Desperate - Book cover

Desperate

Sapir Englard

2: Nothing But Mammals

VERONICA

“You and me baby ain’t nothin’ but mammals,

So let’s do it like they do on the Discovery Channel,

Do it again now…”

– Bloodhound Gang

***

I was turning a new leaf.

After that night at the party, I got myself checked and fortunately it turned out I didn’t catch STD or something from Jax.

Since I was on the pill due to irregular periods for a few years now, I also didn’t get pregnant, which was a huge relief, seeing as we drunkenly forgot protection.

When that was cleared, I started a new way of life.

It was as if getting rid of my virginity, with the kind help of Jax Cole, opened new doors for me. I found the promiscuous party-life so alluring, I couldn’t resist.

Laura approved, as did my roommate Amy, who, like Laura, had lived this life for way longer than me. Until she met her current boyfriend Nick, that is.

I started going to every party I either heard about from my friends, got an invitation to on Facebook, or saw it rolling in Twitter.

I attended each and every party, got butthead drunk and slept with whoever I deemed worthy.

It was fun. It was no-strings-attached. It was a distraction.

I used to seek books to distract me from thinking or reliving the memories of my past.

Books were fictional, the characters were relatable, with much bigger problems than mine, which is always a plus. With books, I could just plunge into another world for a few hours.

That’s why I worked at the bookstore; I got to read whenever I didn’t have work to do, and that’s why I wanted to be a published author once one of my works got accepted.

Reading and writing was my way of life, my way of falling into a single-minded reality.

Then I found the parties and sex. I still wrote and read and worked at the bookstore and attended the book club’s meetings, but another means of distraction was added.

It was fun, pleasurable–mostly, at least, since there are some guys out there who don’t know how to do it correctly–and it was mind-numbing.

It’s been three months now since the night I lost my virginity to Jax. I hadn’t seen or heard from him ever since, which was just as well because I didn’t try to contact him either.

It was a one-night-stand and it was well and truly over with. No hard feelings, really.

Besides, it wasn’t like I saw him on a regular basis or something; whenever I came to mom’s home for dinner on Fridays, I only saw Oliver.

We didn’t really tend to exchange any words other than me asking him to pass the salt or him telling me I dropped my napkin.

So yes, I was a free spirit and I loved having sex with random strangers while drunk. I don’t think I can count how many men I’d slept with anymore. Not that it mattered to me anyway.

Now I was at one of those dinners I’d talked about. My mother, Charlene Bryson-previously-Tanner, was laughing at something her husband, my stepfather and Oliver’s dad, Stephen said.

Oliver was as silent as always–he was the brooding, I-don’t-do-smiles kind of guy.

Instead of actively listening, he was texting on his phone, probably something to do with work, since he was as devoted to his job as a high-tech business man as could be.

For all I knew he might be sealing some deal right now.

Next to Oliver sat my younger, biological sister, Andromeda–Andy, as she preferred to be called. Andy was fifteen, nearly sixteen, and looked nothing like me.

While my hair is jet-black, hers is a soft, dark brown. Instead of my dark brown eyes, hers are almost golden.

My skin is fair, and hers is exotically tanned, and while I’m five-foot-eight and quite curvy, she’s petite and slender, barely brushing five-foot-three.

Our personalities are different as well, especially since I’m almost five years her senior.

Andy was texting her friends at Olympic-worthy speed. The only ones who actually conversed were my mom and Stephen.

Mom was in the middle of telling us, or rather telling Stephen and me, about her friend Carol’s divorce when Oliver suddenly exclaimed, “We struck a deal with Microsoft!”

Told you.

Startled, Mom, Stephen and I looked at him, and after a few stunned moments, my mother cried, “Congratulations!” and Stephen gave his son a manly pat on the back.

“That’s awesome, Oliver,” I told him truthfully.

The company he worked for wasn’t a small one, but it wasn’t one of the biggest or most influential, either. The fact that they sparked Microsoft’s interest was huge.

