She had shoulder length blond-brown hair that the sun had bleached to almost platinum on the top. Her body was slender with curves that were sweeping rather than dramatic and she had just a slight swell of a belly that added to the allure in the same way that a slightly asymmetrical rose seems more real than one that is perfect. Her eyes were the blue-green of deep water and she had a small impish nose that turned up slightly near the tip like one of those Turkish slippers you see harem girls wear in old Hollywood movies. Her skin had the healthy glow of someone who is often out of doors without the leathery sheen of the Apollo worshippers who turn back and forth on the beach to a timeclock.
In general terms, Megan was lean but not skinny. She had well-muscled limbs whose definition only showed when she stretched her arms over her head to banish the late afternoon yawns. Her facial bone structure could have been construed as nearly masculine were it not for the rose colored fullness of the lips that were poised over the soft precipice of her chin.
The only part of her that stood out from the theme of slender strength was the round bubble of her ass. It was not pronounced enough to look unnatural but it was full enough that a man's gaze would naturally linger even if being observed and a long stare would definitely be in order if he thought he could get away with it.
Megan knew that despite her overall fitness and how much time she spent on her hair and clothes, the thing that every man that met her remembered was her ass. In high school she was happy just to be noticed at first but by the time senior year came around she resented the sole focus of the boy's attention.
By the time I got to know Megan, in her sophomore year of college, it had become such an issue with her that to pay undue attention to it made you the object of her unrelenting scorn. If you wanted to even be her friend you needed to be cautious. Men who tried to date her because of her ass were fated to become sorority story roadkill, not only rejected by Megan but also by any girl on campus who had connections to any of the sisterhoods.
I saw Megan around campus and even had a class with her freshman year, but I got to know her because she pledged Zeta Phi as a freshman, a year before I pledged Phi Omicron. Zeta and Phi-O were sibling organizations and took it very seriously. Every pledge was paired up with a brother or sister from the sibling org, and that person was exempt from the "no talking to opposite sex" rules that both made their pledges adhere to outside of class.
The heavy-duty "Hell Week" period those rules applied to was actually three weeks long, and the pairings had a history of becoming fast friendships that rivaled even the bonds between the members of a pledge class. For most of us, this was the only real opposite sex contact in those three weeks and the time was long enough that most pledges opened up to their "mentor" almost perforce. There was surprisingly little history of them becoming couples. Mostly, it was a brother-sister relationship that developed. Of course, that was the entire point.
Megan and I were paired up by assumption that we would understand each other better because we were both athletes. Zeta and Phi-O pledges mostly came out of the ranks of the hardcore partiers or from the schools well known drama program. There were a few Zetas' on the softball and volleyball teams but I was the only athlete in my pledge class. Actually, it was being an athlete that kept me from pledging a frat as a freshman. I had played both football and basketball freshman year and the basketball season was in full-on conference play during "Hell Week". I was very serious about my sports and could not imagine letting my game slip because of the sleep deprivation and other hardships I imagined would be a part of the process. So I had gone to some of the parties but otherwise ignored the Greeks during my first year.
Sophomore year we had a new football coach and one of his rules was that those of us on a football-only scholarship would play no other sport during the fall semester. We could play baseball or track in the spring, but no basketball or hockey or anything else that would conflict with football. So bye-bye to basketball for me. In truth, I knew my days on the basketball team were numbered anyway. I was much better at knocking down running backs than twenty-foot jump shots. Besides, it meant I could pledge, which meant my dad was off my back. That is how I ended up in Phi Omicron instead of a more athletically inclined frat. My dad had been president of the Phi-O's when he went here and that meant I would be a Phi-O too.
Megan was a soccer and volleyball player, which had a lot to do with her fitness level. I guess she ended up as a Zeta because of the other girls on the volleyball team. Anyway, somehow she got stuck with me as her "little brother". It was funny to me because I was actually a couple of months older than her, but there you go.
As "hell week" played out I found the truth of the stories. Megan was actually an incredible help not only in the ways I had expected but also in some others. I had a girlfriend, Cathy, and one of my worries had been that she would not understand, but Megan carried messages to her and they became friends. I had not really anticipated how hard it would be. I had the guys to talk to but sometime you just need to hear another point of view and Megan did that for me.
