think I am.”

He looks at me sharply then stands up, setting the camera on his bureau. He unbuttons his pale blue oxford shirt, pausing to spritz his hairy chest from a emerald-green glass bottle of Polo by Ralph Lauren, then returns to the bed.

“I’ll tell Chuck to take you off the schedule. I want you to  see me in action!”

He doesn’t give me time to respond–engulfing my lips with his, hand slowly ascending my arm to finally cup my shoulder, gently urging me to lie back. I don’t resist.

We’ve made out many times before, and I allow him to tentatively cup my breasts, usually late at night, parked in my mom’s driveway–my head spinning from the frozen Pina Coladas he keeps coming all evening. It is the only mixed drink I know I like. His preference for Jack and Coke makes him a sloppy driver on the way home. On one occasion he has me take the wheel, although I don’t know how to drive yet.

Two weeks into our dating and I am beginning to tire of his incessant chatter.  He talks only about himself and tells the same stories over and over, to me and to people we meet at the bars. And the stories are never about him– usually some guy from school or the Army.

My disappointment in his social skills doesn’t keep me from wanting to explore his sexuality– more out of curiosity than anything else. It never enters my mind that we don’t have to do it. The way I see it, we are on a trajectory that cannot be abandoned at this point. Being alone with a man was always something I was taught to be wary of. Now, being of age– I know why. But, I want it, too.

I am hopeful, expectant–even though my feelings for him are best described as lukewarm. Without our usual momentum, be it the car, the dancing, the drinks–some kind of wind to lift our sails, here in the hard light of afternoon, the effort now seems tedious. Perfunctory.

He kisses me firmly, insistently easing my body back against the bed until I am lying flat with him crouched over me, his knee wedged stiffly between my legs, face hovering above mine.

“I know how to make you feel good…” he whispers, sliding my spaghetti strap over my shoulder, peeling the fabric down and away from my skin to expose my left breast, which is my favorite. It looks bigger to me than the right.

We shimmy out of our clothes and kick them to the foot of the bed while  he fumbles under the pillow for something I cannot see. He quickly crawls between my parted legs and a few seconds later I feel a strange sensation–sometime hard and foreign, like plastic scraping against my skin.

I am not sure if he is inside me yet, and then…he starts to buck his hips forward and back, quickly against mine. I glance down and realize he has some type of apparatus attached to the base of his shaft and it slides around loosely with his every movement, like an ill-fitting collar. It’s a peach-colored ring, about three inches across, the diameter of a biscuit cutter,– with spiky little nubs all around it.  And it doesn’t feel good at all. I’m not sure if he is even hard.

Not wanting to embarrass him… I decide to pretend. I want to make this work.  I have never faked pleasure with a boy before.

Seemingly oblivious to his semi-hardness he increases the pace and frequency of his strokes–bumping the headboard against the wall for effect.

I try to match his rhythm, thrusting back to keep him from slipping out, but it is not working. He draws back too far, then stabs recklessly, missing the mark, yet determined to wiggle it right back in, grinding those prickly plastic pleasure bumps against me again and again.

I screw my eyes shut tight and I begin to moan. Gripping his shoulders tightly with my hands, I set up a shudder that I hope is a reasonable demonstration of a building orgasm. I want to facilitate a swift, yet diplomatic end to our coupling.

His eyes are riveted to a spot on the wall somewhere above our heaving bodies and the humid sweaty cologne of his chest pressed against mine.

“Yeah! Feels good, right?”

He looks down at me, finally…the stinging salt of his perspiration dripping into my eye.

“Oh, yes! Yes!” I lie. For the very first time.