“Thanks,” he said, smiling for a moment before becoming expressionless again.

If he smiled more, I have no doubt he would’ve been a knockout.

He certainly has the traits for it; closely-chopped dark blonde hair, a curtain of thick lashes around shockingly silver-green eyes and a lean figure with smooth olive skin.

The only thing not going on for him is his height. He’s like, an inch taller than me, which isn’t much by society’s standards for men. That, and his lack of emotions other than seriousness.

But when he did show he wasn’t a robot, like that little smile he’d just given us, he flashed a dimple that could’ve weakened many women’s knees had they seen it.

Mom and Stephen gushed for about half an hour afterwards and I was only half-listening.

My phone beeped and I saw a text from Amy, telling me there was a small getting-together at her boyfriend Nick’s frat house. I agreed to go and pushed myself up off the chair.

“I’ve got to go,” I told my family apologetically, “got some business to attend to.”

Or rather men to sleep with, hopefully.

“Sure thing, darling,” Mom said, not very sad about it.

“See you next Friday then,” I said, waving goodbye to everyone. Andy didn’t even spare me a glance, probably not registering anything beyond her phone’s sight.

I took my beat-up car and drove to the campus of Bernard College.

After I graduated from high school, I started at this college and met Laura, Amy, and the rest of the gang.

There was our pal Slutty Santana, Nick the Jock who was Amy’s boyfriend of two years, and Warren, the alleged boy-next-door who’s rebelling against monogamy.

Finally, there was rock-star-wannabe Kyle, the officially confirmed player who’s writing a blog called The Heart Crusher–modest, I know.

The blog freely discusses all of his sexual escapades, consisting of his various one-night-stands and short-term girlfriends.

I hung out with them during the time I spent at college, and when I eventually dropped out, we still remained friends and kept in touch.

After Amy dropped out as well, we rented a small apartment together close to campus so we could still meet with the gang whenever we wanted.

Those who’re still at college were all divided into frat houses or sororities.

Laura belonged to Gamma Girlz–yes, with the Z–the hottest sorority around, along with Santana, who managed to get in due to her wealthy heritage and, of course, her slutty title.

Nick shared a frat house with his jock friends. Thanks to his athleticism and genius mind, he’d gotten a full scholarship.

Kyle often crashed at his place, since most of the time his own frat house of musician-wannabes turned into a brothel and sometimes, even Kyle wasn’t in the mood.

Warren, however, had a dorm room on the west side of campus and shared it with some strange dude called Ransom. I know, right?

Ransom was too much of a goody-two-shoes, which I can proudly say I am not anymore.

It’s a wonder that the past me managed to befriend such a group of shameless whores and previously high school populars. I was drawn to them, I guess, because of the charismatic air they emitted.

They made me feel alive and happy and since they were mostly shallow, I didn’t have to think or talk about things more than gossip and parties and who slept with whom.

Remember my thoughts about distraction? They’re a big part of it.

After my night with Jax, when all my inhibitions about parties and sex disappeared, I felt even more kinship to them and so did they to me.

We got along better than ever, hung out much more, and went to tons of parties together, where they all rooted for me or whistled when I dragged some prey–I mean man–to the restroom.

Now all of my friends were at Nick’s frat house when I arrived.

Shirtless jocks with perfect biceps and six-packs wandered around from room to room, ignoring the gang who frequented the lounge seeing as it was normal scenery around here.

Plus, most of them had already screwed either Santana or Laura and lost their interest.

If they were ever bothered by our presence, no one had ever commented to say so. Probably because Nick was the captain of the college’s football team, and everybody was afraid of him.

They regarded him like some sort of an alpha or something.

Everyone waved at me when I arrived and plopped myself on the cushion next to Santana.

“Hey-hey,” I said, grinning.

