“Oh God, oh God baby, yes, yes, fuck, fuuuck, oh God baby, oh God!”
The groan that came from Ed’s throat sounded like the last sound he might ever make. He collapsed on top of Liv, breathing like he just ran the New York Marathon. Hoisting himself off, Ed fell over on the mattress and gingerly rolled his condom off. While he was cleaning up, Liv bit back a yawn. She threw the covers off, put on his tee shirt, and got out of the bed. Lighting one of the cloves in the box on his nightstand, Liv went over to the window and stared out on the bustling Hell’s Kitchen afternoon.
“What's wrong?” Ed asked, sitting up on his elbows. He was tired and hoped they might cuddle a little. It was hot as fuck and the AC in his room was busted but usually Liv liked being held a little.
“Nothing.” She took a deep inhale and didn’t even look at him.
“Liv, for real, what's wrong? I mean I don’t want to brag but I just seriously put in some work there. I'd feel a little better if you at least had a Charlie horse or something. You hopped out of the bed like I had cooties.”
“I just really wanted a clove. It’s kinda stifling in here.”
“I know,” Ed said. “And I'm sorry. My dad promises he's gonna have my new AC up and running by the middle of the week. I may melt into the floor by then. It’s not even summer yet; they don’t call this place Hell’s Kitchen for nothing.”
“That’s not how it got the name.” Liv said.
“I know, I was just trying to make you laugh. You won't even look at me…what is going on? Were you…did I do something wrong?”
Ed wasn’t even sure what to say and how to say it. He and Liv hadn’t been having sex very long and it was always at his place. They still liked playing at second and third base; he didn’t need a hit a homerun to have a good time with her. Other times were good, Liv seemed like an exciting and willing participant. This afternoon Ed thought the same thing.
He was never pushy and she seemed eager. Did he miss some signs? Did he push when he should've pulled away? Did he pressure or cajole her into it? No, he thought he would remember something like that. And Liv didn’t say no.
She didn’t say stop or that she wasn’t comfortable and they'd had the talk before they even did it for the first time. He was stopping whenever she wanted him to, even if he was in there. All she had to do was say the word and it was as simple as that. She had once, Ed was revved up like an engine at NASCAR. He stopped, without a second thought, but he also had to excuse himself to jerk off. He was only 17; didn’t have the control needed to not blow his load when he was that close.
“Sex is boring.” Liv sighed. She finally turned and looked at him as she sat down on the window sill. He was so cute with those bright blue eyes and that close cropped hair. Ed was sweating up a storm and his face registered both bliss and confusion. She was sure most guys couldn’t pull that off but he could.
“Um…all sex or just sex with me?” he asked.
“I haven’t had sex with anyone else, Ed. I didn’t want to hurt your feelings; didn’t want you to be mad at me. I love you, like a lot, but most of the time sex bores me. Not all the time…a few times it was kinda fun but you seem to get more out of it than I do.”
“Are you not feeling anything, like down there?”
“I feel you thrusting in and out and moaning like it’s the greatest damn thing since grilled cheese and I kinda lay there like a lump.”
“I don’t want you laying there like a lump.” Ed shook his head. He sat up in bed and wiped the sweat off his face. Fumbling around in the sheets, he found his boxers and pulled them up. Then he lit one of her cloves. He usually didn’t care for the fancy schmancy cigarettes, a Marlboro Light was fine with him, but he was out. Ed went and sat in the window with Liv. “It’s supposed to be nice for both of us.”
“I know. I seriously just thought something was wrong with me. I found a roundabout what to ask Aunt Liz about it. She loves sex, with the right person, and sometimes with the wrong one. Connie loves sex. Fin loves sex. Hell, even Rafael loves sex and it hurts his bum like you wouldn’t believe.”
“I would believe it.” Ed nodded.
“But me…I'm just kinda numb. That can't be normal.”
“Well is it just during sex or is it like whenever we hook up?” Ed asked. “We've hooked up a lot.”
“I love hooking up.” Liv replied. “That’s why I thought I would love sex. Oh my god, sometimes when you touch me I want to tear your clothes off. When you kiss me, and your hands are roaming all over, even when you finger me…”
“You wouldn’t be squeamish about vagina talk if there was decent sex education in our school.”
“In Catholic school? Please hang up and try your call again.”
“I feel things when we hook up.” She went on. “I would've stopped doing it a long time ago if I didn’t. I thought sex was the next step, like I was gonna feel even more. Instead I just feel empty. What do you feel?”
