Lester and Demicko walked into Damon’s loft in Fort Lauderdale. The loft had two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a sizable kitchen. It was bigger than their apartments combined. Damon was a friend of Demicko’s that he met on the job.
According to Demicko, he was a saint compared to Damon when it came to women. Damon was at least honest about it. When they first met, he was quiet, but occasionally he would say something that let them know he had a strong personality. Now they were in his home.
His room was on the right, and his son’s room was on the left. Just behind the living room was a patio that let you see inside the center of the building where the pool was. He sat there on his black, leather couch looking at them confused.
They walked into the living room. Lester sat on the couch and Demicko sat on the long, red chair. Damon sat up from watching the TV and asked, “Ok. How come no one’s screwing the girl?”
Demicko burst into laughter and pointed at Lester, “Ask this dude. That’s all I’m sayin’.”
Lester smiled and shrugged his shoulders while shaking his head slightly, “I don’t do that type of stuff.” He looked to the tan carpet and gray walls for relief, but there was none. Here was another instance where the good little boy is attacked for being what he’s always been.
They were just at Kim Bokamper’s, a sports bar they had visited their second time now. It was crowded with basketball fans as the NBA championship series was being played. A big bar area was centered in the middle of the building with stools all around it. Booths were set up around the bar area and near the windows. The bar looked like the boxing ring in a stadium. Everyone could look down and see the happy drinkers watching the screens. Lester and Demicko loved the atmosphere.
This night, however, was more advantageous than the previous night. Lester and Demicko went there early because they knew it would get crowded before the game started. Demicko saved stools at the bar for Damon, who was going to be late having to come from work.
Once people started pouring in, Demicko gave seats to women and let them watch the game with them. By half time, younger and older women lined their corner of the bar. Demicko managed to entertain them all with his jokes and silliness. Lester just sat back and watched the entertainment, adding his own bit of hilarity to the situation.
After a while, Lester started talking to an older Venezuelan woman. Her accent was the most attractive part about her, but alcohol was in his system. He had returned to drinking about a month ago, ending his four month retreat from the substance to give his mind some peace. Despite him drinking again, he never wanted to experience a blackout anymore, so he limited himself to two drinks. This was enough to make the older woman look just a little bit sexier behind her accent.
As her words flowed elegantly out of her mouth, Lester plotted. No way had a woman walked into a bar, dressed like she’s at a club, just to drink and watch the game alone. He assumed she was waiting on someone, but by halftime, he was the only one talking to her.
Every now and then, Demicko would barge into the conversation to make jokes, but she was enjoying Lester. Lester was still looking for other options, but he found none. He kept dwelling on her accent and her situation. She seemed nice, and she was alone. It seemed too easy; too good to be true.
Damon walked in and noticed them talking. After watching them for five minutes, he decided he was too tired from work to watch the game. He went back to his loft, but not before declaring his expectations of them. He wanted them to know he expected someone to hook up with a woman tonight. Demicko had a girlfriend, so most of the expectation fell on Lester.
When the game was over, they started sharing victory shots to celebrate the win. It’s hard not to root for Miami when you visit Miami, although they were in Fort Lauderdale. Demicko bought shots for some of the ladies still sitting with them and one for the Venezuelan woman.
“I just feel like doing it. Our team won,” Demicko told Lester as he put an arm around his shoulder, “And you better get her number.” He smiled and laughed. He patted Lester on the shoulder.
There was the pressure – the urge to do something stupid. It seemed to be playing out like a movie. The older woman comes to the bar, sits alone, talks to you, and takes a few drinks to loosen up. Lester was nervous. Sleeping with her would be easier than the stripper, but she wasn’t nearly as attractive, but she was here. He needed a distraction.
Even hundreds of miles away, Alyssa plagued his mind. The first two nights of his vacation consisted of dreams about her. God was fighting to show him this, but why? Was it because of this tanned woman, in her skin-tight green dress, looking into his eyes like a lioness at a defenseless prey? He wanted to let loose. He hated lusting again, but she sounded so sexy. He wondered if she would call him papi.
More and more people left as the victory shots came and went. She decided it was time to go, so Lester offered to walk her to her car. He kept telling himself to be the nice guy, but a part of him felt a little less gentlemanly. An easy target was just resting under his arms. She probably wanted to be taken. A grown woman doesn’t sit at a bar by herself without a reason. Demicko said it as well. Lester tried to contain his lust. His heart beat immensely in his chest.
Demicko broke off from them and went to their car. Lester walked a little further with her to her car and opened her door for her. She put her purse in the car and turned around to hug him.
“Thank you for tonight. I had fun,” she said as they embraced.
As she let go, he blurted out, “Do you have to go?”
