Katie, part 2

30 Aug

Kevin pulled back from me. “You, sir, have extremely soft lips.”

It’s true. I have extremely soft lips.

The others at our table had been spinning an empty beer bottle for the usual reasons people spin bottles. That is, to have an excuse to make out with other people of varying levels of acquaintanceship and also to have an excuse to empty more bottles. These goals complement one another with a rare and perfect symbiosis. I chose to play, partly out of nostalgia and partly because the odds favored me. No other males besides us sat at the table. The shapely and fashionable asses of any number of attractive girls surrounded us, and I wanted to kiss the lips that belonged to them. I say “any number” because I don’t remember what that number was, but it exceeded two by a comfortable margin. Not to mention that Kevin remained very publicly romantically entwined, so the genuinely available options at the table amounted to me. My luck felt good. Also, I wanted to be drunk, and Kevin kept buying my drinks.

Here is another rule of internet dating: Never believe your luck is good. An addendum to that rule is that in particular, you should never believe your luck is good while you’re in Dayton, Ohio. An addendum to that is that if, for some reason, you have to be in Dayton, Ohio, you might as well be drunk.

Kevin had spun the bottle. It wobbled through a spot of spilled beer, dampening the label and dragging down its spin. It stopped, pointing at me. I looked up into half a dozen expectant faces. These girls played spin the bottle with uncompromising rules. I thought about times I’d seen unquestionably straight girls make out with one another to the end of making as many guys in the room as horny as possible. Its effectiveness as a tactic was undeniable. Kevin and I looked at each other and shrugged. We leaned toward each other.

Katie had just arrived, tipsy already, pouting and tapping her lips. For the moment, everyone’s attention stayed focused on Kevin and me. Katie wanted that attention focused on her. She swayed with pickled confidence on thin legs crammed into skinny jeans and pointy-toed boots. Her long brown hair framed a pleasantly curved face and glasses with thick rims. Clearly she was one of those (one of us) who’d put on weight after high school, except instead of thickening uniformly, she’d put it all on between her shoulders and waist. It reminded me of a tube of toothpaste someone had squeezed hard at the bottom. Katie demanded a kiss from everyone present. For some reason, I thought she was pretty.

Kevin refused her, looking away and loudly wondering where Anna had gone. Later at his house, he would tell me that Katie had pursued him for months, trying to pry him away from Anna. He told me about her late night phone calls, her constant attempts to get him alone, her casual contempt for Anna. He neglected to tell me, as did any of the two dozen or so people who could have told me, that she had a boyfriend of her own. You see, if I’d known that, I would be less useful as a distraction.

Katie moved on to me.

“Who are you?” Without waiting for me to respond, she pulled my head toward hers and kissed me.


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