Dan got off the bus at the final city stop.   He’d never felt this nervous before in his life which was unusual as he often felt nervous about most things.  He pulled the collar forward on his shirt, making it feel neat again.  As he did he caught the warm smell of aftershave he had splashed on himself earlier and it smelt too old and too confident for him. Surely they’d notice that?  If it wasn’t for the pulsating need in him he would have turned back long ago.  The sheer will to have,  kept propelling his body forward to where he had made his appointment. 

Though Dan was a master of his own mind with an intense academic brain, he failed in physical brilliance. Not because he wasn’t good looking or anything because he was, but not in the conventional way. He didn’t fit the boxed stereotype that was expected by his peers. Not only that but he lost people with his intelligence. He was shunned and laughed at for being a geek or sitting too quietly on the sidelines and not joining in with ‘the lads’. Dan was an observer and a reader, preferring to analyse and imagine.  When he did try to make an effort nobody ‘got him’ and he felt like a social pariah. This made him nervous in crowded situations; feeling awkward and not knowing how to behave without fear of ridicule. 

He’d only ever had one girlfriend and that had been short lived. She couldn’t even be called a girlfriend to be honest, more of a possibility.  She was one of the popular crowd but on the fringes.  Not a confident, mouthy girl but a quieter beauty.  He’d helped her in her science class and she had become fascinated by his mind and had grown attached to him very quickly.  He couldn’t believe his luck and thought it must have been a joke.  Love had come hard and fast for him. She began to occupy his every thought.  The smell of her was intoxicating and her perfect curves taunted him.  When her hand brushed against his by accident, all of his nerve endings would fire up like he was electrically charged. His desire for her was palpable.  

But it had all turned sour when he had kissed her.  The first kiss, the moment that is supposed to take you from torment to treasures.  He’d done it wrong, apparently.  That’s what she’d said to all her friends at college. He. Can’t. Kiss.  She had disappeared from his life overnight, suddenly repulsed by him. They’d all teased and mocked.  He felt humiliated and frightened.  He didn’t dare to get close to a real girl again, concentrating instead on idols in magazines or on the internet. Those girls weren’t cruel bitches, they begged your attention.  They wanted you and they were beautiful, erotic and sensual.  Dan became obsessed. Their pouting lips were full of promise. The way they moved and bounced around on screen with their curvaceous, bountiful flesh; how they used their shape to bamboozle his usual, cerebral thought process. They made sex so powerful it debilitated him.  The need to relieve himself of pent up desire became obsessive and torturous, to the point where they were all that mattered. 

But over time the ether princesses started to become a lie. Dan wanted a real girl.  One that he could smell and taste. Skin that he could trace his fingers along and feel the softness. Lips he could press his against as he entered the yielding beauty beneath him.  He didn’t want to imagine anymore. As good as they were, the fantasy girls fell short of any real connection and that’s what he now craved.  He needed the warmth and touch of a real woman.  

He fumbled for the piece of paper folded neatly in his pocket, where he’d written down the directions.  He could see the door down on the right.  His heart was racing and seemed to be making a bid for freedom in his throat.  The fear of rejection or doing it wrong had been at the forefront of his mind all day.  His need to understand and master any topic had sent him researching all manner of sexual positions and how to please a woman.  Technically he had it aced, but in reality?  Would he fall short of what was expected?   Even though he was paying, it mattered.  He wanted this experience to live up to all his dreams.  

 Dan stood in front of the door and tried to compose himself.  He fished in his pocket for a soft mint and wiped his sweaty palms on the front of his trousers. Show control.  He knocked three times on the wooden door and waited to cross the threshold to manhood. 

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