Seventeen, and her mom's so young Rory's not seen the American feminine cave to age up close.

Liz would go off sometimes. Plenty of times he'd wandered through the room when she was speaking sadly of herself, as if she were nothing more than fat, wrinkles, stretch marks, falling apart. She'd sit on the couch, stare at the television, and mull over how ugly she had become. He'd get the fuck out before he had to hear how no man would ever want her.

He'd never seen her pretty so he'd never had pity. All love had ever gotten her was him, and he was as worthless as he was gone.

He's very there with Rory. God, he's there and he's going to last long past the singular present moment. All his instincts say this is impossible, what he's got going on with Rory, it's straight up impossible, but in the midst of making out she's rolled on top of him. The feel of her full weight is a thrill; the only way to be in each present moment is not to wonder whether he's going to be there in the future.

(Pages turn, what's next always happens, you can't put a book down and never go back to it and keep what you left happening eternally. Even if he could, she'd find the book, she wouldn't realize not to finish it, and the end would come. If the first thing that comes to mind is a book metaphor, he watches his step. It's probably true with him & that girl.)

He's going to last. No strategy, no bullshit. He's just going to *be* and she's not even going to realize she's had him pinned.

God, she's pretty, but he doesn't look long; he doesn't want her to catch him staring. She just can't know how bad he wants this. He wishes he could just relax into her, life with her, but then again, that's what fucks you up, getting secure. You get secure, you get comfortable, and you stop noticing. A little terror keeps you keenly aware. He doesn't want to be dulled to her.

He's used to seeing people walk away from one another. It's a rush every time she comes a little closer like it's the most natural thing in the world.

Every time they end up making out on her bed, on Luke's couch, on Lorelei's kitchen table, on the hood of his car, hours and hours of hands divine slow -- he hopes she fucking loves what he's touching.

He wonders when she'll get hips. He daydreams it's him watching her frown slightly, hair falling forward, no, she tucks it back, she frown. He daydreams he's the guy who gets a little pleasure out of her frown, her frown lines. He's the guy lying in bed lackadaisically, still tangled in the sheets. She's up, she's perky, she's half dressed, black bra, spilling out of it a little, god, it's fucking murder it's so gorgeous but she's got no idea. She's pissed off; old favorites don't fit right. She has to shimmy to get into those jeans. She twists to look over her shoulder in the mirror, frown, frown lines.

Sometimes in his daydream he intercepts her Cosmos (she insists the subscription is ironic but sometimes the rag seems to stop her up short) and writes little stories about the models in ads and about their satisfying emotionally full lives which the two of them could have two if they bought aforementioned product to make them look like aforementioned Current White Upper Middle Class American Aesthetic Ideal.

Sometimes he scribbles all over it Bullshit Bullshit Bullshit Bathe in Blood and You'll Be Beautiful Forever, and he draws little diagrams about how to slit his stick figure throat. She forgets about the jeans, and he ends up with hickeys.