Following is a short piece of my in-progress novel Only Begotten Sons, which I’ve spent a month building, piece by jagged piece.
Handling women had always come easily to Marty. From a young age, he had been aware that girls were attracted to him, and he cultivated the qualities that they seemed to find most appealing. He played sports, worked out, presented a detached cool at all times. Most girls, he found, required very little actual effort to seduce–just a flash of prowess and charm coupled with the possibility that he might choose someone else. That usually made the object of his attentions latch on tightly, open for anything he wanted.
At fourteen, he played junior varsity football for Franklin High School, a quality wide receiver for someone so young. The J-V quarterback–Shane Mencken–had an older sister named Carrie who used to come to the games just to see him. He used the skills he’d developed over the years–skills which had gotten him to second base with five or six girls in middle school–and ended up losing his virginity in Shane and Carrie’s basement after the Homecoming dance.
His relationship with Carrie was fairly serious for a time. They were never exclusive (or, more accurately, he wasn’t), but they were a known quantity around Franklin. He even took her to her senior prom. But when she went away to college, he let her fade away, as if she were a one-night stand. She called a few times, but he was curt and dismissive until she finally got the point. After her, the girls blurred together, one snatch with a thousand faces.
Junior year at Towson State, he’d run into her at Charles Village Pub, where everyone knew the bartender wouldn’t ask for your identification. He’d just come from football practice, thirsty for a few PBRs. She was enjoying a martini and people watching.
Jessica noticed him first, and he caught her looking. She was tall, with short brown hair in a pixie cut. She wore a loose-fitting sweater that only amplified the mystery of what was underneath. She intrigued him. He ambled over a few minutes later.
“What’re you having? I’ll buy you one.”
“Martini, Beefeater. Extra dry.”
He ordered two.
“So… You come here often?”
She laughed. “Oh, shit! Did you really just open with that?”
“What? What’s wrong with that? It’s a simple question.”
“I just thought…”
“…that you’d have some better line than ‘you come here often?’ I was expecting something sharp and funny, or maybe some kind of pun. You might as well have asked about the weather.”
The drinks arrived. Marty handed one to her and then tossed his back like a shot. The gin scorched his throat. He coughed and gagged, the drink’s vapors in his nose. Again she burst into laughter.
His pride hurt, he decided to cut his losses and try another chick. He turned, away from her, his face red with a mixture of anger and shame.
She called after him. “What’s your name, Killer?”
“I’m here a lot, Marty. Thanks for the drink.”
From that point forward, he always looked for her when he went to CVP, and more often than not, he found her there, drinking a Beefeater martini alone. At first, he tried to ignore her, but she joked and smiled, and after a few brief encounters, they struck up a friendship.
She had been just as charmed by his athletic ability and good looks as all the others, but she wasn’t eager to sleep with him. Instead, she had laughed at what she saw as pathetic womanizing, brushing off his sexual advances. This frustrated him and compelled him in equal measure.
Finally, after months of trying to get into her pants, he asked her just what he had to do to get her to go out with him.
“You could start by not sticking your dick into every third woman who comes in here. Even if you cut it back to just nailing every fifth woman, I’d see that as a major step forward for us.”
“You want me to stop sleeping around? Okay, whatever. It’s just sex. That’s not what I’m looking for with you.”
“Wait… What’s wrong with me that getting into my panties isn’t a top priority for you?”
“You know what I mean, Jess. We have something together that goes deeper than sex.”
“Sorry to hear about your shortcomings.”
“God damn it… Can’t you take this seriously–”
At that point, she kissed him. Her breath tasted like olives and booze, but it was the sweetest thing that Marty had ever known.
They made love in her dorm room that night, sweaty and frantic, as if the experience could be taken from them at any moment.
When they had finished and found themselves lying under a damp flannel sheet, she rolled on her side and threw her left leg over his thighs.
“Were you serious about this being more than a one-night thing, Marty?”
Tired, his eyes heavy, he whispered, “Yes.”
“Good. And I’m serious, too, about the sleeping around. Knock it off. You wanna be with me, be with me. Don’t come back here carrying someone else’s taste on your lips. I won’t have it.”
“Okay.” He was almost asleep now.
“I mean it, Marty. I fucking well mean it.” But he was already gone.