1 Chapter 1

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I confirmed for sure that I was gay in three easy stages: having the wrong tongue in my mouth; putting mytongue in the wrong place; and developing a sudden onset of lactose intolerance. Gag.

The three stages all occurred within mere moments. Her name was Mindy. We’re still friends. BFF’s, actually.

It all started with this conversation…

“You’re not.”

“I’m pretty sure I am, Min.” We were on the rooftop patio of Jack Astor’s, waiting for our entrée to arrive. I was drinking a raspberry margarita, Mindy, a strawberry daiquiri. It was 10:41 A.M., but it was summer, and you’re allowed to drink in the morning during the months of July and August…right?

“How can you know if you haven’t tried either one?”

“Uh, hello?” I made an obscene up-and-down gesture with my fist. Mindy rolled her eyes, slapping my hand out of sight of the other early-morning drinkers.

“Guys are so gross.” She sipped her drink, casting her gaze to the bar, where the morning wait staff conversed. She was checking out “Alex.” He wasn’t our server, but he was the only male on staff.

“If we’re so gross, why can’t you take your eyes off of us?”

Min’s eyes shifted back to me, giving me a look that said, “You’re, like, so annoying.” “I’m looking at him. He’s got a nice ass.” She licked her lips, laser gaze on Alex’s unsuspecting tush.

“What’s wrong with mine?”

“Too small. I like something I can grab.” It was her turn to make an obscene hand gesture, just as “Lily” arrived with our lunch grub.

Mindy pretended to get a text, even as our server studiously avoided making eye contact, dropping our plates in front of us, and bee-lining for the safety of the other waiters. We giggled as she left, then got to the business of eating our first meal of the day.

It was just past 11:30 when we made our way to street level and started to wander. The market was across the street, so that became our destination.

“Okay,” Mindy began again, determined to sort this out once and for all. “If you’re gay, but you haven’t actually sealed the deal with a man, don’t you owe it to yourself to at least try once? With a woman?”

“That’s a pretty pathetic attempt to get me in bed,” I replied, feigning interest in some indigenous art being displayed out the back of an old pickup. I ignored the slap on my shoulder, instead picking up a wooden sculpture of some sort of bird-dog. It was actually pretty neat. Unfortunately, I didn’t have cash, and the market vendors rarely accepted a credit card. It was a wonder markets were still a thing in this day and age. I smiled an apology to the artist, gently replacing her work on the tailgate of her truck.

“What I’m saying, smartass, is that you owe it to yourself to explore all the options.”

“And what I’msaying is that I already know. Well, I’m pretty sure, anyways.” Shit—I just gave her an opening!

And sure enough, Min leaped on it. “Wait. What are you saying?” We shuffled down the row, so as not to traumatize the old woman artist.

“Well…you know when you surf porn—”

“No, I do notknow,” she asserted.

“Whatever. Everybody does it.” I forestalled her with a raised palm. “You come across all sorts of stuff, right? Stuff you’re not actually looking for?”

“O-kaaaay…” She was humoring me for the moment, but the set of her shoulders told me she was not keen on this line of thought. I kept walking—the fruit vendor in front of us glared suddenly as he caught some of our chatter.

“Well, I come across women from time to time, and…” Mindy’s body language was now screaming warning signs; I had to wrap this up. “Well, let’s just say I don’t automatically lose my—” I cleared my throat loudly “—moodwhen I see a guy and a girl going at it.” Whew! I took a deep breath.How the hell did I find myself saying this stuff out in public?Curiously, Mindy hadn’t said a thing yet. I looked at her, her long, loose bangs obscuring one thoughtful brown eye.

Thirty minutes and three shots of amaretto later, we were in her bedroom.

Look—I can hear you say it—girl, what were you thinking?Well, I actually hadthought it through in the half hour it took us to find our way to her childhood bedroom while her mom was off at work.

Here’s the deal: I was turning twenty this fall. I’d just finished my first year at college, and was spending the summer living on campus rather than going back home. I worked four nights a week at the campus pool; the rest of the time, I hung out with Mindy.

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