Brody’s body makes me a little nervous and I think he knows it. I’ve been very open about exploring above the waist. I kiss his chest and his neck and his face and his ears, and run my hands through his hair, and all that is great. But I never ever even touch him below the belt. He’s never even had his boxers off in my presence.
There are a few reasons for this. First, I’m a little nervous about the catheter situation, and how to deal with that. Also, I’m a little scared of his penis. Or of penises in general. I’ve never had sex before, never touched a man’s penis, and the whole idea is a little bit terrifying.
And then of course, there’s the fact that Brody seems completely uninterested in sex. Which makes sense if he can’t feel anything.
But on the other hand, I feel like it’s something we should do at some point. We’re adults. Most adults who have been in a relationship as long as we have do have sex. It’s getting the point where it’s weird that we haven’t.
One day when we’re lying in bed together, kissing and touching, Brody says out of nowhere, “I can have sex, you know.”
“Oh,” I say.
“I just…” He heaves a deep breath. “In case you want, I mean, I can. It’s no big deal either way.”
We look at each other. I know that this is the time for honesty. As hard as it’s going to be, I need to tell him the truth. “I’m still a virgin,” I say.
To my surprise, he says, “Yeah.”
I stare at him. “You knew?”
“Well,” he says, “I didn’t know, but I sort of suspected, yeah.”
My cheeks burn. I remember Sean’s comment about how neither of them were sure if I’d ever had a boyfriend before. Does he think I’m so disgusting that no other man would have slept with me? Does everyone I meet know that I must be a virgin?
“Just because you seemed so nervous about it,” he adds quickly.
Nice save, Brody.
“You don’t have to be nervous though,” he says, as he touches my face. “I’m the one who should be nervous. I have zero control over it. If anyone screws things up, it’s going to be me.”
There’s a question running through my head that I was always afraid to ask him. I think now is the time though. “How many girls have you… you know, slept with?”
"Eight," Brody answers. "Only one since my injury though."
That means he'd had sex with seven girls by the time he was 19. God knows how many girls he'd have slept with if he hadn't broken his neck. He’s probably be aiming for the world’s record by now. It's not all that surprising, I guess. He's an attractive guy.
"What happened with... you know, that girl you were dating before me?" I ask. “The older one.”
“She wasn’t that old.” Brody makes a face. “Linda was, like, ten years older than me. But the bigger issue was that she was my PCA, and it was really hard to separate that from our relationship. And yeah, she did like to boss me around, and she always thought she knew better than I did. I mean, I moved out of my parents’ house to get away from that, and then I ended up with this really controlling girlfriend.”
"So you dumped her?"
He shakes his head. "Not exactly. It just kind of spiraled downward for a long time. She kept being my evening PCA even after we were dating and I felt like it was inappropriate. I mean, you don't want your girlfriend doing that kind of personal stuff for you, and I didn't want to feel like I had to count on her. Plus I was still paying her, so it felt really unethical and I was afraid the insurance company would bust us. That was the last thing I needed.” He shakes his head. “So I said I was going to hire someone else, and she got really jealous. And pissed off at me, because I was kind of firing her. She basically told me that if I didn't keep her on as my PCA, she was going to dump me. And I wouldn't, so she dumped me."
"Wow," I say, running my hand over his chest. "That's rough."
"I was pretty wrecked," he says. "It was like five years since I'd had a girlfriend when she came along, and she knew it. We didn’t end on the best terms and when we broke up, she pretty much said to me, ‘Good luck finding someone else.’ I tried not to let it get to me, but it did. I was really scared that I'd never meet another girl again. And... well, I guess it was a while before I did. Almost three years." He smiles at me. "But it's been worth the wait."
I touch his face, feeling the little hairs of his five o'clock shadow under my fingertips. It's so sexy when he says stuff like that.
"Whatever you want to do is fine with me, Emily," he says. "I mean, Linda was used to sex, so we had sex. I took a pill and I was able to perform for her, so you and I could do that. But I'm definitely not in any kind of rush. At all. I can't feel it anyway, so it's really your call." He grins at me. “I’m perfectly satisfied just eating you out.”
It would almost be easier if he took the decision out of my hands, if he was a usual pushy guy who wanted to have sex with me non-stop. Now I'm not sure what I want to do. "Could I see it? I mean, your penis?" And then I blush fifty shades of red.
"Um, I guess so," Brody says hesitantly. His eyebrows scrunch together and I almost want to take it back. But I want to do this—I need to do this. "Can you…um… give me a hand getting my pants down?”
“And what about your…” I start to say the word but I can’t quite get it out. I can see Brody isn’t going to help me, so I have to say it. “Um, your catheter?”