I was never one to talk with other guys about emotional issues anyway. OK, so what guy is, right? But even the normal stuff like complaining about girlfriends and family issues was not something I talked about with other guys. I would talk sports or music, sure. Rah, rah, male bonding testosterone talk; that was about it. Most of my male friends considered me a bit withdrawn and maybe even cold hearted.
My best friends have always been girls. Starting early in high school, I discovered I would rather talk about something I wanted a serious opinion on with my female friends. Pretty soon, all my close friends were female. If I had anything I needed to get off my chest, they were the ones with whom I talked.
Also, and this confused me even though I knew it to be true, it would not be my "girlfriend" but a friend who was a girl. For some reason, the girls I dated and the ones I considered real friends were different. A girl I was dating was going to get more of my softer side than the guys in the locker room were, but not as much as my female platonic friends. That part of it caused me no end of trouble. Girls broke up with me left and right because they were jealous.
So it was perhaps fated that I was going to end up very close to Megan. Then it happened. On Friday of the middle week, my grandfather died. It was not a surprise. Pa-Pa had been fighting cancer and cancer had been winning for quite some time. In a lot of ways it was a relief because he was no longer in the horrible pain. It still hurt.
My Pa-Pa had forbidden me to come home for a funeral when I had left for school in August. He was starting to waste away from the sickness and he said he did not want to be remembered that way, not by me. He made me promise.
The frat would have let me go home but they understood when I told them about his wishes. What they did do was to release me from some of the rules, though not all of them. I was free until Sunday morning to skip all the pledge activities and take some "personal time". I was also released from the ban on drugs or alcohol. I was not released from the opposite sex rule.
My girlfriend Cathy was not pleased. Secretly, I was. Like I said, I wasn't one to share pain with the guys or with a girlfriend. I did what most people my age would have done. I got completely fucking hammered. It was Megan that came to my rescue.
By midnight Friday I couldn't see straight. By 2 a.m. I was sicker than I had ever been before, or have been since. When the guys tried to help, I got aggressive and kicked them out of my room. Darren, who had known me a little longer than the rest, was smart enough to call Megan. It worked. Megan got through to me, or else I just ran out of alcohol. She sat with me, watched over me, even helped me to the rest room and made sure I only felt like all my insides were coming back out the way I had put the vodka in.
I woke up Saturday afternoon to a horrible hangover and a sympathetic ear. By the time Megan tucked me in Saturday night and went back to her dorm, she knew more about me than anyone else alive. I was sure I would never be able to repay her.
A week later, just as we were all sure that the hassle was never going to be worth it, Hell Week ended. As per tradition, the conclusion of the final night was celebrated by a joint party between the Phi-O's and the Zetas starting at the stroke of midnight. For the last several years that tradition had included an honest-to-god barn dance, courtesy of a Phi-O alumnus who lived out in the countryside.
The music and alcohol had a dramatic effect on everyone. Sure, the pledges had been forbidden to drink and been forced to be very restrained for college kids. What everyone who has never done it always forgets to consider is that it is a lot of work for the active members as well. So after three weeks of denial, it didn't take much to get the party headed in a direction that would have made Caligula proud. Pretty soon, almost a hundred college kids were threatening to set new debauchery standards when the music suddenly cut off.
Gina and Marty, the two presidents, walked over to the far end of the barn and got up to where a makeshift stage had been created out of hay bales.
"Awright! Can everybody hear me?" Marty shouted out at the top of his lungs, "I need all the pledges and the big brothers and sisters up front here! C'mon, gather round!"
It took a couple of minutes, even though everyone except the newly made fraternity brothers and sorority sisters had known it was coming. When everybody had gathered up close, Marty spoke again. "Ok, even though hell is over, all you former pledges have one more chore." Marty raised his voice to be heard over the inevitable groan. "This is between you and the person who has been there for you over the course of the last three weeks. Until you complete this task, you can't vote on proposals and you can't hold an office, so get it done this quarter. Gina?"
