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The Literary Girlfriend: Book Report

July 24, 2013
The book report is NOT about Atlas Shrugged.  I promise!

The book report is NOT about Atlas Shrugged. I promise!

Danielle had mentioned that she wanted to take a bath, and she had said it so nonchalantly that it didn’t feel awkward.  I was hoping for an invitation, but I knew not to ask.  Things seemed to be going my way, and I didn’t want to blow it by saying something smarmy.  Sometimes in romance, it’s best to play not to lose.

“The guest bathroom is cleaner,” I said, and pointed to the bathroom down the hall.

But Danielle was looking past me.  “We have company.”

I turned and saw two roaches on the wall behind me.  Big roaches, not thick enough to be outside roaches, but large enough to have been well-fed.  Ugh, I was out of bug spray.

“You gonna use a shoe this time?” Danielle suggested.

I looked around the room and felt myself gritting my teeth.  “My shoes are in the bedroom.”  I glanced at the thick black heels Danielle was wearing.

“No,” she said.

I grabbed a hardcover copy of Atlas Shrugged from my bookshelf.

“That’s more like it,” Danielle said.

I slammed Atlas Shrugged against the wall with such a thud I worried about the pictures hanging from my neighbor’s wall.  The book left two splotches, but I didn’t see any bodies drop.  I checked the back and saw two roach corpses stuck to the book jacket.

“Now they’ll never find out who John Galt was,” I said.

“I hope you’re not keeping the book,” Danielle said.

I slid the book jacket off and threw it in the waste basket.  Then I slipped the book back onto the shelf.  I pointed to the title on the binding.

“Have you ever read Atlas Shrugged?” Danielle asked.


Danielle shrugged and grabbed a hardcover of War and Peace and tucked it under her arm.  More likely it was for roaches than enlightenment.

As she reached down for the bag, I asked, “Can I get your jacket?”

“Thank you,” she said.  Danielle pulled it off and handed it to me, but all I saw was clingy blue t-shirt, and I concentrated on her badass leather jacket instead.  I was pretty sure she was back to no bra, but I didn’t want to get busted like I had in the laundry room.  I believed I had the right to check out Danielle’s bra status.  She had chosen to come to my apartment braless in a tight t-shirt (if she was indeed bra-less).  If I stared at her, that would be her fault.  But I didn’t.  When I played not to lose, I went all out.

“Nice jacket,” I said.  Then I pointed to the bathroom.  “All I’ve got is regular soap and shampoo in there.”

“I always bring my bubbles with me,” she said, nodding toward the gym bag.

Then she gave me a quick kiss, not like the playful one she had granted me earlier.  She told me she was going to take about a half hour.  She asked me to bring her the iced tea (which I did).  She told me to wait for her in the bedroom.  And she told me not to fall asleep this time.

Then she took her gym bag and War and Peace and closed the guest bathroom door, leaving me to myself and my thoughts.


I’ve never done well with uncertainty.  I wasn’t sure what kind of boundaries that Danielle and I had with each other.  If a woman is taking a bubble bath in a guy’s apartment and tells him to stay awake in the bedroom, the guy can probably expect that great things will happen after the bath.  But Danielle and I still had communication issues.  We got along pretty well, but we hadn’t figured each other out yet.  The worst mistake I could make was to expect what I thought was about to happen when she was planning on something different.

Maybe Danielle didn’t want to do what I thought we were going to do.  She might have just been really tired and wanted to sleep next to a guy she trusted.  It had happened once in college, and it had been torture, and that college girl had been nothing like Danielle.  Cuddling with Danielle without the possibility of doing what I thought we were going to do would be a nightmare.  I’d go through with it and pretend to enjoy it, but it would be tough.  Cuddling.  Whatever happened, I prayed it would not be cuddling.

And if Danielle planned on more than just cuddling, I had another issue to deal with. There had been a few times in my adult life when I turned down what I thought was about to happen, and I always knew the next morning that I had made the right choice.  Now I wasn’t so sure.   Danielle and I had been on only one date.  If she was already prepared to do what I thought we were about to do, then maybe she had already done what we were about to do with a bunch of other people after only one date.  Women who did what she did for a living (dancing at clubs) had reputations.  Even though Danielle dressed provocatively and made scenes in public, I didn’t get the sense that she was really the type that I was worried about.  But like I say, people can rationalize anything.  I knew I might have been talking myself into a very bad situation.

