It all started with a joke, Laurie trying to prove a point about how all men lie. But why should I be punished for the way men have mistreated my mom and her friends? I've been nice to my mom, even though she tends to hover and smother too much. Even Mrs. Torres who finds it painful to be even the slightest hint of nice other than for seven minutes a day, I've been nice to her. But, Laurie, she's different. She's a tease and a flirt, and sometimes it's all I can do to stop from thinking about her. I thought I was subtle, that no one noticed anything. Maybe she didn't notice and it was just another one of her jokes, but who knows?

My mom was discussing with her friends about how all men raise the pitch of their voice when they lie, and Laurie said that she could prove it.

"Have you ever had a dirty dream about me, Travis?" Laurie asked with a flirty look in her eyes.

"You? Sick!" I lied, but my voice betrayed me and jumped about two octaves.

She danced triumphantly and flashed me the most mischievous grin.

Now, I can't sleep. I can't stop thinking about Laurie. Does she know the effect she has on me? Every time her arm brushes against mine or she tosses her hair, my heart skips a beat. Is this love? How can I be in love with my mom's friend? I'm closer in age to her than any member of the group is, but I'm only 18, and she's 27. It could never happen.

I lay in bed picturing every feature of her face. Her long, flowing blonde hair, like straw in a field. Her delicate eyes as blue as the sky on a summer day. Her perfect round ears and nose. Her red lips always threatening to turn into a smile, a smile that could cheer up the Grinch. Her chin that curves like a bell, always jutting out with pride, pride in just being who she is, never having to pretend for anyone. I picture all the beauty marks on her face and neck, trying to count them all. I get to about 15 before I fall asleep.

My sleep is restless, and I wake up several times throughout the night. Stupid Laurie, she's in all of my dreams. A surprise quiz in class, Laurie is the teacher. I go to the coffee shop, Laurie is the server. It is four in the morning, and Laurie is probably just getting home now from whatever club she went to with Vanessa. Or, perhaps, she is making some guy the luckiest man in the world.

Another dream about Laurie, this time she's in bed next to me.

"Hey, Trav, having another dirty dream about me?" she teases.

"I guess so. You've been in every dream I've had tonight."

"Oh, that's so sweet. Tell me, what usually happens in these dreams?"

"The first dream, you were my teacher at school, giving us a surprise quiz. All the questions were about you, your likes, your dislikes."

"I'm sure you got every question right."

"I'd hope so. The second dream, I was ordering coffee, and you were the server, but you wouldn't let me order unless I used those ridiculous names you have for all the drinks."

Laurie starts laughing hysterically. "That sounds like me. But, I want to know about your dirty dreams, Trav."

This is so embarrassing, and I will myself to wake up. Why couldn't this have just been a simple dream where I have sex with her and wake up short of breath? She had to ruin everything with her joke. At least, I hope it was a joke. I tried to be subtle about it, but I guess she always knew. I can only hope that my mom didn't suspect anything or that Laurie didn't say anything to her. That would be humiliating.

"Come on, tell me, Trav."

"Well, first, we take off each other's clothes, slowly, one item at a time."

"Oh this is boring, let's skip ahead." With that, she pulls the sheet of my bed, and she's as naked as a jaybird underneath. I instantly go rock hard, and her mischievous smile returns. "This time, show, don't tell."