* * *

I leaned against the wall in the sticky hallway at The Alibi, the bathroom door just a couple guys away now, wondering why the line was moving so slow. Or, hell, why there even was a line, even though this place only had one urinal. We’re men; that’s supposed to be the karmic bargain. We don’t get to wear sandals to work, but at least we don’t have to wait in line for public restrooms.

The guy in front of me, hipsterish, his hair looking oily, leaned forward and peered past a bathroom door propped open by someone’s foot from inside. I saw him squint, then nod.

“What’s going on in there, dude?” I asked, cradling my beer carefully. I heard a laugh from inside, curiously high-pitched. Hipster looked blankly back at me.

“There are two chicks by the urinals, watching us piss.”

“No shit?” This had happened to me before, but not in awhile. It’s the kind of thing that happens sometimes in college towns, especially sleepy ones. Boredom. Cheap thrills, even if all you’ve got is watching guys pee. I slurped back more beer. “Whatever.”

“Right?” A wave of laughter sent another guy out, red-faced, and all of us shuffled forward a step. Now I was the guy by the door, and Hipster had ducked straight into a conversation with a girl, by the sound of it. I peered around the door to see his head bent toward a short girl with an immense cloud of curly black hair. I got the quick impression of a huge white-teethed smile.

“Hi,” I heard her say as Hipster drifted deeper inside. “I’m Nicole from Chi Kappa. Do you mind if we watch you pee?”

“Knock yourself out,” I heard him belch, and then their voices faded into another gush of laughter from over by the urinals as a bemused guy walked back toward the door, shaking his head. The urinal flushed.

I was shuffling through the door a moment later into a heart-shaped face lit by the bluish light of her cellphone. I blinked. “What’s up?” The girl’s voice sounded familiar somehow. “I’m Nicole.”

I glanced up at Hipster, still with his ear bent toward the shiny coils of the other chick’s hair. “I thought she was Nicole,” I frowned, gesturing with my chin.

“We’re both Nicole.” The line was still moving. “We’re from Chi-Kap. We want to watch you pee. You up for it?”

I swirled the beer in my glass. “Whatever it takes so that I can empty my bladder,” I sighed. She was nodding, jabbing rapidly at her cellphone, then peering at me with her head cocked and a strange look on her face. “What?”

“I think I know you,” she blurted. “Keith, right? Keith Longstadt?” I shrank back, starting to get the horrible suspicion that I’d fucked this girl at some point, probably at some party. I didn’t go to many of those anymore, but she looked old enough to have already been here when I was an undergrad.

“Yes,” I nodded, cautious. A big part of my mind was hoping I had fucked her, because she was exactly what I like to see in a girl: long legs, nice tits, and a challenging gleam in her eye. She looked very familiar. “Nice to meet you.”

“So,” she went on, ignoring me, “the girls rate your package when you pee, then if you get a good rating we call you and invite you to our Valentines Ball.” We were moving steadily through the line, but she was talking fast; she must have gone through this spiel a couple dozen times. “Sound okay?”

“As long as I get to piss,” I grumbled. The urinal flushed, another guy walked away, and Hipster was next in line; his Nicole, with the mane, slipped away to smile at the guy behind me, launching into the same speech my Nicole had given me. Say what you like about Chi-Kap, home of the C-Kups, but they were acting like a well-oiled machine. I glanced at the two wasted chicks in the corner by the john, watching Hipster’s zipper intently; one of them was drinking from his beer. I stirred and blinked; she’d asked me something else. “Huh?”

“I said, are you a junior? Senior?” She scanned me doubtfully. “Sophomore?”

“I’m a grad student.” Second year too, I thought of adding, but she didn’t seem to care much.

“Interesting. We don’t get many of those. Anyway, type in your digits then, honey.” She pressed her phone into my hand, its case sticky with the beery fingerprints of the men who’d pissed ahead of me, and I thumbed my numbers in carefully. She’d labeled me Grad Guy: Tall (Keith L). “Fantastic,” she purred. “Maybe we’ll be in touch, cutie.” She slipped me an exorbitant wink, then fluttered off to deal with the guy behind the guy behind me.

The fuck. I wondered whether the management knew these girls were in here. Or whether they cared.

