Virgin(7)

By: Radhika Sanghani



Hannah looked confused. “Um, I didn’t drink for the cheating one.”

Emma’s hand flew to her mouth. “Oh, my bad. I got confused with the question. For a second, I thought it was about being the person who slept with someone who was already in a relationship . . . like you did with Tom. Oh shit, I’ve said too much,” she finished as Hannah’s face went purple.

Kara turned around in shock. “TOM, AS IN, MY EX-BOYFRIEND TOM?” she screeched.

Emma shot me a wink and I let out a yelp of laughter, which no one noticed because they were too engrossed in watching Kara scream at Hannah. I grabbed my coat and bag and slipped towards the door, using this as the perfect escape opportunity. I was about to leave when Emma snuck out from behind me.

“So, how much fun was that?” She grinned.

“You saved me,” I replied gratefully.

“From that skank? I know, I can’t stand her.”

I stared at her with my mouth wide open. “No way, are you serious? I thought everyone loved her. She’s so pretty and confident and has the Shoreditch style down to a T.”

Emma rolled her bright blue eyes. “Okay, so she’s pretty, but it seems like she only owns one dress, and her personality is so grating it hurts to be around her for more than an hour.”

I started laughing, surprised. Who would have thought anyone else could see past Hannah’s fake flower headband into her un-hippie heart? “Oh my God, I couldn’t be happier you just said that,” I cried. “I thought I was the only one who hated her.”

Emma grinned through her thickly coated red lips. “Trust me, you’re not alone in this, babe. Anyway, we should go for cocktails and share our anal sex stories.”

I made a strangled, yelping sound and Emma looked at me questioningly. Oh God, to lie or not to lie?

I compromised with a half-lie. “Um. That part wasn’t actually true. I’ve never had anal sex. I just drank because I was choking on a pretzel and then it was too late to say no.”

She threw her head back and let out a throaty cackle. “Okay, wait, so why didn’t you just tell Hannah you accidentally drank and didn’t mean to admit you took it up the bum?”

I flushed at her very visual words. “I guess I wished I was the kind of girl who, uh, took it up . . . there,” I admitted. For a second, it had been kind of exciting to have Charlie look at me like I was shaggable.

“Babe, anyone can be that girl. I’m sure the guys are queuing up to do you up . . . there.” She grinned.

I looked at her doubtfully. “They’re not.”

She dismissed me with a wave of her hand. “You must be going to the wrong places. Next weekend, you’re coming out with me. Text me,” she said, blowing me a kiss as she turned back to the party, sashaying on her five-inch-heeled boots.

She left a trail of Miss Dior Chérie in her wake and I couldn’t help imagining what it would be like to be Emma. Maybe if I started wearing perfume instead of the strawberry body spray I bulk-bought two years ago, I could have casual sex stories and stand up to Hannah Fielding.

I looked down at the soggy pretzel I was still holding and realized I had a long way to go.





 I woke up with a loud groan as I remembered what had happened at the party. My eyes were still glued together with sleep so I groped around blindly for my mobile and called Lara, my best friend.

She was my first port of call whenever something humiliating happened to me. I turned my horrible luck with men into funny stories for her so we could laugh about them and help me forget how much it hurt deep down. The Bite Job had given us enough ammunition for years.

Lara had given up her V-plates a year earlier than the legal limit, at the age of fifteen. He was called Marc, went to a school near ours in Guildford, and it had only happened once. She was never exactly sure if it counted as sex, because even though he had penetrated her, it had lasted only a couple of seconds and he didn’t go fully in. Marc never called again.

Now she had moved on and was living my parents’ dream by studying law at Oxford. Although her Facebook relationship status was still single, she had been having an on/off thing with a guy called Jez for three years. They’d met at the start of her gap year and had been having casual sex ever since. I wished I’d taken a gap year.

She picked up the phone on the fifteenth ring. “Ellie, thank God you called. I’m having a crisis.”

I pulled the duvet over my head. “Me too. I played Never Have I Ever with the hipster crew and I told them I had anal sex.”

“Why would you say that? You haven’t even had real sex.”

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