Nerd Romance—The Morning After

There are plans, and then there is the real world

This is yet another chapter in a series I “finished” last year, but my characters kept talking to me. Then Roz Warren convinced me into fill out the series into a book, so now I’m working on that. Most of what I’ve been doing lately has been filling in gaps or adding to existing material, but this chapter felt like it could stand without the reader having just finished the one before.

Short summary of the story to date:

The series covers two academic over-achievers with limited social skills (aka “nerds”) in the last semester of their junior year in high school. They call each other by their initials, so she is “E” and he is “K.” They are engaging in a “practice” relationship, working from an agreed upon list of goals, trying to learn to be more like regular people before they head off to college. Both kids agreed that this is a mutually beneficial platonic partnership, and most definitely not in any way a romantic association. Until… There was this camping trip, and they both knew it was going to involve sex at some point, probably, pretty sure. But then the weather was awful, and as the evening wore on the focus shifted from Romance to Not Freezing To Death. So the previous chapter ended with the kids, fully clothed, cuddling up next to each other in a shared sleeping bag. This chapter starts the next morning.

photo by author

Morning? Probably morning. There’s light. Light means morning, right? Lemme do the eye thing, that usually works. E opened her eyes and looked at the tent canvas above her. Daylight seemed to be illuminating the world outside the tent, so morning seemed like a viable hypothesis at the moment.

She lifted up her head slightly so that she could look at K on her left, still encased in their shared sleeping bag, flat on his back and snoring. Oh thank god, he’s down to a level like a blender making crushed ice. I swear I was going to have to smother him at times. At least he kept trying to roll onto his side, so that turned off the noise machine for awhile. She propped herself on her left elbow and raised herself slightly, then used her right hand to move part of the sleeping bag flap away from K’s face. The slack look on his face would not have been attractive to the average observer; the dried drool at the corner of his mouth did nothing to help.

Aw! He looks so cute! Like a big baby. Okay, a big baby who needs to shave. Whatever. She stayed there, looking at him, watching him, eventually propping her head with her left hand to make it easier to hold up her head. She tentatively reached out her right hand to smooth some of his hair away from his forehead; his breathing changed slightly, but he didn’t wake up. Okay, so, last night didn’t go like I planned. I’m still a virgin — okay, we both are, whatever — but it was still a wonderful night. I never had anybody tell me they loved me before. Okay, fine, family, sure, but like Dad said once, “Of course your family says they love you, you look like them!” I thought Mom was going to kill him. She’s known him so much longer than I have, but she still doesn’t get his sense of humor. K gets my sense of humor. He knows when I say something I mean for people to laugh at, and when I say something that’s just dumb and I want a reaction, and when I’m just being an egotistical dweeb who’s showing off. And he still loves me anyway. That’s pretty cool. I don’t know how he — and now he’s waking up, did he know I was thinking about him?

K moved slightly, opened his eyes, looked at the tent above him, looked around the tent without moving his head, spotted E, and turned his head in her direction. He looked at her, looking at him. He started to ask something, thought better of it, pulled his left arm out of the sleeping bag, looked at his watch, and returned his arm to the inside of the bag without comment. He looked at E — who had been watching him noncommittally the entire time — and started moving his mouth, working on something to say. He finally settled on, “Good morning?”

“Yup,” his sleeping bag companion replied, “it sure is!” She moved forward slightly to give him a soft, tender kiss, which seemed to confuse him at first but to which he eventually responded with some enthusiasm before E pulled back to give him a happy smile. “By the way, I love you. Just in case you forgot. Thought I’d mention it. Y’know, get the conversation started.” Since we were kind of out of it last night.

He smiled back at her. “I love you too!” he whispered. He started to rearranged himself to get closer to her and underneath her.

“No no, honey, don’t pull me on top of you, I’ll crush you! Here, put your arm under my shoulder, let me keep my weight on my hips, that’s what they’re there for. There! See, all comfy.” They kissed again. This went on for some time. Mmmm, I believe this is what the book referred to as the “excitement” phase of a woman’s sexual response cycle… Y’know, sex in the morning, nothing wrong with that, right? I’m just not sure how we’re going to get around several layers on each of us and a sleeping bag that feels a lot smaller than it did last night. Okay, let’s keep kissing, kissing is good, if he wants to take it past this he can make the suggestion, I won’t argue.

When they took a break they lay together with their faces just inches apart, smiling at each other. Then K’s forehead creased as he remembered something. “Were you… were you just laying there, looking at me while I slept?”

