Disclaimers: All characters are mine. No sex. A little violence.
Thank you Sal.
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Every Saturday found me at the same bar and grill, eating the same food, drinking the same beer, ogling the same women, all in the presence of the same group of friends I'd been with for the last eleven years.
The bar was comfortable, the food palatable, the women as lovely as ever and my friends, well let's just say they accepted me as is. No pretense, no level of acceptable behavior, no required good deeds or acts of charity required. They loved me for who I am.
I admit it. I can look around this bar, okay nearly any bar in this city, and extend my hand forward to point a talented digit, if I do say so myself, at a woman and chances are I slept with her.
I have never had a relationship longer than two weeks. I can count the number of repeat dates on one hand. There are no phone numbers in my little black book. Get the picture?
I am the one night wonder.
Now you might think I would run out of available women, but this is Los Angeles so there are millions to go. And there are certainly no more than 20,000 more days of my life left ahead of me, so I'm going to say that I'll safely avoid depleting the pool.
We all look up as the door whooshes open letting in a lone figure silhouetted by the afternoon sunlight until the door closes, leaving the tall beauty to adjust to the inside darkness. Now I don't often recognize people from my youth, but it would be very hard to forget Jessica Pharr.
"Oh my," Cindy, the little blonde butch next to me, sighed as she needlessly elbowed me. "Look at that."
I had almost instantly looked away upon recognition of the woman who now sauntered to the bar. I really didn't want to bring any attention to myself. I soooo did not need Jessica placing me so I uncharacteristically sat passively as my table mates whistled and hooted appreciatively at the brunette. I hid behind my bottle of beer as she turned to flash a smile at our table. This, of course, started another round of chest beating by my primitive friends. I rolled my eyes and turned to see if there was an empty pool table. I didn't recall Jessica playing pool, so it might be a safe harbor of sorts.
"What's with you?" my best friend Kim asked, pulling on my ear to put me back in my seat. She looked back at the leggy brunette at the bar, then at me and the blatant grimace on my face. "OH MY GOD!" She needlessly exclaimed far too loud, then she looked at the rest of our friends at the table. "Francis's past has just walked through the door," she said elatedly, throwing a thumb at the bar.
I smirked and huffed, "I don't have a past."
Ten sets of eyebrows rose in unison. I rolled my eyes again.
"I never had an attachment, so I don't have a past."
Lori, our token Bi-girl, pointed a cheesy fry at me. "But you know her, don't you? And I mean more than in the biblical sense."
I sat in silence.
"I knew it!" Phyllis was our den mother, she has never given up hope that I'll find Ms. Right and settle down into a life-long relationship. She only came out with us because her partner of fifteen years worked until midnight on Saturdays and she hated being alone all night. Besides she kept us honest, and made sure we got home in one piece. "I knew there had to be someone out there that was more than sex to you."
"High school." I looked across at Jackson. She was a sturdy woman who often would sit all night and not utter a word while she listened to us tittering away, content to sip slowly on her dark lagers and take in the world. Why did she have to be so damn insightful tonight? I must have looked astounded at Jackson's revelation.
"Is that true? You know her from high school?" Kim asked as she not-so-subtly perused Jessica's long form.
I scowled at Jackson. She smiled sweetly back at me. Jackson could probably break me in two without so much as a grunt of physical exertion.
"Didn't you go to high school in Orange County?" Lori asked as several more cheesy fries found their way to her lips. She chewed and looked at me for confirmation. I wasn't talking. No way. They would just have to construe on their own.
Kim nodded, "yup, she went to one of those beach schools… Newport, Sunset… noooo"
"Huntington." Jackson supplied.
I bit the inside of my lip. I had obviously done way too much talking in front of the quiet woman. Who knew she was some kind of savant, remembering everything I ever said to divulge it at a later, painfully awkward time in the future.
"Thaaaaats right, Huntington Beach High School." Kim clarified for all. "So who is she?"
I looked at Jackson with raised eyebrows, daring her to come up with that answer.
Okay that was weird, her lips didn't move. It was then that I realize everyone was silent at our little table, all their attention focused on the woman who had spoken her own name.
"Hi Jess." I said softly.
Cindy verified her butch qualities and added a chair for Jessica, making us all scoot around the table to provide room. After the clamor quieted down I found myself directly opposite my "past".
"So, introduce me Frankie." Jessica urged as she sipped on her mix drink, she was such a girl.
"Everyone this is Jessica Pharr," I waved a hand around the table, "Jessica, this is… well… everyone." I'm ready to go now. Maybe they can talk about me while I'm gone.
"Silly." Jessica admonished as she introduced herself to each of my friends.
I sat and listened to that voice, watched those hands, and gazed upon those lips, that I had so many fantasies, and dreams about. Jessica was even more beautiful than she was when we were teenagers. Her curves had filled out nicely in all the right places. She wasn't heavy, but she wasn't skinny either. She looked healthy, solid and soft at the same time. Her hair was still as black as the day I met her, but when the light hit it right it looked blue. I tried to ascertain what color her eyes were this night, not because I couldn't remember but because they would change with her mood. They ranged from a white blue to a dark green, hitting every color in between on the way. When she looked up at me they were a vibrant blue, almost electric. I sighed and smiled despite myself.
