Every Girl Does It

  It’s Preston, and the memories of egging his house more than once during high school hit me full force. I remember him holding my hand with those sweaty palms as he asked me to prom in front of the entire school. Right now the only one with sweaty palms is me! Oh, no. I turned him down. The sad part is, if he’d ask me now, I’d say yes.

  At the time, it was more important for me to look cool. So I said, in front of everyone, “Thanks, but I’m already going with my cousin, Brad”. I don’t even have a cousin named Brad. Just wait. It gets worse. He showed up at prom with his sister, saw me dancing and kissing another guy, and, I’m sure, assumed I probably wasn’t that close with my family.

  Ladies, let this be a lesson. People always say you need to be nice to nerds, because you might end up working for them some day. The same goes for nerdy guys who ask you out. You should be nice to them, because one day they might be smoking hot.

  Chapter Two

  As women, I’m sure we can all agree that when we see a man whose gorgeous, cut, and confident, we automatically assume he’s arrogant. So the natural road to take is search for the one that’s slightly unfortunate looking with the hope that his personality makes up for any other deficiencies. We wouldn’t have this assumption if we didn’t have good reason. Few men are as attractive on the inside as the outside.

  One time I dated a guy who, for anonymitie’s sake, we’ll call Bob, and he was eye candy. We met at the gym. Bob and I were running next to each other on treadmills. His towel fell off the side of his treadmill, and I picked it up. It was love at first sight.

  Feeling rather confident, I struck up a conversation. He asked for my number, and two nights later he called. We went to a fancy restaurant that weekend, and I fell in love for about five minutes. He ordered for both of us, without asking. “Yes, we’ll get salad with no dressing, chicken with no gravy, and no bread, we don’t do carbs.”

  If you ever want to get in an argument with me, just tell me that I shouldn’t eat carbs. Be prepared, I’ll spit in your face. Maybe not, but the whole low carb mentality is ridiculous, and for me, a deal breaker. When I heard him say that I shouted “But wait! I like carbs!”

  He gave me a look I’m guessing he only reserves for fat people, and told the waiter that I was “confused” and “please proceed to hold the carbs”.

  Seething, I went to another table next to us, stole the bread and ate it right in front of him. Now in hindsight, I looked like an insane person. But for argument’s sake, let’s be clear; I was angry at the time. Bob smiled tightly and never called again.

  Since Preston is hands down the hottest guy I’ve ever seen, I doubt he isn’t aware of this fact and uses it with reckless abandon. Even though he was a good guy back in the day, how could he not know he’s “got it” and knows how to “flaunt” it too? With all this revelation, I’m bursting with nervous energy, I need a good hard run. Eight o’ clock pm usually means the gym is empty, and it’s Saturday night. Who goes to the gym on a Saturday night? Me. I grab my workout stuff, not bothering to put on anything remotely cute, and run out the door.


  The air of the valley hits me as I get out of the car. A mixture of rain and cold hit my nose. It reminds me of a fresh start, which is exactly what I need. I already feel better. Nampa may be small, but they have an awesome rec center. It’s my haven, but not because of the TVs. They’re great, but it’s also right next to my favorite fast food restaurant. Walking through the doors, I inhale the sweet smell of sweat and chlorine and scan my card.

  Yes, this is where I need to be. There’s only one other person running, and I think he’s going for some record. If he keeps this ridiculous pace, he might actually wear the treadmill out. But something about him seems familiar. No, I can’t. Why would I go to the treadmill right next to him when there are twenty other ones open? We all know how things worked out with Bob. I don’t want another man telling me I can’t have bread.

  But upon closer inspection, this man has the best legs I’ve ever seen. The formation of muscles that gather at his calf and linger up to his—whoops, he just glanced this way. Look busy. Why did I choose tonight to where my old, ratty high school cheerleading shirt? And why did I also choose to wear the yoga pants that I spilled paint on last year? I grumbled something out loud, not realizing it, and jumped onto my treadmill. Five miles, here I come.

