Copyright© 2022 by Lazlo Zalezac
“What’s the matter?” Sally asked.
Betsy was doing dumbbell hammer curls with a pair of twenty pound weights. She sped up her repetition rate.
“I’m never going to meet a guy,” Betsy said.
“Yes, you will,” Sally said.
“I’ve never had a boyfriend. I’m still a virgin,” Betsy said.
“Same here,” Sally said.
Betsy said, “Maybe you are still a virgin, but at least you’ve got a boyfriend. At least you’ve been kissed once.”
“I don’t have a boyfriend,” Sally said.
“What about Steve?”
Sally said, “He’s just a friend.”
“He’s also a boy,” Betsy said.
“I know,” Sally said.
“You’re also going out with him two nights a week. He’s also stopping by your lab for lunch everyday,” Betsy said.
“I’d say that kissing a boy would kind of suggest that you’re boyfriend and girlfriend,” Betsy said switching over to a dumbbell press.
“We’ve never kissed,” Sally said.
That wasn’t to say that she didn’t dream about it. It was seldom she got through a night of sleep without waking up at least once, after a dream involving Steve. More often than not, her dreams went way beyond kissing. She was ready – more than ready.
Surprised to learn that, Betsy asked, “Why not?”
Every time Steve got close to her, it was like her feet had a mind of their own, and she was back pedaling like mad. It was pathetic. It was frustrating because she wanted him to kiss her, but she was terrified of being kissed. He could stand next to her with his arm held protectively around her with no problem. The moment they were facing each other with him looking into her eyes, her heart started pounding, and she had an overwhelming desire to flee.
“Of what?” Betsy asked.
She couldn’t imagine being afraid of kissing. She couldn’t wait to be kissed. In fact, her fear was that she’d be so enthusiastic that she’d scare the poor guy away. She took comfort in the fact that with her speed she’d be able to catch him before he got too far.
Sally answered, “As soon as he gets close enough to kiss me, I back off and change the subject. The other day, I found myself asking for his opinion about the Red Sox. I don’t even know what sport the Red Sox are affiliated with. I just blurted out, ‘What do you think of the Red Sox?’ He just stood there looking at me like I was crazy.”
“Do you want to kiss him?”
“More than anything,” Sally answered. “You can’t imagine how much.”
“I can imagine. If I were you, I would’ve had him on the floor and half of his clothes off the first time he looked at me like he wanted to kiss me,” Betsy said.
“Oh, come on!”
Betsy said, “You know me. I kind of rush into things.”
“But that’s really personal ... you know, intimate,” Sally said.
“I know,” Betsy said.
“At least you have a guy who is interested in you,” Betsy said, “There’s no guy in the world who could possibly love me.”
“Why not?” Sally asked.
“Can you imagine taking a romantic walk along the beach with me?”
Unfortunately, Sally could imagine what would happen with Betsy involved. The guy would end up walking alone while Betsy ran off, and then ran back. There would be no holding hands, intimate stops to gaze into each other’s eyes, or taking quiet pauses to appreciate their surroundings. There would be no romantic walks along the beach for Betsy.
“Going to a movie theater, holding hands, and sharing a box of popcorn?”
Sally knew that Betsy wouldn’t be able to sit still in a movie theater seat for two hours. After half an hour, it would be like sitting next to a paint shaker. Betsy would be fidgeting so much that no one would be able to watch the movie. She had to do exercises while riding on the plane.
“A romantic meal in a restaurant?”
There would be nothing romantic about a meal where Betsy spent her time riding a stationary bike or doing leg lifts with weights around her ankles. That tended to discourage leaning across the table while holding hands and gazing tenderly into her date’s eyes.
“How about standing face to face gazing lovingly in each other’s eyes?”
“Nope. I can’t see you doing that,” Sally said.
“There you go,” Betsy said. “I’m destined to be an old maid. I’ll die at a hundred years old and will never have been kissed.”
Unfortunately, Sally could actually see that kind of future for Betsy. She couldn’t imagine Betsy standing still long enough to get kissed. It would definitely take a very unusual man to live with Betsy. That didn’t even take into account the fact that Betsy was rich. Sally wondered how many men might want to take advantage of Betsy in hopes of getting their hands on her money.
