“Why are you wearing a scarf?”
“It’s cold in my room.”
“Why don’t you put on a shirt?”
“They’re all in the wash.”
He’s so matter-of-fact, like a scarf without a shirt is completely normal. He walks over to my bed and falls down on it, propping his head up with his hand. “Are you mad at me?” he asks.
“Mad at you?” I sit down on the bed and relax against the headboard. “No. Why?”
He rolls onto his back and sees the drawing I hung up. He reaches out and touches it. “I’m not everyone’s cup of tea.”
I laugh. “Yeah, well, you’re in good company.”
He continues tracing the drawing with his finger. “Did Sagan draw this for you?”
“Yeah.” I don’t know why, but there’s a little bit of guilt in my response. Maybe because Sagan shouldn’t be drawing pictures for his girlfriend’s sister. I know it was innocent for him, but my reaction to his gesture was anything but. It just made me like him even more than I did before he gave me the picture.
“I can see why you like him,” Luck says. He rolls back onto his side. “Does he flirt with you?”
“No,” I say immediately. “He likes Honor. I doubt he even notices me.”
“Are you blind? Were you not in the car earlier when he took up for you?”
“He wasn’t taking up for me. He just wanted everyone to stop talking about sex.”
Luck shakes his head. “He got defensive when I asked if you were a virgin. I think your feelings might be mutual.”
Luck has no clue what he’s talking about. He’s been here less than a day. “He wasn’t defending me.”
“Okay,” Luck says. “Do you have a shirt I can borrow?”
“Look in my closet.”
Luck crawls off the bed and walks over to my closet. He thumbs through the clothes for a bit. “I can see why you’re a virgin. Do you own anything other than boring T-shirts?”
I ignore his insult. “Probably not. I like T-shirts.”
He pulls one of my favorites off the hanger and pulls it over his head. It’s a purple shirt that says, “Ask me about my purple shirt.” He leaves the scarf on and then sits back down on the bed, but relaxes against the headboard next to me.
“I never said I was a virgin,” I clarify.
He rests his chin on his shoulder and stares at me with a smirk. “You didn’t have to. You get uncomfortable every time I say the word.”
I roll my eyes. “Are you an expert? How many people have you had sex with?”
“I’m being serious, Luck.”
“I am, too.”
“You’ve had sex forty-two times?”
He shakes his head. “No, you asked how many people I’ve had sex with. That answer is forty-two. But I’ve had sex three hundred and thirty-two times.”
I laugh. “You are so full of shit.”
“I can prove it.”
He hops off the bed and leaves my room. I use his absence to try and imagine how anyone could possibly have sex with that many people, let alone know exactly how many times they’ve had sex in their life.
He just keeps getting weirder.
Luck returns and closes the door, then sits in the same spot again. He’s holding a small, worn notebook. “I keep track.” He opens the first page and there’s a list of initials on the left-hand side of the page, locations in the middle and a date on the right-hand side. I snatch the notebook from him.
I flip through it and read a few of the lines off.
P.K., crew quarters, November 7, 2013.
A.V., lido deck, November 13, 2013.
A.V., lido deck, November 14, 2013.
B.N., hotel in Cabo, December 1, 2013.
I continue flipping through the notebook, through 2014, 2015, 2016. “Oh my God, Luck. You’re sick.”
He grabs the notebook from me. “Am not.”
I shake my head in disbelief. “Why would you keep track of that?”
He shrugs. “I don’t know. I like sex. I figured someday I might break a record, or maybe I’ll want to write a book about my adventures. Keeping track of it helps me to remember everything.”
I grab the notebook from him and flip straight to the back page. I look at the last entry and sure enough, he’s already added Angela and today’s date. Although, he only put the letter A.
“I didn’t catch her last name,” he says.
I reach to my nightstand and grab a pen for him. “It’s Capicci.”
He smiles and adds the letter C to the entry. “Thanks.” He sets the pen and the notebook down on the bed and leans his head back.
“Were you ever in love with any of them?”
He shakes his head. “Not a reciprocated love.”
I sigh. “I know how that feels.”
We’re quiet for a moment, but then he says, “Thanks for the shirt, Merit. I need to get to sleep. Have to look for a job tomorrow.”
I was enjoying the company, oddly enough. “Wait.”
Luck pauses and waits for me to keep talking, but he can see in my expression that I’m a little hesitant to ask him what I want to ask him. He sits back against the headboard. “What is it?”
I spit it out before I change my mind. “What was your first time like?”
He laughs. “Terrible. For her. Not so terrible for me.”
“Did she know it was your first time?”
“No. She didn’t even speak English. Her name was Inga. I was the new guy on crew so I was a hot commodity among the ladies. The whole thing lasted about thirty seconds.”
“Oh. That’s embarrassing.”
He shrugs. “It was at the time, but everyone’s first time is always the worst. I eventually got better. And I got to make it up to her a couple of years later, so I redeemed myself.”
“Why do you think first times are always the worst?”
He looks up in thought. “I don’t know, there’s just so much expectation. Society puts a lot of weight on losing your virginity, but in my opinion, it’s better to just get it over with. Sleep with someone who doesn’t mean much to you so it’ll be less embarrassing than it already is. Then, when you finally do meet someone you really like, you can be with them without all the awkwardness.”
I think about what he’s saying and surprisingly, it makes sense. I hate the anticipation of what my first time will be like and who it’ll be with and how old I’ll be. I hate worrying that it might never happen and I’ll grow old never experiencing sex or love or relationships. I’m not like Honor. I don’t fall in love easily. I don’t even know how to flirt easily. And I’m definitely nothing like Luck. I still can’t fathom what happened with Angela earlier. I don’t understand how someone can meet a person and within minutes be sharing such an intimate experience with them.
Maybe that’s why I can’t understand it, because I’m equating intimacy with sex.
“Any more questions?” he asks.
I shake my head. “No, I think that’s enough to keep me awake all night.”
Luck laughs and stands up. Before he walks out, he pauses in front of my trophy shelf. He picks up the first place fencing trophy. “Fencing?” He looks at me suspiciously. He replaces it and reads a couple more of the plaques on the other trophies, then he looks at me over his shoulder with an arched brow. “Did you actually win any of these?”
I smile. “Define win.”
Luck shakes his head. “I’ve met a lot of people in my life, Merit. But you might be the strangest of them all.”
“Runs in the family.”
He closes the door just as my phone vibrates under my pillow. Speaking of strange. It’s a text from my mother.
If you’re still awake could you bring me a razor? I’m in the shower and mine broke.
I roll my eyes dramatically and drop my phone onto my bed. Why does she even need to shave? No one would ever notice how hairy her legs are. She doesn’t interact with anyone!
I grab a disposable razor from the bathroom and run it down to Quarter Four. She’s in the shower, so I walk into her tiny bathroom and hand it to her over the shower curtain.
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