how stupid could I be
a simpleton could see
that you're no good for me
but you're the only one I see

"Stupid" — Sarah McLachlan

How stupid can I be, to get involved in with him? Hasn't his behavior already shown he's not worth it? Love makes me a fool. Or can it be that I'm just stupid?

I look at him. He looks at me. He grins, a wolfish, confident grin that sets my legs trembling and my heart thumping. I smile back weakly.

"So," he says slowly, "what's up?"

"Well, I guess I'm just upset. I can't figure out how to raise my grades, and it's killing me. I need a good grade this semester. You know, since GPA and college and graduating and all…." I stop speaking, becoming aware that I've begun rambling. He laughs.

"Hey, no problem," he says. "You're looking at the smartest damn person in all of Abraham Lincoln High School. I'll tutor you."

I give him a narrow look. This is no laughing matter; my grades are horrendous. But I'm reminded that Harry doesn't care about grades.

I laugh. "Wow professor, I could learn some humility from you too." I can't deny it though; Harry is the smartest person in our school — and our school has lots of smart people.

Harry looks at me again with a gleam in his eyes, as if he is a hunter and I some sort of prey. Whenever I'm with Harry, I always feel like I am near a beast, constantly on edge. My palms begin to sweat, so much so I can almost feel it dripping on the floor. He is so handsome. Tall, a lean musculature, thin face with chocolate — dark hair and shining dark eyes, he is the type that my heart race a thousand miles for. The afternoon sun streams through the window, forming shadows everywhere, hiding and distorting Tony's face. His cheekbones appear sharper, his features more predatory.

"Thanks," I say, "I really appreciate it."

"No problem," Harry practically purrs, his voice deep and sultry, "it's my pleasure." I can't help the involuntary shivers that go up my spine: his voice is so damn sexy. It fits him, this damn smooth sexy voice suited for seduction.

"How about tomorrow?" His voice is a virtual promise of silken sheets and tangled limbs. My body can't help but respond; my cheeks flush and blood rushes down there to places I've never touched. My imagination starts churning out images of us together, our sweat soaked bodies like twine, twisting and turning and —

"Well?" Harry's voice snaps me out of my reverie.

I should try to resist a little. For my pride. "I'm really busy tomorrow though," I say, almost as an afterthought, "so I dunno when we can find a time."

"Eight o'clock, my place?"

All my objections — rational and irrational — vanish when he turns on that deadly megawatt smile. I can't resist him when he does that. He knows it too. There's a knowing sparkle in his eye as he grins at me.

He leaves. I stare after him — yes, I'm ogling him. And once again, I'm wondering what I've got myself into.

I've heard somewhere that life is a series of follies and that the best way to live is to take advantage of them. Maybe this counts as one of the follies. But if so, who's taking advantage of whom?

I have always liked Harry, ever since we met in the beginning of high school. He was cocky in public and nice in person. I hadn't realized I like him then, but there was something about him I was instantly attracted to. It struck as sudden as lightening, this attraction to him.

I met him in my math class. I had arrived barely early enough to get a seat. I put my books on the neighboring table and leaned back into my chair.

"Hey," he came up to me, "mind if I sit here?'

"Huh?" I looked at him, noticing his clear dark eyes, and his friendly smile. I smiled back, "Sure," clearing my things from the seat besides me.

The teacher came in, banging the door shut. Irritable was an understatement: he was pissed off.

He grinned at me. "Looks like it's gonna be a fun class."

I grinned back, "Sure is."

I broke off as the teacher glared at us. "Many of you have been put in the class," the classroom was overcrowded with students, "with no regard to your aptitude in this subject. Many of you are idiots and shouldn't be here."

Harry chuckled softly, "Including you."

As the teacher filled up the board with indecipherable numbers and figures, I turned back to Harry.

"What's your name? I'm Sam."

"Harry," he said, offering his hand. I shook it, aware of the feeling of calluses in his hand and strength in his grip.

