Girlfriend

Brit Wolfe Wilson

You’ve decided to wear your only thong. The one you asked your best friend, Nikki, to get for you from Victoria’s Secret. It’s a standard G-string. Bubblegum pink floss wanders your hips and between the cheeks of your ass, connecting at small triangle that covers your freshly shaved pussy. Your mother won’t let you buy thongs. Your mother beat the palm of your hand with the back of a wooden brush when she realized that you, at twelve, had shaven your legs. Nikki’s mother tells you that your mother needs to lighten up. You make a mental note to not put the thong in the laundry basket when you get home.

You’ve decided to wear your only thong but you can’t decide which bra will match best. You don’t own a bubblegum pink bra. Your school’s uniform policy dictates that girls only wear bras that are white, grey, nude or black. You’ve always wondered what business the school has dictating what color material covers your private parts. You’ve also always wondered why it mattered at all because of the white full slip you’re required to wear underneath your uniform. You deem the white bra to be the best choice. This one has some faint pastel polka dots. It sort of matches. It’s a 32A and you’re now a 34B, so it’s kind of like a push up bra. This is an added bonus. You pull on your jeans and carefully drape the white halter top you borrowed from Nikki over your head, collecting your breasts from the bottom to ensure maximum spillage from the cups. Your bra straps are showing and you know you won’t get past the door in this, but you figure that one day, your mother may get tired.

She yells that she’s ready to go and that if you want to go with her, you had better find your ass in the car, now. You grab your overnight bag and don’t make it past the living room. She is standing there, shorter than you now, sunglasses on, arms crossed across the big breasts that once cradled your head and reeking of the sandalwood perfume that once comforted you. How will people think I raised you, she asks. I’ve told you time and time and again if you go outside looking like that you are just asking for it, she tells you. Jesus Christopher, where did I go wrong with this child, she mourns. You throw on the plain white T-shirt you had set aside on your bed.

Your mother tells you to sit in the back as she usually does when she’s upset with you. Today you can’t be bothered to protest. Today you have something to look forward to. You put your headphones in to drown out Nationwide 90 FM. You think your mother’s misery is nearly perfectly encapsulated by her preference of talk radio over music. You select your carefully curated Summertime Sadness playlist on your iPod and lean your head against the window, closing your eyes and letting the prickly anticipation wash over you. You’ve been doing this for the past week in your bed.

Your mother thinks she’s dropping you off at Nikki’s for an overnight study date. Since you turned seventeen, she’s stopped asking to speak to the parents of the friends whose houses you’re spending the night at. You don’t think this is an indication of her loosening up, but an effort to not appear overzealous to the other parents. Please be on your best behavior, she implores, as you get out of the car. I will, as always, you tell her.

Nikki’s parents were away for the night on a business trip. This is a common occurrence. Tonight, Chris and Nate are coming over. You and Nikki have gone over to their houses the past few times but tonight, Nikki’s house is the spot. You let yourself into the house and hear searing pop music coming from her room. Nikki may have great taste in many things, but music is not one of them, you think. Hey bitch, she says, beaming at you from the white tiled floor in the middle of a summoning circle of eyeshadow palettes, blushes, lipsticks and lip glosses, eyeliners and mascaras. Though Nikki is a few shades lighter than you are, you have figured out how to combine the right amount of bronzer with her Maybelline powdered foundation to convincingly match your complexion, especially at night. Go get a glass from the kitchen, she says, pointing to a glass of rosé that’s nearly the exact shade of blush as her room. Upon returning, you ask if she thinks that the boys are gonna be ok with rosé. They’ll bring rum I’m pretty sure, but I can totes see Nate enjoying a glass of rosé in that kimono in his bathroom, she says, rolling her eyes and smiling. You can see it too, it makes you smile. I’m going in your closet, you tell her. You know exactly what you’re looking for – a bright yellow romper with white crochet detailing and a dangerously low neckline. Nikki wore it to your friend’s birthday dinner a few months ago so you know it’ll be at least another year until she wears it again. You get into the romper and join Nikki on the floor in front of the mirror and begin your makeup. You’re still learning so you follow Nikki’s lead. Nikki can put mascara on with her mouth closed.

