Eric was sitting at his desk in his dormitory room reading Mad Magazine at 20:58 when Melissa knocked. “Come in.” he said.

    “Can I talk to you?” Melissa asked.

    Eric shrugged.

    “Eric, it’s obvious something must bothering you, and since you don’t want to talk about it, I would personally recommend you call the University Counseling Center.” Melissa suggested.

    “I am well aware that I can call some professional talker whose job it is to pretend they care. I’m not interested. And what do you care, anyway?” Eric responded.

    Melissa took a seat next to the desk, and looked at him. Speaking softly, she challenged him, “Have I ever mistreated you, or done you any wrong?”

    Eric thought about that for a moment. “No.” he answered, shaking his head form left to right.

    “So, then, even if, as I suspect, some people have been cruel to you, you should not prejudge me. It’s not as if you can blame me for whatever might be bothering you. The reason I care is because I feel you are one of God’s precious children, and God does not want you to suffer, so neither do I.” Melissa explained.

    “I see.” Eric acknowledged.

    Melissa sighed, “So you totally ruled out professional help?”

    “They cannot help me.” Eric declared. “They’d prescribe the wrong kind of antidepressant.”

    Melissa pondered what he said. Then she looked at him and challenged, “How do you know?”

    Eric explained, “They would prescribe the kind in a bottle. I need the kind in a skirt.”

    Melissa started to smile. “Oh, I think I understand now. You miss your girlfriend back home, and you would never think of cheating on her here. Now it’s all starting to make sense to me.” she said.

    Eric shook his head. “Ain’t got a girlfriend.” he stated. “Ain’t had one since ninth grade, junior high school. She broke up with me for another guy.”

    Melissa puzzled for a moment, then acknowledged, “This is really none of my business, so you don’t have to answer.” She paused for a moment, then continued, “Why did you go through high school without a girlfriend?”

    Eric sighed, “Do you have to taunt me about it?”

    Melissa backed off, and apologized. “I’m sorry, but I just have trouble understanding what you’re trying to say.”

    Eric put his head in his hands, elbows on his desk, and started breaking down. Choking back tears, he said, “Does anybody care about what I’m going through? Does anybody have any idea what it is like to be on a campus filled to the brim with attractive women I’m forbidden even to touch, and all I hear about is how much the other guys are getting?”

    Melissa paused again. Then she continued, speaking gently, “Obviously, this is none of my business if you don’t want to answer, but … how long has it been since you’ve gotten laid?”

    Eric looked up at the wall. He started slowly moving his head from left to right, his eyes closed.

    “Just say it’s none of my business.” Melissa said.

    Eric took a deep breath, but sat still.

    Melissa tried to interpret his movements and expression. Then she leaned forward, saying, “I’m sorry if this is too intrusive. I know you value your privacy and all, which is your right. But I’m just trying to figure out what’s going on, because something is bothering you.” She paused, then continued, “Are you a virgin?”

    Eric nodded, answering only one word, “Yes.”

    Melissa sat up. “Well, I guessed wrong about your having a girlfriend you didn’t want to cheat on. That would have made sense, but it wasn’t the case. It makes sense, if you’re saving yourself for some very special woman.” she guessed.

    Eric shook his head left to right again. “Nope.”

    “Well, this is the University of West Dakota at Talleyville.” Melissa observed. “The women outnumber the men three to two. Obviously, a guy as desireable as you would have no trouble finding somebody if you wanted to. Are you looking for somebody your religion, maybe?”

    “No, I’ve had it with religion.” Eric declared.

    “What type of woman are you looking for?” Melissa asked.

    Eric just shrugged.

    “Maybe a really pretty one?” Melissa asked.

    Eric spoke calmly and declaratively. “That hardly matters at this point. I’ve met all the women living here on the second floor, and some of them are a little overweight, but I wouldn’t reject any of them. I’ve met or seen most if not all of the women on all fourteen floors of Piermont, and I would not reject any of them.”