“Uh huh!” This is what he thinks to ask?

“Okay. That’s… not creepy at all.”

“It’s the first time I ever woke up next to my boyfriend. Practice boyfriend, whatever. I wanted to enjoy the moment.” And I really did! Who knew?

K grinned at her. “You think about these things more than I do. Better than I do. I think you’re the more romantic half of the couple.”

E matched his grin. “We both have our moments, honey. You do okay.” She shifted her body a little to make better contact with his and then resumed kissing. He responded enthusiastically at first, but then stiffened slightly and was attempting (it seemed to E) to rearrange himself somehow. “Uh oh! You okay? Got a muscle cramp?”

“Um… sorta. Hold on a sec…” His left hand seemed to be doing something with his clothing inside the sleeping bag; E couldn’t tell what it was. He moved around a bit more, then settled in next to her again. “Okay. I’m good. Where were we?”

“Do you need to pee, honey? I’m sorry, I never even thought of that. I’m good, it was only like a few hours since I had to get up in the middle of the night. Go ahead, I think it’s still chilly out, but at least the sun looks bright from in here. I promise not to peek.” She started to open up the sleeping bag to let him out.

“Nope, don’t have to pee. Well… drat, why’d you have to say something. Um… okay, uh, how do I put this? Suddenly I need to pee, but I can’t pee. It’s, um, plumbing.”

E blinked. “You have a UTI? My mom had one of those last year, it was awful for her. I didn’t know guys got those.”

“Um…” K’s face was starting to show distress.

Oh my god, K, what’s wrong? “Honey, are you in pain? Do we need to get you to a hospital or something?”

“No no no! I just… okay, male reproductive and urinary system review. Even when faced with a full bladder, a guy can’t pee if he has an erection. And, um, I really really have one, right now.”

“An erection? Or a full bladder?”

“Um, yes. Both.”

Okay, well, that just took the romance out of the moment! “Alright, hon, get your boots on, go outside, think of… I dunno, whatever guys think about when they’re trying not to think about sex. I’ll start breaking out stuff for breakfast. Or do you want to come back in and get back in the sleeping bag with me?” K’s agonized face answered that question. “Okay! Breakfast! Nothing sexy about breakfast! Go out there and think about oatmeal! Instant coffee! That should, um, deflate you, whatever.” Okay, this just seems to be the theme of the camping trip. Good intentions gone awry.

K started to come awake slowly. There was a moment of disconnection as he gradually realized he was no longer asleep. He opened his eyes. Nothing looked familiar. Then gradually, he remembered being in a… something. Tent. I’m in a tent. He looked around, just moving his eyes. Yes, tent. In daylight with sunshine, that’s why it looks strange. The sun! The sun is shining! Wow, that weather system shifted fast! Okay, what time is it? Wait, E! Is E here? E should be here. Where’s E? There’s E! She’s… lying there, watching me? Why? What was I doing? I was sleeping. Was I sleeping weird? What time is it? Would E know? Check your watch, just check your watch.

He pulled his left arm out of the sleeping bag, checked the time — almost seven o’clock — and put his arm back inside the sleeping bag. E is still lying there watching me. She’s smiling. She looks happy. She… had to pee in the middle of the night? Something like that. Okay. Then she got back in the tent. Yes. Obviously. And we went back to sleep. Okay. And now we’re awake. Good. And she’s still just looking at me. I should say something? Um… what should I say? What were we talking about? Doesn’t matter, doesn’t matter, no, it’s morning, so… “Good morning?” he finally ventured.

“Yup,” she replied, “it sure is!” She moved forward slightly to give him a soft, tender kiss. So this is what we’re doing first thing? Okay, I can go with that. He gave her the best kiss back he could, feeling partially immobilized by the sleeping bag. E was smiling at him when she pulled her face back a little. “By the way, I love you. Just in case you forgot. Thought I’d mention it. Y’know, get the conversation started.”

He felt his face break into a grin. “I love you too!” he whispered. Why am I whispering? No idea. Let’s get better arranged in this sleeping bag, it feels crowded in here now. Maybe me under her would work better? Careful, she’s going to feel my erection. Or is that the point? He started to scrunch himself sideways toward her.

“No no, honey, don’t pull me on top of you, I’ll crush you! Here, put your arm under my shoulder, let me keep my weight on my hips, that’s what they’re there for. There! See, all comfy.” Her face joined with his, gently at first, then more and more actively kissing.