We continued talking as the class progressed, ignoring several dirty looks from the teacher and a ridiculously hard trig problem that Harry somehow managed to finish in under twenty minutes. We talked like long—lost brothers catching up after twenty years.

At the end of class, he said, "You're a really cool guy. Wanna go get lunch?"

In retrospect, I suppose it's his personality that makes him so attractive. Looks are only skin deep, they say, and it's true. The hottest guy loses his appeal if nothing but garbage comes out of his mouth. And I don't mean literally, like getting drunk and barfing, though that is a turn—off too. I'm talking about the stupid stuff people say, like "Is the Friday game on Saturday?" Harry isn't like that. He's truly witty, sometimes bitingly so, but his charm takes out the sting. You can't refuse him anything once he smiles. He is, as he calls himself, "the smartest damn person in all of Abraham Lincoln High School" Lastly — but certainly not least — he's the hottest guy around.

I'm not blind to his faults. Harry uses his powers for evil. He knows what he wants, and he doesn't care who he hurts to get it. His looks, his intelligence, they're all tools to get what he wants. The people around him, me included, are his weapons too.

But I can't help it. I still like him.

Night comes and I'm waiting for him. Waiting for him to pick me up. He's late by five minutes. I'm getting anxious, rubbing my hands so much it burns. Why isn't he here yet?

I look at myself in the mirror. I look pretty damn fine. My blond hair is tousled, but in a hot I'm-ready-to-fuck way, not in an I-want-to-go-back-to-sleep way. I have a nice face: even features, a straight nose, nice eyes. I'm not tall, but I'm skinny and lean, having muscles where it's supposed to be. I dress casually, in small thin T—shirt and dark slim jeans, showing just enough skin to tempt. My skin — well, my skin is a light dusky tan, like coffee mixed with cream. I appraise myself critically. This is an attractive young man, with enough confidence to take on the world. Harry will want me.

I step outside my house. The air is chill, whispering on my skin. I stand. And I watch.

Harry's car come speeding up the driveway. I can see his face, hiding partially in the shadows, and the reflected light of the streetlamps glinting in his eye. He pulls up, and steps out.

"Hello, Sam," Harry holds out his hand, giving me a mock bow, "your carriage waits."

I laugh, swatting his hand, and get in to the seat next to him. His car is a BMW, one of the newer models. Harry loves his car, and no wonder. It is so comfortable: leather seating, wood paneling, a great stereo, and a 500 horsepower engine. With the time Harry spends in it, it's like his second home.

Harry gets in the car and off we go.

"So, have you eaten yet?" he asks.

"A little. I haven't had a full dinner, but I ate some snacks."

"Good. I ordered some pizza, so that'll be fine then."

As Harry drives, I become aware that it's really dark, and the stars are out. They were tiny pinpricks of light in the night sky, shining like diamonds, the only light I can see. The quiet humming of the engine is comforting, like the rocking of a crib. I feel safe in Harry's car. It is like snuggling in my blankets; there are no explanations, I just feel it. I glance at Harry. His face looks like an impressionist painting, illuminated by a vibrant swirl of colors, from the red of the display board to the green of the traffic lights.

We pass the ride to his house in comfortable silence. During the ride, stars blurred and lights flashed and I fell asleep on Harry's shoulder.

Something is moving. "Wake up, Sam. We're here." I open my eyes, blinking away gunk.

Even though I'm no stranger to Harry's room, I have never been here at night. There's something different about it, something I can't quite place, but the atmosphere feels more…exotic.

Harry switches on the light, sits down. I sit next to him.

"So, what should we cover first?" I ask, determined to avoid the inevitable. I bring out my books and lay them on the table. "Pick one."

Harry picks one up randomly. "Oh, biology! That's always fun, especially the anatomical unit. You know, I am an expert of the human anatomy." His voice takes on a decidedly sultry tone.

"I didn't know you want to be a doctor," I say, faking surprise. "You always hated hospitals."

