Doug and I only dated for a few weeks, all told. He had wooed me, bringing me flowers, giving me compliments. After being rejected by Chris, it was a nice change to feel wanted and adored.
Our relationship turned physical pretty quickly. Looking back, that was my error; I had assumed that because he was younger than I was, he was more innocent, too. But I learned Doug was very skilled in the art of manipulation.
Chris and I had never had sex. We loved each other, but we just never got to that point – it never seemed necessary. Sure, there was a lot of making out (top of my list of favorite things, remember?) and a fair amount of heavy petting, but we were both still virgins when we broke up.
Knowing what I know now, Doug’s behavior was classic sociopath. He zeroed in on me, sensing my vulnerability and my need to see the good in others. He turned every situation to his advantage, making other people think that when he got in trouble, it wasn’t his fault. I caught him in a couple of lies but he gaslighted me into believing I was paranoid or overreacting.
I liked kissing Doug. I liked the way he made me feel, the things he whispered in my ear. He wanted to have sex, be the first for each other, but I wasn’t quite ready. He was disappointed but ultimately understanding each time I put on the brakes. But that didn’t stop him from trying to push things just a little farther every time we were together.
We had gotten a hotel room to ring in New Year’s Eve with our friends – well, the parent of one of our friends got the room. None of us was old enough. There was plenty of alcohol, the really horrible stuff that got you drunk quickly and made you sick the next day. The whole night, Doug and I hadn’t been actually fighting, but he had been distant and quiet. When I pressed him about it, he shrugged it off. He finally told me that he was so crazy about me and couldn’t stop thinking about touching me, and that I was making him miserable by saying no. Didn’t I love him?
Damn, he was good.
I had been drinking plenty of orange Mad Dog and was feeling pretty amorous. As the night wore on and I thought about it more and more, that addled, drunk teen brain was convinced that Doug really loved me, that I really wanted to have sex – and to have sex with him – and that I was finally READY.
So, when I whispered coyly into his ear that I wanted him, he unceremoniously pulled me into the bathroom and we proceeded to fuck quickly and uncomfortably on the hotel bathroom counter, with everyone in the other room knowing exactly what was going on behind that door.
Not my proudest moment.
After that night, he became even more and more distant. There was always something else he had to do rather than take me out, or he couldn’t stay on the phone with me for more than a few minutes. There were no more flowers, no more sweet nothings in my ear. In their place arose hurtful criticisms disguised as backhanded compliments. He resorted to name-calling – nothing really hurtful, but instead of calling me sweetie or babe he started calling me dork and loser. All under the cloak of quirky terms of endearment.
I got off work early one weekend and decided to surprise him with dinner. Well, he had a surprise for me, too.
A coworker named Dawn, naked in his bed.
I screamed and yelled and cried and he blamed me for showing up unannounced, for not being more willing and available. He had needs that I wasn’t fulfilling.
What a jackass.
That had been a hard lesson for me to learn. After Doug, I didn’t date for almost a year. When I did, the summer before college, there was very little physical contact. One boy – so sweet and shy and kind – only got hugs on my front porch after our dates. For three months.
The last I had heard of Doug was that he had joined the Navy, following in his old man’s footsteps. I had convinced myself that I’d never have to see him again and had taken great comfort in that thought.
And yet, here he was. Leaning in too close, telling me sexist and dirty jokes. He never realized that I had been giving him the death glare for a solid five minutes.
He stumbled forward, pushing himself up against me and breathing heavily.
“Come on, Alexis, let’s get out of here. Relive some old times? Give me a chance to remind you what it’s like to be with a REAL man.”
Kelly materialized out of nowhere, throwing her arm around me and squeezing herself between me and Doug.
“Lex! Where’s the freaking wine? I’m dying over here!”
She paid the bartender, handed me the two glasses, and steered me toward our table with a high-pitched, “Byeeee!” thrown over her shoulder at a drunk and confused Doug.
His ball sack had been saved by Kelly that night, and he never even knew it.