  As I run, the anxiety of the day turns into fuel, pushing me harder and faster. No, I don’t need Derek, I don’t need Bob, I don’t—wait a second. While closing my eyes, I missed something. Mr. Runner is coming over to me. Why? What do I do? Oh my goodness, he’s getting on the machine next to me. Competition. Whether he realizes it or not, he’s in for a race. Why? Because I can’t help it. I must win. It’s also why I never turn down dares, but that’s a different story. He starts running, and again I feel the pressure to win. Please. He may be a fine male specimen, but I’m fast, ridiculously fast.

  Out of the corner of my eye, I see a subtle movement , but I still can’t bring myself to look at his face.. Focusing on my running, my breathing, I keep my eyes trained ahead. His continuing glances feel like silent challenges, so I hit the up button on my speed and go to eight miles an hour, then ten. Now I’m sprinting, and he’s sprinting. He’s running faster, so I push mine up one more time before realizing that my balance is momentarily off. And yes, you guessed it, I fly off of the treadmill into the bench behind me.


  So this is what happens when you get knocked out. You see hot men in your dreams. Through the haze, I see a pair of stormy green eyes looking down at me. Dazed, I reach up to touch the face of my ruggedly handsome rescuer and come into contact with warm skin. My fingers tingle as the man’s face breaks into a gentle smile. Not trusting my own voice, I sit in silence as the fog begins to clear. The man reaches out to brush some hair from my face. The touch of his fingers sends my stomach whirling.

  “Wow,” I whisper reverently. To my horror, I realize within five seconds of opening my mouth that I’m not unconscious. And the runner next to me is, in fact, Mr. Fireman Preston himself.

  “Wow? What do you mean wow? Am I supposed to thank you for complimenting me after you raced me to your almost death?”

  I didn’t realize I was still staring at his chest until he cleared his throat. “Are you okay?”

  “I think so. I don’t see any blood.” Trying to cover my behavior, I say, “I don’t know what happened.” Liar.

  “Oh, you mean you don’t remember challenging me to that race just a few minutes ago? Or how about the part where you watched me punch your sorry boyfriend in the face, or maybe—”

  I put my hand in the air between us to give him a signal to stop talking. I mean, come on now, he’s just being rude.

  “I’ll have you know,” I interrupt with fists clenched, “that he is not my boyfriend.” I’m so close to him that I can smell the mixture of salty sweat and cologne radiating off his body. It takes every ounce of self-control I possessed not to lean in closer.

  “Did you or did you not date him, though?” He crosses his bulky arms as if in challenge.

  “Maybe...I mean…” No words. Since when do I have no words?

  “You mean, you what?” He bites his lip, drawing my attention to his perfectly sensual mouth. It’s every girls dream of what a man’s lips should look like up close. Smooth and taunting. “Amanda, are you sure you’re okay? You can hardly focus right now. Sit down or something. You’re making me nervous.”

  He leads me to the bench, as I outwardly mock him by copying his words. “You’re making me nervous.“Only I use a really whiny voice making me sound all the more pathetic with my comeback. “Stop acting like a five year old, Amanda. I’m not your dad. But I should punish you for dating such an idiot. Come on.” His eyes scan the basketball courts below before again resting on my face. Why can’t I act like a normal grown up?

  “I’m sorry,” I mutter. “It’s just been a long day.” I shrug as I make eye con
tact for the first time since this afternoon.

  His eyes were sparkling with mischief. “I bet. What with your boyfriend trying to steal the bride and all.” He isn’t even trying to hide his laugh as I punch him in the side.

  “How do you even know that’s true?” I shriek not caring that people are now staring at us. Yelling wasn’t the wisest choice, but this man is ridiculous. What gives him the right to judge me?

  “Um, sorry to break it to you, but the entire town knows the story. He spilled it to everyone when he went back into the reception. Perhaps he was hoping for sympathy, it’s hard losing not one but two girls in one day.” His gaze turns sympathetic as he notices my obvious anger at the idea of Derek telling everyone that we dated.

  “I’ll kill him.”

  Preston’s eyes turn speculative as if he’s trying to see if I have it in me to be that violent. I twist away to hide my bluff. So I won’t kill him, but giving him a black eye sure sounds good.

  “No you won’t. He’s just being a stupid guy.” Preston uses the towel in his hands to wipe his face then throws it onto the bench. “So, figure out who I am yet?”

