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"I'm still not sure that this is such a great idea, Tracy." Steven chose to stare into his coffee as he spoke, rather than look at his girlfriend.
"I already told Jennifer that you would." She replied. I know that you don't like her, but she's really sweet if you get to know her."
"I don't understand why this doesn't bother you, Tracy. Don't you want me to be loyal to you?"
"It's only this one time, Steven. When I get back, we'll pick up where we left off. Jennifer is my friend and she needs this. Who else would you want me to ask? She's ready for it this weekend, even got on the pill just for this. I have to go home for the weekend, so it all works out. You'll have the room all to yourself. Just be the same... sensitive person... that you always are."
"Alright Tracy", Steven said. "I promised that I would do this and I will, I just want you to know that I have my doubts."
"That's what I want to hear, Stevie. Remember that Jennifer will be waiting for you to have dinner. Now, I've got to catch my ride. Don't worry. 'Luv ya'." Tracy leaned over for one of those quick 'see you later' smooches and left the dining hall. Steven continued to brood over his coffee alone.
Steven hated it when Tracy called him 'Stevie'. When she did, it meant that he was being lassoed into something that he didn't really want to do. Usually, it meant taking her to a shopping mall, or to some disco that he was hoping to avoid. Steven did it because Tracy was an expert at repaying favors. When they met earlier in the school year it was Tracy who had been the more sexually experienced of the two. Steven had learned quickly under Tracy's tutelage. Their fun times together covered over the rough spots.
Steven's task for the weekend was to introduce Tracy's roommate and best friend, Jennifer, to the pleasures of sex, or 'lovemaking' as the girls had insisted on calling it. Steven was at a loss about why he had been chosen for Jennifer's contrived deflowering. It was true that she had very few (actually zero) dates. He knew the reason why. Jennifer was as socially inexperienced as she was sexually naïve. She was someone who would always say the wrong thing or get in the way at precisely the wrong moment. Steven knew that she didn't mean it. She only wanted to be part of what was happening, but just didn't know how to do it.
Steven knew that his and Tracy's playtime in their dorm room piqued Jennifer. She would always hint to them to tell her details. Sometimes Tracy did after Steven left. The recounting excited Jennifer and made her dream of her own future encounters. Once, Jennifer asked if she could watch them. Tracy had agreed, but Steven turned her down. When Steven and Tracy concluded their sexual activity for the night, they would all sleep in the same room, Jennifer in her bed, and Steven and Tracy in the other across the room. All of this made Jennifer try even harder to find a young man who would be willing to become her boyfriend. Jennifer pressed, and it distanced candidates from her. It had been Tracy's view for a long time that Jennifer would be happier if she found a young man to bed her. It became obvious that it would not happen soon if nature was relied on to take its course.
Steven looked at his watch. It was getting late. He didn't have time for his coffee. He picked up his books and hurried to class.
As Steven strolled across the quad to Jennifer and Tracy's dorm he had to admit that he felt a little nervous. He slowed his pace a little to give him more time to think. Surely, he did not lack experience. He had no feelings for Jennifer, either. He didn't dislike her, as Tracy insisted. Jennifer could be a pain in the rump at times, but he knew that she only realized that she was after committing the offending deed. Anyway, it was never out of malice or spite, just bad timing or over-exuberance. She was seldom an obstacle between Tracy and him. She was just always 'there'. She was a footstool without a chair, always in the way without a purpose, decorated with plainness, potentially useful but lacked the proper setting.
Steven was taking Jennifer to "dinner" at the campus dining hall. On Fridays most of the student body left campus to visit home. The dining hall would serve steak as an inducement to get the students to stay over the weekend. It didn't work very well, but steak was still on the menu. It gave Steven and Tracy some advantages: a nice meal where the price was right (it was covered by the meal plan); a nearly empty dining hall where they could sit and talk without attracting a crowd. Best yet, casual student-mode dress would be the order of the day.