I shifted my gaze toward the two drunk chicks. They were hot, of course, but then they were C-Kups. All the girls in Chi Kappa were hot. Hell, all the girls in all the sororities were hot. One looked like she was fresh off a surfboard: tall, too blonde, too tanned. The other was a sharp-featured brunette with quick eyes. She was the one drinking Hipster’s beer. “Thanks,” slurred Blonde. “I want to shake you off.” She didn’t wait for a reply, just leaned in with her lower lip between her teeth and reached to the front of the bemused Hipster’s pants.

He zipped up, then flushed, and then he was turning away with an eye-roll as he took back his beer. He threw me a veiled glance as he passed, and then it was my turn. I stepped up to the urinal, not even worrying about the puddle underneath it.

“Sixty-five,” Blonde called out once Hipster had left the room.

“Nah,” Brunette burped. “Seventy. He wasn’t bad.” She blinked, then focused on me. “Hi, buddy. I’m Rachel. You going to piss for me?”

“No.” I unzipped and began digging into my boxers. “I’m going to piss for me.” I held out my beer. “You mind?”

“Lay it on me, baby,” Rachel crooned, watching closely as I pulled my penis out. Her hand closed around my beer, then brought it to her lips automatically. She’d done this a hundred times, sucking down my ale, her eyes never leaving my crotch. I glanced over at Blonde during that awkward few seconds while I was waiting until I let go.

“I’m Keith,” I shrugged, and she smiled as my urine began hissing into the bowl. Her eyes were blue, and massive.

“Hi, Keith.” She seemed pleased. “Nice to meet you.” Blonde, apparently, had no interest in giving me her name, or maybe she was just too wasted to care. I took advantage of her attention to sneak a peek at her cleavage, which was a deeply shadowed valley behind a cropped blue top spattered with some sort of red drink. A diamond twinkled in her belly button.

I tossed my head back and closed my eyes, feeling the sweet relief as my bladder let go. When I risked a glance at the girls, they were nodding thoughtfully at me. I cleared my throat and smiled. “Can I get shaken off, too?”

“Hell yeah,” Rachel giggled. “Definitely.”

I took a deep breath and jerked my head behind me, the piss still streaming into the urinal. “Can she do it? The one who took my number?”

Blonde looked at me, completely confused, but finally the sun rose in her mind. “Oh! Cool. Hey!” she shouted into the line behind me. “Nicole!”

“What?” Two voices said it, and Blonde rolled her eyes. “Nicole R! Get your fucking ass up here!”

I heard the grit of Nicole’s Chuck Taylors on the damp tile. “What? I’m busy.”

“Our new friend here wants you to shake him off,” Blonde giggled. I was starting to peter out, my flow stuttering into the bowl now as I flexed my dick to drive the last of it out. Rachel was still staring at my cockhead.

“No shit?” Nicole sounded just as fast, just as businesslike, as when she’d briefed me, and all at once there she was, her face at my shoulder. She jerked her head at Blonde. “Just let Veev here shake it. You can probably get her to put out for you, too,” she chuckled, and then I saw her look down. “Definitely.”

“Hey!” The blonde seemed offended.

“I was kidding, Veev,” Nicole went on quietly, and then she met my face with a carefully neutral expression. Her eyes never wavered from mine as she rested a hand lightly but familiarly on the top of my ass, then closed my shaft in her long-nailed fingers and wagged me around a few times. We both smirked. “There you go, cutie,” she said, her voice low, and then she was stuffing my penis with great competence back through the hole in my boxers. She gave me a squeeze at the end before she pulled her hand back out. “It’s been real. Now, if you don’t mind? There are boys waiting behind you.” She slowly pulled up my zipper, then patted my ass. “Bye, now.”

Rachel, grinning, was holding out about an inch less of beer than what I’d come in with, and I gave her a warm smile. “See y’all later, ladies,” I said with a wink, and then I was carrying my lipstick-stained glass out to a whisper and a burst of laughter from behind as they gave my rating to the Nicoles.

I chose not to tell my date about all this when I got back to our table. After all, I’d only known her for a couple months or so. We didn’t need to tell each other everything.

* * *

I sat down at my desk a couple days later, swamped in the midst of Cubicle Country in the English Deparment’s gym-like office. I’d finally gotten rid of the last member of my intro writing seminar; for some reason, I often came back from class with a gaggle of girls in tow, each one wanting help with her thesis statements.

Fuckers. As though their high school teachers had taught them nothing.

