"So what is going on with you and Karen, Seth?" Pete asked, giving Seth a mischievous look. "Have you notched that belt, yet?"
Grimacing as well as giving Pete a dirty look, Seth didn't say anything at first. Of course, his ignoring Pete's question at first only peaked the interest of the other men sitting at the table.
It was Pete Chase, Zeke Yeager, and Billy Yeargain. The four of them had been going to these Friday night hangouts for close to three years now. Sure, he had invited Karen to their hangout tomorrow night, but Friday was a guy's night. At least, until Pete got too drunk to remember that it was a guy's night and started prowling for some local tail. Zeke must have brought Billy, because Billy couldn't drive. In the six or seven years that he had known Seth, Seth had never, not once, seen him own a driver's license. He did have a non-driver's license, as an identification card, but he couldn't drive. Zeke was one of the newest members of their group; he had only been hanging around them for the last two or three years. Seth enjoyed getting to know Zeke. Although, both Zeke and Pete seemed to have difficulty grasping the concept of taking in a face to face conversation. Pete probably had difficulty with that concept because he was a raging drunk. When they went out, his goal (and he would tell you, too, because he was nothing if not brutally honest), was to get drunk and get laid. And, nine times out of ten, he succeeded. And boy, did he tell Seth about his conquests. In raunchy, vivid detail.
In a way, Pete was kind of like one of the characters in the movie Mystery, Alaska. Seth could totally see him describing riding one of his women in a similar way to one of the scenes in that movie, what with saying he was riding her like a wet walrus. Sad, but oh so true. And secretly (nine times out of ten, he would deny it if anyone brought it up in public), he got a sick pleasure out of hearing of Pete's conquests. Part of the reason was because he knew that he could never live such a wild and carefree life. So, in a way, he lived vicariously through Pete.
Zeke, on the other hand, the reason he didn't always pay that good of attention wasn't because he was drinking too much. It was probably more based on the fact that he had Asperger's and paying attention was just too hard. It took Seth a while to realize that Zeke had Asperger's though. In fact, Billy was the one that told him. Billy was, what the guys liked to joke about, Zeke's wife This was funny for two main reasons: one, because Billy was not a homosexual, and two, Zeke was. Zeke and the other guys knew that Billy and Zeke were not actually a married couple, but they did do practically everything together, It oftentimes got Billy worked up, too, defending his "honor" and saying that he was not married to Zeke. Anytime that happened, Pete and Seth would comment easily that they boys must be having a spat, which ultimately only made Billy more flustered and upset.
That was why the boys got along so well; they gave each other shit in pretty equal piles. And apparently, today, it was Seth's turn to get it laid on him, because Zeke and Billy were quick to jump on Pete's bandwagon in questioning Seth about his relationship with Karen. Of course, just because it was his turn to get harassed about it didn't mean that Seth had to enjoy it.
"You made a move on Karen?" Billy asked, turning to Seth.
"It's about damn time," Zeke murmured, eyes still diverted to his iPhone screen.
"No, I did not 'make a move' on Karen," Seth mumbled. "I invited her out with us tomorrow night."
"Oh brother," Pete exclaimed. "You are doing this all wrong, Seth. If you would just go up to her and say, 'Look, bitch, I want to fuck you,' you would undoubtedly be more successful at catching her attention."
"Yeah," Zeke agreed easily, "she would smack the bejesus out of you and storm away."
"Then let her go and focus more intently on the women who would take that comment as a challenge," Pete responded easily, holding his beer bottle up to indicate to the waitress that he was ready for another one.