Something pressured Lester. He hugged her but didn’t want to let go. Something kept churning in his stomach. He kept his arms around her.
“It was nice to meet you.” she kissed him on the cheek. “I really had fun.”
He hugged her close and dug his head into her shoulder. He was flustered. Why couldn’t he have met her the night before, when he was in South Beach and had a hotel room to bring her back to? Why couldn’t she make this easy for him and just force herself on him? Why was he thinking this way?
“I have to go. My son is waiting for me. It was nice to meet you,” she said.
“Yeah…” Lester rolled his head around and asked, “Can I have a kiss?”
He couldn’t believe he asked. He didn’t know what he was doing, but he felt so drawn to her in the worst way. He looked into her eyes intently.
“I already gave you a kiss,” she said.
“Not that kind of kiss.”
His heart froze. A sinisterly chill went down his spine. Part of him wondered if he really just propositioned her like that. He stood there waiting for anything other than the ordinary to happen.
She closed in. He closed his eyes – his lips breached by tongue. He hoped she wouldn’t notice his innocence and call him out for the good kid he knows he is. She withdrew five seconds later with one last peck on the lips and smiled. Lester wanted more, but was overcome with fear. He didn’t know what to do or what he just did. She had a kid waiting for her. He had Demicko waiting for him. He grunted as he hugged her one last time, and then closed the door behind her as she sat in her vehicle. He couldn’t believe what he had just done.
“It was nice to meet you,” she said driving away.
He sighed. “Nice to meet you, too.”
He looked around to see if anyone noticed. No one did. He knew he took longer than what was expected by a guy walking a girl to her car, but he didn’t want to say anything. He was tangled in his emotions. Part of him wished he was going back to her place for sex. Another part of him wanted to be back in his apartment, alone, with God, and the worldliness shut out. He walked up to the car and opened the door. He sat for a minute and then Demicko pulled off. He felt his confession rising in him like vomit. He couldn’t hold it back.
“Okay. This never leaves this car, but… I made out with her,” Lester admitted.
“I knew it! I knew you had to have done somethin’! It took you too long.”
Lester shook his head saying, “Oh God! What the heck!?” He couldn’t help but smile awkwardly to avoid Demicko seeing the true fear in his heart. He was getting worse.
“It’s all good bruh.” Demicko patted his shoulder. “I can’t believe you did that.”
“I can’t believe I did that!”
Demicko continued to laugh while Lester felt so naive, and evil. They spent the short five minutes of their drive back to the loft going into detail. Demicko wanted to know how his innocent friend made a move to get that far. Lester just wanted to cry out to God, but he couldn’t do that now. Demicko wouldn’t understand. The lust burned in Lester’s soul. Was God trying to push him to this lifestyle? Where was Alyssa?
“Dude, if that was me I would’ve been back at her house banging the mess out of her,” Damon said after hearing the details Lester offered him. “I can’t believe you let that go.”
“Ey I feel you bruh, but Lester not that type of dude,” Demicko helped.
Damon was still disappointed in him. Lester sat smiling, shaking his head as the two men vented their past experiences with women.
In the midst of their story telling, Damon randomly turned to Lester and asked, “Was she too ugly?” Lester shook his head no. “Cuz you know. Everything looks better bent over.”
Demicko laughed. Lester had nothing to say. He only smiled waiting for this conversation to be over. He hated this mindset. This constant desire to destroy women, but he wasn’t in the position to judge. He could’ve easily been them, but God had different plans. He didn’t want to let those plans go to waste, but the lust was growing, not leaving.
From that point on, every time they talked about a woman, they talked about how they enjoyed having sex with her. They discussed different positions, different sizes, different schemes to get them out of their homes after they were done, and how many times this came about.
Damon seemed to have a longer list than Demicko, but Lester had no list. Why did Lester always have to have no one on that list? Every conversation about sexual conquests left him silent. He didn’t enjoy that. He felt he wasn’t living when all these men were. It was the same with Demicko’s cousin, Vinny.
Vinny had just returned from Brazil and happily boasted on his sexual conquests to the men as they hung out at a bar back in Houston. The women were beautiful and he had pictures to show it. Lester thought he would have trouble denying them. When Demicko countered Vinny with his own stories, Vinny noticed Lester didn’t have anything to say. That’s when Lester told Vinny he was a virgin. Vinny was shocked beyond belief.
“I don’t know how… how? How do you live like that? What is that? How could you not? You’re a virgin?” Vinny asked.
“It’s all God at this point,” Lester laughed.
Vinny would smile and shake his head in amazement. “Like no really, you’re a virgin? Like, a real virgin? That’s crazy. You’re crazy.”
