The Last Girl excerpt used with permission, copyright 2012 Kitty Thomas
I feel absurd being a nineteen-year-old virgin, a fossil from another time. Part of me is just glad to do the deed and get the fucking thing over. I feel like I’ve got a white V emblazoned on me, or as if I give off some type of scent. I don’t like the idea that something that should be private feels as if it’s somehow being broadcast.
I open the door a little bleary-eyed, my hair still mussed from oversleeping.
“Did I wake you?”
He’s got this stupid grin on his face. And flowers. I want to smack him. I know this is all because I’ve decided to give in and put out after three months of dating. I feel like I should love him if I’m going to do this.
I run my hands self-consciously through my hair.
“You look great,” he says, holding out the flowers.
No I don’t. I know it. He knows it. He’s just so happy to be getting laid tonight that he’s seeing me through horny-guy glasses. I’m still too sleepy to be annoyed.
I put the flowers in a glass of water and slip some flip flops on. It’s Southern Florida. Flip flops are a year-round joy here.
He’s got something romantic planned at the beach. Black cloth goes over my eyes as we get out of the car—a blindfold. I almost panic, but then I realize if I make a fuss, it will invite questions I can never answer. So I smile shakily and allow him to lead me down to the beach. My flip flops are still in the car. I breathe slowly in and out, listening to the waves crash against the shore, inhaling the crisp, salty scent of the sea, feeling the instability of sand collapsing beneath my feet.
“Don’t move. I’ll be right back. I’ve got to get a couple of things.”
I try not to be in that dark closet. I try, but I can’t help it. I’m there again, my eyes squeezed tightly shut, silently begging not to be found, not to be killed. A hand is on my arm again, leading me away and I come out of the fog, remembering I’m here with Devon. Everything’s okay.
“Where are we going?”
My heart starts to hammer faster in my chest. Then it pounds and vibrates in my head. My entire being is one rapidly thudding heartbeat with no slowdown in sight. Something is wrong here, but I can’t make myself remove the cloth from my eyes.
You’re being ridiculous. It’s just Devon. He has a surprise.
I find myself in the passenger seat of a car. It’s not Devon’s car. I just know. Even blindfolded I know. This is the point where I should rip the scrap of fabric off and run. There is no evidence this person has a weapon, and he or she hasn’t spoken to me yet. But before my hands can move to the blindfold, the driver’s side door is shut and the car has started.
It’s so fast, I assume there must be more than one person involved. Tears gather and absorb into the thick cloth covering my eyes. Terror freezes me, keeping me from taking off the blindfold, from trying to leap out of the car that’s moving too fast now anyway. I’m suddenly thirteen again. The dream is real, and I believe that if I don’t see them, they won’t kill me.
I’m silent and they are silent. The only sound is the wheels scraping against the rough road and the occasional bump. My tears are coming harder now. Why can’t I fight back? Scream? Beg? Try to escape? Just take the fucking blindfold off! But I can’t do it. I may as well be tied up because I’m so scared I don’t know what to do or what to think.
A little while passes and the car stops. Again, too fast for me to react, my door is open and someone is helping me out. How many are there?
I cringe away but find my feet moving in the direction I’m being led. “Don’t hurt me. Please.”
Then I feel stupid. What if it’s Devon? What if this is part of some stupid frat thing he’s gotten himself into? It would be just like him to combine my deflowering with a secret frat party or something.
I expect someone to start giggling or say I’m a spaz, but fingers gently grasps my wrist, lifting my hand. I feel the planes of his face as he guides me to see him. I shake my head in disbelief.
I was good. I didn’t say anything. I didn’t tell anyone anything. This can’t happen. I did what I was supposed to do. But it’s him. It’s my nightmare.
“I missed you, Juliette.”