The week passed and some more memories returned. On Saturday his father got a call from the car repair shop that the car was ready for collection. He asked him if they should pick it up today or on Monday before school and work. They decided to do it on Monday.
On Monday morning his father dropped him at a parking lot next to the repair shop. It wasn’t open yet and Gareth had to wait ten more minutes, but his father had to get to work in time. When he had his car back, he still had a fair amount of time to get back to school, so he drove by the SteamDot Coffee at Northern Lights Boulevard to grab some cappuccino.
It’s been two weeks since he had been last in school. But he couldn’t have missed important stuff, because it was almost the end of the school year.
Right after he shut the door of his Volvo and walked onto the campus, Dylan, a classmate with whom he mostly hung out, headed straight towards him.
“Finished vacation?”, he asked teasingly.
“You have no idea, man!”, Gareth laughed. “If you’d told me, we could have switched places. I wouldn’t say ‘no'.”
“If you prefer school”, he concluded, “over what you had, it must have been a mess.”
“A hell of a mess”. Gareth nodded.
They walked next to each other and after a while, Dylan asked: “Nathalie and you – I saw your pictures on Insta.”
“Our … pictures?” Gareth didn’t know what Dylan was talking about.
“Yeah, she posted this yesterday”, Dylan responded, pulled his phone out of his pocket, and scrolled through the open apps until he found Instagram and handed the phone over to his classmate. “Haven’t you seen that yet?”
“I rarely use it. What should I do with it? Upload selfies? Am I a model or something?”
“You could do stories … Anyway.”
Gareth looked on the screen where Dylan had opened a post with one picture showing him and Nathalie. It was from last summer when he gave her a piggyback ride down the beach. Her right-hand text read: “As some of you asked: Yeah, as friends we are pretty close – I mean, extremely close. And since a few weeks, we are actually dating 😍 #cute #couple #beach #summer #boyfriend #fun”
“Ehm … right” Gareth scratched his head.
“You and her”, Dylan went on, “have you already … you know?”
Frankly, Gareth didn’t want to answer that question, but he didn’t want to be a coward either. He wasn’t sure if he blushed – but hoped, he didn’t.
“No”, he confessed, not able to look his classmate in the eyes but instead looked slightly past him.
“What!?” Dylan was speechless. “You have to keep on the right side of her. She’s a hot chick. Don’t waste her. Or if you don’t want her …”
“Shut up. I already bought condoms”, he lied.
“Give it to her, bro”, Dylan said before he went through the door to the class while Gareth had to go to a room in the next corridor to the right. When he found a seat, he texted: “Hey, what’s up? Wanna meet? What about this weekend? My parents are not at home.” What was usually the case …
The bell rang, and he wanted to put his phone back into his pocket, but Nathalie started typing. He stared at the screen and noticed from the corner of his eye that Kyle collapsed into the chair next to him.
“Gareth, how are you? Everything fine?”, Kyle asked and gave his seatmate a fist bump.
“Yeah”, he responded. “Everything alright.”
His phone vibrated, and he wanted to turn the screen on, but right at this moment, the teacher entered the room.
During lunch break, Josephine, a girl he knew from PE class, sat down at his table in the school canteen.
“I actually wanted to ask you for prom before I saw your Insta post. Congratulations anyway.”
“Thanks. I take that as a compliment.”, replied.
“Just wanted you to know”, she got up. “Just gonna chance it over there.”
Nathalie answered, she’d enjoy spending the weekend with her.
They started watching a movie. It took some time to figure out, which one might suit both, but they eventually agreed on watching a romcom and cuddle slightly under a blanket. The movie wasn’t that outstanding, but it passed time and entertained just enough to not turn the TV off. But it was just a starter or warm-up anyway. Everyone does that. 'Cause you don’t just go straight full-on, right?
She giggled or verbally emphasized moments she considered cute once in a while, while he planned the next step and only somewhat paid attention to the TV screen. The movie was over sooner than he was able to fully prepare his plans, so he turned the TV off, put the remote control back on the cocktail table, and stared at his girlfriend with a smile on his face. She was eye-candy—he knew, how lucky he was. So he didn’t want to mess this up.
Under the blanket, he reached for her hand and brought it outside this cozy darkness.
“Wanna go to my room?”, he asked.
She made a sound of agreement and smiled back. So they climbed up the stairs and set down on his king-size bed. Some time passed and nothing happened—both were unsure, what to do next. Both of them were well aware of what was about to happen, but both of them hesitated to make the first move.
“What’s next?” She finally broke the silence.
“Don’t say anything”, he said. “Unless you want me to stop.”
He started kissing her neck. Seconds later he felt her hand petting the back of his head. ‘Am I doing this right?’, he asked himself, afraid to ask the person who was meant to answer that question. ‘As long as she doesn’t make me stop, she’s enjoying it', he reassured himself instead. After a while, he increased the speed of his kisses and the area he touched with his lips. Then, he stopped, grabbed under her blouse, and started pushing it up.
