“Fingering you?”

“Yes…Fingering me, and um…”

I raised my eyebrow, waiting for her to finish.

“It felt good, but awkward, you know? So, I asked him to stop and he did. We watched the rest of the movie and he just kissed me here or there. After the movie, we got into his car and I started to ask him if he wanted to get dinner since we had a few hours before the fireworks, but he started kissing and fingering me again and um…”

I pressed the scarf against her cheeks again.

“When I told him to stop this time, he got mad. He said he was tired of spending so much money on me without getting anything in return. He said he would only continue our date if I promised he would finally get to fuck me by the end of the night...”

I sighed.

“So…I told him I couldn’t promise him that, and he said he couldn’t promise to finish our date either. Then he made me get out of his car and sped off, but not before saying, ‘Thanks for wasting six months of my life…” Tears fell down her face again. “I should’ve believed you…I should’ve known.”

“No, that’s not it,” I said. “He’s just an asshole.” I sent a quick text to my friend, Josh, regarding Elliot and tried to calm Ari down again. “I actually think it’s kind of cool that you want to hold on to your virginity until you’re ready.”

“Really? You think so?”

“No.” I couldn’t keep a straight face with that lie. “But it’s honorable. Lame as hell, but honorable.”

“Have I mentioned that you’re a dickhead this week already?”

“You just did.” I smiled and pulled her up—walking her to my car.

“On the plus side, at least I’ll get some sleep tonight and have energy to last through tomorrow’s bake sale.”

“Like hell you will.” I cranked the engine. “I’m not letting a Saturday night go to waste, especially since I have blue balls already. We’re both going to do something so this night won’t be a complete bust.” I veered onto the highway. “Where was lover-boy supposed to take you after the movie?”

“Sandcastle for fireworks.”

“Ugh. And after that?”

“Gourmet ice cream.”

“Jesus…And after that?”


“Okay, we can do all of that, but only if we get tattoos first. I’ll need some pain to focus on to get through the rest of that shit.”

“Deal,” she said. “Now, tell me more about Monica’s sweater. That was a joke, right?”

“I wish, my friend. I fucking wish…” I gave her the play by play of my night—every moment in detail, and by the time I was done we’d arrived at Hot Needle.

“Were you planning on getting ‘Ari and Elliott forever’?” I looked over at her. “I hope you now know that would’ve been a terrible idea.”

“I was going to get a key and a pen.”

“Yes to the key. No to the pen.”

“Okay, Dad.” She rolled her eyes. “What are you getting?”

“I don’t know.” I pulled a box of beer from underneath my seat. “Ask me after I’ve had four or five of these. You can have two.”

“How very generous of you.”

“I am, since you’re a lightweight.”

“If you drink all of those, I’m not letting you drive back.” She took my keys and put them in her purse. “We’ll call a cab to get home, and I’ll take the bus with you tomorrow to get your car back.”

“Deal,” I said. “So, seeing as though we’ll be able to see the fireworks from here, we can get your dreamy ice cream at a parlor after the tattoos. Wait a minute. I’ve never seen you eat any ice cream. I thought you only ate yogurt?”

“I do.” She shrugged. “Elliot is the one who loves ice cream.”

“Okay, forget that.” I opened a beer. “Yogurt it is. I don’t like ice cream that much either, you know.”

“Unless you’re after a girl who likes it?”

“Exactly. That changes my ‘likes and non-likes’ list instantly.”

She laughed. “Why am I friends with you again?”

“Because no one else will put up with you.”

An hour later, after we’d chugged nearly all of the beers, we stumbled into the tattoo parlor, trying our best to play sober. Laughing at nothing at all, we happily handed them our fake IDs and design ideas.

She stuck to her key and pen, and I decided to let the designer have free reign on my right arm.

I didn’t even realize what exactly he’d drawn until the next morning, when a snooty kid walked up to me on the bus and asked me why I had the State of Arizona on my arm…

Track 16. Love Story (3:27)

“Hello?” Josh waved his hand in front of my face. “Hello?”


“Are you going to be my wingman tonight or what?” He sipped his drink. “I get the blonde and you get the brunette.” He pointed his head toward the girls in the booth across from us.

“Not interested,” I said. “But I’ll stick around for another hour or so.”

“Not interested?” He looked dumbfounded. “Do you see the brunette? Do you see her body?”

I looked over again and she waved at me, blushing.