Chapter One

Until I took that ‘Which Star Trek Character Are You?’ quiz, I had no idea who I was. But thanks to the results, I knew I was Will Riker. Number One. A womanizer. A playa.

Just one teeny little problem with that. He would’ve been a more appropriate answer had the question been ‘Which Star Trek Character Would You Most Like to Screw?’ I preferred men. Unlike my sister, Mindy. Mindy liked both men and women – and sometimes, at the same time – and I’m still very traumatized that she shared that with me. See, I’m a bit more pedestrian in my sexual escapades, a bit more conservative.

But!

Now armed with the knowledge that I had it in me to be a womanizer, or in my case, a manizer, I went retro for my theme song – Hall and Oates, Maneater – and decided to live up…or down…to the results of this silly Internet quiz. I, Madeleine (never call me ‘Maddy’) Jefferson-Brandt, intended to boldly go where no woman had gone before. Okay, where I, specifically, had never gone before. I was going to think with my vagina.

It seems a bit sexist and rude that men who love to love women are simply labeled ‘womanizers,’ while women who love to love men are labeled as ‘sluts’ and ‘whores.’ Vaginas are a lot like penises in that once you discover you have one and you like using it, you tend to want to use it a lot. Who wouldn’t? The only difference between men and women is men have outties while women have innies. Kinda like belly buttons.

So, my mad quest to become a manizer started rather ignobly. I told Mindy what I planned to do, and she immediately called Dad and Poppy on me. Kinda childish, if you ask me, considering she’s thirty-two and I’m twenty-nine, hardly teenagers who needed to tattle on one another to the parents. Dad and Poppy called me and offered to take me to brunch, knowing full well I’d fall for that. Who would say no to mimosas on someone else’s tab? There we sat, at the Brunch Chalet, brunching on Swedish crepes, fresh fruit, steak, eggs – the whole nine yards – enjoying our mimosas when, in mid-chew of the most wonderful steak you’ll ever eat, Dad said, “So, Mindy tells us you’re about to embark on a questionable sexual escapade.”

Poppy helpfully passed me his mimosa as I choked on my steak and coughed like I intended to expel a lung. After a few moments of hacking and wheezing, followed by draining his mimosa, I muttered, “When will I ever learn not to confide in Mindy?”

My parents laughed. Dad said, “Honey, we’re the last ones who’d discourage any journey you undertook, but we do have an obligation, as responsible parents, to say at appropriate times ‘are you out of your ever-lovin’ mind?’”

I sighed and deflated. “I like my manizer-maneater plans. I want to be the one out there starting the ruckus instead of sitting on the sidelines, the last girl asked to dance.” This had been the story of my life. Mindy had two dates for the prom. Me? I went with my cousin, Seth. A pity date. Seth had a great time, dancing with all the girls while I’d sat there at our table, eating cake and drinking Coke. College had been unremarkable too. The fact that I had managed to lose my virginity sent Mindy into a state of shock that lasted for months before she shook it off and told on me. That had been a fun conversation with Dad and Poppy, too.

“What’s happening here, I think,” Poppy told me lightly, “is an identity crisis. You’re our late bloomer. God love ya, you saw no reason to walk when we’d carry you. We had to practically tape Mindy’s mouth shut just so you’d start talking for yourself. And we don’t ever want to relive the ‘Am I Ever Going to Get Boobs’ years again. But do you honestly think you’re going to find yourself while having sex with strangers for no good apparent reason?”

Dad groaned and closed his eyes, his hands clasped in prayer when Poppy mentioned the boob thing. I had to laugh at him, as he intended. “Fine. I’ll rethink my position, but I’m telling ya. If I want to have sex with the next guy to come through the door, I’ll have sex with him.”

Now, when Poppy grins that one particular grin of his, you should know. Be wary. Be afraid. Be wary and afraid in a big way. “Double dog dare ya.”

I pretended to reach for something under the table, for a somewhat iffy legitimate excuse to take a look.

Oh.

My.

God.

Perfection in the male form – from the top of his dark head to the tip of his toes which were located a good six feet two inches straight down. And he was headed my way as I sat up, empty-handed. As he passed by, I said, “I could’ve sworn I heard my phone hit the floor.” But I was greatly relieved. Hawt guys like this one always had a girlfriend. Always. It was what I called the George Clooney Rule of Girlfriends for Hawt Guys. That rule was basic and to the point – they always have one. I felt this got me out of Poppy’s double dog dare with no repercussions.

“Oh, is that how they say it these days?” Dad cast a very bland look my direction. “Perhaps your reaction to Poppy’s dare is something you really should consider before you set this hair-brained scheme of yours into motion. If you decide to go for it, stock up on condoms. No unprotected sex.”

(C) 2014 by Laura Hamby

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