***

Nikki has been talking to Chris for nearly two months now. They haven’t had sex yet because Nikki is the kind of girl that only has sex with boyfriends. You know that Nikki is getting frustrated because Chris hasn’t asked her to be his girlfriend yet. Nikki has never needed to work very hard or wait very long for a guy to ask her out. She’s the only redhead at school. When she started bringing a handbag to school instead of a backpack, she sparked a movement. She plays violin and organizes the school’s quarterly beach cleanup. She naturally bites her tongue when she smiles, so people often make the mistake that she is flirting with them. Most wish she was. Even your teachers, you think. You have never smelled her breath actually smell. She chews with her mouth slightly open, which slightly annoys you, but then she laughs with her eyes closed and slaps her knee and she is forgiven. She can roll a better joint than anyone you know. She’s going to university in New York next year and you’re not yet sure what you’ll do without her. But Chris is twenty-two and an in-demand commodity.

Because sex isn’t yet on the table, Nikki and Chris, wanting to spend more time together but short of a buffer, thought to introduce you to Nate, Chris’ best friend. You knew of each other, of course. It’s a small town. But you’d never actually spoken to him until the first night you went to his house with Nikki. You drank rum and coke and played Never Have I Ever and by the end of the night his knee was touching yours. Nate is a less in-demand commodity than Chris. He is less handsome and much shorter, but he’s definitely in the upper echelons of cool. He’s a race car driver and has a reputation for getting into accidents on and off the track. He acknowledges people by nodding, he’s not a man of many words. But when he speaks his voice is deep like you imagine God’s is. He’s always surrounded by people when he’s out, and everyone around him always seems to be laughing. He doesn’t smile with his teeth and he always leaves big tips, even for the attendant at the gas station. His ex-girlfriend is one of the prettiest girls at school, nearly as pretty as Nikki.

The second time you all hung out, he put his arm around you while you all talked and when you and Nikki were leaving, he kissed you goodnight as Chris kissed Nikki goodnight, in unison. The third time you saw Nate, he brought you and Nikki Burger King while you studied for a test. He stayed for a while and mostly played on his phone while you and Nikki tested each other on the Cold War with flashcards. But you caught him looking at you with what surely is very strong like. You walked him outside to his father’s white BMW X1 and this time when he kissed you, he reached for your breast. You recoiled, remembering the baggy sports bra you were wearing underneath. You told him that you really, really liked him and that as such, you wanted to take things slow. He kissed your forehead. It’s all good, babe, he said.

***

You have quite the reputation. When you were twelve, the boy you liked convinced you to give him a blowjob. You happily obliged if it meant you got to spend time with him alone, as long as he didn’t tell anybody. He told his friends and in a matter of weeks, everyone knew and people quickly began to call you cum breath instead of the name your mother gave you. When you were thirteen, the boy you liked convinced you that the sooner you start having sex, the better you’ll be at it. You happily obliged if it meant you got to spend time with him alone, as long as he didn’t tell anybody. This was kept secret for about a year, until you made the mistake of telling Christine who then told everyone. Word has gotten around that you’re easily convinced, which isn’t untrue. But people have only just stopped calling you cum breath and you think it’s time that someone call you girlfriend.

***

Last weekend, you and almost everyone you know went to the coast for a beach party. You and Nikki went to the party together, as always, where you met up with Chris and Nate. You drank and danced and decided to go your separate ways at the end of the night. Chris would drop Nikki at her parents’ beach house. Nate asked you if you wanted to spend the night with him at his parents’ beach house. They’re still in town, we’d have it to ourselves, he told you. You said yes and promised yourself that under no circumstances would you be convinced to have sex with him. He drove you in his father’s white BMW X1 with his hand on your thigh, the other on the wheel. He only ever let go of you to change gears. You realized then that you like men who drive stick, your faint but enduring smile revealed in flashes of street lights. The night air was warm on your skin and you envisioned the pictures that would be taken ten years from now, began registering the story that you would tell people of the beginning of your relationship. He opened your car door and lead you by the hand to the master bedroom. You asked him for a big T-shirt and he gave you one that said Hillel Academy Class of 2008. You changed in the bathroom and brushed your teeth with a new toothbrush you found in the cabinet. He was already in bed when you finished. Come here, he said, hand behind his head, one knee up. His shirt was off but his boxers were on and you made yourself as small as possible in the cul-de-sac of his frame. You had never been held like that before.

