Food, Cats, and Being in Love

I don't want to think about it
I don't want to talk about it
When I kiss your lips
I want to sink down to the bottom
Of the sea


5. Chapter Five

Since I was kind of sort of dating someone, I decided that maybe following Paige’s advice wasn’t such a bad idea after all. I mean, I wasn’t exactly planning on having sex with Dustin. I guess if it happened, it just happened. But she said it was a good idea to carry them with you just in case you decided on a whim. And since she’d given birth to a child before turning eighteen, I figured it might be best to follow that advice.

But when I bought them I was really embarrassed and shoved them into my closet so that no one could ever find them by accident. Like my mom.

And it was probably a good thing I hid them away because Jaime ended up going through with her promise to help me find furniture. One day I was at home watching the Iron Chef competition with the TV I’d taken from my mom’s house when she showed up at my apartment with a whole dining room set. It was apparently antique, and her mom brought it home with the intent of sanding and staining them. But she never got around to it so they’d been sitting in the garage for two years.

They were beautiful. The entire set was solid wood and had a lot of scuffs and scrapes, but I loved them. It had life. It was used. It was a family dining room table. I offered to pay Jaime and her mom for them, but they said they were just glad to get it out of the garage. And after that Jaime’s mom sort of decided I was her new project and whenever something came into the thrift store that she wanted, she would give me her old stuff. Or save me things she thought I’d like. Then she’d show up at my apartment unexpectedly and dump them off on me.

I ended up with an entirely furnished apartment. I had a new bed, a couch, and even an old TV for my bedroom. Everything was kind of old and mismatched and sometimes she brought really flashy things that had like carved angels and stuff. But I was really thankful to be able to sit down when I got home from school every day.

My second date with Dustin went a lot better than the first, in my personal opinion. We went to a Greek restaurant a few blocks from my house. I’d never had Greek food before but he said he loved it. It was an experience. I was sure I could perfect some of the recipes, but he told me that was blasphemy so I decided to definitely not do that.

But when he was walking me to my door again that night I got really nervous again. My heart started pounding because I wasn’t sure of the protocol. How long were people supposed to date before having sex? It was longer than two dates, right? But at the same time—what if I didn’t follow some unknown protocol and he never wanted to see me again?

Luckily, he didn’t try anything. But he did kiss me. And it had been so long since I’d been kissed that I forgot how it was supposed to go. Plus, this was kind of the first time that I was kissing someone I actually wanted to kiss. Since the last/first guy had been my sister’s boyfriend and I spent years of my life feeling horribly guilty for that. But Dustin seemed to know what he was doing so I just let him do that, and it appeared to work out all right.

Then when he pulled away, he smiled at me with those sparkling blue eyes and said, “Goodnight.”

My sister decided to wait until the very last minute to tell me the supposed dating protocol. She said the official number of dates you should go on before having sex was three. And I really wished she hadn’t told me that. Because it made me really awkward all through our third date and when he walked me upstairs to my door I sort of just stumbled and said, “Do you want to come in?”

He seemed to be familiar with the protocol because the moment the door shut his lips were on mine and my shirt was coming up over my head.

I decided to just go with it. I didn’t really want to turn him away because I liked him a lot and okay, I kind of HAD thought about having sex with him a few times. But I was still really nervous, and I didn’t really want him to know I was a virgin. But Paige’s advice had been pretty sound because it turned out he didn’t have any condoms.

I led him to my bedroom, and we were really sloppy. I didn’t have a clue as to what I was supposed to do, and I wasn’t entirely sure, but I didn’t think he had that much experience either. Though he seemed to know a bit more than I did, so I was certain he wasn’t a virgin. But when we finally got down to it—I really was not having a very good time. And so I told him. That also happened to be the exact moment he figured out I was a virgin. And instead of being nice about it, he laughed.


I’m sure he didn’t mean it nearly the way I felt it. It seemed to be a laugh of relief. But at that moment, I was feeling very uncomfortable and insecure. So I shoved him off of my bed and went to hide in the bathroom.

I was mortified. I didn’t react well when people laughed at me. My usual reaction was to laugh along with them. But being there, doing that, made me feel extremely emotional. He came to the door and knocked.

“I wasn’t laughing at you, Piper,” he said. “I was just glad to hear that because I’ve only ever been with one person, and I’m not always sure what I’m doing.”

“Just go, please?” I replied.

“Please don’t be like this?”

“Just go.”

I heard him sigh before he returned to my bedroom to get his clothes. I waited for him to leave before I left my room, dumped all of the condoms in the trash, and then sat in front of my TV crying over this amazing popcorn I made from scratch.


Even though this story is about Piper finding love, she is not always lucky in love.

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