Virtuous
Author:M.S. Force

“Holymotherfuckingshit!” She’s off the sofa and grabbing me. “Tell me everything. Don’t leave out one single detail.”

 

I go through the whole thing again, slowly this time, with as many details as I can recall—which is all of them, of course—and she hangs on my every word.

 

“And he’s coming here? Tonight?”

 

I show her the text he sent me. “Seven o’clock.”

 

“I’m calling in sick to work.” She moonlights at a bar down the street and makes almost as much working Saturday night as she does in a full week at school.

 

“No, you’re not. You can’t afford to call in sick.” I tutor nearly every day after school to supplement my income. Since Leah can’t stand to spend one extra minute with her kids, she works at the bar on weekends.

 

“I’m not missing the chance to meet Flynn Godfrey.”

 

“I’ll bring him by the bar to meet you before we go wherever we’re going.”

 

“Where are you going?”

 

“I don’t know. He didn’t say.”

 

She waves a hand frantically in front of her face. “I feel like I’m hyperventilating. Am I hyperventilating?”

 

Since she’s still able to form sentences, I say, “I don’t think so.”

 

“You’re really going out to dinner with Flynn Godfrey.”

 

“I really am.”

 

“You soooo have to do him.”

 

“I am not doing him. I already told him that.”

 

She moans loudly. “Natalie, honestly. You’re going out with the hottest guy on the fucking planet. If you won’t have sex with him, I will.”

 

“You know my feelings about that.” I made what I now know to be a mistake of epic proportions when I told my new friend and roommate I wouldn’t have sex with any man unless I’m married to him. I haven’t told her—or anyone—the reason for my vow. I have a good reason, but it’s my business and mine alone. What she doesn’t need to know is that by telling men I’m saving myself for marriage, I save myself the bother of sex, which is exactly the way I want it. She has mocked me endlessly, so much so that I finally told her to shut up about it or I would never tell her another thing ever.

 

She shut up about it, but she hasn’t forgotten. “This is no time for rigid virtue, Nat. This is the time to cut loose and have some fun that you’ll remember for the rest of your life.”

 

“It’s not happening. I know you find my beliefs ridiculous, but they’re important to me.”

 

“They’re not ridiculous,” Leah says with a sigh. “They’re admirable.”

 

I roll my eyes at her because I don’t believe for a second she means that.

 

“They are admirable, and I’m not making fun of you. I swear I’m not. It’s just… They might be slightly… unrealistic. That’s all.”

 

“Maybe so, but I’m not changing my mind or my values just because a famous actor asked me out. If I change who I am for one night, who will I be tomorrow?”

 

Leah puts her hands on my shoulders and looks me dead in the eye. “You’ll still be you. You’ll just be you having been done by Flynn Godfrey.”

 

She’s so sincere and so imploring that I bust up laughing, which she doesn’t appreciate.

 

“Mark my words. You’ll look back in ten years, when the cherry has been popped and you’re stuck with the one guy you’ll get to have sex with for your whole life, and say to yourself, ‘I so should’ve listened to Leah and fucked Flynn Godfrey when I had the chance.’”

 

I put my hands over my ears, pretending I can’t hear her.

 

“I’m writing the date down so I can remind you of this conversation in ten years.”

 

“I’ll look forward to that, but for now I need to figure out what I’m going to wear. Are you going to help me or what?”

 

“Will you please, for the love of God and all that’s holy, wear ‘just in case’ underwear underneath?”

 

“Absolutely not.”

 

“Ugh,” she sighs, “you’re ridiculous, but I’ll help you anyway.”

 

 

 

 

 

At four o’clock, the buzzer sounds from the lobby with a delivery that Leah goes down to get. She returns carrying the most incredibly gorgeous purple orchid in an equally beautiful ceramic pot.

 

She hands me the card. “As if there’s any doubt, it’s for you.”

 

I feel foolish as I take the card from her, because my hands feel shaky as I open the envelope.

 

Enjoyed meeting you and Fluff this morning. Looking forward to dinner. FG

 

“What does it say?” Leah is jumping around trying to see over my shoulder, so I hand the card to her.

 

“Oh my God! That’s so romantic!”

 

Granted, it’s nice of him to send me such a beautiful plant—that I haven’t the first clue how to care for—but romantic? I don’t know if I’d go that far.