Redefining smooth

It takes a while to get used to waking up at someone else’s house. At first, with Drew it had been early, awkward and uncomfortable. I would wait until he went to the bathroom to emerge naked from the bed and look for my clothes. Sometimes I would have to look under the bed or behind his desk for my underclothes. Then he would come back, moan about his back or his joints and lie back down, asking me what I wanted to do. We’d talk about breakfast at an Irish pub around the corner. I would brush my teeth with my finger, attempt to dress down whatever I was wearing the night before, and straighten my makeup the best I could, just hoping I wouldn’t run into anyone I knew.

Today I woke up at ten, wearing Drew’s long white undershirt. My pajamas were in my overnight bag on the floor, so it had been an option. It was cold but I liked the way he smelled and he always liked coming back and reclaiming what was his. I moved his arm that had been resting on my side and got out of bed to take a shower. I thought he might sleep a little longer so I thought I’d beat him to it. I left the door ajar.

When I turned off the water, I heard his voice behind the curtain. “Bloody Marys sound good?” I pulled the curtain open, seeing my pajama pants in his hand; hot, fresh out of the dryer.

I almost began to cry, but grinned the tears back. “They sound amazing.”

We continued our morning routine—he put on some ska and I climbed up on his back and gave him a quick massage. He took a shower while I brushed my teeth (with my toothbrush!) and put makeup on. We watched a Tivo’d Daily Show before we decided to hit the liquor store.

Being a bartender, you always see it coming. The boy had light brown hair, a sprinkling of freckles and terribly striking blue eyes. Eyes that felt like you knew him without really knowing him at all. He looked desperate, needy, embarrassed.

I made eye contact with Drew, sitting in the car, playing with his Zippo. He smiled at me. I was sure he either knew what was going on, or thought the poor kid was hitting on me. 

“Hey maam.” Strike one. “Do ya think you could uh, help me and my friends out?”

I felt the smile slowly fill my face, remembering the old days. Jesus, most of the time I didn’t even want to remember I was ever so young. But it was hard to avoid now. My mind traveled back to scanning supermarket aisles, looking for the perfect provider. The cool one, the one who wouldn’t think ill of you, the one who thought you were cute and remembered what it was like.

I leaned in, stepped closer. He sidestepped and fidgeted. “Where are your friends?” I don’t know if I was genuinely interested or entertained by the fact that I was making him uncomfortable.

“Uhm, they’re over there, across the street.” I spotted three boys, all around 17, wearing khaki cargo shorts and clean, pressed polo shirts. They certainly didn’t seem like drinkers. I thought about walking into the liquor store and buying him a bottle of Strawberry Boones, calling him Shirley. Pinching his freckled cheeks. I thought about buying him a flask sized Jim Beam, telling him to drink it fast, that it would give him balls. I rolled the chocolate mint around in my mouth, lollygagging.

“Please? We really want to, ya know…”

My eyes wandered, scouring the parking lot. This was horrible. I was starting to wonder if I was being set up or filmed. But I remembered that we never took a “no” if they didn’t say it. I looked back at Drew. He was laughing.

“You really want to get drunk, because it’s Thursday afternoon and you and the Los Gatos suburbanites want to sit on park benches and forget about that big test you flunked?”

He stood up straighter and gave me a hard look. “Yeah, some alternate version of that maybe.” He looked like he was going to give up. “Forget it.”

I smiled at him, and back to Drew. It was nice to be able to affect someone. I had taken that for granted. Nothing got to Drew, and Vincent was always complaining. “What’s your poison?”

“Bacardi Limon.” It was a good choice. It was sweet and smooth, but there was definitely some kick to it. And if you weren’t an amateur, you could just drink it straight. I remembered sucking it out of sport bottles in the back of the limo before my senior prom, matching with Johnny, all black and white, even our hair. The strong, sugary taste of lemon that lingered in his mouth, cavernous and wet, welcoming, intruding.

That same smell in his parents’ hot tub, surrounded by a gazebo where he told me he loved me the first time. Waking up that next morning in his bed with his parents and mine knowing, approving, his making us breakfast and giving us ‘virgin Mimosas.’ It wasn’t warm pajamas but it was wonderful.

I thought of the pink girl again, envisioned syrupy coconut rum, yellow juices and paper umbrellas. Drinks that would get you fat before they got you drunk. I gagged to myself.

He gave me a twenty and I did my civic duty. I walked back over to Drew, holding the brown paper like it was contraband. He followed me, giving his friends a thumbs-up. I handed Drew our vodka and sat down, closed the door, rolled down the window.

I handed the bag and to him and then the change. “What’s your name?”

He took it, his left hand straightening his hair, acting cool, like his stock had gone up with me. “John. But my friends call me Johnny.”

It had.


3 Responses to “Redefining smooth”

  1. January 25, 2008 at 11:11 am

    I keep trying to pinpoint what it is that I enjoy so much about your writing. Is it because of the details? The topics? The relatability? The wit? I honestly can’t say.

    But what I think it is is that I am you. You let me in your head, body, and world. It’s none of the above, it’s all of the above. It’s why I check every day for something new. I want to step in your world and leave mine for a few minutes. Not always a pleasant thing, but you do it so well it’s addicting.

  2. 2 Joshua
    January 30, 2008 at 3:31 am

    Wow. This is a great story! It all seems completely true and similar to my train of thought, which is why I like it! I’ll definitely be back to read some more.

  3. 3 Briana
    May 7, 2008 at 8:43 pm

    Who’s the ‘pink girl’? Nevermind,I’d rather guess.

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