“You could still do things with a guy.”
“I don’t know. You could play sports with him,” Sally suggested.
“I’d run three laps around the track for every lap he took. That’s a fun date,” Betsy said sarcastically.
“There’s got to be something,” Sally said although she couldn’t imagine Betsy on any kind of date.
“There’s nothing,” Betsy said and then she sighed.
She put down the weights and started performing jumping jacks. Sally watched her wondering what it would be like to go through life moving from one exercise to another without pause. It had to be draining to never be able to sit down and relax.
Betsy said, “I don’t feel like going out for dinner tonight. I kind of want to be alone. I hope you don’t mind.”
“That’s okay,” Sally said worried for her friend.
Betsy ran out of the lab. She headed directly to where Steve worked in the hopes of finding him. It didn’t take her long to get there. She was fortunate to catch him in his office since most of his day up to that point had been filled with meetings.
Betsy startled him when she slid into his office. “Hello, Steve.”
“I’ve got a question I want to ask you,” Betsy said.
“I’ll try to answer it.”
Betsy asked, “Do you want to kiss Sally?”
“That’s kind of personal,” Steve said surprised by the question.
Just the thought of kissing Sally was enough to excite him. He woke in the middle of the night after having dreams that went well beyond kissing her. Unfortunately, it seemed to him that she wasn’t interested in him in that way. He attributed her reaction to him to that ‘I like you just as a friend’ thing that women hit nice guys with all of the time. It wouldn’t be the first time for him.
“Who cares? Just answer the question,” Betsy said.
“That’s between Sally and me,” Steve said trying to duck the question.
“Do you want to kiss Sally? Yes or no.”
“Why do you want to know?” Steve asked.
Betsy said, “I’ll stand here all day until you answer my question.”
Seeing that Betsy was dancing around, he could hardly call it standing there. However, he knew what she meant.
“Sure. I’d like to kiss her,” he said trying to sound moderately disinterested.
“You want to kiss her a whole lot,” Betsy said not fooled for a second by his feigned disinterest.
“I’m not comfortable talking about this,” Steve said.
Betsy said, “If you want to kiss her, you’re going to have to be a little more assertive.”
“She’s not interested,” Steve said.
“Yes, she is.”
“Let’s drop it,” Steve said, despite the fact that his heart had suddenly started beating faster.
“Next time you are with her, tell her you want to kiss her. Then take her in your arms, and kiss her. If she steps back, like she is definitely going to do, you step forward. Kiss her even if you have to chase her all over the room,” Betsy said.
“I couldn’t do that.”
Betsy put her hands under her armpits and walked around the room flapping her elbows like wings. She kept squawking and shouting, “Chicken! Chicken!”
“I’m not chicken!”
“Cluck, cluck, cluck. No one here but us chickens!” Betsy said flapping her arms and stomping around.
“What? Are we in high school or something?” Steve asked staring at Betsy.
“I can’t hear myself think. Stop it!”
“Not until you say that you’ll kiss her,” Betsy said.
“A man does not force himself on a woman!” Steve said emphatically.
Betsy stopped impersonating a chicken and returned to jogging in place as she said, “I’m not talking about wrestling her to the floor and raping her! I’m talking about taking her in your arms and kissing her. She’s never been kissed and is a little nervous about getting her first kiss.”
“She’s never been kissed?”
“That’s right,” Betsy said. “Kiss her, please.”
“I’m not sure,” Steve said.
Betsy said, “Just do it.”
“I’ll...” he started to say, but Betsy had already left the room.
“I’ll never get used to her doing that,” Steve said. He exhaled and then muttered, “She’s never been kissed. Wow!”
Betsy ran out of the building, hoping that at least Sally would find a little happiness with Steve. She turned onto her regular Parkour route around the campus hoping to burn off some of her frustration with life. It wasn’t until her third circuit around the campus that she decided to visit Professor Parrish to discuss her research. The boat was fully functional except for the electronics equipment and he had promised to find someone who could help out with that.