SCENE ONE: Virginia Beach in August, late morning
Dawn and I are lying on a raft in the ocean, stomach down, riding the waves. Three guys on the sand are watching us. Two are tall and blond, one is shorter and dark-haired.
They're sailors on leave. You can tell from the haircuts and the muscled torsos.
"I want you," Dawn is saying in her put-on Kentucky hillbilly drawl. "I want to rub your big dick and feel your sperm gushing all over my hand."
I'm laughing my head off and casting quick glances at them. I don't think they can hear us. They seem dazed, perplexed by us—or maybe it's the sun in their eyes? But they keep watching.
SCENE TWO: Early afternoon
I come out to the pool at the motel. Dawn is already there, stretched out on a lounge chair, talking to the three sailors, who are acting like they belong there.
"This is my aunt," she says to them. She likes to call me her "aunt" which is technically true, even though I'm the same age she is, eighteen. Actually, my half-sister is her father's second wife, so I'm her half-step-aunt.
"She goes to Princeton," Dawn continues. "And she's so smart they told her she could skip a year."
Also technically true, but I decided not to use my AP credits. Why graduate early when I didn't have a clue as to what I wanted to do with my life?
I smile self-consciously, aware of what she is doing to me, making me into a freak, the less desirable of the two of us, just in case any of them have other ideas.
Again they look me up and down with expressions I can't read. I sit down on the free lounge chair. We chat a bit and it comes out I'm the outsider in another way—they're all from Ohio, I'm not.
SCENE THREE: Dusk
Dawn and I are driving around in a car with the three sailors. Somehow we got permission from her father and my mother to go on this "date." It was pretty naïve of them, letting us go off with three horny guys we just met, but parents are pretty naïve when it comes to those things.
Dawn is in the back seat with the dark-haired one, whom she's decided is the cutest. He is also the most charming and he's eighteen, the others are a geriatric twenty. It isn't hard for me to give in on this one. Mr. Charming may have the TV looks, but he's not my type.
That leaves me with the blonds. Chuck is a gruff smart-alec, with square features and a sturdy worker's body. He's in the back, too, drinking beer. Joe is driving. He's Mr. All-American and reminds me of a lot of Princeton legacies I've dated. I'm sitting in the front next to him. I try to make conversation with him but it's slow going.
Before long I realize they aren't going to take us out to eat or to an arcade on the boardwalk like you might do on a real date. We're just going to drive around.
SCENE FOUR: The Carolina border, after dark
Somehow we get to the Carolina border. We all get out and walk around in the hot, mosquito-heavy night.
"So, this is North Carolina," I say.
Dawn and Mr. Charming giggle. The blonds say nothing.
When we get back in the car, Chuck slides into the front seat and pulls me onto his lap. I don't protest. It's obvious Joe and I are going nowhere. There was talk of Joe's girlfriend back home in Ohio, and he seems the gentlemanly type.
Joe starts to drive. Sitting on Chuck's lap like this, I realize I can't put on a seatbelt.
Meanwhile Dawn and her guy are making soft, sloppy kissing sounds in the back.
Earlier there was some sly reference to Chuck seeing "an older woman." But he is not a gentleman. He immediately starts kissing me and doing things to my neck that will later show up as ugly purple blotches.
He gets bolder. His hands have a desperate, grasping feel as he kneads my breasts. Then he says, "Hey, don't you want to show Joe your pretty titties?"
I don't particularly—and his words shock me—but I don't say no. (This scenario—a rude-talking guy undressing me for another man's eyes—has become a standard in the repertory of my sexual fantasies.) I do cry out when he rips my dress as he pulls it down over my shoulders.
"Sorry, sorry," he mumbles. He bows his head, but I see a flash of rebellion in his eyes. The guys had joked that he often gets in trouble on the ship for insubordination.
It's my chance to put a stop to things, but I don't. Now I'm topless and he's touching me, pinching my nipples.
"Isn't that nice? You like that, don't you?"
Actually it's uncomfortable, it almost hurts, but I don't say anything. Joe stares at the road.
SCENE FIVE: Back in Virginia, about ten pm?
At Chuck's insistence we stop again. He pulls me out of the car into a trailer park. I don't see any pink flamingoes on the lawns, but it's that kind of place.
"Let's do it here," he says.
"Here?" I ask. On the ground in a trailer park? Then I say, "Okay."
He lays me down on the damp grass, pushes up my dress, yanks off my underwear, and gets on. He starts to pump, without regard to my pleasure. But oddly enough, I am enjoying it. I'm staring up at the stars glittering like silver thread on black velvet, and suddenly I'm floating up there looking down at us and thinking how shocked everyone in my life would be to see a perfect A-student good girl lying on the grass next to a trailer getting fucked by a guy she just met. For a moment I'm a completely different person with a completely different life—a slut, a whore, trailer trash. I sense I'll remember the moment forever.
Soon Chuck pulls out and comes on my belly. Instinctively, I scoop the warm, gooey mess up in my hand and wipe it on the back of his T shirt.
"Eeuuww, why'd you do that?" he says and pulls his shirt off.
I notice he has nice muscles, but wonder why he's so disgusted by his own jizz and what he thought I was supposed to do with it.
SCENE SIX: Even later
Joe drops the two loving couples off at a townhouse—a cousin's place or something, I don't catch the story—and drives off.
It's freezing inside. There is no furniture downstairs. It's totally empty, like a house up for sale.
Dawn and Mr. Charming go upstairs where there is reportedly a bed. Of course, there's only a carpet downstairs. With Dawn, I always seem to get the leftovers.
Chuck looks at me and says, "Let's do it again."
What follows is the most comprehensive catalog of sexual positions I've ever tried—standing up against the wall, doggie style in all sorts of variations, him on top with my one leg up on his shoulders, then both legs up, on our sides with him taking me from behind. He moves me every which way as if I'm a bendable doll. In forty-five minutes, we cover as varied an array of sexual positions as most couples do in twenty years of marriage. I figure the "older woman" has taught him all of this and am quietly impressed.
He comes again. I don't, but this time I am definitely aroused. Chuck falls asleep and I put on my torn dress, then sit beside him in the cold, hugging my knees.
Dawn and her sailor come downstairs. He tells us he'll drive us back to the motel. Dawn looks at Chuck sleeping there nude, his penis soft and curled against his blond pubic hair. She snorts, "Yuck, that's disgusting."
I feel a pang of protectiveness and look around for something to cover him up with, but there isn't really anything, so I just leave.
SCENE SEVEN: The motel, well after midnight
When Mr. Charming drops us off at the motel, he writes his address down for Dawn and looks sad, almost stricken. "I'll miss you. I want to see you again. Write to me. Please."
We sneak back into the motel room. I reel around a bit, woozy, though I haven't had anything to drink but a sip of beer hours before.
I bury the ruined dress deep in my suitcase. I won't see the hickies all over my neck until the next morning when my mother points them out. She calls them "passion marks."
Dawn whispers to me that her guy was a virgin. He was between her legs and kept asking, "Is it in?" and she could hardly keep from laughing at him. But finally he did get it in. She takes the paper with his address and throws it in the trash.
She doesn't ask me for any details of my encounter and I don't tell her. I know she assumes mine wasn't as good because my sailor wasn't as cute. Besides, everyone knows nerdy girls can't have adventures. She's wrong, of course, but stereotypes aren't always wrong. This is what I learn that night.
Everything they say about sailors is true.