Somebody at the Door

            It wasn't even ten yet.

            Joseph glanced sleepily at the clock beside his bed before shutting his eyes tightly.  It wasn't even nine yet.  He groaned, rolled out of bed, and stretched for a full minute before stumbling towards the door.  He yanked the door open, clearly agitated, and immediately began apologizing.

            "Oh god, I didn't know it was—I mean, it's only—uh, hey."

            She cringed.  "Sorry.  I should—I woke you up, didn't I?"

            He nodded.  "You can tell?"

            "You're in—maybe you should put some pants on.  Or something.  If, if you want to."

            He looked down at himself and embarrassedly realized he was only wearing his boxers.  He shrugged a moment later and moved away from the door, letting her in.

            "S'okay, I saw your underwear, too."  He began the ever elusive search for a clean pair of pants.  He gestured towards his bed.  "You can sit down.  It's a clean sheet.  Relatively."

            She sat down as told, and stared at him.  "When do you see my under…garments?"

            He looked back at her, holding a pair of dirty jeans.  He sniffed them before putting them on.  "Last night.  You know, when the washer exploded?  And the basement floor flooded?"

            She nodded.

            "Well," he began looking for a shirt, "there were panties.  Everywhere.  You saw them, too."

            "But I chose to ignore that you did."

            "Mmm.  Well.  I saw 'em.  So there's really no need to be embarrassed about it, Meghan.  It's all over."

            "Oh god."  She covered her face with her hands.

            "I still recall upon them fondly," he told her.  He smirked.  "In fact, I'm thinking of them right now."

            "Perv," she hissed.

            He laughed lightly.  "Where the hell are all my shirts?"

            She pointed to something on the floor.  "There's one.  I think."

            "Oh, thanks."

            She looked around his dorm room.  It was a mess.

            "When's the last time you actually cleaned this place?"

            "Well, when's the last time you came over and cleaned it for me?"

            She narrowed her eyes.  "That would be never."

            He quickly pulled the shirt over his head, only to notice a large stain in the front.  It looked like ketchup.

            "Well, there's your answer," he told her, making a disgusted face.  He'd have to wash this.

            "Slob," she muttered.

            He smiled at her.  "You could help me, you know.  Clean this place up.  Maybe we'll find my roommate somewhere under this mess."

            "He probably suffocated in the sea of beer cans.  Real party animal, huh?"

            Joseph shrugged.  "Not so much.  It's just a collective mess, you know?  It didn't happen overnight or anything."

            "Oh.  Well, I mean, not that it's my place to say any—"

            "It's okay, "  he assured her.  "  It doesn't bother me.  I pretty much think the same thing everyday, anyway."

            She smiled at him unsurely.  He took a tentative seat beside her on his bed.

            "Last night was fun."

            She looked at him.  Disbelief was clear on her face.  "Really?  Even though the washer exploded?"

            "Even though."

            "And you had to spend the rest of the night helping me clean and salvage things?"

            "Water doesn't scare me and I know how to swim.  And I got to see your panties," he added as an afterthought.

            She blushed.  "Please quit reminding me."

            "I don't know why you're so embarrassed."

            "I'm not," she protested weakly.

            "You turn red at the mere mention of the word 'panties.'  Maybe it's the word," he mused.  "Should I call them under…garments, instead?"

            "You're making fun of me."

            He shook his head.  "No.  No, I'm not.  I swear!  I just don't understand why."

            "I don't know why, either.  It just—the word panties," she said seriously, "makes me think of sex." 

            He coughed.  "Oh," he squeaked.

            She smiled at him.  "Must be the word," she said, "You're turning all red.  Would you prefer it if I said 'intercourse'?"

            "You're making fun of me."

            She nodded.  "Pretty much."

            He cleared his throat.  "And, no, 'intercourse' doesn't help."

            "Yeah, I didn't think so.  You're nearly purple."

            "I could be choking!"

            She laughed lightly.  The conversation lulled, and unlike that fateful Friday, it wasn't so awkward.

            "What are your plans for today?" she asked a few minutes later.

            "Nothing.  Well, soccer.  I have practice."

            "You play?  I didn't know you played."

            He shrugged.  "Just intramural.  Nothing big.  I suck."

            "I don't know anything about soccer."

            "Neither do I," he admitted.  "I think that factors into my suckage."

            "Could.  Well, I mean, after that?  Anything important?"

            He shook his head.  "Hardly.  I'm not exactly the campus stud, you know?"

            She gave him a look.  "You could have class you know."

            "Class?  What is this class you speak of?"

            She bumped into him with her shoulder playfully.  "Quit pretending.  I know you're like one of the smartest first year students here."

            He looked surprised.  "Oh yeah?  Been checking up on me?"

            She blushed and looked sheepish.  "I was—when you asked me out Friday, I was telling my friend Elise and she said she knew—and I don't have to explain myself to you."

            "No, you don't, but it was fun to watch you babble.  I think it's cute."

            "Yeah, well."

            "I don't have any classes today.  I have a late class tomorrow, though."

            "I'm free for the day.  If you want to do something."  She took in his grungy jeans and stained shirt.  "Like your laundry."

            "Could.  But I think you just want to sneak a peek at my under…garments."

            "Screw you, Joseph."  She smiled to take the sting out of her words.

            "Really?" he asked, excited.  "Like, right now?"

            Her mouth dropped open.  "I can't believe you."

            "Oh, believe me, baby," he leered playfully, "I'm full of innuendos and dirty comments.  Give me a few minutes and I'll getcha with another."

            "I doubt it.  You've probably been saving that one for awhile."

