"It's something I would classify as non negotiable," Stephen proclaimed, eyebrows raised.
"You know the answer," Craig stated, "Why do you always have to rub it in?"
"Dude, don't feel bad, we're a best friend tag team. I'm the jock…and you're the nerdy virgin."
"Hey! Don't act as if we're in a poorly written teen drama here. Those archetypes are not that fitting."
"Ok ok," Stephen replied skeptically, "I've got to go. Some of us have girlfriends."
Craig slumped back against his locker sighing. He watched Stephen scamper off down the long hallway and he wondered how it had happened. There had come a point where they suddenly changed from best friends to a couple with a hanger on. Craig blamed the power of sex. The possibility of having it kept Stephen on a very short tether. Craig hated watching his friend jump when he was asked; he didn't want to let that happen to himself. He needed to figure out how that power worked and find a way around it.
Rachel spotted Craig against the lockers with a far off look in his eye. She approached him slowly surveying his face before waking him from his thoughts. His untidy dark hair stuck out all over the place, his eyebrows were tensed in deep concentration with his mouth was in a slight frown. Rachel reached out her hand grazing his shoulder lightly.
"What's with you?" she asked.
"Huh?" he snapped back into reality, "Hey, I'm just, you know…spacing."
"Well if you're done do you want to hit lunch?" she stated smiling, "Becca just got another boyfriend so I'm alone until she gets bored of him."
They began to walk toward the cafeteria, "She goes through a lot of dudes in a month doesn't she?" Craig asked.
"That's an understatement," Rachel replied, "I don't know how she stands it, it drives me insane."
"I know what you mean. It seems like everyone who's in a relationship has lost it."
"A relationship? I believe that would require an emotional connection."
"Opposed to what?"
"You know what; it's pretty much been ruling our lives since like the seventh grade."
"Ah, the old carnal standby."
Rachel rolled her eyes, "I really think she's waiting for one that can keep up with her, it won't matter who it is."
"I think Stephen will do anything for it."
Rachel and Craig continued to discuss the problems of sex and relationships amongst their friends over lunch. They had been friends since the age of ten. The typical brother and sister type they spent many a youthful night spilling their secrets. Though it had been said they would inevitably hook up they had done their best to maintain a platonic friendship.
"I just don't understand." Craig stated.
"Well maybe it's because you've never done it." Rachel replied, tucking her hand behind her neck to hold her head up.
"Oh like you have." Craig taunted.
"At least I've come to terms with it being the reason we don't understand," Rachel said tersely, standing, "I'll see you later."
Craig thought about what Rachel had said late into the night. He laid in his bed trying to figure out what to do about the mystery of sex. Suddenly he had an epiphany, Rachel was right: he had to have sex to understand it.
He called Rachel immediately.
"Hello?" she answered groggily.
"Let's have sex." Craig blurted out.
"Craig?" she asked, "Are you on drugs? What are you talking about?"
"We should do it. Like an experiment, it's a great idea."
"Do you realize what you're saying? Go back to bed, you'll feel more sane in the morning."
"You can call me crazy all you want but I know you spend all your time wondering what it's like."
Rachel remained silent giving Craig reason to continue.
"We'll talk tomorrow." He said and hung up the phone.
Rachel fell back onto her bed. She wondered if Craig's idea would work, then she shook her head.
"I can't seriously be considering this." She said aloud to herself.
But then she dropped into her fantasy world. She arched her back and tried to imagine Craig's body hovering over her. Her body writhed as she closed her eyes trying to feel someone else's hands on her stomach, her thighs, and her hips.
She woke the next morning unsure of her feelings. She went to school worried. Not about Craig's idea, but about her own willingness to be a part of it. She scurried by him in the halls hoping not to get noticed. He finally caught her in the library. He sat across from her.
"Where have you been all day?" he asked.
"Oh, you know, around." She replied jiggling her foot nervously hoping he wouldn't bring up what she knew he would.
He reached across the table and took her hand her face flushed immediately, "You look kind of drained are you ok?"
"Me? I'm fine." She responded glancing down at their hands and feeling warm.
Craig met Rachel's gaze, she looked slightly panicked, "So about that phone call last night. I don't want to make you do something that-"
"It's ok," she interrupted, "We were both obsessing over what our friends are doing. And besides, I think it could work."
Craig peered up, "Really? Because you look like you're going to vomit."
"Shut up I look fine." She said smiling and pulling her hand away to place a loose strand of hair behind her ear.
Craig cracked a smile, "I knew we could do this."
"Don't jump the gun; no one's done anything yet."
Craig stood from the table, "So come over tonight ok?"
"Yeah." Rachel replied nonchalantly.
"See you later then." Craig stated.
Craig rushed into the hallway with a big rush of adrenaline.
Rachel and Craig both stood in Craig's bedroom awkwardly. Rachel smiled nervously while Craig looked away out the window.
"I didn't think this would be so weird." Rachel murmured.
"I know." Craig said turning back to face Rachel.
Rachel stepped closer to Craig, "You're attracted to me right?"
"Well, yeah," Craig replied glancing over at her with an oblivious look.
She stepped even closer, "And we both want this."
"Uh huh." Craig agreed feeling nervous.
Rachel placed both hands on Craig's chest, "So what do we do about it?"
Craig's face was flushed, "I- I'm not sure." he stammered.
"Come on, do I have to do everything?" Rachel asked.
"What?" Craig asked in return puzzled.
Rachel slid her arms up around Craig's neck, "Kiss me you idiot," she whispered.
Craig dipped his head down kissing Rachel briefly. It felt strange. He did it again; less strange. And again, it was easy now. And then it happened. Just like that.
Craig watched Rachel getting dressed; her red hair was covering her face as she stepped into her skirt. He smiled feeling different like she had just gotten a little piece of him. After puling on her shirt she flipped her hair over her shoulder looking at him quizzically.
"What are you smiling about?" she asked.
He ignored the question, "Get back in bed with me."
She grinned, "I've got to get home. It's dinner time."
"Oh fuck that." Craig stated.
"I'm leaving now." She replied.
Later that night Craig snuck into Rachel's room. She was sitting at her desk in her pajamas when he came in through the window out of breath.
She gave him a sort of half smile, "What do you want?"
"I think you know." He replied crossing to kiss her.
The next day Craig bumped into Rachel at school. He leaned down to kiss her but she turned her head away.
"Becca broke up with her latest dude." She stated glancing up at Craig.
"Oh." He responded confused by the brush off.
"I knew it would happen eventually."
"Yeah you know all good things must come to an end and all that." He stated vaguely, he wasn't really interested in Becca's boy problems more so in Rachel's failure to respond to his kiss.
She rolled her eyes, "I don't know what I'm going to do with her."
Craig tried to change the subject, "So do you want to come over later?"
"Listen, I just- I like you but I can't turn into Becca."
"I can't be that girl going casually from guy to guy hoping the next one will be the right one."
"Well why can't I be the right one?"
We can't just stir up some kind of relationship from having sex Craig. Be real."
"But what about-"
Rachel interrupted him, "I've got to get to class, we'll talk later or something."
Craig watched Rachel walk away and knew he had gotten just what he asked for: an experiment. He had wanted to find out what power sex held over people and he had let it take him. He figured out that the real power was in changing people, not the act itself. Whether used to hold power or to become closer to someone it had the power to change. The relationship between him and Rachel would never be the same. He thought it could survive sex but maybe he was wrong.