  Why is lying a sin? Desperate for any other option but the truth, I weigh the alternative, which of course is lying, but I’m terrible at it. My own cat can tell when I’m being dishonest. When I leave on vacation and promise to be right back, she just looks at me and growls. Any sort of irritated noise from Mrs. Butterworth is far worse than your average housecat. Since she’s a Sphinx, she has no hair which adds to her charm, or lack thereof. However, if she doesn’t believe me when I lie, why would Preston?

  Gathering my courage, I raise my chin to even the odds, but fail miserably as my eyes lock on his chest. Since when did he get so tall? My chin juts out as my eyes slowly rise to meet his piercing gaze. “Yes, you’re Preston. I remember you from high school. Good to see you again. Well, I should be off. I could have a concussion, you know.” My body turns as I mentally tell my legs to pump faster, but to no avail. I sense his presence stalking close behind me, too close for my personal comfort. How is it that I can still smell him?

  “So that’s it? No, ‘oh hey, Preston, what are you doing with your life’? Or, ‘sorry for lying to you in front of the entire school’. Or maybe this one, ‘thanks for punching the creep I call a boyfriend in the face’? Seriously, go ahead, choose any one of those phrases. I’ll wait.”

  He stops behind me. Annoyed, of course I had to turn around and face my now enemy. I can’t believe I ever thought he was hot, him and his “wow” body, please. I want to ruin his body with my nails right now.

  “Thanks.” I grind my teeth and force a smile. “For punching him in the face. And yes, sorry about high school, but let’s face it, that was ten years ago. And technically I didn’t lie. Well I did, but I didn’t want to make it worse by saying no in front of the entire school. And come on, you got your revenge on me and everyone else. I mean, look at you.”

  Stop talking, Amanda. But it was too late. When I get started, there’s no alarm that goes off in my head that says, “hey, Amanda, maybe that’s an over-share”. I think Google or Apple should invent an app to put on cell phones so alarms go off when you’ve been talking too much or embarrassing yourself.

  He leans in close enough for me to see the perfect trace of his irritating jaw. “What do you mean, ‘I got my revenge’?”

  Biting my lip and fighting the fluttering feelings his close proximity brings, I try to figure a graceful way out of this situation. This couldn’t get much worse. I’ve now admitted twice to him that I think he’s the hottest man on the planet, and he still doesn’t have a clue. Could it be? Is he one of those guys whose actually humble?

  “You know what I mean.”

  “Oh you mean this?” He flexes a bicep and leans down to kiss it. Oh no, he did not just do that. Of all the arrogant…I have no words to finish that thought.

  “Amanda, I’m kidding. Geez, you need to lighten up, how much caffeine do you consume, anyway? It must be a lot with how high strung you are.”

  Glad we’ve moved on from embarrassment to just plain being offended. “I’ll have you know that my caffeine levels are completely normal as are my BMI and IQ.” Wait, maybe the IQ comment made me sound dumb, because now he’s trying not to laugh.

  Frustrated, I stomp my foot on his and run down the stairs. Don’t ask me why. His foot didn’t suffer any long term damage. I know, because he followed me all the way outside.

  “Did you just stomp your foot?” He’s incredulous as he rests his hands on his hips. Preston’s eyes widen in scrutiny as he waits for my answer.

  “No,” I lie, crossing my arms.

  “You need sugar or something or maybe a stress pill. Ever try herbs? Or massages?”

  He’s mocking me now. I’m sure of it. So I walk up to him, as close as I can possibly get without kissing him, and smile. “Are you offering?”

  His mood immediately turns serious as he leans in closer to my face. “Do you want me to be offering?” Oh, he’s good. Way better than I am. See, I try to flirt, but people think I’m being funny. He flirts and makes me want to sell my parents just to be in his presence.

  “Amanda! There you are. I’ve been calling you all night.” The voice broke our moment as we both turned to see Derek hanging out his car window waving his cell phone at me. At this time in my life, I’m ready to yell at myself for telling Derek about my running addiction and gym membership.

  “It looks to me like someone else has already scheduled time tonight, maybe later.” He smiles and strolls off as I contemplated ways I could hide in a bush from Derek.

