The First Last Boy

By: Sonya Weiss

When I’d first met him, I’d been caught up in such a dark, heavy space in my head and I couldn’t see a way out. After Dad supposedly lost all the money, I’d foolishly thought nothing would change. I’d assumed that I’d still be at the private school I’d attended with all my friends and my boyfriend, Tristan. I’d thought I had people in my life that I could count on.

But after my family’s fall from grace and the ensuing scandal and humiliation that followed in the wake, all my friends except for Shelby had stopped hanging with me. Then the phone calls had ended. They were busy going from one party to another. Shopping. Gossiping. Ruling high school. And I was officially the poor outcast, emphasis on the poor. My social standing took a nosedive and Tristan had broken up with me on social media. After neglecting to clue me in first. I’d seen pictures of him and his new girlfriend trying to swallow each other’s tonsils on Instagram.

Reeling from the all-guy’s-suck pain ripping through my heart, my parents splitting up, losing our home, and the worry about how we were going to survive without money, I’d gone to the park. I’d tried to get rid of the gnawing hurt in me by pounding my hands over and over onto the ground until my skin cracked and blood oozed out. What I’d hated was that I couldn’t make things better for my mom or for Mark. I was used to always making things better for them, often running interference when Dad was in one of his tear-everyone-down moods. I was helpless to ease Mom or Mark’s heartache. I could handle struggle if it was only me doing the struggling. But I hated seeing them suffer. Hated seeing the wounded, little boy hurt in Mark’s eyes when he’d asked to live with Dad and been told that he wasn’t wanted. The whole awful mess had played over and over in my head and that’s when Ryan had found me.

His eyes had held concern and a banked anger as he’d crouched down beside me and gently placed his hand on my shoulder. I’d jumped at the sudden contact and gasped when I’d seen him. With the fierce look of a warrior and the darkness in his eyes, he’d scared me at first. But then he’d told me that I was safe, that he wouldn’t let anyone hurt me. I knew what he’d mistakenly thought and I’d wanted to correct that. I’d ended up pouring my heart out to him, thinking he was a guy I’d never see again. But then I’d run into him at school a few days later.

“Better?” was all that he’d quietly said and I know it sounds stupid, but I’d recognized in that breathless moment that we were meant to meet, meant to become friends. We’d sort of stuck together since then.

Ryan was more than my anchor. He was the missing piece that I didn’t know had been missing until my life had intersected with his. Maybe I did just want to lose my virginity so I could experiment in college without that hanging over me. And maybe, deep down in an area of my heart that held the kind of secrets I lied to myself about, I wanted my first time to be with Ryan, the guy who made me feel protected, who’d given me hope when I’d lost mine. I still couldn’t believe that he’d said yes. Though I’d asked, I don’t know that I really believed he’d agree to it. I didn’t think there was any way he’d want me. Kissing me on the porch had disproved that when I’d felt the hard length of his erection pushing against me.

Walking into my room, I noticed that everything suddenly looked brighter, better. Beside the bed, I had a photo in a frame. Picking it up, I traced the swirling designs around the picture. Ryan and me. Smiling. The world at our feet. Taken on the unsanctioned-by-the-school Senior Cut Day, we’d blown out of town with a group of our friends and gone to see an indie rock band playing at a club just over the line in Indiana.

It was the first time that Ryan and I had danced together. And when our bodies had touched off and on throughout the dance, I’d felt something different, something sharper, edgier than friendship that made my mouth go dry. But Ryan being Ryan I couldn’t tell what he was thinking. I’d been too chicken to act on the urge to kiss him.

I was glad later that I hadn’t. When we left the club in the wee hours of the morning to head home, we’d brought an extra passenger. One of the girls from the band who couldn’t keep her hands off him. I’d known that Ryan had a reputation but I hadn’t ever had to ride side by side with one of his sexual partners before. She’d kept her tongue in his ear and her hand inching up his thigh and I’d felt knots in my stomach. He hadn’t even noticed that I’d disappeared into my shell and there was no way that I could have told him why I’d gone quiet.

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