“I’m doing it.”
“Don’t be so bloody stupid, Lacy!”
Pacing up and down my bedroom I reach for my empty glass, hold it out expectantly and demand, “Fill it up! I need something to help me to stay calm and if that help comes out of a bottle then so be it.” I raise my chin rebelliously. “I should just look at this as a project. Yes, an assignment of sorts. Just another obstacle to overcome to get me to the next stage of my life. ”
Bess tops me up like the good friend she is, but each drop is accompanied with a hefty dose of disapproval as she glares at me through squinted eyes.
“You’ll regret it. This is not the way you give up your cherry,” she warns, her voice full of disappointment.
I childishly give her an exaggerated sigh. “Bess, nobody refers to it as a cherry anymore.” … And besides, I’ve made up my mind.
Before putting my glass down, I take more than a ladylike sip then turn to look myself over in the mirror. Okay, I don’t look too bad. The dress goes well with my dark hair but …
“It’s no good, Bess, I look too prim. I need to look hot! You always look hot when you go out. Tonight, I want to look like you.”
I pull the white, goody little two shoes dress off over my head in frustration and with a huff, throw it to the floor in disgust. Mentally rummaging through Bess’s wardrobe, I halt at her little black dress that hugs her body in all the right places and emphasises her every lascivious curve.
“Where’s that black dress you wore clubbing last week? Can I wear that?”
“Lacy, don’t,” she pleads anxiously. “It’s not really you, is it? I mean, it’s a bit on the short side.”
She could be right, it is a bit skimpy and not at all what I would normally wear. Her voice is undeniably full of concern, but I respond haughtily, “If it’s not too short for you then it can’t be too short for me.”
“Err, excuse me, but have you seen the size of your chest? That dress will have no other choice but to ride up your ass. You might just as well wear a neon sign that states, ‘I want to be fucked!’”
Why do your mates always seem to think they know what’s best for you? I can’t see what her problem is. Every time she goes out she’s like a man magnet. She oozes sex appeal with only the smallest effort on her part. It’s so not fair! I justify myself by saying, “I’m shorter than you so it’ll look just fine.”
“But, Lace …”
“Can I borrow it or not? If not, get me the neon sign, I’ll wear that instead!”
Her shoulders sag heavily. She’s clearly not pleased and she knows she’s not winning but what is she, my mom?
She tries again by stating in a stern voice, “People will look at you if you go out wearing that dress.”
“Exactly! That’s just it. I want to be looked at. I want to look sexy. It’s my twenty-first birthday soon and I’m still a virgin! I’m fed with being a virgin, Bess. I don’t know what I’ve been waiting for or why I’ve been so finicky, so tonight, I’m going to go out there, single out the first man who looks the tiniest bit half decent and then I’m bringing him back here and we’re doing it! On that bed!” I point to my double bed where I just spent the last half an hour perfecting it with my newest purchase. It’s now exhibiting a charming cream Gaveno Cavailia Script printed duvet cover with matching pillow shams and it’s tastefully embellished with lots of soft cushions. (I love my bed!) I’ve even bought a box of super deluxe condoms that are in the bedside drawer within arm’s reach.
“If you do this, then believe me, you’re going to regret it, girl.”
Yes, Mom! God, she’s got one on her tonight.
She flops onto my flawless bed and crosses her arms dramatically on a pout. Her perfectly straight, long blond hair splays out over my pillows making her look more angelic than angry. She’s just finished her shift at St Mary’s hospital and she’s already out of her nurse’s uniform and modelling her night attire which consists of a silky pair of French knickers and the short tank top she wears to bed.
“Look, I know you’re worried, but don’t be. You’ve said it before, I look for flaws in every man so no-one’s ever good enough. I’ve been over selective and look where it’s got me. I’m beginning to think I’m frigid. I have never looked at a man and pictured us together that way. When I’m kissing a man, there’s nothing! Shouldn’t I at least feel something when I kiss them? What if I don’t like men? Oh God, what if I’m a lesbian and I don’t even know it?”
“Have you ever looked at a woman and wanted to kiss her?” she asks plainly.