Harry scowls, "I- that's not what I mean!" He glares at me.

I grin cheekily at Harry. "It's a logical assumption," I say innocently. It is a pleasant change for Harry to be flustered.

Harry is thrown off balance, I can tell. Annoyance and indecision struggle on his face for control. It feels great to see him finally lose his mask of confidence. Unfortunately, the mask snaps back on after barely a second.

Harry smiles at me. My heart nearly stops. It is a seduction smile, a knowing and mysterious smile that speaks of hot, bare, skin on skin. I gulp. I should've known I can't beat him.

Harry glance directly into my eye. "You don't need to be a doctor to know anatomy. You'll find it's quite useful for other things. Many things."

He continues: "Take me for example. I found it so useful in the past. Michelle appreciates it a lot."

Michelle! The mention of his ex-girlfriend's name is the equivalent of a lifeline.

"How is Michelle?" I ask, faking an enthusiasm I don't feel, "Is she back from New York yet?"

Harry glares at me, as if to say 'you can't fool me.' "She'll be back in a few weeks," he says. "She really likes it there. Says it's so much more interesting than this shell of a city."

He moves closer to me. I can feel the heat emanating off his skin. The bare stretch of skin showing from his simple white v-neck shirt is tempting me. My mouth is watering just looking at it, imagining things. Things like my lips tracing a line from his neck to his collarbone to somewhere…

Michelle, I'm reminded, told me once: "Harry's so sexy when he wears that white v-neck of his. I can see everything, the muscles on his chest, everything, yet something's always there. So hot." I can see her point now. Literally.

I back away suddenly. I'm not ready for this. I love Harry. But I'm not ready for this. Being with Harry gives you a high, but when that high is over, and he's ready to move on, you won't feel so good. Michelle went to New York after their third break—up, when she caught him going down on her lab partner. Her male lab partner.

I was thrilled when I found out. I had a chance after all! But, as I watched countless others, both male and female get involved with Harry, I can't help realizing that Harry only cares about Harry.

Harry's definitely annoyed now. "Stop being coy, Sam," he snaps, "We're both mature adults. Act like it. We both know why we're here, and it isn't to review insulin resistance."

I glare at him. "Maybe this was a mistake," I say, although a part of my body — the lower half — is begging me to stay. "If you don't mind —"

Harry kisses me.

My world is spinning; I feel faint. His lips taste of mint and chocolate, soft and demanding, insistent yet yielding. It is a moment of vulnerability for him, but also a moment of triumph, because, in that moment, I belong to him.

Harry takes the opening; he snakes his arms around me while continuing the line of kisses down my neck. I struggle halfheartedly, pushing against him with no force. He ignores me, continues, his hands now traveling down to the crease of my jeans, kneading and squeezing my butt. I groan.

Hearing this, Harry chuckles. "See? I knew you wanted this," he whispers in a hoarse voice.

"G-God," I can't help but moan in desire as he continues his ministrations. "I— ugh—yeah —"

Harry laughs, his mouth now pressed against my neck, his breath sending tremors down my body. God, I want this so bad, I can feel it pressing against my jeans. I rock against him, attempting to release my tensions. I grip him tight as he grinds against me, hands stiff with energy. Harry smiles, begins to grind harder. God. I. Want. This. So. Bad.

"You want this," he pants, hand now on my crotch. "You really want this."

I can barely control myself; it is all I can do to not rip his clothes off and rut like some wild beast. My body feels so good against his, his lean body fitting into my own perfectly.

My hands move as if of their own volition. Shirts come off, belts loosen, and Harry is lying on top of me, skin to skin.

"You have no idea how long I wanted this," he pants, grinding against me. "I want you so bad. I need this."

Hearing his need so clearly, my desire rises, and I thrust against him. I need this too. I've been dreaming about this for so long: every night for the past two years. My body arch as his erection press against me. To me, it is this thing: huge and terrifying. Yet I have never felt less afraid in my entire life.