Danielle was going to be done with her bath soon (hopefully).  So I made a decision.  I knew that if I had the opportunity to do what I thought we were going to do and I turned it down, I would regret it, maybe forever.  I knew that.  So I decided if things worked out the way I thought they were going to work out, I wouldn’t do anything to stop it.  I felt a lot better after thinking about this.


Lying in bed waiting for a hot chick to finish her bubble bath can feel like an eternity.  I didn’t want to just sit there and wait.  I had already hung up her jacket (wooden hanger), drank the iced tea, cleaned up roach splotches, and used the bathroom.  I decided what to wear in bed (t-shirt/shorts combo so I didn’t seem like I was expecting anything).  After that, my options were limited.  I wanted to do (or appear like I was doing) something productive.  And what did I always do while I was waiting?  I read a book.

The Conan book I had been reading earlier was entertaining, but it was difficult to explain Conan’s appeal to a woman unfamiliar with the sword & sorcery genre.  I decided instead on something thin but classic.  I grabbed my paperback edition of Animal Farm.  I propped up my pillow and turned on my reading lamp.

(After what seemed like a long wait) Danielle waltzed into the bedroom wearing a white t-shirt that barely went past her thighs.  This was a mixed-signal sender.  If she had slinked into the room with lingerie and crawled on all fours onto the bed, I would have known what to do.  If she had walked in with pink pajamas, I would have groaned at the horror of all-night cuddling, but I would have at least known.  The long white t-shirt could go either way.  If there was nothing underneath it, I was gold, but there was no polite way to find out if there was anything underneath.  And I was the guy who had owned her panties for a month.

Danielle dived onto the bed, demonstrating again that she was definitely bra-less.  That was a good sign.  She tucked herself underneath the sheets and slid next to me but didn’t brush up.  There was a distinct border between us.  That was a bad sign.

“So,” she said.  “Did you want a minute to finish the chapter?”

Ugh!  I couldn’t believe I still had the book open.  That was a bad sign on my part.  I slammed the book shut.

“I’m done.”  But I was too cautious to close the gap between us.

“What are you reading?” she asked slowly.

I showed her the cover, but I could feel our energy slipping away.  She had been revved up, but we were losing momentum, and I couldn’t get myself to take the initiative.  Playing to lose was backfiring on me.

“Are you really reading this, or are you pretending?” she asked.

I couldn’t believe we were talking about this.  “I’ve actually read this before, but I was fake reading when you came in.”

Danielle moved just a little closer and made direct eye contact.  “I don’t believe you,” she said slowly.  “I don’t think you’ve ever read this book before.”

“I have,” I said.

“I think you’re lying to me,” she said very quietly.

“I’m not,” I said, puzzled.

“I hate it when guys lie to me,” she whispered.  “Prove to me that you’re telling the truth.”

“How?” I asked.

She giggled and slid a hand underneath my shirt and against my stomach.  “Tell me what it’s about.”

Then she moved her hand just a little bit. I’d read Animal Farm several times.  I really had.  I was almost an expert.  But I swear at that moment, I couldn’t remember a thing.


To be continued in… The Literary Girlfriend: Book Report Grades.

And to read “The Literary Girlfriend” from the beginning, start here.

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  1. I’m hoping this story gets good and pornographic. For your sake at least.

  2. This is torture! But this story is getting so good, I couldn’t possible give up on it!

  3. Merit Coba permalink

    Atlas punched hard
    And Ayn beats two cockroaches
    Will Leo kill more?

  4. Great job. I thing I would forget the finer points of the plot too if I was in his position (everything beyond it was about animals on a farm).

  5. Veronica permalink

    You know how to write a good cliff hanger. Not cool.

  6. I love your writing…I’ve been back tracking to catch up on plot line since I just found your blog but already can’t wait for more!

  7. It’s nice to know that “Atlas Shrugged” is good for something besides inspiring Libertarian ideologues.

    You kept my interest. Love scenes and their preambles aren’t easy to write.

  8. Your writing style is smooth, and I have to say this scene from the whole part was one of the bests. The roaches themselves were far from my favorite character, but the whole thing added a touch of reality to it all.
    Also, thank god I came back when you had written the next part too. 😀

  9. Oh so that’s what Atlas Shrugged is good for! I’m having fun reading these installments to my husband.

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