  “Traitor!” I shout as I watch his feet carry him to an impressive black truck.

  “Hey, is that the guy that punched me?” Derek asks as I will myself to look at him. If I were a betting woman I’d guess he was sporting a broken nose. It actually did him a favor in the looks department, giving him an all around tougher appearance than before.

  “What do you want, Derek?” Does he have no shame or self-respect? Trying to get to my car as fast as possible, I contemplate if there’s any way this night can get worse.

  “Well, I just thought that if I gave you a little time to forgive me, then we could, I don’t know, start dating again…soon.” His face looks hopeful. I, however, feel irritation seeping from my every pore.

  “Oh, I’m sorry. Do you have another wedding you’d like to break up? Do you need to use me again? Derek, we hardly know each other. Stop being so….weird. Seriously, it’s over.” I open my car door and hear a sniffing sound. Uh oh. Please tell me he isn’t crying again.

  “I just t-t-thought, that we had something…” He proceeds to pull out a hanky, yes a hanky, and blow his nose, or at least tried to, while tears streamed down his face.

  Sympathy is not an emotion I can give Derek at this point. “Derek, have a good night.” With that, I slam my door, leaving a heart-broken Derek alone in the parking lot. Hope he didn’t lock his keys in the car, because I’m not staying to help him.

  Turning up the radio, I begin to sing at the top of my lungs. It’s actually Christmas music; all the more reason to rock out. It’s only November, but Christmas has a tendency to sneak up on me; just like Derek, and Mr. Firefighter. What is it with men these days?


  Parking my car and running up the stairs to my apartment, I slam the door behind me and breathe a huge sigh of relief. Yes, my apartment doesn’t look glamorous on the outside, but there’s nothing sketchy about hard wood floors and vaulted ceilings. Plus, Mrs. Butterworth is a good guard cat. As I walk into my front room, I see a blinking light on my answering machine. Ten messages! Who in the world is calling me? Did someone die? My chest constricts.

  Beep. “Hi, Amanda. This is Derek...” Erase. “Hi, Amanda. It's Derek again. Where are you?” Erase. “Amanda, really. I mean, why don’t you–” Erase. Are all of these from Derek? It wasn’t until I got to message eight that the annoying voice on the other end wasn’t th
at of Derek, but of my best friend and co-worker, Kristin.

  “Hey, girl, I heard about the wedding. I’m so sorry. I had no idea he was such a creep. Call me, no matter how late. I just put the kids to bed, so make sure you call the cell, not the house phone. Love you.”

  Kristin is a gem. So what if she tried to set me up with Derek; it’s my fault for being desperate and saying yes. A shower is necessary before calling her back, and I can’t help but groan at the reflection looking back at me in the hallway mirror. Not only does my hair scream, “homeless”, but my face is all blotchy from stress. I pull my long, dark hair from the ponytail and feel immediate relief. My hair is too thick to keep up for so long. It always ends up giving me headaches.

  What was it about me that made Derek think I was easy prey? Vulnerable isn’t how people would describe me. High strung, outspoken, unladylike, those are usually ones I’m familiar with, but vulnerable? Easy? Never. Re-evaluating my dating strategy is a necessary conversation I need to have with Kristin.

  The shower did nothing to wash off my shame from earlier, but did make me feel a lot more positive about the following day where I was planning on spilling my entire guts to my bible study group. It usually consisted of my best friend Kristin, my other crazy friend Lexy, and her sister Raine.

  Although I do love being clean, staying in the shower turns me into a prune, and that happens to be a pet peeve of mine. While I’m being honest, I’m not fond of water. It has many uses. I love to drink it, but being wet makes me angry. Mrs. Butterworth is maybe rubbing off on me, but she’s all I could ever handle of the feline species.

  Picking up my phone, I dial Kristin’s cell number, ten o’clock shouldn’t be too late. I hope. Ring, ring, voicemail. Her kids wake her up at the crack of dawn; sometimes I wonder if they’re somehow related to roosters. I tried to babysit them one time. It didn’t go well. Leaving their house at noon, I got home and fell asleep on my couch until nine pm. That girl deserves a medal.

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