"Thank you, big brother," said the pretty brunette, "Yes, Marty was my big brother. And the rumor that completing this task you are about to receive was the first time I slept with him are completely false. It was the second."
"Everybody pair up with your big sibling. Let's go. C'mon, hurry up already. All right. Pledges, the person next to you has done more than you know. They have been your advocates in council, they have had your back and each and every one of them volunteered to lead you through this time before you were even offered a bid. Understand? Now it is time for you to pay them back. You must do them a favor. Anything they ask of you, PERIOD. This is how you pay them back for their efforts. Marty?"
"Thanks, Gina. Ok, let's go over a couple of things. One: the favor cannot be financial or material. No new cars or dipping into the trust fund. Two: Until the day you die, the actual favor should be a secret between only the two of you. It is not a matter for sharing with even your closest friends. Just for those of you who don't know, Gina was joking earlier. Sexual favors are not expressly forbidden, but they are, shall we say, problematical. They are NOT encouraged. Three: It is the responsibility of the big sibling not to ask the new member to do something they would not be comfortable doing. It is a test for the big sibling too. Don't abuse power. Finally, remember that everything that happens behind closed doors between us is forbidden to be discussed outside the bonds of fellowship. Anything that happens between Zeta and Phi-O is sacred and secret, including this party. Forever! NOW, Let's Party!"
The music started blasting again and pandemonium ensued, save for a few people giving questioning gazes to their big siblings. I was among them. Megan just gave me a sly smile and kissed me on the cheek.
"Don't worry about it, let's just dance," she whispered into my ear. The way she said it made me think I was in a lot of trouble later.
Maybe it was the cryptic way Megan had said that last bit, maybe it was the sight of that famous ass wiggling it's way out to the dance floor. Maybe it was the sleep deprivation and exhaustion of the last 3 weeks combined with alcohol and a grinding beat. Suddenly, I had a problem. I was fascinated.
Oh, not just by her ass. By everything about her. Ok, you may ask, so what's the problem with that? She's cute, she's intelligent and she seems to like you. What part of this was a problem?
Megan was my friend. She knew all about me and I knew a lot about her. I couldn't be sexually attracted to her; it would screw up everything! How are you supposed to have a good, serious conversation with someone when you keep thinking about how you want to fuck? I tried to shove all of the thoughts I was having to the side and just concentrate on the music and for awhile I was successful. I had a great time dancing with Megan and a bunch of the other Zetas. By the time "last dance" came around I was sure I had the problem licked. After all, it was just a momentary lapse. It didn't really mean anything other than that Megan was an attractive girl and that I had noticed it. Still, no use taking chances. For that traditional last slow dance I looked around real quick and spotted Gina.
She seemed surprised when I asked her but didn't turn me down. I felt relieved to have managed to avoid having that last dance with Megan. I just wasn't sure how I would handle that and I was sure that I was not ready to deal with it in my inebriated state.
"Excuse me there, Brother Kyle, but I believe you're dancing with my girl," said Marty as he tapped me on the shoulder less than halfway through the song, "Mind if I cut in?"
"Of course not, Brother Marty," I replied. I turned to do the polite thing and finish the dance with Marty's partner. Of course, he had been dancing with Megan.
"Lucky me," drawled Megan, "Just the partner I wanted anyway." With that, she melted into my arms and there was no way I could have refused her even if I was fool enough to have wanted to. I let myself go and hugged my friend against me, enjoying the music and the dull buzz you get when you are just barely still drunk, that feeling that every thing is slowed down and magnified.
Her warm breath felt good against my neck as she rested her head on my shoulder and leaned in close while we swayed to the slow jam. All of a sudden I wanted to kiss her, an urge that I fought down and sent off to the deepest dungeons of my desire. There was a line to be drawn here and as I looked down and noticed Megan looking up at me I found the willpower and drew it. I would not kiss her.
My focus on my own inner struggle was completely lost as Megan did the absolute last thing I would have expected. She reached behind her to the hands I had resting on the small of her back and picked them up and moved them down to be cupping those incredible cheeks that I was trying to avoid thinking about. As she did it she leaned in and began to kiss me.