“No, but I’ve never looked at a man like that either. I’ve had three proper boyfriends and I didn’t feel anything sexually. I’ve never once had that uncontrollable urge to strip them naked and then let them do things to me. I’ve never been curious enough to see what it’s like. Even I know that’s not normal. What’s the matter with me? Why did it always feel wrong? Every girl dreams there’s a Mr Right out there for her somewhere, but it’s not like I’ve been saving myself for him, I just haven’t been able to go all the way because it always felt wrong so maybe if I just do it once, I’ll know what I’m missing and want to do it again. I don’t want to reach twenty-one without experiencing love,” I grouch melodramatically. “I start my new job on Monday and I just think it’s the time for new beginnings in everything - and I mean, everything!”
Bess slaps her hands on the bed either side of her then yells out at the top of her voice. “Greg … come in here and talk some sense into this idiot.”
“I’m doing it tonight and that’s final,” I state stubbornly.
Greg saunters in practically naked, eating a slice of pepperoni pizza. Our other flatmate looks as impressive as always sporting a tight pair of black Calvin Klein boxers. His tall, chiselled, slightly over tanned body is totally noteworthy. He’s also totally gay! We call him our flatmate but the title is completely honorary because he doesn’t actually live with us. He might as well though. Despite the fact he has his own flat across the hall which he only ever uses as a shagging pad, he prefers to be in here with us, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. We love him to bits!
“She’s going to pick up the first man who takes her fancy and she going to let him do it to her.”
“Oh, baby-cakes, it’s about damn time!” Resting his hand on my shoulder, he kisses the top of my head.
Bess flounces off the bed, swipes the pizza from his hand and stomps out calling back over her shoulder, “You won’t be experiencing love, honey. It will be a quick drunken shag that will haunt you for the rest of your life!”
Greg sucks his fingers clean one by one then picking up my hair brush, pushes me to sit down at the dressing table. “So, why tonight?” he asks enthusiastically.
I look at his handsome face reflected in the mirror as he concentrates on brushing my hair. “You’ve overdone the tan a bit haven’t you? I thought you were going to wait another few weeks before topping it up,” I scold. He’s addicted to tanning salons and I worry he’s going to do himself some harm.
“Don’t get your knickers in a twist, sweet girl, it’s fake. It’ll wash off in the next shower … I hope. Now, don’t change the subject, tell me! What’s changed your beautiful, untouched mind?”
“I’m just fed up with waiting for that certain someone. I really do think I’ve been unconsciously saving my virginity for when it really mattered but I’m beginning to think it never will so, I’ve thought it over and I don’t want to hold on to it any longer while I’m waiting for Mr Right. I’m going to settle for ‘Mr He Will Do’ and I’ve decided, it’s going to be tonight.”
I down the rest of my wine and hold up the empty vessel. Greg empties what’s left of the bottle into my glass and raises his eyebrows. “A whole bottle?”
“No,” I tell him indignantly. “Bess had half a glass too.”
“Okay, if you’re determined tonight’s the night then you let me vet him first, agreed?”
“Oh, really and how will you know? You’ll be working.”
Greg tends the bar at Monica’s Closet, the club we’re going to tonight. It’s a posh gay nightclub that’s popular with everyone in Paddington. We go there often even when he’s not working because one, we get in for free and two, because he’s stalking this really cute guy that comes in with his girlfriend at least twice a week. Greg’s convinced the man is gay and he’s just waiting for the right moment to make his move.
“Don’t you worry, baby, I’ll know and I’ll be watching out for you. When you decide which one it’s going to be, point him out or bring him up to meet me.”
Still holding the brush, he stops to clap his hands. “This is so exciting! Who have you arranged to go with tonight?”
“Some of the girls are meeting up there later. I told them I’ll tag along, but I’m not planning on staying with them all night if you get my drift.” I wink cheekily at him through the mirror. I think the wine is having the desired effect.
The girls I’m referring to are my ex-colleagues. We were all made redundant when the factory we worked at closed down. Although in a totally different field, working as a Team Leader in their Resourcing Department put a good stamp on my CV that helped to land the new job I start on Monday.
Bess returns carrying her little black dress and tosses it thoughtlessly onto the bed then walks over to my wardrobe and pulls open the doors. “If you’re wearing one of mine, I’m wearing one of yours,” she informs me.
She pulls out my favourite shimmering gold halter and holds it up against her. It’s definitely sexy, but it looks good with jeans or trousers. Tonight, I want a dress. In my own humble opinion, my legs are my best asset and I want to be able to show them off. I also do not want any obstructions later on.
“You’ve only just got home. I thought you weren’t coming out tonight.”
She turns around to face me. “If you think I’m letting you go out on the pull on your own, you’ve got another think coming, girl!”
Oh, how I love my flatmates!