But teaching required low-level seminars is one of those chores that grad students just have to do, and I always tried to be courteous and respectful before I booted my students out on their asses. Of course, I also made sure I had them seated within full view of Kylie, one of my fellow grad students, so that she could corroborate me if any of the students lodged complaints. The University sex-harrassment policy was surreal, though fortunately it hadn’t stopped Kylie and me from hooking up on occasion. She sucked a mean dick in the departmental copy room, as I’m sure a lot of her own intro-seminar students would love to know.

Over on the other side of my cubicle wall I could hear the tinny noise from Jeff’s earbuds. Jeff was forever listening to things like Puddle of Mudd and Nickelback, while researching Faulkner. I had little time for him, but right now I had a text on my phone from an unknown number. I stared at it. Call me was all it said, and it was signed Nicole.


I tipped my chair back, perched my feet on the desk, and waited while my phone made the connection. The voice at the other end sounded just slightly slower than it had the other night in The Alibi bathroom. “Hi, Keith. So happy you got my message.”

“Nicole.” I licked my lips and glanced across the aisle at the other cubicle; predictably, Kylie squeaked back in her chair, checked to make sure I was alone, and winked at me. “What’s up?”

“Well,” she began, getting to her point with quiet glee, “I called because I’m wondering whether you remember what I told you at the bar the other night.”

“What you told me in the mens’ restroom?” I chuckled. Kylie made a face at me. “So much went on. Refresh my memory.” In my mind I had a clear image of her face, her hand repacking my dick, the general naughtiness of the whole thing.

She sighed in my ear. “The Chi-Kap Valentines Ball. How we were planning on inviting the highest-rated men from the bar the other night.”

“The highest-rated penises?” I was enjoying this. I could tell that Kylie was not. “Sure. I remember.”

She allowed me an icy pause, just to let me know she wasn’t amused. “So, I’m pleased to let you know that you made the cut, so on behalf of the Lambda Chapter of Chi Kappa International, I hereby invite you to be one of our Chi Kappa Valentine’s Sweethearts, and extend an invitation to our annual Valentines Day Ball.” She waited for me to gush, and when I didn’t, she tacked on, “it’s on February 12th.”

“A Valentines Ball?” I asked after a cautious pause. “Like, what’s presumably inside Cupid’s diaper?”

She let the silence stretch, then sighed. “It’s a Chi-Kap tradition dating back to 1937.”

“Whoah. No shit?” I was impressed. “C-Kups have been haunting the Alibi’s men’s room since 1937?”

“Evaluations and standards might have changed over time,” she snapped. Now she sounded like she had the other night. I was surprised and pleased that I had to adjust my dick. “Between you and me,” she went on primly, “your rating was the third-highest on the night.”

“Did I get bonus points for the clarity of my urine?” By now, Kylie was staring across at me in very frank curiosity.

“You did get bonus points for being a grad student,” she admitted. “And for your generally confident manner. Which, I’m pleased to see, was apparently not a fluke.”

“Apparently not. Do I bring a plus-one?”

“Well, that brings me to the point of my call. There are certain traditions that the Chi-Kap sisters need to inform you of, so I’d appreciate your email address so that I can send them along.” She paused. “Personal, please, not your university account.”

I barked out a quick laugh. “Email?” I sat up, my chair creaking. “What is this, 1999? Nah. Can’t you just tell me now?”

“It’s a complicated event, with a lot of moving parts,” she hedged. “I’d really rather not.”

“Well then,” I said with quiet relish, remembering the oddly familiar feel of her hand on my butt, “you’ll just have to tell me over dinner. Say, Thursday night? The Commons Taproom?” I held my breath. I didn’t often swoop in quite this soon, but she was awfully sexy. “My treat, of course.”

She was silent for so long that I was pretty sure I’d offended her, but eventually I heard what could have been either a sigh or a giggle. “Not a fluke.” She paused again, and when she spoke once more it was in her usual rapid-fire delivery. “Take me for coffee. Tomorrow afternoon works for me. Meet me outside Schindler Hall at one-thirty.”

“I’d love to,” I replied, with what I hoped came across as real warmth. My dick suddenly needed another adjustment.

“And don’t be late,” she warned. “At one-thirty-one, I’ll find another boy to take me out.” I was laughing when she hung up, and I was still smiling a few minutes later when Kylie asked me if I’d go with her to the copy room. She’d seen me messing with my cock, so she figured she should take care of that.

Kylie was a good friend.

* * *

I wasn’t sure whether Nicole had meant for me to pick her up in my car or on foot. It was kind of a long walk… but, seeing as how my car had a three-month supply of trash on the floor of the passenger seat, parking near the dorms was a bitch, and there were about a dozen coffee places within smelling radius of Schindler Hall? I just walked.

