“So what program are you in?” His tan skin stood out from of his white t-shirt, dark wash jeans, and grey Nike shoes. His chocolate eyes looked into mine, awaiting a response.

We were all sitting in a circle on the field outside of my university. The sun shone down on us while we all sat crossed legged on the soft grass and waited for our don to set up the next ice breaker activity.

“Communications, you?” I replied.

“Commerce. I feel like it is gonna be brutal.”

“Yeah, I heard that’s hard to get in to. By the way, I’m Kristen.”

Instead of the typical handshake, the guy just nudged my shoulder with his and scooted closer.

“I’m Ryan.”

The uncountable laughs that month began. Ryan and I watched movies in the common room, had Lord of the Rings marathons, played one on one Mortal Combat in his room, and had the occasional dance party in my room.

We also loved to scare each other. When Ryan would go to the bathroom, I would hide to the side of the door, and jump on him when he came out. To get me back, he would tickle me and I would fall onto the bed, crying with laughter. We would always stay up late, just talking about life, sharing our pasts and learning new things about each other in the early hours of the morning. He made fun of my obsession with Taylor Swift by mocking her songs and singing them in a high pitched voice while I made fun of his passion for making music with Garage Band on his Mac.

One evening at 1:00AM, I was finishing my essay for a first year communications course when Ryan texted me to come over and chill for a bit. I had to do the bibliography and then I was done. After finishing my essay I tiredly strolled down the hallway to his room. I knocked on his door and smiled in the direction of the peep hole, knowing that he would look. After a moment, he opened the door quietly and greeted me with an effortless smile.

“What music do you wanna listen to?”

I walked over to his bed and sat down on the edge, with both my arms at my sides.

“Taylor Swift obviously.”

“Let’s compromise ok?”

My eyes rolled in agreement.

He decided on The All American Rejects. We lounged on his bed, talking about our days and ranting about classes we had. This was the first time, apart from a few occasional kisses, that he was trying for more. We started kissing and he gently laid me down further on his bed. He wiggled my shirt over my head, and threw it on the desk chair.

Then the playful mood changed.

I felt his hands move down my stomach and as they reached my hips I stopped them.

“Come on, it’s no big deal,” Ryan said, his eyes locked onto mine.

I wrapped my arms around my knees, covering my bare torso. The moistness of my palms made them slide down my shins. It had only been a month. We weren’t even dating. It was that stupid smile of his. So innocent. So convincing. So effortless.

“I dunno,” I whispered.

“Come on baby.”

Ryan smiled at me again and leaned in for a kiss. I couldn’t resist his soft lips. His warm hand caressed my cheek. My body relaxed, my hands letting go of my knees and placing them around his neck. I felt the softness of his black hair while he slowly laid me down on his bed for the second time. My naked back felt the warmth of the soft fleece blanket. My honey brown hair fell back and draped on the white pillowcase underneath my head.

I felt one of Ryan’s hands leave the spine of my back. My eyes followed his hand as it reached into the top drawer of the light wooden cabinet. He dug through the mess of papers and Kleenex and pulled out a small red square package.

“Ok, I can’t do this, I’m sorry.”

“Come on baby, it’s fine, just relax.”

“Get off of me right now please.”

“Baby, come on.”

Ryan pulled my face towards his. Our lips pressed together. For the first time, I hesitated and pushed him away. I had never rejected a kiss from those lips before.

“Get off.”

I rolled off to the side of the bed, avoiding his eyes. I pulled myself up and walked towards the desk chair where my light pink v-neck was draped. I slipped it on as I heard Ryan muttering in the background.

“Dumb bitch…”

The bed squeaked as I stood at the door. I didn’t want him to come after me. In my peripheral, I saw him sitting on the edge of the bed with his feet planted side by side on the grey-blue carpet, his head in his hands. I placed my hand on the silver door handle, paused for a moment, and wondered about whether I was making a mistake. This whole month we had grown so close. I learned so much about his family, his life in high school, the girls in his past, his personal struggles. The cool silver door handle turned warm from my sweaty palms. I walked out without looking back.


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