Steven knocked on Jennifer's door and she appeared instantly. Steven calculated that she must have been watching for him from her window. She was dressed as usual: faded jeans, sweatshirt, sneakers, and windbreaker. The jeans were about a size too big. It made Jennifer look skinny. The sweatshirt was baggy, too. She never wore makeup, so she appeared pale and her lips were barely darker than her skin. She wore her ashen blond hair parted in the middle, falling downward aside her face and down her back to her shoulder blades. It smelled like strawberries, so Steven knew that she had shampooed it that afternoon. It was the nearest thing to perfume that he could detect.
"Hi, Jennifer" Steven said. "Are you ready?"
Her sudden look of fright struck Steven like a slap in the face.
"I meant, ready for dinner."
Jennifer looked down at her shoes, embarrassed. All at once her cheeks attained a rosy hue. Although she was just blushing from the awkward exchange, Steven thought she looked better with some color in her face.
"I'm sorry, Jennifer, I didn't mean to startle you. Are you hungry, because I know I am?"
"Oh, Steven, we've gotten off to such a bad start. I'm sorry. I'm just nervous. I'm hungry, too."
As they started for the dining hall Steven tried to reassure her. "It's okay, really, Jenn."
"He called me 'Jenn'!" she thought. "He's never used that name for me. Maybe he likes me little after all."
"Steven", she said out loud, "There are some things that I want to ask you about tonight. You see..."
Steven held up his hand to stop her. "Let's wait until we can sit down at an empty table before we talk about that." He said. "We don't need to have an audience." She was grateful that he had saved her from another faux pas.
"This is typical Jennifer." Steven thought to himself. "When she gets nervous she starts bumbling."
They didn't have much to say until they found an empty table.
"Steven, I couldn't believe it when Tracy told me that you had asked to do this. It means a lot to me."
Steven's instincts told him to throw his hands up, deny the assumption, and straighten out this would-be nymph. He retrieved the words just as they were about to pass his lips and sear themselves into Jennifer's fragile psyche. Steven thought better to listen and learn.
"I didn't know that Tracy told you that." He knew that more details would come forth if he applied the slightest amount of patience.
"Well, yes, she did. She told me not to tell you that she told me, but I guess that it just slipped out. Anyway, Steven, I think that you're really nice to do this."
"It was nice of Tracy to make it happen." Steven countered, polite but not quite truthful. He was right; details were starting to come forth.
"Tracy's such a giving person." Jennifer said. "We had been talking about how good it would be if I could find someone to do this and then she said you had just jumped at it when she was asking you for ideas on finding the right guy."
They didn't say anything for a minute while they ate. Then Jennifer started talking again.
"I would never have had the nerve to think this up for myself." She said. "Tracy really helped me. She made me realize that I had to lose my virginity to feel more confident with guys. She helped me with the birth control pills and everything."
Jennifer's discourse brought clarity to Steven. Now he realized that he and Jennifer had one thing in common in that they had been set up by Tracy. He couldn't understand why Tracy had done it. She enjoyed orchestrating people and events, but this was over the top. Steven had no desire to join in the manipulation, but now Jennifer seemed so eager. He decided to probe further.
"Why do you think that breaking your virginity will make you less nervous around guys, Jennifer?"
"Well", she answered, "I think guys have a way of knowing which girls are virgins, and it makes them act differently; then I act different towards them. That's when I open my big mouth and get into trouble. Every time a guy looks my way, I think that he's sizing me up to figure if he wants to get into my pants. I get self-conscious and go to pieces. Maybe if I know about sex, it will give me some confidence and I'll stop worrying about it all the time."
She seemed so convinced. Steven wanted to ask her if she was sure it was her idea or Tracy's, but he couldn't do so without appearing to be backing out. He tried another angle.
"You must be nervous, Jennifer." He said. "After all, even if you have good reasons, it's a big step."
"Oh, I am!" she replied. "There's so much that I want to ask you before we go back to the dorm room."
"I'm all ears." He said.
"First, I don't know exactly what to do. I mean, I think that I know the basics, but I don't want to do anything wrong. You know what I mean?"
Steven nodded in understanding.
.... There is more of this story ...