She cleared her throat to catch his attention as well as buying some time. “Can you … please stop?”, she asked him. “It’s not feeling … I’m not ready for … this … yet.”
He stopped, unsure how to react and where to put his hands, which now felt useless, maybe uncomfortable.
“O-okay”, he stumbled. He wanted to be a gentleman, wanted to make her feel safe and sound. “We can just sleep. It’s okay.”
He thought about his words, then added: “Or if you want to go, that’s okay. I’d understand that.”
“No, it’s fine. I stay. I’m sorry. I thought I’m prepared. I don’t know …”
“It’s okay. Don’t worry. I can wait.”
When she returned from the bath in her T-shirt and boxers she wore at night, she laid on the bed again, facing the wall next to it this time so that he stared at her back. He grabbed the blanket and pulled it over both of them. When she closed her eyes, a tear rolled down her face into the pillow. As much as he tried, he couldn’t get sleep, thinking if he might have done something wrong over and over again.
The next day, she wasn’t able to determine, whether the sun woke her up or the smell of breakfast from downstairs. She climbed down the stairs and was surprised by a table full of food. It was her who had to apologize, but he felt sorry for her. But it wasn’t fair to go now.
During the breakfast, he was more charming than ever and tried to make her smile a dozen times.
She used the shower while he took care of the dishes—on what he insisted—, and when she returned to the kitchen and took a towel to help him dry up the dishes, he asked: “So what do we want to do on this beautiful day?”
“Sorry to break it to you, but I’d rather go home now. Thanks for yesterday evening and the beautiful breakfast, but there’s something I have to think about”, she replied.
He was hit by surprise, but he tried not to show it. Instead, he hugged her and thanked her for coming.
At school, he tried to avoid Dylan as long as possible and brought up excuses why he hasn’t time to talk to him because he didn’t want to look like a loser who couldn’t get laid and had to wrap his head around what happened that night.
On Thursday, Dylan was tired of being ignored and confronted him with his interest in Gareth’s relationship progress.
“We … It was dope”, he eventually told his friend.
“'Dope''s not a word, I’d describe a girl or sex or the like with but not bad. You did it! Congratulations!”
On Friday Nathalie messaged him. She texted, she was finally ready for ‘it’ and they could meet at her place the upcoming weekend.
When she answered the door on Saturday, he was super nervous. He almost died when he saw her parents in the kitchen.
“I thought, we were alone!”, he whispered.
“Almost. They are about to leave. Mum and dad won’t ask you questions; they are too focused on not missing anything for their luggage.
So the couple went to her room and when the door closed behind her parents, she said: “Okay. We do it. But can we skip the foreplay?”
He was a bit confused but agreed. She decided to sit on his lap, face to his feet while riding him. He laid still and watched her back moving up and down slowly. The movement speeded up when she exhaled heavier.
The next week at school, he wasn’t a virgin anymore, and he was so proud. The sex had manifested their relationship. He would have messed it up, but she knew exactly what to do. His hands were shaking when he handed her the condom over, but she put it on like she’d done that already a couple of times before.
“I watched some YouTube tutorials”, she revealed later when they were laying on the bed naked under the blanket. “But don’t tell anyone.”
“Depends on how much they pay”, he answered, and they burst into laughter.
Dylan wanted more details, but Gareth answered sparingly and winked because “a gentleman never tells.”
When he came home from school on Monday, his parents were at home for dinner. At table, they talked about work until they finally turned their heads to Gareth to talk about him.
“Gareth, how was your weekend with Nathalie?”
“How do you …?”
“We are old but not stupid. We know, you are in a relationship, so what else would you do?”
His mother added: “If you need tips for … you know … or have any …”
“Mom, please! That’s embarrassing. I’m fine. And we had sex ed at school, remember? I know what I’m doing.”
During the lunch break, Josephine asked him if he would like to do a presentation together for their history class, and he agreed. The colonization wasn’t his favorite topic, but Josephine was fairly good at it, so they agreed to meet once per week in the afternoon in the library. She said she already had some books in mind, they could use.
After school, Gareth and Nathalie met again at the Rustic Goat. She said, she wanted to tell him something.
After a brief kiss, he asked: “Good or bad news?”
“Depends”, she responded. “Both, I guess. I have to clarify some paperwork for college they won’t send back. I’ll stay with my aunt. She lives there.”
“What about school?”
“I already talked to the principal. It’s not a problem. My grades are fine, and I’ll be back before the exams. But we won’t see each other for two weeks. Can you live without me for that long?”
“Barely, but I’ll do my best.”
Two weeks is a long time if you are together for just a couple of weeks, but he felt confident, it would work out after last weekend.
She needed a new blazer, so they went to the stores to get her one. While he mostly needed half an hour to get clothes, she needed two. But he appreciated that he could spend time with her before she left. When they left 5th Avenue Mall, they didn’t just buy a blazer.
He drove her to Ted Stevens Airport the next day early in the morning before school. At school, he constantly thought about her being on the plane while he had to study. But he eventually suppressed these thoughts and focussed on what the teacher told the class.