            He sighed dramatically.  "Yes, you're right, as always.  I've been saving it ever since the girl next door told me one day to 'bite her'. I couldn't think of anything to say to that and I spent ten years of my life waiting, but…"


            He shook his head.  "No.  She never spoke to me again, sadly.  But," he brightened, "I figure it would apply here, too!"

            "I think you're insane."

            "I might be.  The doctors say the test results will be back sometime next week."

            "What am I getting myself into?"

            He slung an arm around her shoulders and pulled her against his chest.  "Something fun," he said.  He looked at her worriedly.  "You are having fun, aren't you?"

            She nodded. 

            "We can do my laundry today, if you'd like.  It needs to be done, and you do it so well…"

            "Okay."  She yawned.  "I'm sorry I woke you up."

            "I'm not.  I like seeing your face first thing in the morning."

            "You know," she said through another yawn, "for a guy full of innuendos and dirty sayings and a preoccupation with porn, you aren't—I mean, well…It's just that—"

            "What?"  He regarded her seriously.

            She looked up at him shyly, and smiled.  "You didn't kiss me last night."

            He let out a breath.  "Oh.  Well, I wasn't sure you wanted me to.  After your washer exploded, you looked kinda upset and I didn't want to do something I wasn't sure you wanted to do in the first place."

            "I wanted to.  I wasn't sure you wanted to."

            "Please," he scoffed.  "I wanted to."

            "So, why don't we," she said softly as she rose from his chest.  "Do it now?"

            He swallowed thickly.  "We could," he whispered.

            They leaned in slowly and just as his lips were about to touch hers, the door swung open.  A boy Joseph's age raced in, and flopped onto the other bed. 

            "You will not believe what that bitch did to me this time," the boy said. 

            "Uh, dude—"

            "She just left.  Left!  And didn't say a damned thing to me!"

            Joseph still held Meghan's head between his hands.  She looked amused and frustrated, and began laughing.

            The boy looked over, clearly surprised.  Joseph blushed deeply.

            "I cannot believe this," he muttered.

            A wide smile broke out onto the boy's face.  "Way to go, Jo-Jo!" 

            "Shut up."

            "And an older chick!"

            Meghan's giggles increased, until tears were running down her face.

            "Oh my god!"  Joseph cried.  "Shut up!"  He looked at Meghan.  "I'm mortified!  Stunned!  This is not happening to me!"

            She only nodded.

            "I cannot get over this!  Never will I ever…this was to be the most defining moment of my life, and he--!  This isn't real!"

            "Dude, lighten up, and introduce me to the pretty lady."

            "I'm Meghan."  Joseph released his grasp on her, and slumped dejectedly.


            "And I'm Joseph.  Now we all know each other."

            "No need to get the snark on," Robbie said lightly.

            "Don't you have a class or something that will force you to leave the room this very instant?"

            Robbie cocked his head to the side.  "Dude, if you wanted a little privacy, all you had to do was ask."

            "I'm asking right now," Joseph replied tightly.

            "Okay," Robbie said as he stood from his bed.  He grabbed his backpack as he headed for the door.  "Nice to meet you Meghan."  And he was gone.

            She turned to Joseph.  "So…'the most defining moment of your life'?"

            He nodded.  "It's true.  I'm a geek.  It was going to be…I've never…I've never kissed anyone before, and I had this whole thing planned out and –"

            "Planned out?  This was the plan?"

            "Well, not the exact plan, no.  But—"

            "This shows poor planning on your part, I must say."

            "This is not the plan.  The plan involved some romantic dinner—"

            "Oh, really?  McDonald's and candle light?"

            "Maybe.  Or maybe Burger King, but now you'll never know."

            "Shame, that."

            "Quite.  The.  Mood.  Killer."

            "There was a mood?"

            "Yes.  But it was pushed out the door by awkward tension and Robbie."

            "Sorry to see it go."

            "Yeah, me too.  But it promised to write when it reaches the sub arctic temperatures of Antarctica."

            "Well, I wish it a safe journey."

            "Me, too."

            "Is it me, or has this conversation reached a ridiculous peak, one that may never be topped?"

            Joseph sighed.  "It has.  And, trust me on this, the longer you hang out with me, the more inane conversations we'll be bound to have.  It's all part of the charm."

            "I like it.  It's cute."


            "I have to go."

            He looked at her, eyes wide.  "What?  Right now?  You wake me up, and I get nothing?"

            "I thought you wanted the first kiss to be perfect.  Monumental.  Life altering."

            "Well…Well, I do!  And who says that this isn't that moment?  Who are we, as mere mortals, to say that this isn't it?"

            "I agree completely.  So, kiss me."

            "Please, curb your enthusiasm.  It's killing me.  And another thing—"

            And Joseph went pleasantly silent as Meghan claimed his mouth with her own.  It felt like honey to him, all heat, and sugar, and he was quite sure that he never wanted the moment to end. 

            But it did.

            "There.  Monumental enough?  Or should I try again?"


            "Try again?"

            And this kiss, his second, her—well, he didn't know, didn't want to—was no less than the first, and if anything, it was more.  It lasted longer, it lacked timid tension, and he was giving as good as he got.

            "And that, Joseph, was that monumental?"

            "Yes.  Quite.  Thank you."

            "You're welcome.  Now I have to go."

            "I have to take a shower.  I have practice."

            "I know.  I believe you have my phone number.  Give me a call when you're finished, and we can start on that laundry of yours, okay?"

            "Yes.  I will call you.  We will do laundry."

            "I might kiss you again.  Later.  After you've recovered."

            "That might be a good idea.  I have to practice."

            Meghan stood up, smoothing her clothes as she did so.  She trekked across his room, not tripping on any of the clutter on the floor, and reached the door.  Looking back at Joseph, she smiled.

            "Later, Sugar Lips."