Catherine Townsend: Sleeping Around

How I got off with the class nerd
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The Independent Online

The first person I spotted when I walked into the room where the septuagenarian DJ was playing the Stereo MCs was Randy, the hellraiser who used to grow marijuana. "God, I can't believe that this party doesn't have an open bar," I said, laughing. "Can I buy you a drink?"

"Actually, Cat, I gave up alcohol when I took my vows. Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal saviour?" When he started pulling out "He Is Risen" leaflets, I was in serious need of liquid courage.

Someone tapped my shoulder. "Are you still drinking neat vodka?" I turned round to find Adam, the short, nerdy guy from my English class who used to linger at the perimeter of my circle - and I suspect always had a crush on me. We talked about his career as a lawyer in Atlanta, and my gig in London. "I knew you would become a writer," he said. "Remember when you wrote that essay on Wuthering Heights where you said Heathcliff was gay just to annoy our English teacher?"

"But I haven't had anything published," I blurted out, revealing my secret shame.

I feltless self-conscious when we sat with the high-school drama star who became a dentist, the budding scientist who lost his job and cooks LSD in his own lab, and my former prom date who works on a peanut farm.

My best friends and I took the party back to my house where we all went swimming under the stars. Adam lingered after everyone else left, and started talking about the time I ran through the neighbourhood on a dare, wearing a red negligée. Then he kissed me, and suddenly I was sitting on his lap on the pool steps, in full-on make-out mode.

Then frustration set in: just like in high school, we had nowhere to go. I couldn't handle the thought of my mum walking in on us in my bedroom, so he suggested that I come back to his place. But Adam was camping out on the couch of his uncle - who was my French teacher - and the thought of running into him in his underwear was enough to kill my libido.

"We could go parking," he said. But no sooner had we slipped into the backseat of his car than we heard a strange yipping sound. My mum's Yorkshire terrier had swan-dived into the deep end, so I jumped in to fish her out. By the time my hysterical mother came out and saw me towelling off her "baby", the spell was broken.

The next night, Adam called and confessed he had left his university class ring behind - accidentally on purpose. I was flying back to London so I asked where he wanted me to post his ring. "Keep it," he said. "If you ever decide to come a little closer to home you'll have a reason to look me up. Otherwise, I'll see you at the 20-year get-together."