Bubbla-pop, bubbla-bubbla. Maggie pushed back from the stove, turned, emptied the contents of the box into the pot of boiling water.
“You’re not gonna tell me that you and Mike . . . ” Charlie let his voice trail off.
She laughed, swiveled her smiling face behind her shoulder, her red hair falling down her back like a waterfall of juice. “”Course not.” The playfulness of her expression disappeared, and she made a final, probing connection with Charlie’s eyes before turning back to the boiling pot.
Charlie waited for her to continue. “We made out a while — he wuz like all you boys, sloppy and all over the place, licking me like he’s some puppy — then all of a sudden, he gets up and looks at me, real serious-like. Said we had to stop, I had to go. I asked him what was wrong, he’s pushing me out of his room, almost knocked me down the stairs, but I tells him no, I ain’t leaving until he tells me why he’s acting so strange — ”
“Oh.” A memory had just come to Charlie. “He say sumpin’ about this girl he met at summer camp?”
“Yeah. He finally calmed down, I got him to sit on the sofa downstairs, and promised I wouldn’t say nothin’ to nobody ’bout what happened — and ’til just now, I didn’t — then he finally relaxed, got real quiet. Said he’d been seduced by this girl, last night of camp, and since then he was afraid of girls. Said he was trying to overcome it, but it wasn’t working yet. Great story — he’d have had me fooled, if he hadn’t been reaching for my chest thirty seconds earlier.”
“Actually,” Charlie said, “that may not have been a story. I talked to a friend of his who went to the same camp, and he told me that Mike and this girl were a big item back then.”
Maggie looked shocked. “Really? Then — he might have been telling the truth to me?”
Charlie shrugged. “Perhaps.”
“Oh. Oh. Damn.”