My reason may have been surprised, but my weak willed flesh was all too ready for the opportunity, I felt my hands squeeze her ass hard as my mouth opened and I began to kiss her passionately. My tongue flicked out over her teeth to capture hers and as our tongues began to play I reached up and pulled her hard into my body while I marveled at the thought of how many guys on campus dreamed about this exact situation.
Once again, thinking about the situation brought me back to a realization of whom I was kissing and what I was doing. I can't do this. I want to, but I can't. If I let this happen now, where will it stop? I searched for a reason to stop kissing her, any reason. But she wouldn't let me concentrate! How can I pull away from this?
Then I grasped it at last. Cathy! Cathy was my excuse! Reluctantly but suddenly, I broke the lock Megan had me in and pulled away from her.
"Megan, I have a girlfriend," I said in a voice so low even she must be struggling to hear it, "How can I do this? If I do, you'll always have it in the back of your mind. He cheated on her; he'll cheat on me. I have to go. Now."
"Kyle, I don't think that is going to be a problem. Let me explain..."
"No," I told her, "No explanations. You know how hard this is for me. I'm leaving. If I stay, we will both regret it." I turned and hurried away, out of the barn and into the country night. I don't think she even tried to catch me, but I did not chance it by heading for my car. Instead, I turned left and headed out across the snow-frosted fields toward the wooded ridge that marked the property boundary and the train tracks that ran along it. I walked the tracks until the sky began to lighten in the east. Then I returned to fetch my car.
When I got there it was really getting lighter and the sun was only minutes away from greeting the world. There was a note on the windshield of my Chevy. I pulled it off, threw it into the front seat and started up the motor to head for campus. A lot of other cars were still here and I knew if I went into the barn I would be answering questions that I still did not have answers for myself. I pulled out of Chesterman's farm and headed back to town.
It was not until I pulled into the parking lot by Donnell Hall that I actually looked at the note. To my surprise, it was not from Megan.
"Kyle: We need to talk. Ring me later. - Gina."
It was already Sunday morning and the cafeteria would be opening soon. I was hungry, but I did not want to see anyone right now. I headed up to the third floor and a shower. Then I would sleep. Maybe I will call Gina later. Can't hurt.
My roommate Darren was awake when I turned the key and walked in. Matter of fact, he looked like he would be heading out soon. Where could he be going at 6 a.m. on a Sunday?
"Hey dude, you look beat! Well, you'll be able to sleep it off. Got the whole room to yourself until late tonight. I'm going down to Lancaster with Susan. Have a barbecue; meet the parents, all that jazz. You gonna be cool?"
"Actually, D," I replied, "I can use the solitude."
"Yeah," said Darren, "Well, when you get over your mood, call Cathy. There must be seven messages on that goddamned phone. I don't know for sure, I turned the ringer off after the third one last night. I'll see you late tonight or early tomorrow. I'll be gone when you get back."
"Back from where?"
"From your shower. I've been your roomie for a year and a half, dude. I know your morning-after-a-drunk habits. Although, I must admit, you look a little more sober than normal for the weekend. You alright?"
"Well, no," I answered in a remarkably truthful (for me) statement, "But it is nothing I want to talk about now. Enjoy your meet-the-parents barbecue and do yourself a favor. Don't make a pass at anybody's Aunt Janet this time."
"C'mon dude, you saw her, Aunt Janet was a hottie! But, yeah, I get your drift," replied Darren, "Don't worry. This girl is different."
I sat at my desk an hour later, still in the bathrobe from the shower, sipping a beer I had pulled from the fridge. Darren's last words were still in my head. Of all the things he could have said, none would have freaked me out more than those. This girl is different.
I knew what I wanted. It scared the shit out of me. But I knew I was going to have to take the chance. First, sleep. Then I need to have a little talk with my girlfriend.
I stood in front of Megan's door on Monday night and tried to get up the courage to knock. Last night had been hard, especially when Cathy started crying. She really had not done anything wrong and I felt horrible. But it had to be done. I took a deep breath and knocked.