Are we just making out, or is she suggesting we make up for last night? I thought she wanted to wait for the perfect moment? I’m not sure this is it, but it’s her call. Okay, she’s backing off a little, so we’re just making out. That’s fine. I guess. Wait, what was she doing when I woke up? “Were you… were you just laying there, looking at me while I slept?”

“Uh huh!”

Really?! “Okay. That’s… not creepy at all.” Little bit creepy, maybe?

“It’s the first time I ever woke up next to my boyfriend. Practice boyfriend, whatever. I wanted to enjoy the moment.”

Aw! That is so cute! “You think about these things more than I do. Better than I do. I think you’re the more romantic half of the couple.”

“We both have our moments, honey. You do okay.” She moved her top leg in between his, moving it slightly as they kissed again, effectively rubbing his crotch.

Crap, I thought I had an erection before she started rubbing me! My penis feels like it’s about to break in half! Just give me a second, E, maybe I can get this thing turned around?

She noticed his attempts to get a hand into his pants while his legs churned. Her face showed concern. “Uh oh! You okay? Got a muscle cramp?”

“Um… sorta. Hold on a sec…” He was able to get his hand inside his pants and underwear, enough to move his engorged penis to a more comfortable direction. Should I explain? It feels… dirty, somehow? And E’s smart, I’m sure she figured it out. “Okay. I’m good. Where were we?”

“Do you need to pee, honey? I’m sorry, I never even thought of that. I’m good, it was only like a few hours since I had to get up in the middle of the night. Go ahead, I think it’s still chilly out, but at least the sun looks bright from in here. I promise not to peek.” She started to open up the sleeping bag to let him out.

“Nope, don’t have to pee.” Oh crap oh crap oh crap, suddenly my bladder’s about to explode. “Well… drat, why’d you have to say something. Um… okay, uh, how do I put this? I need to pee, but I can’t pee. It’s, um, plumbing.” K could feel his face starting to contort.

“You have a UTI? My mom had one of those last year, it was awful for her. I didn’t know guys got those.”

“Um…” I have no idea what a UTI is, but I’m going to explode at some point.

E was looking at him with more and more concern. “Honey, are you in pain? Do we need to get you to a hospital or something?”

“No no no! I just…” She knows about this from health ed for girls, right? We had to learn about their fallopian tubes and everything. “Okay, male reproductive and urinary system review. Even when faced with a full bladder, a guy can’t pee if he has an erection. And, um, I really really have one, right now.”

“An erection? Or a full bladder?”

“Um, yes. Both.” And pain, lots of pain.

“Alright, hon, get your boots on, go outside, think of… I dunno, whatever guys think about when they’re trying not to think about sex. I’ll start breaking out stuff for breakfast. Or do you want to come back in and get back in the sleeping bag with me?”

WHAT PART OF “DON’T THINK ABOUT SEX” IS NOT GETTING THROUGH TO YOU?! K’s bladder was feeling like it was about to explode.

E figured it out. “Okay! Breakfast! Nothing sexy about breakfast! Go out there and think about oatmeal! Instant coffee! That should, um, deflate you, whatever.”

K didn’t bother with his boots; at that moment, thick socks seemed like more than enough for cold, damp ground. He rapidly picked his way to the edge of the campsite, gave a quick visual sweep of the surrounding area to verify there was no one nearby, and unzipped his fly. His erection was such that removing his penis was an ordeal, both awkward and painful. Finally he was able to point at a nearby bush… with no effect. Pushing internally on his bladder produced a few drops, not the stream he needed. Don’t think about sex, don’t think about E, think about oatmeal… shadow, my shadow is right in front of me, I’m facing west, look at the length of the shadow, I should be able to determine the approximate time based on my shadow length, right, okay… flowers, there are wildflowers already, I think they’re wildflowers, kind of purple, maybe?… K looked down to see that he was urinating rapidly and with some force. And somewhat noisily. Aim for the bush, E doesn’t have to hear this, that’s just gross. Girls hate that kind of thing, right?

After what seemed like a very long time, his bladder seemed empty. K retracted himself and zipped up. He wiped his hands on the wet grass, then on his shirt.

“It’s safe now, honey! C’mon out.” So much for a romantic camping trip! But still, it was pretty great — now I know that she loves me, and she knows I love her, and how amazingly cool is that?

The sudden realization hit him, enough to make him stop breathing for several seconds.

Oh god oh god oh god I really really really screwed things up!

Husband & retiree. Developer, tech writer, & IT geek. I fill what’s empty, empty what’s full, and scratch where it itches. Occasionally do weird & goofy things.