The next morning, he asked you if you wanted to go to the raceway with him. It was race day, but not for his division. This was a big deal, his turf, and everyone would be there. This was your first public appearance. You shook the hands of people he introduced you to, unable to hear much over the announcer and car engines. You said hello to the people you knew. You got caught up in a few conversations with people from school but rarely left his side. And when you did, you felt his eyes on you. The whole day you wore a smile that said I’m here and I’m with him and he has claimed me. He never introduced you as his girlfriend – that was fine, he hadn’t asked yet. But he never introduced you as his friend, either. Just the name your mother gave you.

***

You ask Nikki to do your eyeliner. You can never get it to look the same on the second eye. Her hand is steady, and you inhale her sweet exhaled breath, staring at her remarkable cleavage. Stop fucking fidgeting, she says. And you realize you are. You’re excited, after all. Not too bad if I do say so myself, she says so herself. You like the way you look in the mirror. The yellow romper radiates against your skin browned by the summer sun. Your makeup is minimal, but you look like you’re glowing. Your hair has taken a stance against the humidity. You rub the page sample of Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue from this month’s copy of your mother’s InStyle all over yourself. You smell sophisticated. You smell like a girlfriend.

You follow Nikki outside to the pool. She plugs her iPod into the sound system and goes to the kitchen for an ice bucket, glasses and an ash tray. Chris and Nate ring the doorbell nearly right on time. Nikki yells at them through the window of the kitchen to let themselves in. You watch from the bay windows as they swagger against the hard angles and open spaces of Nikki’s mother’s choice in Scandinavian and mid-century modern interior design. Nate has the rum in hand, Chris has the coke. You all convene by the pool and a series of European kisses are exchanged. Muah, muah, muah, muah, muah, muah. Nate pinches your thigh, assesses you from head to toe and nods his head. He approves. You sit beside him on the couch as he whispers about his week to you. He spent too much time in the factory – his father is grooming him to take over the business. But he doesn’t care about the business. He just wants to race. His Subaru needs its transmission replaced. He’s fearful it won’t be ready for the big race in a few weeks. But he missed you, and he’s been thinking about you. You are grateful for these intimacies. You feel like he’s beginning to trust you. Chris suggests we play Who Am I. He is Obama, Nikki is Jeffrey Dahmer and Nate is Persephone. Chris wins. You were Paris Hilton. Nikki and Chris disappear into the house. You and Nate sit with legs crisscrossed. You play with his chest hair. You’ve just now realized you like chest hair. He nibbles at your ear and tells you that his parents are out of town and he has the house to himself. Come with me, he gently insists. You send a text to Nikki telling her you’ll be back in the morning. You get into his father’s white BMW X1 and he rubs your cheek with his thumb, one hand on the wheel.