“Hello there,” Kyle said, eyes smoldering and smirk intact. Kyle flirted with everything that registered as female and he never relented until he got what he wanted.

I didn’t want him. He wanted me. I didn’t let him have me. The whole point of my sleeping-around is that I don’t have to see the faces of those I slept with. Like Jax.

“You look as smashing as ever, Nix.” His voice was deep, and his eyes roamed my body with clear heat.

All of my friends called me Nix or Ver or any other short nickname. Veronica is just way too mouthful. Only my family and those who weren’t so familiar with me called me that.

Like Jax.

I should really stop making Jax the example to everything.

“Thanks, Kyle,” I said, giving him a flirtatious grin, although I felt nothing but platonic feelings for him.

I loved toying with him, since I knew nothing would ever come out of it, and I also loved teasing him and seeing how he’d grit his teeth when my teasing put his pants in a twist.

Evil I know, but fun, nonetheless.

“How was dinner?” asked Santana, who looked as slutty as ever today with a tiny blood-red dress and what I suspected as a push-up bra beneath it, not to mention her stockings.

While I acted slutty, I didn’t get the title because I dressed like your average woman.

Santana, on the other hand, lived and breathed sluttiness, especially with her bright-red hair, exotic green eyes, and voluptuous, long-legged figure.

“It was fine,” I replied flippantly.

“Is Oliver still as delicious as ever?” Laura asked, licking her lips at the thought of him.

I suppressed a gag. It’s not that I didn’t think Oliver was good-looking, because he was, in his way, I just figured that thinking about my stepbrother as hot or sexy or delicious is quite inappropriate.

Giving my blonde-haired-blue-eyed bombshell of a friend a warning look, I said, “He’s well, I guess. Got some deal going on with Microsoft.”

Warren, who was studying business and marketing, seemed the most shocked or interested by this news.

“No shit,” he said in amazement.

“I know, right?” I grinned at him.

“Anyway,” Amy said, smiling at me, “before you came–and no, I didn’t mean it literally–we were talking about playing Never Have I Ever.”

“And I said that I think it’s a game for little horny kids,” Nick countered immediately, “and that we should do something less stupid.”

Nick was sitting behind Amy on the loveseat.

They looked so good together. Her bob-cut chestnut hair, kind hazel eyes, and short, slim body, along with his long, athletic figure, wavy chocolate-brown hair, and gray eyes.

They fit together, as if they were soulmates, the perfect match.

I snorted inwardly. Yeah right. As if soulmates exist. But they were the closest thing I’d ever seen to it, I guess.

“It sounds fun, actually,” I said, grinning, “I can even go first if you like.”

Eagerly, Kyle took a vodka bottle out of somewhere and put it on the coffee table.

“We need some shot glasses and we’re good to go,” he said, smirking wickedly. Kyle found sharing secrets the biggest turn-on. I have no idea why. None of us do.

As if conjured of thin air, Santana pushed seven small glasses onto the table.

“Let’s do this,” she said with a wild grin.

“As promised, you go first,” Warren said, giving me a lingering glance.

Warren was cute, and he got the boy-next-door title for a reason; tousled tawny hair, light brown eyes, and lanky figure with growing muscles, since he only started going to the gym in the past couple of months.

No one would’ve thought him to be a monogamy-hater, but he was. Like the rest of us, he preferred sleeping-around to scratch an itch than settle down like Amy and Nick.

Next to him, though, Kyle looked like what you would expect of a player; spiky blond hair, smoldering baby-blue eyes, and tall, lean form.

He looked like the rock star he believed himself to be, and he had that I’m-going-to-alter-your-life-forever aura bad boys often had that drew girls like moths to a flame before getting irrevocably burned.

Internally I shook my head to clear my thoughts and then got to the business ahead.

“Okay guys, get ready,” I said and grinned mischievously, knowing exactly what to say first and who would down the first shot.

“Never have I ever slept with a black man, or woman,” I quickly added when Warren, the smart-ass, opened his mouth.

