I know Max is probably hard by the time we get to the overlook at the dam. He puts the car in park and tells me he mixed a cd, just for me, because I’m so special.
- I can’t believe this is happening, he whispers.
I don’t know what’s so hard to believe. He slides the cd in the opening of the dash. “Sex on Fire” starts to play. I’m looking at my manicure I got done yesterday. I don’t like it.
- This song reminds me of you.
I look out the window and roll my eyes. I wonder if I rolled them all the way back, would the tendons snap? If I turned back to him, eyes bleeding tears, Max would scream in terror. The thought makes me giggle. He thinks I’m laughing at him.
- I know, I’m so corny.
I don’t say anything.
- So…you ever been up here before?
I shake my head.
- Cool. I like that I’m the first one to bring you.
I’m lying. I was just here two weeks ago with Josh.
- I should tell you, some of the guys were giving me shit in the locker room…like a bunch of chodes.
He lingers, waiting for me to press him for more. I don’t. Guys hate that.
- I said that me and you were going out, and one thing led to another, you know how it is… just bro-ing…Evan asked how many times we fucked.
- What did you tell him?
- I said it was none of his fucking business, babe.
Now he’s the one who’s lying.
I imagine what goes on in a locker room after football practice. All the future has-beens comparing nudes they’ve gotten, ranking who has the best ass, telling each other how they should dump their girlfriends, probably because they all just wish they could fuck each other, the losers of tomorrow.
Max isn’t that hot, neither is Josh. There’s nothing that really stands out about him, no distinguishing features. But there is something that lingers under the surface. So when Max asked me on Monday if I was free on Friday night after his game, I said yes. Maybe it was the tone of his voice or the way he walked up to me while I was kneeling, neatly tucking my books into my Juicy Couture bag. He asked the question before I had the chance to stand.
Looking at Max now, I’m starting to second-guess my decisions. He looks so expectant, it’s gross. His arms are muscular (who cares) and he’s definitely flexing as he reaches over, stroking his middle finger on the inside of my thigh. He thinks he’s being bold, but he’s trembling. I take his finger and put it in my mouth.
- Oh shit.
I bite it, not hard but just a little bit to scare him. He snatches it away. I don’t laugh.
- Are you fucking nuts? What the hell?
- I’m just teasing you, chill out.
We stare at each other.
- Come sit on my lap.
I slide over. He’s hard, like I thought.
- Your hair smells good. Like a spice or something.
- It’s probably my incense.
- Are you into witch shit or some bullshit?
I don’t answer. I’m not into “witch shit” but I’ll let him think I am. It’s better that way.
- I thought this whole time you were a good little catholic girl.
I attempt a conversation, because I can see he doesn’t want to shut up.
- So you guys won….again. Congrats.
- Yeah I mean, Coach barely put me in. He’s a dick. It’s all about Travis anyway. Everyone loves a quarterback. Nobody cares about which fullback is on the field during whatever down.
He looks at me with hopeful eyes. He wants me to say that I care. I don’t. I don’t give a shit. But I do want to take the conversation in another direction. I was waiting for it to lead here.
- Travis likes me, I think.
- No fucking way, he could have any girl we wants. Easier ones too.
- He pulled my hair. In Civics. I liked it.
What happened was Travis was sitting behind me. He leaned forward and whispered. “I like those two braids in your hair. What do you call them?” When I said they were French braids, he reached up, taking one in each hand, and pulled.
- He also said he voted for me, for homecoming queen.
Josh also told me that, as he passed me a dirty envelope that had a Xanax and two Percocets taped inside, with a note that said there were more, and he’d take them all if I didn’t answer his texts. I leave the part about Josh out.
- So, are you just trying to make me jealous?
- Not really.
- You should dye your hair blonde. I’m really into blondes. They’re such a turn-on.
- You should shave your head because your hair fucking sucks.
We sit and stare at each other.
- You’re kind of a bitch aren’t you? Do you get off on that?
He slides a finger up my mini-skirt, but stops and tears off a few sequences that trim the edge.
- Why do you even own this? It’s so lame.
- Take it off then.
He pauses, caught off guard.
- Are you being for real?
He unbuttons it, barely, because his fingers are shaking. I slither it off and throw it to the passenger seat. He slides the seat back. The rest is what you imagine. Except for the part right at the end. I tell him I’m already forgetting all of it, and I feel a slight tug on my hair, and another, harder. Then a strong yank, and a sharp sting. I watch him shake all the strands from his hand, disgusted. With me. With himself. Either way, I’m enjoying it. I touch my scalp and pull my finger away to show him. My French manicure, red on the tip instead of white.
He takes me home, and the whole way we don’t speak. He starts to tear up.
- We said some hurtful shit back there. I’m not really like that. You made me do that. That shit you said about Travis. I don’t think I want to see you again. Don’t tell anyone about this.
I get out and shut the door. There’s no one to tell.
But he’s already calling me.