    Melissa sat stunned for a moment, then calmly said, “I’m thinking back to a debate course I took at the temple. I’m a Libertarian, and I go to the Libertarian Temple. Anyway, they said that when I perceive an apparent contradiction, tell the person what the contradiction is, and ask them to explain if they feel one item is false, or the other item is false, or how the two items do not contradict each other. You seem willing to consider a wide range of women, yet I watched you totally snub Rebecca at Zachary’s party, and that’s your right, if she’s not your type, but the clear contradiction is that you said you would not reject any of the women living on the second floor, Eric, and I am one of the women living on the second floor, and you rejected me when I propositioned you, which is also your right, but I’m just trying to understand this apparent contradiction.”

    Eric replied, “I don’t recall your ever propositioning me, and if you did I certainly would not reject you. As for Rebecca, she never expressed any interest. The only thing I ruled out was giving her a ride home when I was drunk. I was taking a taxi back here, and she lives on East Capitol Street in Sacraleena.”

    Melissa smiled and sighed. “Eric, you may not know this, but women use subtle signals and clues when they want it. We speak in code. There are a lot of ways we express our desires, some less obvious than others. When Rebecca asked you to take her home, that means she wants to go to your home, and go to bed with you, just like going to bed with somebody means having sex with the person. She wanted it, Eric. That expression, take me home is one of the best recognized ones.”

    Eric smiled. “Oh, now you tell me!”

    Melissa continued, “Remember when you set up my computer, and I asked if you had to leave so soon?”

    “Yeah.” Eric answered.

    “That was my way of inviting you to stay longer and maybe we could fool around.” Melissa explained.

    Eric smiled and looked at Melissa. “Then why didn’t you say that?” he asked.

    “I couldn’t.” Melissa said.

    “Why not?” Eric asked.

    Melissa answered by illustration. “Well, it’s kind of like right now, Eric. How come you don’t follow up on what we just said? I told you the light was green then, and you want to ask if the light is green now, since you’ve already said you certainly wouldn’t reject me, but you still hesitate to pop the question.”

    Eric grinned. “That’s r-i-i-ght! It’s not always easy to say these things.”

    Melissa explained, “A very important thing to remember about signals is that they are sometimes deceptive. A woman could innocently ask a man if he has to leave so soon, because she has lasagna baking and wants to feed him. Be very careful not to touch a woman unless you know it is okay with her. In any case, ‘NO’ means ‘NO’ and ‘STOP’ means ‘STOP.’” She paused to let that sink in, then continued, “If you’re still in suspense, let me just say, as long as you’re willing to use a condom, you have a green light.”

    Eric’s jaw dropped. He reached out to touch Melissa, but stopped. He reached out again, almost touching her, and stopped.

    “What’s wrong?” Melissa asked.

    “Nothing!” Eric answered, and he stood up, looking at Melissa. She stood up.

    Again, Eric tried to reach out for Melissa. “Are you nervous, by any chance?” she asked.

    “Who, me, nervous?” Eric laughed.

    “Well, remember, there’s no hurry.” Melissa assured him. “Relax.”

    Eric sat down on the side of the bed, and reached out to take Melissa’s hand. She sat down beside him, and kicked off her shoes. Eric’s face lit up. “Wow.” he said. “Oh, wow.” He kicked off his shoes, and put his right arm around her. Stunned, he fixed his gaze on her face as he ran his fingers through her golden blonde hair.

    “If you want, you may tell me what you are thinking.” Melissa said.

    Eric hesitated, and said, “Even though you said I have a green light and all, I still hesitate to touch you … for fear … that … you might … you know, … object.”

    Melissa  smiled and said, “Well, I want you to have a good time, and that will make me feel good, too.” She took a deep breath. “Here’s an idea. It’s 21:16 now. Let’s make a rule, that we keep our clothes on for an hour, until 22:16, just cuddle, and you can get comfortable being close to me, and you won’t feel rushed. How does that sound?”

    Eric grinned. “That sounds like an excellent plan.” he said. He stretched out on the bed and said, “Come here.”

    Melissa stretched out, too, and rolled onto Eric. “This is excellent.” Eric said.

    Melissa said, “It’s okay, either way, but I want to know what you are really thinking. Is it excellent because you have a woman, or because you have me?”

