As a child, Regina de Costa had never been allowed to socialize with anyone whose wealth, culture, education, or breeding fell significantly below her own. At the age of seventeen, she decided this wouldn’t do at all, and so she fled.
The United States had been her home all of her life, but the America she found outside confused, frightened, and brought her more joy and satisfaction than she ever could have anticipated.
Even now, eight months after she’d enrolled herself in a small, private college, she found something every day that begged to be sampled to the fullest. Case in point: less than a hundred meters from where she stood at this moment, a blond, lean, and glistening-in-sweat example of this slammed shut the hood of an old pickup truck and grinned in her direction. She felt safe in assuming that, whatever this boy lacked in sensual precision and tenderness, he would more than make up in youthful enthusiasm. Perhaps it was time to test her theory.
But before she could, her loyal friend and closest confidant declared, “Dibs.”
“That’s hardly necessary,” Gina told Susan.
“There’s no reason we can’t share.”
“Look,” Susan stuttered, “I like you and all, but…”
“Don’t worry,” she assured her. “I highly doubt either of us would be comfortable with that kind of experimentation.”
Susan exhaled. “Oh, thank God.”
“I merely meant that we could take turns.”
“I don’t feel comfortable with that either,” Susan said. “I’m a one-boy-girl.”
Gina rolled her eyes. “I understand the concept of monogamy, and I respect its legal function as a means of recording and distributing property and progeny, but the idea of limiting sexual contact to one individual strikes me as dreary.”
“You don’t strike me as the getting-around type.”
“In the short time you’ve known me,” Gina told her, “I’ve had eleven separate sexual partners.”
Susan blinked. “Wow. How?”
“Aside my wardrobe and appearance,” she explained, “a direct proposal is often the most effective method.”
“That’s it?” Susan asked. “No wining and dining?”
“That’s not particularly efficient, is it?”
“I don’t get you,” Susan told her.
“And yet, here you are.”
“Tell you what,” she said. “Why don’t you hold off on jumping him right away and let me show you how flirting done right is sexy as fuck. If I’m wrong, he’s all yours. Deal?”
Gina considered it and concluded, “I find your terms acceptable.”
They strolled over to the young man in question, and Susan nodded her head at his truck. “That a 1984?”
“Eighty-seven,” he replied, a little startled. His eyes squinted like someone who’d spent almost two decades hiding them from the sun. Gina still couldn’t quite make out the color.
“Close enough,” Susan conceded. “The mid-eighties were a golden age for American pickups.”
He shrugged. “There are some who might beg to differ.”
She raised an eyebrow. “You one of them?”
“What do you think?”
“I think,” she told him, “that this truck right here is solid, and its engine’s more piston than computerized bullshit, and it still runs.”
“That’s debatable,” he muttered.
“Besides,” she added, “it’s not one of those gigantic-ass ones that makes you have to wonder about the size of the driver’s dick.”
He took a glance at his truck, and then at the crotch of his pants, and then returned his attention to Susan. “I ain’t touching that.”
He laughed. “This conversation’s getting kind of personal, don’t you think?”
“If that’s the case, then maybe I should introduce myself.” She held out her hand. “Susan.”
He shook it. “Victor.”
A cocktail of irritation and awe splashed all over Gina when it finally occurred to her that this boy had not looked once in her direction. She forced herself to accept that she would probably never have the opportunity to explore what flexed beneath that denim.
“What brings you here, Vic?” Susan asked.
“I prefer Victor.”
He shook his head and laughed again. “School,” he replied.
“Never noticed you before.”
“Been here all semester,” he told her. “Where’ve you been?”
“Around,” she said.
“And what is it you do here, Susan?”
“At the moment,” she replied, “catching leprechauns.”
“Is that right?” he chuckled. “They show you their pot of gold?”
“Yes, they did.”
“And what, pray tell, do you plan on doing with all that treasure?”
“Something…” She smirked. “Something decadent.”
The eager confusion on Victor’s face and the smugness on hers settled over Gina, covering her with goose bumps and warmth. “Susan,” she breathed, “I have to leave.”
He finally noticed her. “I’m sorry,” he stammered, blushing. “I didn’t even see you there. I’m Victor.”
“Regina,” she coughed. His handshake was firm, but restrained. The possibilities of this kind of controlled strength rose her temperature even more. She tried to say something else, but couldn’t.
Susan leaned over and whispered in her ear, “His eyes are up there.”
She stopped staring at his chest and followed her directions. They were dark green. She forced herself to calculate the genetic pairings needed to manufacture such a hue, and this redirection of her thoughts rebooted her brain and allowed her to wrest back control over her legs.
Susan took her hand and dragged her away. “See you around, Vic?” she called out.
He patted the fender of his pickup. “You know where to find me.”
As they fled, Susan giggled, “That went well.”
“Indeed,” Gina said, more congratulatory than jealous; though, to be fair, there was plenty of the latter.
“Told you so.”
“You mad, baby?” Susan asked.
“I do loathe defeat,” Gina admitted, “but my disappointment in this case is tempered by how much I love watching you win.”
“You really are the best.”
The very instant they found themselves out of sight of Victor, Susan collapsed against the closest wall and fanned herself. “Holy shit,” she moaned. “Did you see that fucking smile?”
“I need a cold shower,” Susan told her, “so bad.”
“As do I,” Gina agreed. “But I intend to masturbate first.”