This time, you don’t ask Nate for a T-shirt. You’re wearing your only thong and a bra that somewhat matches. You climb into his king sized bed and on top of him, kissing him deliberately. He runs his fingers through your hair and reaches for your ass. You let him. That’s why you’re wearing your only thong, after all. He grabs onto it and lets out a small moan. He flips you over in one fell swoop and kisses you like he’s starving. Your mouth is no longer his sole target. His breath is audible. He’s grunting now. He bites at your neck, tears your breasts from your pastel polka-dotted bra, nearly swallows them whole. You can feel yourself slick in your only thong. He reaches in it and you gasp. You are so wet that his finger journeys up and down and across as if it were doused in Crisco. You dig your fingernails into the back of his neck, back arched and bottom lip bitten. You can feel him throb against your thigh. He reaches to pull down his boxers and you say, we’re not having sex, right? We talked about this, right? He utters something but you can’t distinguish it from the grunts and the heavy breathing. You feel his exposed penis against your thigh. He is thrusting indiscriminately. Nate, you say. Nate, Nate. He can’t hear you anymore. You try to shake him off but you are powerlessly pinned under his weight. He puts his forearm against your chest to secure you in place. Your shoulders and your hips struggle beneath him. You squirm like a small child being held by a stranger. No, no no no no no, I told you no, you say, softly. You can’t say anything else. He puts his other hand over your mouth and finally inserts himself in you. He hasn’t even taken off your only thong. He kisses your cheek. You go limp. Your muscles no longer tense against his and after a few thrusts he recognizes this and releases you. You lay inanimately beneath him and stare at the popcorn ceiling above you, fixated on the lighting fixture that wasn’t turned off. The world around you is quiet now but the smell of rum and stale daytime sweat fills the space in your head now devoid of thoughts, grunts and heavy breathing. You feel the strain of his course hairs against the slick of your thighs and breasts, but you are not in pain. You are not in anything. Right now, you are not even sure if he is still in you. After not more than a minute, he pulls out, cums all over your stomach and collapses beside you. You don’t move. He outstretches his arm, pulls you in to his chest and kisses you on the forehead, sweat dripping from his chin onto your face. It falls onto your lips and though they are pursed, they don’t escape its brine. He gets up to go to the bathroom and throws a towel for you to wipe yourself off with. You okay, babe? he asks while he pisses. All good, you barely whisper. You stare at the pool of pearl in your belly button and cover it with the towel, as if it would disappear when lifted like a magic trick. He gets back into bed and you are in fetal position. He curls himself around you and kisses your shoulder. You stare at the picture of Nate and his grandmother hanging on the wall directly across from you until sleep finally overcomes you.

In the morning, you wake to his hot, rancid breath in the nape of your neck, arm still around you, cupping your breast. When you dislodge from him to go to the bathroom, your skin unsticks from his. Your only thong is still intact. You have to pee but you can’t usher a stream. You turn the sink on for encouragement. Nothing. You call Nikki. No answer. You call her a second time and she picks up. Can you come pick me up from Nate’s, you ask. Huh? Why can’t he drop you here, she asks. We were up late and I don’t want to wake him and my mom’s picking me up soon, you say. Fine, be there in ten, she says. You can’t seem to pee. You stare at the kimono hanging on the back of the door. You pull your only thong up feeling its residual sogginess from last night. You wet your fingers in the sink and carefully wipe under your eyes. Your mascara had run. But Nikki’s eyeliner is unsullied. You’re not sure if your sweat or his sweat or both of your sweats had frizzed the edges of your hair. You spread some toothpaste over your finger and do the pseudo brush you got really good at before just deciding to just leave a toothbrush at Nikki’s. You tip toe back into the room and put Nikki’s yellow romper back on. You look at Nate, sleeping soundly on his side as if you’d never left. He wheezes when he inhales.

Nikki shows up for you ten minutes later in her Mini Cooper. Do you know how fucking lucky you are to have me, she asks as you get in the car. So fucking lucky, you say. So, she says, how did it go? I swear to God if Nate asks you out before Chris asks me I’m going to lose my shit, she says. Don’t worry, he didn’t ask, you assure her. Did you have sex, she asks. You turn your head away from her and look through the window at the houses you pass – all unmoving, all stuck. Actually, we did, you say. Felt like the right time, you confirm. Last week at the raceway seemed pretty serious and I think he’s gonna ask me soon, you add. Oh shit, she says nodding. How was it, she asks. He was surprisingly tender, you tell her. Anticipated your needs, you tell her. Looked you in the eye, you tell her. Kept checking in, you tell her.

Your mother gets to Nikki’s soon after you get back. You’ve had time to shower and change your clothes. You wrap your only thong in toilet paper and put it in a smaller pocket of your overnight bag to ensure you won’t accidentally throw it in with the rest of your laundry when you get home. You get in the front seat of the car, your mother doesn’t protest. She asks if your studying went well. You tell her it did. Nationwide 90 FM is on and you listen with your mother to the local news.

Brit Wolfe Wilson is a writer from Jamaica currently finishing her Bachelor’s in English in California.