Again, Seth grimaced and bit the inside of his cheek. He did love Pete, but in this matter, they were complete opposites. He liked hearing about his conquests, sure . . . after all, the way he told them, they almost always sounded like something you could see on Bravo or some other reality TV show, but he did not feel good about discussing his attempts to win Karen over. He knew that Karen was ok with his other friends, for the most part, but she and Pete bumped noses a little more than Seth would have liked. Since he was not currently dating Karen, though, it didn't seem to matter much. It would only matter if he ever got the balls to man up and ask her out, but even then, it would only matter if Karen brought it up, because Seth was pretty sure that Pete didn't have enough brain cells to remember that he didn't like Karen half the time. Plus, Karen was not someone who held a grudge, at least, not externally. She could bite down her harsh words better than anyone Seth had ever met, when it mattered. And, keeping Seth happy seemed to matter to her, because she usually tolerated his drunken friend pretty well.
"Well, I think you'll be ok," Billy offered with a happy go lucky smile. "I'm sure if you asked Karen out, that you would find out that she likes you, too."
Usually, Billy's positive spin on situations tended to cheer Seth up. Today, though, was not a "usual" kind of day. Today, it actually angered him even more than hearing all of the other things that Pete and Zeke had said so far. Trying to change the subject, Seth asked, "Is Will coming tonight?"
Will Asher had been one of Seth's longest friends. The two of them had been best friends since seventh grade. It was kind of funny how they met; Seth had tried copying off of Will in math class, because he did not understand anything that his Geometry teacher said. It was a lot like the teacher on the Peanuts commercial, the "Wa wa, wa wa, wa wa," - droning, monotonous voice. Seth shuddered just remembering the experience. Anyway, of course, Will caught on that Seth was copying his answers, and he said, "Dude, why are you copying off of me?"
Seth had been embarrassed, but Will did something unexpected - he offered to tutor Seth. Not only did he offer his services in math, but he had also offered his services in their Chemistry and Biology classes as well. Once Seth got to know Will, and Will got to know Seth, the two of them discovered that they actually had a lot in common. And in time, they became really good friends. Seth considered Will one of his best friends - Will and Pete.
"Uh, no, I think Will is staying home with the Mrs," Pete said as he paid the waitress who had brought him a new drink.
The "Mrs" that he was referring to was not actually Will's wife . . . yet. But as far as Seth was concerned, they might as well have been married. Hell, they had been dating for six or seven years. Though, if he were being completely honest, Seth could really only say that he had been friends with Emi for about two years. There was just something about her that made her hard to like right away. Maybe it was because, as Pete said, she was messing up his and Will's "bromance." Whether that was true or not, it didn't really matter anymore. The point was, Seth was all right with Emi now, so there wasn't too much to be worried about, now.
Raising his newly poured Corona bottle, Pete offered a loud, "To the Mrs!"
Seth, Billy, and Zeke all raised their respective drinks and affirmed, "To the Mrs!"
For the next half hour or so, the men continued shooting the bull and talking about their upcoming week. But of course, once they got to work, that brought the men right back to where they had been a half hour before - talking about Seth and his coworker, or Seth and his best (female) friend, or Seth and his hope to be fuck buddy (Pete's terms), or Seth and his soon to be girlfriend (Billy's, Zeke's, and Will's terms).
"You seriously aren't going to try anything tomorrow?" Zeke asked, actually setting his iPhone down for a second. Turning to look at Seth, he tried again, "Are you sure you really like this chick? I thought all men that went that way knew what they wanted and automatically went for it."
"No, not all men are like that," Seth said.
"All heterosexual men should be like that," Pete clarified. "How else would you expect someone to get fucked?"
"Pete, life isn't about getting fucked," Seth tried.
"Bull shit," Pete laughed. "You need to notch the belt."
"Oh, I'm sure he's notched the belt at least once or twice," Zeke said, once again turning his attention to his iPhone. Then, lifting his eyes to momentarily stare at Seth again, he asked, "Right?"
As much as Seth wanted to play off that question as nonplussed, he couldn't quite keep the blush from coloring his cheeks a warm, light red.
"Wait, wait, wait," Pete said quickly, setting his drink on the table and giving his full attention to Seth. "Are you seriously saying that you haven't fucked at all . . . as in, ever?"
"I didn't say that," Seth tried, but Pete cut him off.
"No, you didn't say that, but you didn't say anything. You've still got your fucking V-card!"
