The First Last Boy

By: Sonya Weiss



I don’t know what the hell Montana was thinking to ask someone like me to have sex with her for the sake of having sex. There were girls you fucked and walked away from and then there were girls you stuck around for because they embedded themselves into your heart so deeply that you forgot where your own heartbeat ended and hers began.

Montana had a hold on me that no other girl had ever come close to having and that scared the shit out of me. Guys that let girls get their hands around their hearts ended up falling for them and that was never gonna be me. Love kneed a guy in the balls and kept him stupid enough to keep crawling back for more. I wasn’t in love with her but I didn’t know how to define the place she occupied in my life. Every time I was near Tana, I wanted to hold her and tell her she’d be safe forever. I wanted to fight all her demons and slay all her dragons.

Three years ago, I’d found her curled on the ground crying hysterically in front of a graffiti-filled wall at the park. Because her hands were red and her nails bloodied, I thought maybe she’d tried to fight off some guy who’d wanted to rape her. I was pissed and ready to beat ass on her behalf because I’m not down with an asshole that would abuse a girl. But that wasn’t her story at all.

We’d been in each other’s lives since that day. I didn’t know any girls like her—ones that came from money but now didn’t have it. The ones I knew were like me, products of a weary foster care system that didn’t give a shit. Add judges who saw paperwork and not faces, blend in foster parents who only saw dollar signs instead of kids and you had all the ingredients needed to raise fucked-up hard asses guaranteed to do serious time. Kids who turned into guys like me who’d learned not to give a shit, too. That’s why I never made any promises to Tana. I’d only disappoint her if I did. I didn’t know the first thing about how to give of myself. Even if I ever reached the place where I wanted to, I didn’t know how to really love someone. No girl deserved that.

Mark let out a loud burp and then laughed. The laughter reverberated around the tiny kitchen, bouncing off the yellow walls. Tana and her mom struggled like everyone else in their low-income neighborhood, but their place managed to look like a home and not some transient slop house.

Tana smiled at her brother but when her dark eyes met mine across the table, her smile faded and her cheeks flushed. Her gaze darted back to her plate. I wish I knew what was going on behind that look.

“You wanna play a game with me?” Mark asked, dropping a pepperoni out of his mouth. He picked it up and popped it back in.

“Ryan has stuff to do,” Tana said before I could accept. She sounded like me sticking around was the worst idea in the world.

I bumped my fist against Mark’s. “No, I don’t. I can play a game with you if Tana plays too.”

“Can’t. Busy,” she said, sending a dark look my way. The look was tinged with desperation and I didn’t understand why.

Mark shoved aside his plate and slurped his water.

“You make a space for me and I’ll be there in a second,” I said.

As soon as her brother vacated the room, Tana started clearing the table, banging the plates together louder than she usually did.

I understood now that she was pissed off. I just didn’t understand why. If this was about sex, how could she not see that I was looking out for her? “Tana, c’mon.”

“So now I’m Tana again?”

I approached her from behind. “I don’t want to fight with you.” I hated it when we were at odds. She’d become my oasis when the demons of my past were too much to bear. Funny, sweet and gentle, she had a way of calming the hell that chased me and drove me to do the things I did.

She stopped raking out the scraps of pizza crust Mark would never eat and turned to face me, her expression a mixture of anger and hurt. “There’s no fight. You’ll have sex with a skank and a random skank at that, but not me.”

“Shit. Here we go again.” She had no idea what was at stake. Sex with someone you cared about always changed everything. When she picked up a cloth to wipe off the table, I grabbed her arm and stopped her. “I only fuck girls I don’t care about. They know the score and they’re only looking for a good time. They don’t expect anything after sex and I sure as hell don’t give them anything. There are less complications that way.”

“You know that makes you sound like an asshole.”

“I meant it to. I don’t care about those girls but you and I are friends.” I ran my hand from her arm up to her shoulder and gazed into her eyes, hoping she understood what I couldn’t even explain to myself.

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