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Christian is sweet and simple, and everything Doug is not. He speaks to me, not through me–and in a soft southern drawl. We are undeniably attracted to one another and my desire to see him again is overwhelming. Because we attend different high schools our paths will most likely never cross again, even though we only live a few blocks from each other.

Doug finally finishes up and joins me and Christian where we have wandered away from the party, finding our own little grotto in the dim light of his front porch. Doug is holding a beer in his left hand, his right arm now draped across my shoulders in a proprietary fashion. I suddenly feel sheepish, like I’ve been caught doing something I shouldn’t. He begins to launch into another one of his stories as I excuse myself to go to the powder room.

On impulse, I slip into the kitchen, scanning the surfaces, finding a small notepad and pen sitting on the countertop beside the wall phone, as they did in those days. I scrawl my phone number and tuck it away in my palm.

“Bye.” I murmur over my shoulder as we pass through the doorway to leave. I jostle Christian’s forearm with mine, drawing his attention to my hand. Our fingers lock for a split second. I don’t look back–being led by my other hand by my boyfriend, Doug.

“What was that all about?” He eyes me suspiciously.

“Nothing. Just saying goodbye.”

I avert my gaze and rustle through my purse for my lipgloss.

“Yeah, he’s harmless. He doesn’t even have a car, that kid.”

In the days after the wedding, I start ignoring the phone, letting my little sisters pick up when it rings. I stay away from home more, hanging out with my best friend, Terri and working as much as I can, just to avoid seeing Doug.

“Tell him I’m not here!” I  whisper, the times his calls caught me at home.

“But, let me know right away if Christian calls!”

I am sick of Doug. Sick of his self-aggrandizing and his boring, repetitive  stories, sick of his bad sex with the same Clapton album soundtrack every time and his stupid french ticklers and cock rings that only make things worse. Sick of how I can’t seem to crack the surface and find out who he really is. I just don’t know how to tell him we are through.

All I think about all week is that night with Christian.

I am elated when he finally calls. We go for long walks through the neighborhood after dark, the humid jasmine perfume hanging in the air. We talk. We laugh. We are becoming friends. But, after tasting adult pleasures–it’s not enough for me just to talk and hold hands, stopping now and then to kiss on a park bench, or tucked behind a dark hedgerow under a streetlamp.

He’s so nice to me, so gentlemanly. He never tries to go any further but I know there’s a lot further we can go–and I want to take him there.

To be continued…

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