"So how do you know… what is it you call her? Frankie?" Kim asked as she leaned on the table resting her chin on her fist.
Can you fire a best friend? Is there some kind of legal separation I can apply for?
"She hasn't regaled you with our little saga?" Jess asked, making eye contact with everyone at the table except for me. I refused to look at her.
A smattering of 'nopes' answered her. I heard her take a deep breath, and I once again tried to escape the confines of my little world only to be held into place on either side by Kim and Cindy.
"I don't believe it!"
I looked up to see Jess clutching her chest in disbelief. My eyes shifted around the table.
I mumbled something as an answer.
"What was that?" Kim asked leaning closer to me.
"Jess was my first! Okay! There. Happy?" I was acting like an ass now as I waved my arms knocking over several empty beer bottles. Well, one wasn't so empty and spilled into the cheesy fries. I tried frantically, if not heroically, to save the tubers from drowning. I was so intent on my rescue mission that I hadn't noticed the entire bar had grown quiet.
"Smooth move slick." Jess offered as she helped me sop up the rest of the spill.
I shrugged and sank back into my seat.
"Your first?" Lori asked as the bar started to return to its normal din.
Jess and I nodded together, Jess with an evil little smile and I with a frown. Why was God tormenting me this evening? What did I ever do to him?
"I was a Senior, and Frankie was a Junior. We had band together."
Okay girls, there are three things your friends should never find out or have first hand knowledge about you. What your parents' nickname was for you, meet your first lover, and whether you were in band in high school. I just blew two out of the three. I eyed Jackson wondering if I had ever let the other one slip in idle conversation.
My friends were now trying to guess what instrument I played. I was becoming amused with some of their guesses when Jess put them out of their misery.
"She was in the drum line. God, she was so cocky. Everyone wanted a piece of her." My eyes widened. "Don't act like you didn't know. For Pete's sake, you were like a goddess out there."
Okay, I was clueless. I played drums because I liked it. It was challenging and I was good at it. It never occurred to me at the time I might get chicks because of it. Jess continued to share more about what I was like in high school with my intently listening chums. I waved the waitress over and ordered a whiskey, neat. I decided to get drunk. The music changed to an eighties standard and I heard Jess squeal in excitement.
"Ooooo, this is my favorite!" She looked around the table at the captivated faces. "Someone dance with me!"
I'd never seen these women move so fast. I found myself alone at the table with the exception of Phyllis. Even stalwart, silent Jackson had joined the group mêlée on the small dance floor. Jessica was happy to be the center of attention as she bestowed her own unique smile on each of her dancing companions. I sat and brooded in jealousy.
"Why don't you go dance?" Phyllis asked as she moved to the seat on my left. "It looks like fun."
The glass of whiskey was placed in front of me and I consumed it before the glass had time to warm a spot on the table.
"Want to tell me about it?" Phyllis fished as she picked up the empty whiskey glass, examining its lack of contents with a negative shake of her head.
"Nothing to tell." Never a more blatant lie have I uttered. There was plenty to tell. I watched as Jess flirted with my four friends. I couldn't help but smile as they all fell so readily for her charms. I wished to believe they were fools but I knew the truth first hand. Jessica Pharr was an incredible person, and if she bestowed upon you her favor you were truly blessed.
Phyllis regarded me for a few more moments before the troupe of dancers returned winded to the table laughing and congratulating one another for a well enjoyed four and a half minutes. Jessica picked up the conversation right where she had left it before her little dance intermission. I could only sit and listen with the rest of them as she wove a tale of a long-since-dead teenager. I felt my face heat and redden from time to time as she described some of my more embarrassing antics. Then she got down to 'it'. My defining life moment.
"… so there she was, all sweaty, and hot, and I couldn't take my eyes off her. I had flirted with her relentlessly for weeks trying to figure if she was gay or not but couldn't quite get that positive ping that screamed 'DYKE'." She waved her hands wildly in the air then let them settle to the table once again to wrap around her glass. "The band room was empting out steadily, and I was quite nervous as I edged closer to her locker." She leaned forward into the table as if to share a sacred secret. My friends leaned in as well to receive this bit of information from this amazing woman who had stole all their hearts. "You see, I had decided I would kiss her." There was a smattering of 'ooos' and 'ahhhs' softly uttered in reverence accompanied by nodding heads of approval. Jess smiled brightly at them as she leaned back a bit in her seat to continue her story. "Soon we were all alone. I just stood there for what seemed forever as Frankie finished hanging her uniform. She glanced at me a few times so I knew she knew I was there. Someone turned off most of the lights, leaving us in a light that was close to something the moon might cast on lovers."
Stupid smiles plastered everyone's faces as they sighed in unison. I shook my head in disbelief and held up my empty glass to signal the waitress for another.