Brody frowns at me. "Well, like I told you before, it’s not in my penis. It's a suprapubic catheter, so it actually goes right into my bladder, and it drains into a bag on my leg. Mike could clamp it if we decide to... you know."
“Oh,” I say.
“We don’t have to do this,” Brody says quickly. “I mean, if it’s too weird or… it’s okay, that’s all I’m saying.”
“No,” I say firmly. “I really want to.”
I undo the button on Brody's pants, and he shoves at it with his hand. Between the two of us, we manage to get his pants down far enough that I'm able to gently free his penis. I also see the tube snaking out of a tiny hole in his lower abdomen, which has a small amount of yellow liquid hovering in it, and disappears down his pants leg.
Considering I've never seen a penis up close before, Brody's isn't terribly intimidating. It's not hard, for starters. It's crumpled, circumcised (I think), and the skin feels actually very soft under my fingers.
"Not impressive, I know," Brody says, getting a little red in the cheeks. He looks at me anxiously. "If you rub it, it will get harder though. I swear. You just have to..." He attempts to clasp his penis with his right hand, although he obviously can't get much of a grip. I guess it's a good thing he can't feel anything, because it's pretty clear he wouldn't be able to masturbate.
I grip his penis firmly in my fist and start moving my hand up and down, like I've seen women do in the porn I've watched online. It does grow harder, but not like in the porn. Maybe half of what I would have expected. Frankly, I don't even know how we'd be able to have sex.
"The Viagra makes a huge difference," Brody assures me, his eyebrows scrunched together.
“It’s okay,” I say. And it really is.
I play with his penis a little while longer, but I think we’re both sort of relieved when I put it away again. I do want to have sex with him. But I don’t know if either of us is really ready yet.
The next week, we have dinner with Brody’s friend Max and his girlfriend Jess. As I had hoped she would be, Jess is becoming my first real friend since I moved to the city. (Well, aside from Brody.) We’ve gone to the movies a bunch of times, and gotten dinner out together. I love her—I really do. I love her sense of humor and I love that she’s a great listener. And most of all, I love that we got bagels last week, and she didn’t say to me, “Gee, Emily, are you sure you should have a bagel? Those things have sooo many carbs.” Like someone did at the stupid morning meeting we had yesterday at work.
The four of us go to a restaurant that the three of them apparently know very well. It’s a Greek restaurant that boasts “award-winning” Spanakopita and is only a few blocks from Brody’s apartment. Brody and Max keep calling it “Spank-o-pita” and then they laugh at themselves. Boys are cute when they’re silly.
I’ve gotten to know Jess a little bit recently, so it’s easy to notice that she isn’t her usual self tonight. She’s practically bouncing in her seat. I remember a comment Jess made the last time I saw her, about how she thought Max might propose soon.
As I’m thumbing through my menu, I hear her murmur to Max, “Can we tell them?” And he murmurs back, “Can’t we wait till the food comes?” And she says back, “Please?”
This is so painfully obvious. Brody and I can both hear them, and he shoots me a confused look. Maybe it’s not as obvious to him.
“So guess what?” Jess finally says. She whips out her left hand from under the table. “We got engaged!”
Yeah. Knew it.
“Wow!” Brody exclaims. I’m pretty sure he was clueless. “That’s amazing. Congratulations!”
“Yes, congratulations! I’m so happy for you!” I say. And you know what? I mean it. I told my former best friend Lisa I was happy for her when she got engaged, even though that felt like a dagger in my chest. But now I’m genuinely happy for Jess and Max. I’m excited to go to their wedding. With Brody.
Oh my God, going to a wedding with an actual date! This might be the best wedding ever.
“We haven’t picked a date quite yet,” Jess says thoughtfully. “We don’t want to wait too long. We’re probably going to have the ceremony in Maine, where my whole family is.”
“In the meantime, I’ve been thinking about who I want for my best man,” Max says, looking pointedly at Brody.
Brody’s eyes widen and he shakes his head. “You should pick Ford.”
Max’s face falls. “Brody, come on. Ford’s great, but you’re my…”
Brody’s cheeks flush slightly pink. “Look, let’s talk about this later, okay? But I think you should pick Ford.”
Having been in a few wedding before, I understand why Brody doesn’t want to be the best man. When you’re in a wedding, everyone in the room is staring at you during the entire ceremony. And when you’re the best man, it’s got to be a million times worse. I’m sure Brody doesn’t want that.
