Jessie’s Girl

Irritated, I twisted around to bark something just as snotty back, but the dark chocolate eyes stopped me. That and the tiny crinkles of humor around those same eyes. I just stared impolitely.

“Jessie.” He switched a stack of band flyers from one hand to the other, his large spare hand stretched out to me.

“And?” I crossed my arms.

He gave me a weird look, his hand frozen between us. “And what?”

“Right. So who told you? It’s a bit premature for nicknames don’t you think?”

A broad grin developed on his face as if he knew something that I didn’t. Who the hell was this guy? He coughed into his hand before holding it back out to me.

“Let’s start again. Hello, my name is Jessie.”

The sudden realization hit me, my ego quickly retreating. “Jessica,” I mumbled. Like he hadn’t already figured it out. I shook his hand.

He gave me an even wider smile that made little flutters in my stomach. “It must be written in the stars, Jessica, because even I couldn’t pull something like this off. What are you doing Saturday night?” That’s how comfortable he was. He wasn’t even trying, his easy-going nature a magnet. And he wasn’t hard on the eyes either.  Not even thirty seconds and I was already going to his next gig. Just like that. Little did I know about Matt.

The show wasn’t bad. It was a mixture as it was with all these things. Frat boys, blond girls, hipsters in black, overachievers, the whole gamut for a liberal arts college – dancing the dance we all know – drinking, laughing, fighting, fucking in the mens’ bathroom. Jessie had winked at me from the stage, which had been kinda cute, him strapped behind his guitar. I’d barely noticed Matt, my eyes only on Jessie. Even in baggy jeans and a Sonic Youth t-shirt, he had my attention.

That show had been just the beginning for me and Jessie. Next came coffee at the same coffee shop where we’d met. Then drinks at a little student hole in the wall before that date turned into open mike night with Jessie belting out a Bon Jovi song about love and holding on to what you’ve got. It was cheesy, but still endearing, always romantic that one. Of course, I ate that up, so much so that I finally relented and slept with him only two weeks later. It wasn’t bad. Not great either, but it had been satisfying enough. I was happy to settle for enough.

But I left out the part about Matt.

I try to forget about him, but he’s the chink in my armor. My one unchecked box. And as I whirl my way through our history, I can’t leave out the one defining moment for us even as I try to deny it now. All the time, people say I will remember that moment for the rest of my life or I won’t forget this for as long as I live, blah, blah, blah, like somehow that makes it solid as the ground, as all-encompassing as the sky. Yet that moment did define me. It still does. The three of us sharing a bed, drunk and giddy after a show, me stuck in the middle of two men who were like the sun and the moon. And feeling the pull of both.

To give Matt his credit, the flirtation was already there. The look, when he looked at me, sent shivers to places that had no business shivering. It had for weeks. Innocent teasing, double entendres when Jessie wasn’t looking. It didn’t even click in my brain that I should be paying attention until we ended up in that unmade bed. Three souls full of liquor-soaked desire.

And this is the moment I will remember for the rest of my life:

As I giggled at Jessie’s hand on my leg, I wanted to say something witty and rude to Matt who’d been unusually quiet. I felt cheeky and insolent and girlie. Our flirtations had always been innocent enough, but the heady combination of the booze and the hormones made me want to push the boat out. Just to be outrageous for a second. I didn’t think anything of it as I turned to face him.

Bad call.

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