"I edged up closer to Frankie, close enough I could smell the saltiness the sweat had left behind on her skin. I could see where her t-shirt clung to her body damp with perspiration." Phyllis fanned herself with the round cardboard coaster. "I had to dip my head a bit to whisper in her ear."
"What did ya' say?" Cindy asked from the edge of her seat.
Jessica smiled brightly and made direct eye contact with me for the first time since her story began. Her eyes had changed to a soft green.
"I said, 'I'm going to kiss you Francis Dolan.' And I did."
"She sure did." I looked around the table at the stunned faces regarding me. "Did I say that out loud?" Nods answered me along with a few smirks.
"Hmm, I sure did." Jessica agreed, "And she kissed me back. It was the best kiss I have ever had before or since then." She confessed.
All eyes turned to me. "It was a damn good kiss." I offered and received a sharp kick to my shin from under the table. I couldn't determine who kicked me, but I would and they would pay later for their indiscretion.
"Well, we parted after the kiss and didn't talk to each other for several days. Frankie was avoiding me. I think I kind of cracked open her Lesbian door a bit and she was having a hard time." She sipped at her drink.
A hard time was an understatement. I wanted to jump Jessica Pharr's bones. I was gay. I didn't even consider the possibility up until the moment she kissed me. She didn't crack the door open, she kicked it in!
"Anyway, about three weeks after 'the kiss', Frankie here backs me into a corner in the library and asks if she can have another one. Kiss that is." She clarified. "So we did, and it was just as delicious as the first." Jess licked her lips for effect. "So I asked if she wanted to go out. I thought I might have to do CPR on her she turned so pale."
"I was sixteen. I didn't know girls could date girls." I defended myself only to be answered by guffaws of laughter. I sighed in disgust.
"She was so damn cute." Jess offered with a tilt of her head. "We made plans and had our first…" there was a long pause there, "…and only date."
Cindy scowled at me then turned back to Jess, laying her hand over the brunette's. "If it were me, I would still be going out with you."
Jessica fawned over the little butch for a few minutes. I hated my friends.
"Well, life isn't perfect. I suppose I should be grateful for the one time," Jess pondered as she began her story again. "We went to a burger joint at the beach. It was horrible, and I had to pay as I recall."
Again my friends turned toward me. What could I say? I was sixteen. No job, no car, and no taste in food.
"But she did make up for it with a walk on the beach where she bravely held my hand."
The group hug I received was uncalled for. Jess waited for everyone to be reseated before continuing. "My folks were gone for the weekend." There was a resounding 'oh' from my table companions. "Yeah, so we went to my house. I barely got the door locked before Frankie was on me."
I blushed appropriately.
"And she was good. I mean, if I didn't know that I was her first I would have sworn she was as experienced as she is now." Jess pointed her finger at me, "the one and only time I came hard was with Ms. Dolan, and she was relentless in her pursuit of my ultimate orgasm. Had me begging for her to stop after the third time." She laughed.
"You gave as good as you got, Jess." I offered quietly and received a blush from the woman opposite me.
"Well, you inspired me."
It seemed for just a moment in time there that Jess and I were connected. There was no bar, no friends, no noise. Just me and Jess. Then a voice broke our little peace.
"Ah, there you are. Sorry I'm late."
My eyes shifted from Jess's beautiful face to my arch nemesis standing just behind her. Becky Miller was leaning down to place a kiss on my Jess's cheek. One of her hands had made purchase on one of Jess's shoulders as she whispered something into Jess's perfect ear. I wasn't the only one who growled at the table.
Jess blushed slightly at whatever Becky said before nodding and standing. "Well it seems my rather tardy date has arrived ladies."
I frantically shook my head, "Nuh uh, Jess, you don't want to go with her." Becky took offense to this and pushed Jess behind her as I made my way to save my 'past' from making an even bigger mistake than me.
"Careful Dolan, I wouldn't want to make you look bad in front of the lady here."
I ignored her. "Jess, you should reconsider."
Jess cocked her head to the side and frowned. "What are you trying to say Frankie?"
"I'm saying that she's just like me Jess. All she wants from you is what your body will give her for one night."
Who knew Becky Miller had a right hook the size of West Hollywood? I was flat on my butt watching Jessica Pharr's perfect ass walk out the bar door on Becky's arm.
"JESS!" I cried in vain. Then I confessed and apologized for the first time in my life. "I'M SORRY! I SHOULD HAVE NEVER SLEPT WITH JONI PHILLIPS!"
Jess gave me a fleeting glance before the door closed.
My friends, true to the end picked me up and brushed me off. The evening was over for me. Phyllis agreed to drop me off at home. I made a vow to myself that Saturday night. I was going to turn over a new leaf. Women were no longer sexual objects to me. They were people. People with feelings and emotional needs. One night of pleasure would never replace a lifetime of comfort. I had failed Jessica those many years ago. I had betrayed an unspoken trust. I started a cycle for both of us. Me the user, and she the used.
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