It was funny that, after all these years, some internal alarm went off whenever this date rolled around. It was an inauspicious occasion. In some ways it wasn't even a particularly pleasurable experience but it did mark a milestone in his life and that wasn't something he could say about many things.
When he thought back on it, it was laughable that his parents imagined he would enjoy an orienteering summer camp. They had reasoned that his love of maps and antique equipment would equate to a desire to hike around the countryside with a compass. The fresh air would be healthy, they said, and the sun would be good for his acne.
He had often wondered if he had the word GEEK written in large letters across his forehead because no matter where he went, people just seemed to know. This camp was no exception. There were considerably more beds than students in the boy's cabin and so, in the spirit of mutually sustainable existences, he had chosen a bunk in a small alcove while the rest of the boys gathered in a pack at the far end of the room. It suited him fine: he could snuggle down in his lower bunk with a flashlight and a book and no one even noticed.
It had been hot that night. He had unzipped his sleeping bag out to a flat doona and used his towel as an under sheet: mainly to protect him from the multitude of crawly things that called the mattress their home.
He was awakened from a rather solid slumber by a female voice in front of his face.
"McGee," it hissed: "hide me."
Suddenly a lithe figure was straddling him and in moments there was a cool body pressed hard against his back under his covers, lying between him and the wall.
"What?" he started.
"Shhh," the voice hissed. "They'll never think of looking for me here."
The thought crossed his mind that being a social pariah clearly had some advantages. Somewhere deep within him, a race memory program was awakening. Teenage hormones rushed in a mighty tsunami through his system. It was hard to breath and so hot it took all his self control to not rip the cover off them both. Ominous warmth began to glow deep in his groin.
From the wooden landing outside the cabin door, came the muffled sounds of female voices and the thumping of feet
"Shh," the voice behind him commanded. "Can't you pretend like you're sleeping?"
"No, you're not. Grind your teeth and snore."
"Trust me on this."
But he couldn't close his eyes; they were pinned open, his pupils more dilated than the dim light justified. The throbbing in his groin intensified. She moved against his back and, contrary to his every expectation, his body sprang into action.
A mob of girls spilled into the room waking the other boys and sending his system into auto shut down mode. After much cursing, arguing, bed searching and accusations, the lynching party moved on and the room settled down again. As she had surmised – no one gave him a second thought, lying ostracized at the far end of the room.
Then there was just the two of them again.
"Give them a few minutes to get back to sleep and I'll go," the voice whispered.
Go? It made perfect logical sense but somehow logic wasn't at the helm tonight. Some unknown beast inside him was rearing up wanting to take her and do unspeakable things. Images flashed before his eyes: hot, wet, and naked. He was hard again: so hard it hurt. He had never realized his body was able to provide its own personal lubricant but now he could feel it oozing out and leaking onto the towel. It took all his energies to hold back the urge to thrust.
He felt her rip down the sleeping bag.
"Thanks for the cover," she said.
He recognized her as one who had attained a reputation which was worn with pride on boys and with shame on girls. He was certain his own reputation was equally as obvious. She regarded, with interest, the renegade part of his anatomy that had broken though the gap in his pyjama pants and now lay quivering at her like a divining rod.
Then something happened, that would change his life forever. She said, "Oh, OK. I suppose I owe you a favor."
Moral objections flooded him: he wanted to wait until he was with someone really special, maybe married. This wasn't some commodityto satisfy an IOU, it was almost sacred. Much louder: the growling, impatient voice of impending manhood.
She was already naked, undoing his pyjamas in the feeble light with the practiced hands of an expert.
"No, I can't," he whispered.
"Come on, geek boy," she mocked. "It's time."
Then they were both naked and she was lying beside him. He felt her hand grasp him and he nearly exploded right there. He could work the same trick with his own hand but it didn't felt the same as someone else's.
She began stroking him up and down his length and a fire burned through his abdomen, sometimes low and smoldering and other times flickering into sudden bursts of excitement as he fought the urge to ignite completely. Some strangely persuasive voice inside his head was pointing out that this was just like a fraternity initiation: do the terrible deed and become part of the team. He would no longer be an outcast wearing the dreaded 'virgin' tag. It was a temptation he had never felt before or since.
"No," he prayed as his body shuddered in anticipation, his hips already adopting the swaying rhythm of her hand.
"Oh yes." She was teasing him, taunting him into action.
She nibbled somewhere on his neck and his body started to spasm involuntarily. Suddenly, he panicked that he might not know what to do. He scanned his memory for the theory, fervently wishing that his sex education lessons had not been taught by a forty year old piano teacher who lived with his parents.
Something took over him that night. Something raw and wild that he never knew existed within him. He rolled her onto her back and she guided him to a place of unbelievable warmth and wetness. It encased him in a way he never thought possible. His body drove into her, thrusting over and over. Nothing he had ever heard or read on those forums had ever prepared him for this feeling. It was hot and sweaty and completely beyond his rational control.
The first sharp sting of ecstasy told him it was almost over. Regret and relief fought for supremacy before he lost everything in one blinding flash of self-fulfillment.
He toppled off her, utterly spent, and felt her slither away. In moments she was dressed and out the door leaving him hyperventilating, tachycardic, naked and alone again.
His elation was tinged with regret: he was ashamed that he had let his baser instincts take control and mortified that he would never look that special girl in the eye and say he had saved himself for her. Physically, he was completely fulfilled – emotionally, he felt strangely unsatisfied, cheap and dirty.
In hindsight it seemed ridiculous that he hadn't thought of any form of protection either from disease or pregnancy. At the time, nothing could have been further from his mind. Common sense had truly taken a holiday.
And then they had found Mike Frank's son.
"It's just so sad, you know? " Abby was saying. "You have a son you never knew about for all those years. And then right when you find out. Oh, it doesn't seem fair. Maybe you should call all your old girlfriends, you know, just to check."
McGee scoffed. "That won't take long."