Falling into You Read online

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“Why we should wait? And how to be responsible if we don’t?”

  “Exactly. ” I was almost absurdly relieved that we’d gotten through that discussion without having to say anything overtly embarrassing.

  Again, not ready. So not ready.

  But then I felt his hands sliding onto my back to pull me into an embrace, and suddenly the idea of more with him didn’t seem so absurd.


  Chapter 2: Lucky I’m In Love


  Kyle and I had settled into a comfortable but exciting relationship. In a very significant way, not much had changed between us. We were the same as we’d always been, we just held hands at school and kissed in the hallways, in his car, on the couch in front of movies. Our parents did indeed have “the talk” with both of us about being safe, which was beyond mortifying. They didn’t even give me a chance to tell them we hadn’t even gone past kissing, or that sex wasn’t on our horizon, as yet.

  At least, it wasn’t on mine. Kyle seemed to be taking his cues from me, and I was content to let things stay where they were. I liked kissing Kyle. I liked making out with him on the couch. It was maybe a little like how I hadn’t wanted to push our relationship from friendship into dating, simply because I hadn’t wanted to change something I enjoyed.

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  In reality, deep down, I was scared. I might have psyched myself out a bit with all the shows and movies I’d watched with Becca and Jill that had sex in them. I was afraid the reality wouldn’t live up to my expectations. I mean, I knew in my head, logically, that TV and movies don’t portray things with any degree of accuracy to reality. Even the way characters kissed on screen wasn’t like kissing in real life. I couldn’t explain the difference, even to myself, though.

  I couldn’t say any of this to Kyle, though. I wasn’t sure he’d understand, and I knew it would sound silly. It sounded silly even to myself. But I just couldn’t shake the fears. I knew the facts, sure. I knew a girl’s first time wasn’t always that awesome, and that it hurt. I had plenty of friends at school who’d already had sex and had gotten the details from them. Becca, for example. Setting her up with Jason turned out to be exactly what I’d hoped. They’d been going steady ever since, and Becca had come over late one night, flushed and excited and glowing and fighting tears.

  I sat with her on my bed and clicked the volume up on my TV so the sounds of Teen Mom would drown out our conversation. I waited, fiddling with the drawstrings of my pajama pants, knowing Becca would tell me what was on her mind once she’d gathered the right words. Becca was like that: she never spoke until she’d thought through what she was going to say. She’d struggled with stuttering as a child, and as a result of the speech therapy, she’d learned to plan out every word, every sentence before she spoke. It had a way of making her sound as if she was reading a script, sometimes, which not everyone understood about her.

  I did, though, because I’d known her since before she went through ST. I’d learned to listen past the stuttering to the words she meant to say, and learned not to rush her. Even after ST, you couldn’t rush Becca. She’d say what she meant to say when she was ready, and not before.

  “I s-slept with Jason,” she said. And yeah, Becca still stutters occasionally in moments of extreme emotion.

  I jerked my head up, hair bouncing across my shock-wide eyes. Becca was half-smiling, tight black curls obscuring part of her face. I could see her blushing, which was tricky since she was half-Italian and half-Lebanese, and thus had dark, dusky skin and didn’t often blush.

  “You what? For real? When? Where? What was it like?”

  Becca twisted a curl around her finger and tugged on the springy lock of hair, a sign she was agitated. “It was everything we’d ever heard, Nell. Amazing, awkward, intense, and kind of painful at first. I mean, just like a pinch, not really bad or anything, and after it’s—it’s pretty incredible. Jason was very careful and very gentle. It was his first time too. He was very sweet. It didn’t last long, though. Not like in True Blood, that’s for sure. It was good though. ”

  “Did you bleed?” I asked.

  She nodded. “Yeah, a little. We told our parents we were going to Great Lakes Crossing to shop, but we actually went to a hotel. It wasn’t like I gushed or anything. ” She grinned at me. “The second time was even better, and less awkward. ”

  I frowned. “What’s awkward about it?”

  “Remember when you kissed for the first time? I mean really kissed. Like, made out. Remember how it was completely natural, like you knew what you were doing somehow, but you still had to sort of figure out how to do it right? Where your hands went, and all that? Well, it’s kind of like that. ” She looked out the window at the oak tree branches swaying in the winter wind, and I could tell her mind was back in hotel room with Jason.

  I sat with her in silence, watching Jenelle argue with her mom on the TV. “Do you feel different?” I asked, eventually.

  She nodded. “Yes. A lot. Like, it’s hard to explain how you see everything differently. Physically I don’t feel much different. A little sore down there, but that’s it. Inside my head, I feel older. Wiser. But that’s not it, really, though. I don’t know. This part is the hardest to explain. I guess it’s like I finally understand what the big deal is. ”

  “Do you feel like you were ready?”

  She didn’t answer right away. “I guess. I don’t know. I mean, I wanted to. I really did. We talked about it for weeks, planned out when and where. We went to dinner first and it was romantic. But I was scared. Jason was too, but I think not as much as I was. ”

  I met her eyes and saw the hesitation. “Did he pressure you, Becca?”

  She looked away, then back to me. “A little? I wouldn’t have done it if I didn’t want to. I just might have waited a bit longer, if it was only up to me. ”

  I wasn’t sure how to respond to that. “You were…safe, right?”

  She nodded vigorously. “My cousin Maria is twenty-three, and she took me to get birth control from a clinic. And we used a-a—you know. Protection. ”

  “Could your cousin take me too?”

  Becca met my eyes. “I can ask her, if you’re sure. But wait until you’re sure you’re ready. ”

  She took a couple deep breaths, then her shoulders shook, and I pulled her into a hug. “Are you okay?”

  She shrugged, shook her head, but said, “Yeah, I guess. I’m overwhelmed. I mean, I can’t believe I did that. ” She pulled away and met my eyes. “I”m not a virgin anymore, Nell. I’m a woman, now. ” She laughed, the sound almost a sob.

  “You weren’t ready, were you?” I whispered.

  She collapsed onto me. “N-no. But I love him, Nell. I do. ” She took a long shuddering breath, and then composed herself, sitting back and wiping her face. “I love him and I didn’t want to disappoint him. And-and I knew we couldn’t keep skirting the line like we had been, you know?”

  “What do you mean?”

  “Oh come on, Nell. You know what I’m talking about. You make out, and it gets more and more intense. And eventually, you just know where it’s going, and you have to keep stopping yourselves before it goes there accidentally. Like I said, I really truly did want to. Please don’t think Jason was putting all this pressure on me. It wasn’t that, and it wasn’t that I didn’t want to, because I did. I just…I don’t know how to explain it. ”

  “I think I understand,” I said. “Making out with Kyle is starting to reach that point of having to stop ourselves before we get carried away. ”

  She took my hands in hers. “Well, just do what we did. Talk about it. If it’s going to happen anyway, we figured it would be best to plan it, make sure it happens on our terms, you know?”

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  I nodded, but I had to push away the dizzying storm of thoughts rushing through my head from the conversation. Becca hung out for a while longer,