Playfully cursing, Laura, Santana, Warren, and Kyle downed the shots and hurriedly refilled.

“My turn now,” Laura proclaimed, chuckling evilly, “never have I ever let someone fuck my asshole.”

Santana now downed a shot and, astonishingly, Amy as well. She blushed when we all shot her questioning looks, even Nick.

“What?” she said defensively, “It was when I was fifteen and stupid and believe me, it wasn’t fun.”

She shuddered, as if recalling the memory.

Santana snorted and said, “The boy who did it to you didn’t know what he was doing.”

Then she fixed us all with a mock-serious gaze. “You have no idea what you’re missing out on.”

While I found sex enjoyable and I was very open to it, the idea of someone penetrating my behind, where my poop is… I had to stifle a disgusted shiver. Yuck.

Now it was Santana’s turn. “Never have I ever had sex with an obese person.”

None of us were shocked when Kyle took this one singly. He practically slept with anyone who had a vagina, whether they were born with it or had gone through bottom surgery.

“Never have I ever kissed someone of my own gender,” Kyle said.

Laura and I exchanged knowing glances and downed our shots. Back in the first year at college we wanted to discover what it was like kissing another girl and gave it a go.

It was actually pretty fun, although it lacked the roughness of a man’s lips. We weren’t the only ones to down a shot; Santana and Amy did as well. And Warren too, which drew the curious eyes of Kyle.

“What?” Warren asked, mimicking Amy’s earlier defensiveness.

We kept playing like that, downing shots after shots until we were all either tipsy or fully drunk. But when it was Warren’s turn and he announced, “Never have I ever had sex with a redhead!”

I found myself to be the only one not downing a shot.

“Seriously?” I asked Laura as she wiped her mouth. “You had sex with a ginger?”

“Yup,” she giddily and giggled, “he was pretty good.”

“You have to have sex with a redhead at least once,” Santana said, pointing at herself, “I mean, look at me. I’m a sexual deviant. It’s a sign.”

“But redhead boys aren’t attractive!” I protested.

Amy looked at a point beyond my shoulder and smirked. “Well, check again.”

Frowning, I turned around and saw a cute auburn-haired guy with blue eyes. He was lifting weights, shirtless, while glistening sweat covering his remarkable chest as his muscles flexed.

Drool-worthy indeed.

“That’s Drake,” said Nick with a small grin of his own, “he’s good people.”

Laura shot him a questioning look. “Is he good in the sack?”

“That’s what the ladies say,” Nick replied with a glint in his eyes.

Now Laura turned to me. “Have sex with him, Nix!”

I considered it. Drunk enough? Check. Cute guy? Check. Mood? Check.

“Okay,” I said and stood up with a smirk. “I’ll see you guys later, then.”

“So confident,” Kyle muttered, scoffing. He was probably just pissy that I hadn’t chosen him as the fling of the night. As I said, I didn’t do my friends.

Chuckling, I smacked a deliberate kiss on his cheek.

“Poor baby,” I teased in response to his pained groan and then sauntered over to the redhead in question.

He was still working out when I reached him. Then he stopped, mid-lift, and raised his head to me, his electric-blue eyes seeming much more pretty up close.

“Can I help you?” he asked politely, but I could see he was a little annoyed at the interruption.

Well, that was the problem about trying to have sex with men when not in a party; there was a chance they wouldn’t be in the right mood.

But I’d done it once before–after I got drunk at a restaurant and dragged some waiter to the washroom–and I could do it again. Besides, it was a good challenge to my game.

And I loved a good challenge.

I smiled innocently.

“These look heavy,” I said, motioning with my chin to his weights. “How much?”

Surprised, he blurted, “Ninety pounds.”

“Impressive,” I said, and then bit my lower lip and acted as if I wanted to ask him something but was too shy to do so.

He took the bait.

“What?” he asked, but not in annoyance as before.