    “Well, it’s excellent because I have a woman, finally.” Eric said, as he held her. He ran his fingers up and down her back. “It’s also excellent because I can touch you and express affection without worrying about going too far. And since you set that rule about the first hour, I don’t have to worry about not going far enough, either.”

    “Do you get nervous when I touch you?” Melissa asked, stroking Eric’s chest.

    “Oh, no. I like it.” Eric replied. He put his hands on her sides. Then he started to break down. He held her, and tears started rolling down his face.

    Melissa assured Eric, “It’s gonna be okay, Eric. If you change your mind and want to wait, that’s okay with me, too.”

    Eric whispered, “Oh, no, it’s just that … I, … I shut out my emotions for so long, to cope with what I was going through, and now, in order to enjoy this beautiful feeling, I have to have my emotions on again, and I start feeling some of that bad experience.”

    “I see. Well, do whatever feels good.” Melissa suggested.

    Eric reached his hand down Melissa’s back, and started feeling her ass. “Wow! This is excellent.” he said, grinning. He began laughing, then reminiscing, “You know, back in July, I hitch-huck out to Missouri City to visit my brother. I got a ride with this nice, pretty woman, who had just broken up with her ex-boyfriend. She threw him out because he was abusive. Anyway, my brother lives on the West Dakota side, and she lived in Missouri City, too, on the East Dakota side. She said I could phone my brother from her apartment, for a ride, and she invited me up. She showed me court papers about the restraining order she took out against her ex-boyfriend, and I suggested she should sue him because battery isn’t just a crime, it’s a tort. She offered me a cup of tea, and when I asked about using the telephone, so I could call my brother for a ride, she looked kind of sad, and said, ‘Well, you can if you want.’ I could not figure out why she looked unhappy. Now that you tell me about these signals and hints and clues and everything, I’m starting to think maybe she wanted me to stick around and have some fun.”

    “It sounds like that’s exactly what she was hinting at.” Melissa agreed.

    “Oh, I could have been cured of my virginity!” Eric lamented.

    “Instead, I get to cure you.” Melissa observed.

    Eric smiled. He reached his hand to the hem of her skirt, pulled the back of her skirt up, and felt her ass through her panties.

    “Eric, I have a question.” Melissa said. “It’s okay to be truthful and honest with me. Do you think my breasts are, you know, small?”

    Eric pondered the question. “Well, yeah, they’re not much bigger than mine. It doesn’t much matter to me, though. I think you are an excellent person. Like, you care about me, and it feels really good to be here with you.” he said.

    “Well, do you think I’d have better luck getting guys if I had breast implants?” she wondered.

    Eric sighed, “Oh, no. It’s not worth going through all that just to have a better toy for the guys to play with. I wouldn’t want you to have complications and spend all that money just for that. Any guy who would reject you for that reason isn’t really worth it. I can see some women maybe going on a diet, or dressing up and using make-up to look pretty, but surgery is going too far. If you ever get that desperate for a guy, you can come back here to cuddle with me, as a last resort.”

    Melissa asked, “Are you trying to manipulate me into giving you compliments, Eric?”

    Eric laughed, “Who, me?” Then he reminisced,  “You know, back in July, my brother brought me to the adult entertainment district in Missouri City. There are a some porno shops and a few strip joint bars. It’s along State Line Avenue on the East Dakota side, just south of the Missouri River and the State Line Avenue Bridge. You have to be 18 to be let in, and these dancers, between songs, they go up to the bar and get the guys to spend money to have them dance up closer. Yeah, they’re really pretty, all dolled up, and some of them have bigger breasts than you, and yes, I got excited seeing them, but it wasn’t anywhere near as good a time as this, and we still have all our clothes on.”

    “It’s too bad there’s so much commercial, sexual exploitation of women.” Melissa lamented.

    “Are they exploiting the women for their bodies, or exploiting the men for their money?” Eric asked. Then he pondered, “You know, now that I think about it, if I had understood what that lady meant when she tried to get me to stay longer in her apartment, I wouldn’t have felt any need for excitement in the adult entertainment district. They have hookers working there, but I wasn’t interested, because I want a woman who honestly enjoys being with me.”

    Melissa pondered that comment. “I think you’re onto something there.” she said.


Copyright 2007 Tom Alciere