Fire lights up everywhere he touched me. I'm burning; my world is consumed by heat as our bodies tangle into a mess of limbs. Our mouths meet, hungrily seeking each others' company. I press my fingers into the small of his back, relishing the movement of muscles under my touch.

Harry's stone hard now. "Do it," I hiss.

Inexplicably, he stops. He looks at me. "Are you sure?" he asks, "We could take this slower."

What kind of stupidity is this? Stopping in the middle of the best sex I've had in centuries to ask me if I wanted to "take it slower." Honestly.

I look at him. At my best friend, the one who had supported me through so much. At the guy who broke his girlfriend's heart. At the man who was irresistible and knew it. At the one whom I've loved from far away.

I kiss his forehead. "I'm a mature adult. I know why I'm here."

In response, Harry lifts my legs up and pushes. I let the sensations take over me.

Light streams through the windows and I wake up. My muscles are tense, sore after last nights activities. I smile a little. Last night… last night was amazing. Like flying, the exhilarating freedom, the sense of soaring liberation that I've never experienced before.

I turn to look at Harry, who's still sleeping. I brush a strand of hair gently off his face. His face is so peaceful in the morning light, angelic—like, without the glint of cunning that appears so often in his eye. There's no emotion but overflowing love in me right now. Something unbreakable has been forged between the two of us, a bond that transcends friendship.

Harry stirs, opens one eye. "G'morning," he slurs sleepily, "how are you?"

I smile. "Fine." A comfortable silence settles over us as we get up to dress. As we walk over to the mess of clothing that was the result of last night, the phone rings.

Harry nudges me. "Go get it," he says.

I scowl at him.

"C'mon. You're closer."

"Fine." I grudgingly pick up the phone. "Hello?"

"Hi! Can I talk to Harry please?" The voice is chipper and annoying familiar, but I can't place it.

"Okay, sure." I am about to hand over the phone to Harry when recognition strikes me. "Wait! Michelle?"

"Uh—Oh! Hi Sam! It's been so long. I didn't even recognize your voice." This is definitely Michelle.

"Yeah, same! How's New York?" I miss Michelle. Such a bright personality, we use to spent hours gossiping about boys.

"It's been fun, but I'm so glad to be back. I mean, New York is great and all, but home is where the heart lies, you know, and I just really, really miss—"

I listen to Michelle chatter on, amused. Then I realize something. "Wait! Been? Does that mean you're back? Where are you? We should meet!"

"I'm at the airport right now. Harry supposed to pick me up—hang on, why are you at Harry's house so early?"

"Well," I lower my voice conspiratorially, winking at Tony, who stops digging through the pile of clothes to listen, "I'm at Tony's house right now cuz we—um—you know— we slept together last night."

"Wait. What? You mean sleep as in share the same bed because you were really tired or the other type of 'sleep'?"

Something's wrong. Her tone is off. "The other type…" I say hesitantly.

There is a sound of banging like something is being dropped on the other side. "What! You - fucking - boyfriend fucking - home wrecker!"

"What the fuck are you talking about?" I yell over her cries, "Are you fucking mad?"

"He's my boyfriend, Sam!" she yells, "How can you! Slut!"

I'm angry. Furious. What the hell is she talking about? They broke up a long time ago. "Calm yourself, woman!" I snap, disregarding Tony, who has by now given up all pretense of sorting through clothes and is listening intently, eyes wide with concentration. "You broke up with him already!"

"We got back right before I left," she says, her voice as sharp as a knife.

I drop the phone. My world is spinning, I feel sick and nauseous. Harry…

Harry rushes to my side. "What's the matter, Sam? Are you okay?"

I gesture wordlessly towards the phone. If I open my mouth right now, there will be a big splotch of vomit on his floor. Or an eruption.

He picks up the phone. "Hello?—Oh, 'Chelle—" I gather my clothes quickly and rush out the room as indistinct screaming comes out the phone and Tony's face contorts through a gamut of emotions.

