Motored
something like beautiful

When Drake pulls up in the car, I can feel my mouth go dry. I've seen cars before, seen boys in cars before and I've seen boys in cars pull up to me, hitting on me in that self assured way I hate so much. So when Drake pulls up in the car, steps out dressed in leather - oh, fuck, the boy looks good in leather - and my mouth goes dry, and my knees feel weak, and my head spins - spins! - I panic.

He flings a sarcastic comment at me, and maybe, maybe if my tongue weren't suddenly cement dried to the roof of my mouth - my teeth hanging far apart from each other but my lips sealed firmly shut, thank God - I might have been able to say something snazzy. Something incredible, something that will make him stop and think, Mindy.

Thankfully, Josh is there, and before I can be expected to throw some great comeback at him, he saves me.

"Nice wheels, man!"

Nice. Wheels. Man. The words make my chest ache, make me want- want- like I've never wanted before. The feeling is strange, unfamiliar and very unwelcome. Like cherry flavored cough syrup sliding down your throat - the relief is coming but you have to suffer the pain first.

---

Later, at Josh's house, where we are alone, him on top of me, tongue sliding down my throat in that way that I just can't bring myself to like, I here the engine, and the feeling blossoms in my stomach. Josh doesn't hear it, and, with an unusual bravado on his part, his hand is slipping up my shirt, cupping my breast. I gasp, and when Drake suddenly barges through the door, his hand tightens. I moan with the combination eyefull of Drake in leather, flushed from a drive, and Josh's hand squeezing me.

When Josh's brain catches up to him, his hand recoils, and he sits up straight as a rod, ashamed. And what's more, I'm still lying on the couch, shocked. And what's more, my shirt has been pushed up, revealing my bra. And what's more is that smile, that smile, is slowly creeping up Drake's face. I can feel hot tears of shame. I can hear Drake's future teases to Josh, how Mindy Crenshaw was a small hill to conquer, and there would be bigger ones. Mountains, even. I've never felt so much female pride, pride that I didn't even know I had, be shoved and kicked and stomped into the ground, killed. Killed. Dead.

A sob escapes me before I can grab it and lock it up.

"Mindy…" Josh says, sounding mortified.

"I'm fine," I say, using my hair as a barrier as I stand up and straighten my clothes. I know how weak and trembling my voice is, but I continue as if it isn't. "I have to go now."

I rush to the door, bumping into Drake as I go. More blubbering spills from my mouth before I hit the door, and finally close it behind me, drawing in deep panic breath and running, running like there's no fucking tomorrow, not even really sure where I'm going anymore, not sure I was ever going anywhere, even once in my entire life.

---

School goes by sluggishly. I don't see Josh once and wonder if he even came today. I think I should have stayed home.

While I was institutionalized, I learned to keep my thoughts to myself. Tell them the truth, you'd never get out. Tell them the lies they wanted to hear, and you were cured. Such things are easy enough when the goal is clear.

It's a fine thing, keeping my head held high, walking normally, smiling. I could be recruited by the world's best producers. I could be Miss Sunshine, who grins through the rain.

On the inside, I feel like a rotted mess.

What am I anymore? Maybe, if I hold it in long enough, maybe everything inside will be eaten away. I could feel nothing. Just be Josh's little prima doll, and never have un-sanctimonious thoughts about Drake Parker again.

That would be something like beautiful.

When I walk out after the final bell, my little charade still up and running, it feels a bit like being stabbed in the stomach to see Drake leaning against his Nice. Wheels. Man. and knowing he's waiting there for me. He smiles, a strange smile I've never seen on him before, and opens the passenger side door, and it's a bit like wondering if you're stepping into hell when I lean against the leather seat suddenly, not remembering the walk to the car, and breath in the scent of it that makes me feel like crying, and sigh deeply just once before Drake slips in, too.

---

I don't know how this happened.

One second I'm in my boyfriend's stepbrother's car, nervous as hell, him giving me this guilt fed speech about how bad Josh feels, and how it wasn't Josh's fault, and how I shouldn't blame Josh. As though this has anything to do with Josh. Maybe for him, maybe, but no longer for me.

Anyway, then the car was parked, and really, really, I don't know how this happened.

He's gone from his quiet planned speech to what he's good at; arguing. He's saying that I'm not being fair. Not as though I hadn't put myself in that situation. If I didn't want him to touch me, I shouldn't be such a tease, such a bitch. He must have noticed at some point that I wasn't talking, arguing, or yelling back, because then he grabs my shoulders.

He's shouting things I can't hear anymore.

He's leaning forward.

And kissing me.

And I swear, I don't know how this happened.

Because we are tentative at first, and then he puts a little bit of mean into the kiss, and I put all my hurt and pain, and how did he get so far into the passenger seat, because this is what everyone was making such a big fuss about guys sticking their tongues in your mouth, and he's good, because he's gentle, and he's rough, and this is right.

But I don't know how it happened.

Because I don't know who led who to the back seat, and I don't think it matters, us never pulling our lips apart, and I don't know why every boy keeps condoms in his wallet, but now I do, and I glad for it, and nervous, and hurting, and screaming on the inside, for it, or against it, I can't tell against this rage of heat, and stumbling teenage passion.

It's there, and it hurts, at first, but the pain subsides to something that could one day be pleasure, and then, maybe centuries later, maybe only a breath, and it's over.

I realize afterwards that we hadn't even removed our clothes. He had just hitched my skirt, and I just unzipped his pants, and then that was that. I realize afterwards that I lost my virginity in the back of a car, cheating on my boyfriend with his step brother.

And I realize, through all the insanely intense emotional hurt, with the scent of Drake's hair still fresh, and a small bite mark on my neck that I don't know how got there, and with the residing pain between my legs, and glancing at Drake's now bare arms to the nail marks there as he silently drives me home, panicked look on his face, that this was alright, and that maybe everything might be okay.

---

I break it off with Josh, clean.

He thinks it's because of the groping incident, and he begs me not to leave him, and I explain, as patiently as I can, that there are some things I need to work out that I can't do while I'm with him.

He cries, and that hurts, but I have to let it go, or hurt him worse. And that is not what this is about.

What I wanted to say was

I don't know if Drake will want to keep this thing between, if there is a thing. But if he does, he's the one I need to choose right now. And if he doesn't, then that's all the more reason I can't be with you Josh. I just lost my virginity to your rock-god of a brother in the back of his euphoric vehicle.

Are you sure you want to try to live up to that?

I don't say that, though. Because I love Josh, and I don't know if I love Drake, but I know this is something I need to find out, and that I couldn't have let this puppy love romance continue forever, because there are other people in the world, and what if you're not the right one? What if I'm not the right one? What then? Then, we have to go our separate ways, and that is that.

---

Drake is a little surprised when I break up with Josh. I don't know why. Does he think I'm some movie vixen, some TV drama bimbo, who's going to try to carry on this thing with two guys and try not to let the one figure it out, and end up with one, or all three, shattered hearts?

No.

One day, Josh will find out about that thing that happened. When that day comes, I'm not going to be the villain, because that is something that I simple can't shoulder right now.

He's sitting on the hood of his car and I hop up next to him. He doesn't greet me, but he doesn't tell me to leave, either. His face doesn't hold hostility, but it doesn't hold love, either.

Only acceptance.

And that, my friend, is a beginning, and I will gladly take it.

--end--