ser·en·dip·i·ty/ˌserənˈdipitē/When I arrived at the Wintturi Shelter, I was alone. Bereft. Friendless.
Noun: The occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way: "a fortunate stroke of serendipity."
Lots of people were there, of course. But I wasn't exactly close to any of them. I wouldn't have counted any of them as a "trail buddy." At least not yet.
Making things worse, except for Popeye—who was older and wiser and thus slightly more independent—most of my peers had already formed up into cliques. Buckeye was palling around with Twizzler and Sativa James. Then there were Smokestack and his entire crew. Plus Cubby and Dilly Dally. Tonto and the Lone Stranger. Silent J and Shaggy 2 Awesome. I didn't care for some of them, to be honest. But still, I was lonely and wished I had something to ingratiate myself upon the group.
Which is when I found a novel tucked in the corner of the shelter, obviously left to be used as kindling. It wasn't a Bible or even a copy of Dianetics, one or both of which I may have burned on the trail before in my attempts to stay warm. Or for fun. Rather, it was a romance novel. And a bad one, at that.
As the denizens of the shelter crowded around the campfire, I opened the book to a random page and read aloud:
stepped into the room. The door was unlocked. Why was the door unlocked? he thought, suddenly alarmed."This is gross," I added, scanning ahead on the page with what I hoped was evident disgust. I had a rapt audience though, and they begged me to continue. Who am I to deny them?
Jamileh had her back turned. Her bare shoulders heaved with repressed sobs. An odd shudder sparked down Jack's spine. Something was off. Something bothered him, but he couldn't quite place it. Which bothered him. He knew he should know what it was that was bothering him, which in turn bothered him even more. His head spun.
"Why was the door unlocked?" he shouted at Jamileh, grabbing her arm and whipping her around.
Suddenly they were very close. Jamileh had almost lost her grip on her towel, and tugged it up around her heaving busoms. Which heaved, closer and closer to Jack's chest. Jack realized what had been bothering him.
"You left the door open," he growled. "On purpose."
"I don't know what you're talking about," spat Jamileh, literally spitting in Jack's face. "Imperialist American pig. How do I know you didn't kill my husband?"
Jack shoved her back against the wall, hard, and grabbed her towel, ripping it away. She froze, gaping, but made no move to cover the alluring olive curves of her abruptly naked body. Jack's sniper eyes roved all over her glistening, shivering sensualness as though searching a crowded marketplace for insurgents. He stepped toward her.
And she slapped him, hard, across the face.
The contact of their skin was like a spark in a room full of gunpowder.
And all at once, he was upon her, his mouth devouring hers, his tongue exploring the every crevice of hers. Straining, searching, yearning, learning.
glared at him furiously, always maintaining eye contact, as she slowly, seductively pulled off his pants."This guy is clearly a virgin," I observed, breaking off the narrative again. "The author. Virgin. 'And then his penis was doing that thing penises do when they're inside vaginas?' I mean, come on! Who writes stuff like that!"
And then he was inside her, and they were doing it.
Nobody appreciated my commentary. I may have been pelted by rocks. Or pine cones. Or not.
And then they were doing it. The sex. And the sex was awesome, and sexy, as most sex often is. And they did it again and again and again. And he pounded her and she orgasmed a lot.I paused to write "The author is clearly a virgin" in the margins, since my other attempts at levity had been so violently denied.
And her body flew up and down in the air and she screamed, because that's exactly the sort of thing that happens when I have sex. I mean, when suave, debonair Jack Steele—soldier of fortune, Secret Service agent, and part-time CIA assassin—has sex. And then they were done having sex, and eyed each other with a simmering carnal tension, like they were immediately going to do it again. Because they were."It doesn't say that," scoffed Buckeye, interrupting me.
"You don't believe me?" I tossed the book at him. "Read it yourself, find out!"
So he did. And did. And I was right.
And we've been friends ever since.