The other members of the dormitory all woke at about the same time, between 8:00 and 8:30. The girls poured into the bathroom after 8:30 and had it fully occupied until close to 9:00, when the curtain separating their side from the rest of the room was pulled aside and the room was open again.
Rowan sat on his bed throughout the morning, reading for class. He would occasionally look up from his textbook to watch the activity. He noticed that the others seemed to be looking at him, examining him. Everybody knew what had happened to him the night before – that is, what had been done to him – and they expected to see something of it written on his face. But Rowan was not that type of person, and so far as they could see, he was calm and emotionless.
Kaitlin was the only one to approach him, and she did so tentatively. She walked up beside bed, getting close to him and kneeling down on ground so that she was looking up at him while he leaned back against the wall, the textbook resting on his legs.
“It’s Kaitlin, right?” he said. She nodded. “How are you this morning?”
She smiled but didn’t say anything. She was wanting to speak but hesitated. She finally said, “Rowan, I wanted to ask you something.”
“Were you a… virgin last night?” she asked quietly.
Rowan closed his book and put it aside, sitting up in his bed while he stared at her with wide eyes. “How do you know about that?” he asked.
She took that as a yes and continued, “I just wanted to ask because I remember when I lost my virginity. It was to a boy that, at the time, I was certain I was going to spend the rest of my life with. So, the next the morning I was just really excited and happy and felt so good. But the thing is that I really wanted to tell someone, but I couldn’t. I couldn’t tell my parents because they’d just punish me and never let me see the boy again. I couldn’t tell my brother because it was my brother. I couldn’t even tell my friends because I don’t think they really approved and I didn’t want to be judged. And there was no one else I could tell. So, it really dampened the mood. I would’ve been so much happier if I could tell someone. It’d be even better if I could tell everyone I knew, even strangers on the street, and have them all feel happy for me, but alas that’s not the world we live in. The point is, if you want to tell someone, you can tell me. In fact, all the girls know, and if you’re happy about it, they’ll be happy with you too. I know you don’t know us well, but really this isn’t something you have to keep bottled up. And no one’s going to judge you and be like, ‘Oh my God! He didn’t lose his virginity until eighteen!’ Because that’s perfectly fine. I was almost eighteen. The girls and I were just talking about it. Aimee was nineteen. Tanya and Sophie were both eighteen. I think eghteen is a good age to do that. So, I think it’s great. In fact, I think we should throw you a party for you. We should celebrate this day. You should mark it on your calendar for posterity: ‘Today, for the first time, I knew the body of a woman.’”
When Rowan didn’t respond, she continued speaking, eventually having orated at great length as Rowan continued to look at her without any clear response to her words.
“I’m not sure I am happy,” Rowan eventually responded.
“Why? Because it was with Ms. Daley? You shouldn’t be? She’s an amazing lover. A master of the art. I’m going to get her to teach me everything she knows. Anyways, you should be happy. Heck, I don’t even care if you aren’t happy. We’re all going to be happy for you.” Kaitlin then turned to the rest of the room, and she said, “Everyone, I have an announcement to make. Last night, Rowan lost his virginity.”
She made an “isn’t this exciting!” face and everyone said “congratulations.” Soon everyone was crowding around his bed, grabbing his hand for a shake, slapping him on the shoulder and saying things like, “What’s it like to be a man?” and “I remember my first time.”
And Rowan, at first a little embarrassed, started to beam, even to laugh with all these smiling faces around him. He didn’t have much to say, but he couldn’t deny that he liked the attention.