In fact, he watched my mouth as I nibbled my lip, distracting him a bit from the course of the chat, and as if he couldn’t help himself his gaze dipped to the rest of my body.

I wore shorts and a tank top and knew I looked good. His gaze confirmed my thoughts, seeing as it instantly turned interested as he kept roaming down my body.

When his eyes drank me back up and rested on my face, he seemed down-right hungry.

Bingo.

“Can I touch?” I asked, pointing at his massive biceps.

He lost his ability to speak, apparently, since he audibly gulped and nodded. Gotcha.

My hands landed on his biceps, and I massaged them as though checking for how strong he was.

“Wow,” I breathed, “you’re so…”

I pretended to shudder.

His heated gaze landed on my boobs.

A couple of minutes later we were in his room, his weights and my friends forgotten somewhere downstairs, and we were having sex. Me, drunk and willing. Him, completely sober but sexually high.

In all of the times I had sex, including now, while I found it fun and satisfying enough, I’d never orgasmed as hard as I had when I slept with Jax.

Sure, I came most of the time, but never like that. Never like I had with Jax.

I don’t know if it was because he was my first and it was the first time someone had caressed my touch-hungry body in ages, or if it was simply because it was him.

Most likely it was the former. After all, it’s not like Jax and I even knew each other more than the occasional hello. I hadn’t known him enough to grow a crush on him or something.

Having sex with Drake the Redhead was good. He obviously knew what he was doing in bed, and I obviously knew what to do to drive him crazy, and when we finished, I was mildly satisfied.

As we got dressed, I heard Drake say, “I didn’t catch your name.”

I froze mid-dressing.

Oh boy, he was one of those.

Guys who wanted to actually talk after fucking, as if they wanted more from me or something. While I wasn’t as adamant to reject monogamy like Warren, I did try to avoid it.

I didn’t want or need a boyfriend in my life. Even the mere thought of having a guy fawning all over me was enough to make me want to vomit.

So, when the men I screwed wanted to talk or even just know my name after screwing, the high I might've had during the act disappeared and my mood was officially ruined. Like right now.

When he saw I wasn’t answering he asked again, “What’s your name?”

I finished buttoning my shorts and turned to see him already fully dressed and looked at me with a curious light in his eyes I didn’t like. Just what I needed.

“Look,” I said, trying to sound bored and indifferent instead of annoyed, “you don’t really need to know my name, just like I don’t need to know yours. We fucked, that’s all.”

That’s all it’d ever be. A simple fuck.

He seemed shocked. “That’s all? We just fuck?”

What did he expect that I would throw myself at him, begging for him to be my man? Was he daft?

“Took you long enough,” I said, and then turned to leave, but before I could do so, he grasped my wrist.

“But I want to know you,” he said persistently, and I mentally groaned. I hate clingy boys the most.

“That’s too bad,” I said with mocked sympathy and tugged at my hand. “Now let me go. We’re done here.”

Reluctantly he did and I got out of the bedroom, officially irritated. Why couldn’t all boys be like most of the guys I slept with? Like Jax. Why did they have to wish for more?

It was such a spoilsport.

I returned to my friends and Santana laughed at my sour face while Kyle grinned triumphantly, as if he won some tournament I wasn’t in.

“He wasn’t good, was he?” Santana asked.

“That’s not it,” I said and mimicked a gag, “he wanted to know my name.”

All of them groaned sympathetically. They’d all been there, even Amy and Nick before they became a couple.

They all knew how it killed the mood, especially Warren, who practically pissed himself when talks about relationships and love came to the surface.

There was no point in elaborating.

I had sex, it was over, and now we were back to talking and exchanging new gossip, Never Have I Ever left behind.

My mood lifted thanks to these conversations and later, when I returned with Amy back to our apartment, I slept soundly.

No guilt, no regrets interrupted with my sleeping hours. I was good.

After all, that’s the whole point of no-strings-attached, right?

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