Taking His Virgin

By: Lila Younger


Once that’s done, I give a sigh of relief. Now we can start heading home. Maybe I’ll be able to finish up painting the room, and then there are the chairs mom talked about reupholstering last week and-

“Hey, where do you think you’re going?” Macy says, yanking on my arm.

“I thought we’re done.” I hold up the pink paper bag. “What else is there to do?”

“Your outfit. Don’t think I’ve forgotten. Besides, I could use something new too.”

There go my plans. I look at my friend, but there’s a determined gleam in her eye that I know all too well. And it’s not like I could just walk out of here. Macy’s the one who drove us. Was that why she volunteered? I should have known... Yet another reason to hate living in a small town. No public transportation anywhere. I better just get this over with.

Macy smiles sweetly when she sees that she’s won.

“I’ll make this quick and painless,” she promises.

Together we head to Forever 21. Like Victoria’s Secret, it’s one of the few stores in the mall with any customers, but the place gives me a headache. There are just too. Many. Clothes. Racks upon racks upon racks. For people like Macy, it’s a thrilling challenge. For people like me, who could happily live in my jeans and tank tops, it’s daunting. That’s why I never come in here with Macy. She dives into the fray, happy as a clam, piling up clothes in my arms. Once I’ve got a small mountain of clothes in my arms, we head to the back where the changing rooms are.

“Here,” she says. “I got these for you.”

She separates out the pile, taking out most of it for herself. What’s left is... much more toned down. I actually spot a few things with sleeves. Could Macy actually be listening to me for once?! Maybe the fact that I’m not as boy crazy as she is finally getting through to her. I take the clothes into the changing room, but before I could start trying things on, my phone vibrates with a message. I pick it up, and my heart skips a beat. I could recognize the chiseled, sexy face in that profile pic anywhere.

James.

I unlock my phone quickly and open up Facebook. A message from James, which makes me happy. We don’t communicate all that much, just here or there when I find an interesting article to show him, or he has a cool new band out of Washington D.C. he thinks I’d like or something. Sometimes months could go by before he replies, and I’m too much of a chicken to keep sending him messages. I don’t want him to know that I like him, because that would be too mortifying.

After all, he’s my dad’s best friend. Yeah, I’m cringing a little just admitting it to myself. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I mean, the guy’s almost twenty years older. Twenty years more sophisticated. What would he want to do with his best friend’s kid anyways? If it wasn’t for these messages once in a while, I’d think that he’d forgotten that I existed.

He’s sent me a link to a Smithsonian exhibit on Picasso. I can’t believe he remembers that that’s my favorite artist. See, this is exactly why a guy like Ken could never compete with a man like James. All that’s in his head is football, beer, and how much he benchpresses at the gym. He would probably pronounce Picasso wrong too.

I really want to hold off replying to his message, but I can’t help it. Maybe if I’m fast, he’ll be around, and we can strike up a conversation like we used to, before he moved all the way to Washington D.C. I type something quickly, asking him how his trip to Australia went, but my question just hangs in the void, unanswered. I guess I just didn’t stay on his mind for very long. It really shouldn’t affect me like this, but my whole body slumps from disappointment.

Ugh, how sad can you get Ava?

I slip my phone back into my purse, take off my clothes, and put on the first thing Macy’s got me. It’s a dark grey, one shoulder dress. The stretchy fabric, gathered at the side, really enhances the curviness of my body in a way that’s screams sexiness. It’s actually gorgeous. What would James say if he saw me in this? My mind asked. Would he like it? Would it make his eyes stop and notice me as more than just a kid finally? The hem barely stops short of my butt, and I have to keep tugging it. Not that it matters. James moved away almost two years ago and hasn’t been back since. Not for my dad’s birthday, not for holidays, nothing. I get a twisty feeling every time I think about that but I couldn’t blame him for it. Who would want to waste their vacation days on coming here of all places? Last I heard, he was making a fortune flipping houses in Washington D.C.

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