Anyway, we order a bottle of champagne to celebrate. I can’t help but notice though that Brody doesn’t drink any of the champagne. At one point, Max tips the bottle at him slightly and raises his eyebrows, but Brody just shakes his head. It occurs to me that I’ve never seen Brody drink alcohol even once in all the time we’ve been dating. It’s so weird after all the things Camille told me about how Brody was in high school. I can’t help but wonder if it has anything to do with Sean. It seems like after watching his brother wreck both their lives with alcohol, he probably realized it wasn’t worth it.
Even though we’ve only known each other a short time, Jess makes me promise to be one of her bridesmaids. I’m truly touched. And then at one point between drinks, Jess slurs, “You guys are totally going to be next!”
And of course, that causes Brody and me to exchange awkward glances. I don’t think either of us really thinks we’re going to get married any time soon. I mean, we haven’t even had sex yet.
It’s pretty late by the time we get back to Brody’s place, and we know that Mike will be by soon to help him get ready for bed. I sit down on his couch and he kisses me. “Hey,” he says, his blue eyes meeting mine. “Can I ask you something weird?”
Instinctively, I feel my stomach fill with butterflies. “Okay…”
“I know it’s really far in the future and neither of us are ready right now,” he begins, “but someday, down the line, do you think you could ever, like…” His cheeks turn slightly pink. “Do you think you could see yourself marrying someone like me?”
I stare at him, completely shocked he just said that to me. “You or someone like you?”
“Me, I guess,” he mumbles. And now his whole face is bright red.
“Yes,” I say, the calmness of my voice betraying the fact that I’m doing cartwheels in my head. “I would.”
“Yeah?” Brody’s eyes light up. “That’s… I mean, that’s good to know, for sure. Because, you know… it’s something I’ve been sort of thinking about lately…”
He wants to marry me. He wants to marry me! Not now, of course, but somewhere down the line… this man could be my husband. Wow. Holy shit.
I put my hand on his. I feel so incredibly close to him right now that the thought of leaving the apartment is almost painful. I slide my hand into his, even though he can’t grip me back. “Hey,” I say.
“Hey yourself,” he says, grinning at me.
“Do you think I can spend the night?” I ask. “Like, the whole night.”
He nods eagerly. “Yeah, definitely. That would be great.”
I hear a key turning in the lock to the front door. Mike’s here. But I’m staying. For the whole night this time. I didn’t bring a change of clothes, so I’m going to end up doing the walk of shame tomorrow, but that’s okay. I’m proud to do the walk of shame.
“I love you,” he whispers urgently and he kisses my lips.
“I love you too,” I murmur back.
Mike walks in on us mid-liplock, something I’ve stopped even noticing. Mike or someone like Mike is probably going to be a part of our lives for a long time to come, maybe forever. The first time we have sex, he’s going to have to be there to help us out. And I think I’m okay with that. I’m getting used to the idea, much like I’m sure Brody had to get used to the idea of needing help to get in and out of bed. Really, you can adjust to anything.
I mess around on my phone while I wait for Mike to get Brody ready for bed. I know it takes a while, but I can’t wait to get in there. I can’t wait to cuddle up against Brody’s warm body. I want to feel his lips against mine.
Hmm. Would it be weird if I started masturbating in Brody’s living room? Probably.
I give Mike the standard amount of time, but I notice he isn’t coming out. I keep looking in the direction of the bedroom door, expecting to see it swing open, but that doesn’t happen. Finally, I get up to see what’s taking so long, but before I can do that, Mike comes out of the room on his own, leaving the door cracked open an inch behind him.
“Hey, Emily,” Mike says. There’s a crease between his dark eyebrows. “Listen, Brody isn’t feeling well, and he said that you probably should go home.”
I frown. “He was fine just before.”
“It came on suddenly,” Mike explains.
“Oh.” I can’t say I’m not disappointed, but what can I do? “Can I just say goodbye?”
“It’s probably better if you just go,” Mike says.
Sudden fear grips me. “Is he okay? I mean, is he really sick?”
Another horrible thought occurs to me: “Is he angry at me? Did I do something wrong?”
“Emily,” Mike says quietly. “It doesn’t have anything to do with you. Trust me. He just isn’t feeling good right now, and he told me to tell you that he’ll call you tomorrow.”
I’m about to protest again, but then I smell it: the horrible stench of fecal matter, emanating from the bedroom. It smells like the last time I had a stomach bug. I can’t even begin to imagine what it must smell like inside the bedroom.
In any case, I finally get why Brody doesn’t want me to come in.
“Okay,” I say. “Tell Brody to call me when he’s feeling better.”
Mike’s face relaxes into a smile. “Will do, Emily.”
To be continued...