I was a little surprised, as I waded through the kids being belched out of the College of Business near the dorms, that Nicole was living there instead of in the Chi-Kap house on Sorority Row, but I know a lot of Greek students can’t afford it. So, dorms. Meal plans. RAs. Noise complaints. I imagined she was saving up to move out. Or maybe she was a freshman; they’re required to live in the dorms.

Whatever. C-Kup house or Schindler Hall, as long as she had a bed, I was pretty sure she and I could figure out a way to pass the time. I smiled to myself, dodging undergraduates, as I remembered the challenging look in her eyes when she’d shaken me off. She was game, I was sure. Whatever this “Valentines Ball” was, I thought I had an idea how it might be ending for a C-Kup named Nicole R.

She waited outside the dorm, looking sleek and tight in a polka-dot dress with a knit sweater over her shoulders against the late-winter chill. She’d done her hair in a tight bun and then spent some time picking lipstick that matched her shoes. I felt like a schlub in my Lucky jeans and an old LA Kings jersey. But she’d come down to meet me, and that was enough.

“Hi, Nicole,” I called as I came up out of the crosswalk, angling away from the stream of students I’d been floating in. She glanced over, and just before her face took on its no-nonsense expression of Swiss neutrality, I thought I’d seen a quick twitch of her lips and a glitter of mischief in her eyes.

“Keith.” She looked me up and down, making sure I caught her faint air of disapproval. “Late for practice? Where’s your stick?”

“You know where that is,” I volleyed, and I was rewarded to see her blush just a bit. God, she was a sexy little thing! “I think you’ve seen it, though if you really want to, I could probably find it again.”

“I’m sure you could.” She did smile then, that gravely mysterious smile women do so well, and once again I had a sudden flash of deja-vu, like I’d seen her before. She’d certainly seen me; I still wondered how she’d known my name, and I assumed I’d find out over coffee. I’d decided I couldn’t have fucked her; there’s no way I’d have forgotten her.

“You look beautiful,” I told her, and I didn’t even need to fake the sincerity. She noticed too, nodding graciously.

“Thanks.” She found a stray tendril of her hair in the February breeze and tucked it behind her ear, looping it under the arm of her cat’s-eye glasses. “So. Where are you taking me, cutie?”

I felt a warm thrill. Yup. She was game. I thought fast. “First? I was thinking we could go to Samurai’s Teahouse.” It was a really nice place, one which I’d never have been caught dead in as an undergrad. They had a pool table, though, so I felt it was sufficiently masculine. I held out my hand, and after a moment she took it. Her fingers were cold.

“First?” We started walking south, off campus, to what I thought of as the Coffeehouse District. Once more, she brushed back that troublesome strand of hair. She gave a low laugh. “And second?”

“Depends how Samurai’s goes,” I smiled, and her laugh became an eye-rolled sigh. “What?”

She looked up at me, a dimple forming. “Not a fluke,” she nodded. I had a sudden urge to curl my arm around her waist, and I was pretty sure she wouldn’t mind, but something told me to hold off.

The day was just beginning.

I showed her to a dark-lacquered seat in the corner, just under a potted fern, then stayed on my feet to go up to the counter. “Can I order for you?” I thought I’d gotten a good sense of her, picking up on her personality, and I liked thinking I could figure out what she wanted. If not, there were ways to flirt about that too. “Satisfaction guaranteed, or your money back.”

She cocked her head. I wanted to lean in and suck on that neck. “That doesn’t work,” she said. “I’m not paying.”

“Well,” I shrugged, “then I guess I’ll just have to find another way to make it up to you, won’t I?” I winked down at her. “Trust me. I’ll find you something you like.”

“Promises, promises.” She was shrugging out of the sweater, showing pale shoulders, and I had to force myself to turn away over the creaking floorboards. I was beginning to suspect I’d met my match, and then some. She’d dressed in precisely the right way to draw me, the dress perfectly fitted to her body, her eyelashes on point.

I wasn’t the only one who could read people, and I was starting to realize that. “Do your best, Keith.”

The barista was lovely too, in that perky nerdish way so many of them have, and as I waited in line I reflected how, when you’re feeling horny and have found your target, that’s when every woman starts to look hot. She peered up at me through her glasses and gave a dazzling smile. “Hi there!” she began in a pleasant voice, unexpectedly low. “What can I make for you?”