Lester shook his head and laughed feeling slightly wasteful. He felt like his life was him moving from one line to the next, only delaying the inevitable rather than leaving the building all together. The building where you were fed lust like orders of food.
Demicko always gave him credit for holding out, but he didn’t even understand how he still managed to be a virgin. After all the clubs, and all the bars, and all the strip clubs, you’d think one woman would have gotten him. None had, by the grace of God. It wasn’t by any determination on his part.
That same childish feeling was returning as Lester watched analysts debate over the miscues that led to the final score of the game in Damon’s home. He didn’t even know how he managed it. It wasn’t like he didn’t want to.
He had days where practically every girl was an option. With bachelorette parties, or girls looking to have fun at the hotel every weekend, the fight was becoming more intense. After his lust gained ground on him just thirty minutes ago, you could’ve sworn the only reason he didn’t sleep with her is because of Demicko having to wait for him in the car.
“You could’ve taken her to the back of an empty lot. I don’t know,” Damon pushed.
Lester did the same as he always did. He laughed the oppression off. He didn’t know what he was waiting for, but she had to be amazing. If she was anything short of amazing, Lester felt like he would have gotten the short end of the deal, and God doesn’t give short ends. Even with that knowledge, Lester was attempting to get sex this vacation.
Damon gave them a hotel room in the heart of South Beach. If Lester wanted, he could’ve taken any woman those two nights and told Demicko to take a walk for a while. Even Demicko admitted he would’ve went walking had Lester came to him with that concern, but the dreams of Alyssa stopped him.
In the first dream, they were happy and relaxing. They were in love. When Lester woke that morning, Alyssa posted a picture of her latest photoshoot and it just happened to be the first item on Lester’s Facebook page. It felt like he was back in her good graces, and God’s good graces, when she added him as a friend again. As he struggled with God about His decision, He often removed himself from her media altogether. Being reconnected felt like a victory in his walk with God.
Still, he wanted to have sex. He ignored the dream as best as he could, but it felt just like the strip club almost a year ago when Lester was trying to have sex with a stripper. God was saving him from himself again. There was a habit forming, and he didn’t know why. He was figuring it out in his writing, but writing takes months, especially with school and work to worry about. The dreams only fed the need to understand.
The second night they were at the hotel, Lester had another dream about Alyssa. He couldn’t remember any of the faces from the night before. All he could think about was Alyssa: her bubbly smile, her giddy attitude, her black, straight, coarse hair, her alluring eyes, and of course her thick, hourglass body.
The young men spent that day relaxing. Lester steadily fought back his hunger to check on Alyssa’s statuses. This was definitely God trying to save him, but he didn’t want to be saved.
He walked one last time through South Beach, and then they took to the road back to Fort Lauderdale. When the game came on, a thick, older Venezuelan woman walked through the door without knowing that that night she would feed Lester’s lust, and would be used to gnaw at Lester’s dream of being a virgin when he got married.
The same emotions sprung up in his spirit as he remembered the promise of Alyssa and his attempt to destroy it. He was saddened. Damon respected his virginity but thought it wasn’t worth it. Damon’s family was full of promiscuous uncles. He understood Lester was raised differently, but he was still shocked Lester, nor Demicko, went through with what seemed like an easy lay.
Demicko shrugged. He had Elizabeth. Elizabeth was beginning to change him. He didn’t care to party as much. He didn’t want to ruin what he had with Elizabeth. Lester was impressed with how Demicko defended his relationship to Damon. Once Damon heard Demicko had a girlfriend, he didn’t push, but that left all the attention on Lester.
Demicko did his best to take over the conversation and spare the hurt from Lester, but Lester was tired. He was tired of waiting for the next moment to see Alyssa, tired of being one of the only young adult virgins in a church full of Christians, and tired of fighting to be one of the very few Black men not taking advantage of women.
Lester wanted pleasure. He wanted to know if it was worth giving away his testimony. If it wasn’t, why did so many people succumb to it? He wanted to let the dream go, but every time he thought to do so, there was God waiting to save him. God wasn’t pushing him towards lust, he was saving him for marriage – as if dying on the cross wasn’t enough. Lester felt reckless.
He endured the conversation as best he could. They all joked around as Damon kept teasing Lester. Eventually the pain of his recent mistake settled and he was actually able to enjoy their company again. As the hour struck one o’clock in the morning, they called it a night. Damon’s son was with his mother, so Demicko slept in his bed. Lester took the couch.
He laid on the couch, glad his vacation was coming to a close. He wanted to be back at home, away from the voices declaring sex was great, where a known church was only five minutes up the road, and where his destiny was moving forward without him. He needed to be home where it was him and God, alone, and the only temptation for him was whether or not to watch pornography and daydream about it really happening.