I met Nate and Xavier around the same time. Only I don’t remember the first night I ever met Xavier – I only remember the first night we almost had sex.
We all used to hang out at a place called The Pavilion on the boardwalk. It’s where the freaks gathered – the outcasts and lonely and forgotten and stoners and druggies and musicians and anyone else who didn’t fit in to the nice, rich, surfer theme of Ocean City. We scared kids and were the people your parents warned you about. We had blue and purple and green and pink hair and wore trench coats and had piercings we had done ourselves. I met Xavier there.
We had an instant connection. I remember being completely smitten with him, so when he invited me over one night I jumped at the chance to sneak out. Of course, he only wanted sex, but I was so obsessed I was willing to give it to him. So I snuck out and walked the approximately ten blocks to his house in the middle of the night, and met him at his front door. His parents were heavy sleepers, I guess, because he always had people in and out in the middle of the night. I was fourteen and he was sixteen, and had spiky red hair. Come to think of it, I don’t think he wore any colors but red and black for the first few months I knew him.
He invited me in and we started making out on the couch. One of his friends, Mikey, was I believe staying there that night, too, so he asked him for a condom and kicked him out. And I would have lost my virginity that night, hairy vagina and all, only it wouldn’t go in. Eventually we gave up, which was for the best because my actual losing-my-virginity story is much better.
And that’s the story of the beginning of one of my first loves. The other is much more complicated.
I met Nate at that party Chris Gillen and I both attended. A friend named Sarah was having a small get-together before freshman year started and Nate and I were both invited. He was wearing a bowler hat and eating a box of munchkins, which are really just donut holes. He didn’t say a word the entire night, which I later found out was because he was stoned, but we both noticed each other. I was wearing a tight orange shirt and baggy blue pants. It’s funny how I can remember small details like that but not much of the next time we met.
The night of the party I ended up hooking up with someone else – Mike. Mike has a part in this story later on. But for that night Mike and I hooked up and he thought we were dating and it took me a week or so to finally get rid of him. A few weeks after that I was walking or riding my bike down past the Tabernacle, the local church where, for some unknown reason, a bunch of us used to hang out. Nate was also walking or riding his bike (I don’t remember which of us was doing what). One of us was with Gillen. I also don’t remember what we said to each other, but somehow after that we started hanging out. Every. Damn. Day.
Nate fell in love fast, and hard. I wasn’t quite as willing. It took six months for me to finally agree to date him exclusively, after I dated his best friend and he dated mine. But I do remember our first kiss.
We were on the middle bench in the left row, closest to the outside edge. My head rested in his lap as his hand caressed my stomach; he were facing the ocean and I was facing him; his eyes focused on me while I studied a gray button on his shirt.
He bent his body down towards mine. His vampiric teeth bit through the black jelly bracelet on my wrist, which he lifted in your mouth as he straightened his back, slithering the broken strand of soft plastic off my skin and dangling it inches above my lips. Taunting was always his strong suit.