How stupid could I be? Anyone could see that he is no good for me. How could I be so blind? But in my dreams of love, he's the only one I see.

I'm walking now on the sidewalk. The morning sun by now has retreated to a dull grey and the skies are threatening to rain. But I don't mind. I don't mind the chill wind, like knives against my skin. I don't mind anything now. Nothing can compare to the hurt I'm feeling, the feeling of screws driving through my heart. I kick at the pavement. Damn him. And damn me for falling for him. Tears well up in my eyes. My throat is burning. It is the first time I've shed over him, and I swear, the last.

What had I expected from this? I knew from the beginning that this was a bad idea. Last night…last night had me thinking that he would be different, that he actually cared for me. But what had I expected would come from this? Had I expected us to become boyfriends? Had I expected him to declare undying love for me?

I've had foolish expectations and they made a fool out of me. This won't happen again.

Harry's car drives up. He sticks his head out the window.

"Sam!" I ignore him. After all, what is left to say?

"Sam!' Again, this time more insistent. I turn.

"What?" I look at him. Despite a hasty preparation—his hair is messed up, these aren't what he usually wears— he still manages to look so damn calm.

"Look, I'm sorry for not telling you about 'Chelle. It was a mistake, I know it now, I'm sorry."

I look at him coldly. "You're apologizing for not telling me about her, not for playing me."

His face colors. "I don't know what to tell you."

I glare at Harry. "You know what? Don't. Don't apologize for anything. It's my fault. This whole thing is a mistake."

Harry's face softens. "Don't be like that, Sam."

I have never felt as confused as I have at that moment. Part of me wants rip his head off and do unspeakable things to him. The other part is willing to forgive him and go back to the good ole' times. That part takes control.

"Then explain," I say as coldly as I can, "what did you want from this anyways? It clearly isn't a relationship."

"Sam, we already have a relationship," he begins soothingly; "we're best friends. Why can't we have…benefits?"

I can feel all the blood leaving my face. "In other words, you just want a fuck buddy," I say softly.

"Don't be so vulgar," he snaps. "What? Did you expect we would be a couple? That's ridiculous. I'm with Michelle; I love her."

"Then why me?" I can barely force the words out; my lungs feel like they're barely working.

He sighs. "Look. I know you have feelings for me. I love you too, but as a friend. I was bored, you were bored, and now we're not."

All my anger is gone now, replaced with nothing but hopelessness and fatigue. It's beginning to rain now, a light drizzle.

"Sam. We're guys. We fuck around. That's what we do. Did you want me to woo you? To shower you with gifts like a woman? Want a big diamond ring?"

I chuckle despite myself. "That would be nice."

Harry smiles, pressing his advantage. "Look, I'm sorry if I've hurt you. But I just didn't think it was necessary. But if you don't' want anything to do with me, then I have no choice but to listen. I'll always miss you, Sam. You were my best friend. "He drives off.

I sit on the sidewalk, stunned. I can't even describe how I'm feeling right now. Instead of triumph, I only feel sadness. I have never stood up to Harry before, never denied him what he wanted. Now, I'm regretting that I did.

Tears start to brim up. Passersby stare at this boy who is sitting on the curb like a homeless, crying.

I try to gather my thoughts. It's raining harder now, the droplets of water falling like stones. I'm wet, and cold. My clothes cling to me like glue, heavy, like I'm about to drown. I try to think of something warm.

Inadvertently, I think of last night. Hot sweat, bodies tangled together, my love for Harry burning in my heart. Now, all that is gone. Now I'm sinking, under the weight of my sorrows and regret.

A car comes up, missing me by inches. It's Harry's car.

"Hey," Harry comes out the car, holding an umbrella.

"Hey," I say softly.

"It's raining." Awkward silence between us. I don't know what to say to him. Finally, I take his proffered hand and get up. He opens the door and I get in.

After the cold outside, it feels unbearably hot and dry inside. Like I'm about to suffocate. But then Harry smiles at me.

I can't resist his smile.