Putting his head down, Seth just ignored everything else they said, praying that they would all get too drunk to remember this embarrassing moment. Because, honestly, Seth was not a virgin. He had sex . . . with a hooker . . . Right after Karen had broken up with Jordan the second time they had dated (man, those two were the most on again off again couple that Seth had ever seen). Anyway, the night that Seth had lost his virginity was the night that Karen told him about her and Jordan breaking up, and how she needed to "blow off some steam" which really meant that she was going to go find some drunk ass hole to fuck her brains out and forget that he had done it. Seth, meanwhile, had just decided that he officially liked Karen . . . again, not in an "I'll love you forever, until the day we die," sort of way, but still, he did decide that she was worth waiting for, or worth pursuing. Anyway, he had decided that he needed to tell Karen that he was interested in her, but she brushed him off (ok, to be more accurate, Seth figured the appropriate term would have been "blew him off" as she did not give him her attention or the light of day), and left. Hurt and angered by the fact that every time he had tried to tell Karen how he felt about her she managed to escape easily, he took out his wallet and looked for the business card that Pete had given him for his birthday - a hooker hotline card, or something along those lines. A card with a phone number that Pete used during his dry spells to get a piece of tail without having to concede any personal time like one would be expected to do in an actual relationship.
The girl that they sent was named Petra. And oh lord, was she a pretty little thing. She was extremely short; Seth wasn't even sure that she cleared five feet tall. Her build was thin, but she had some muscle to her. Although, that wasn't too surprising to Seth . . . he figured that when a lady was a prostitute, she probably got a lot of really good workouts. Though her skin was very pale, her hair and eyes were a deep, dark brown. When she spoke, she spoke English, but it was heavily accented. Seth wasn't really sure that she was a legal individual. For all he knew, she could have been smuggled in to the country. But that didn't really bother him that night. He needed to fuck somebody, somebody that wasn't Karen. Somebody that wouldn't expect him to come back around (unless he paid, of course). That was what prostitutes were for, right?
Anyway, like he said, he fucked that Russian girl, Petra. He fuck her long, and good. He would have thought that because he was a virgin, that it would have meant that he would have been quick, but that was not the case. He actually lasted quite a while, much longer than he initially thought that he would. Certainly, he knew that in all likelihood, he did not give her an orgasm, but he felt that he could hold his own among other men for his stamina. And, she seemed to enjoy herself. Of course, hell, that could have just been her facade, but who was he kidding, it didn't matter if she enjoyed herself or not. She was a prostitute.
Because he had kept the fucking of the Russian prostitute a secret, even from Pete, he really couldn't bring it up right then. If he did, the guys wouldn't believe him. Hell, Seth had been the one to actually do the fucking and even he was having trouble buying the story. But it was true. Maybe if he wouldn't have chickened out on telling Karen that he had fucked a hooker that night, he would have been able to tell his male friends, but he couldn't bring himself to do it. He couldn't tell her back when it had first happened and he certainly couldn't tell her now. The reason he could never tell her right after it had happened was because he was ashamed of the way he had acted. If he were the woman that he supposedly had feelings for, it would be incredibly difficult to believe that after he had fucked one of the Russian hookers from Pete's collection of "go tos". He couldn't tell her after the shame had died down because he was embarrassed by the fact that he had been so weak.
So, there he sat, being gaped at and laughed at by three of his best friends, knowing the truth but being unable to do anything to tell them about it. He truly was stuck between rock and a hard place. And to be sure, it was incredibly uncomfortable. He hadn't thought that it could get so stuffy, but that was exactly what it did. As the three men slowly shifted the conversation away from Seth (because they could see how upset he was getting, and they truly did not want to upset him), Seth tried to inhale deeply, count to ten, and calm down. It took much longer than he would have initially thought it would take to feel normal, again, but once he could see straight and breathe normally, he figured the trauma was over.
With a shake of his head to clear his thoughts, Seth turned back in to his friends' conversation and tried to shift back into their musings as seamlessly as possible.