“With sex?” Ed handed her his clove and got another. He knew Liv well, knew when she was jonesing. And when she was stressed or talking about something she would rather not, he knew she could go through three or four. “I don’t know if I could describe it. I never thought about putting it in words before.”
“Could you try?”
“I feel like I just climbed Mount Everest and staked my flag. I love holding onto you and the way you squirm and sometimes moan. I love going deep. I love when I come, that shit is the greatest. But if you're not enjoying it…I mean I could kinda get the same affect with Cinemax. Not that I'm comparing you to a skin flick Liv, I just mean…”
“I think I get it.”
“Do you get it?” he asked. “Because I love you and the jerking off thing is just a thing guys do because we’re horny a lot.”
“I get it.” She nodded. Then she took his hand. “I'm sorry, and I hardly know what I'm apologizing for but this was supposed to be all fun and free and I'm making it so complicated right now.”
“But if something’s wrong I don’t want you keeping it from me. Especially this. I'm not gonna just jump up and down on top of you while you hate it and then hate me because all I'm doing is jumping up and down on top of you. We can just do other stuff, if and when you wanna.”
“Why are you being so understanding?”
“A few reasons. One is that you're my girl and I don’t want you to be unhappy. Two is I can kinda get a break off anytime I want, I have two hands and ton of talent. Three, it’s just sex. We were doing OK before we started doing it and we’ll be OK with whatever decision you make about it.”
“Maybe we can try again.” She said.
“Now?” Ed went to put his arms around her.
“Slow down, Boy Wonder.” Liv managed a smile. “Maybe like next weekend or something. I've been pushing it off but I think I'm gonna buy a book and do some reading.”
“What kind of reading?” now he was confused.
“About sex. Maybe my body needs an extra push, more stimulation or something. I mean I like it when you touch me and put your fingers there so I'm mostly normal.”
“No matter what you're normal Liv, OK? I mean you’ve had some tough times and you're still willing to let me touch you in ways that I thought might make you feel queasy. Sometimes we, and I mean other teenagers, push each other into things. We make it seem like its normal and everyone is into it but I bet we all like or dislike sex to varying degrees just like modern rock or tequila or that movie by that guy with the funny name you made me watch…Walt Whitman.”
“Do you mean Whit Stillman?” Liv raised an eyebrow. “Walt Whitman is a poet.”
“I probably mean the first guy.”
“Metropolitan is a masterpiece.”
“Metropolitan can cure my Aunt Karen’s insomnia and she hasn’t had a full night’s sleep since Reagan was President.”
“Shut up.” Liv laughed and thumped his leg. “You'll like Barcelona more I think. Even if you don’t, we’re watching it.”
“Noted.” Ed nodded. “Hey, I love you.”
“Do you want a burger or something? My dad isn't getting off till nine so we can lounge around in our underwear and watch baseball or something.”
“A burger sounds good. Do you guys have bacon?”
“Always.” Ed replied.
“I want an obscene amount of bacon…not too crispy.”
“You got it.” He leaned to kiss her. Ed walked over to the dresser, grabbed another tee shirt out of the top drawer, and left the room.
Liv let out a sigh of relief when he was gone. Not because they were together anymore but because she’d finally said it and the earth hadn’t opened and swallowed her whole. She was sure that no matter how understanding and cool of a boyfriend Ed was, as soon as she said sex wasn’t turning out anything like she thought that he was going to lose it. He was going to dump her and might even throw her out. It seemed over the top and silly but boys could be that way when a girl said he couldn’t put his dick in her anymore.
But Ed was cool about it. He probably had some worries and concerns; he probably wondered how he would survive without it. But he didn’t make that Liv’s problem and that was the important part. He eased her fears and actually talked openly with her about what she was feeling and what he felt too. He really was a pretty decent boyfriend as boyfriends went.
Maybe she would do a little reading, a little research and exploring, and then see if she could jump back in in a month or so. Until then Liv and Ed would be just fine. There was always second base…and third base was pretty sweet too. Lighting one more clove, three was her limit during an emotional crisis, Liv smiled just a little.
Things were going to be OK. It would all take time but she was 16 years old and there was no need to rush. She didn’t want to look back years from now, likely from a psychiatrist’s couch, and wish she would've enjoyed this time more. Now was the time to live it to the fullest.