It was probably the most commonplace thing in the world.
She'd read somewhere that, at any given time, a million people were either just about to have sex, were actually having sex, or had just finished having sex and were planning their next time.
A million seemed like a lot, since there were only six thousand million people in the whole world, and some of them were likely to be too old, or too young, or too unlucky to be having sex, but she'd read it somewhere, so it was probably true.
She knew from Dolly magazine that married couples have sex on average two to three times a week, and unmarried couples four to five times a week, so the million felt probably about right in her head.
Thinking about it in those terms, she realised she was some sort of weird statistical anomaly. Like the old guy in the newspapers you read about, who lives to be a hundred and seven, drinking a bottle of whiskey and smoking two packs of cigarettes a day. Death should have come knocking for him years ago, but somehow he'd been overlooked.
Well, Sex should have come knocking for her years ago, too. It wasn't that she was doing the sexual equivalent of smoking and drinking, either. She was doing all the right things for sex to have eventuated. She showed an interest in boys, laughed at their jokes, told them how clever they were. She took care with her appearance, dressed just this side of slutty when the occasion demanded, and sweet and wholesome the rest of the time. She read up on all the things that a girl ought to know, like how to use fizzy Quik-eze tablets to enhance oral sex, how to use a diaphragm and spermicidal gel to ensure against unwanted pregnancies, how to stimulate his prostate to make his orgasm mind-blowing, and a wide range of other sealed-section tips and tricks that she couldn't wait to try out.
It was like owning a cute little soft-top convertible and being told that you can't drive it yet, there are no roads available. Just be patient, though, and one day a man from the Council will knock at your door to tell you that a road has just opened up, and you are free to go.
And then, one day, that knock at the door had come.
But the man wasn't from the council. He had met her at a party, had enjoyed her company immensely, and had lost track of her on the dance floor before he'd had a chance to get her phone number. But she and her sister and older brother were well known in the district, and he'd easily found out from others at the party where she lived. He was tall, had gorgeous eyes and soft, wavy hair, and he came calling, for "Your lovely daughter, please, Mrs Chatwin."
By the time she'd scrambled downstairs, her mother was flirting with him already, making him a cup of hot, sweet tea, and implying that if things didn't work out between him and her daughter, then she herself was open for offers.
He didn't look familiar, but she spoke to plenty of boys, and it was entirely possible that she had forgotten charming him into paying her a visit.
And with him sitting there in her kitchen, did it really matter that she didn't remember him?
A road was opening up.
His face had lit up when she swept into the room, composing herself into the right frame of mind and physical disposition for greeting a boy in her home. His smile broke to a grin, and his eyes twinkled at the sight of her.
So he definitely remembered her.
"Now, i have two daughters you know, Brian," her mother was joking. "Are you sure this is the right one?"
But he was lost in her eyes, staring so deeply into her soul that words no longer meant anything. They were so connected that it was actually uncomfortable on one level; not at all what she expected, but much, much more. She wanted to glance away from his eyes, so intense was the emotion between them, but she understood that to do so would mean doom.
The next thing she knew, she was in his car, and the familiar streets she had grown up on were zipping past at unfamiliar velocities.
He took her to a cafe in the city, where she was brilliant, even though they barely spoke an actual word. By the time the bruschetta arrived he was holding her hand, their fingers intertwined.
He suggested that they go out for dinner! He was really sweeping her off her feet, and she was loving every moment of it.
"But i have nothing to wear to a fancy restaurant," she protested. It was a calculated protest. You didn't want to sound as if you were lying in wait to be swept off your feet. Plus, men liked their women a little in need of protection and fostering.
"Then let's go shopping," he smiled, raising his finger to the waitress for the bill.
She'd never been in a department store where the man sat on a little chair and you paraded out in front of him in all your potential finery, surrounded by mirrors to show every glorious aspect to your best advantage. The sales consultant had called her "Mademoiselle", and had referred to what they were doing as "essayage", and it was like being in a 1950s musical. She half expected Frank Sinatra to walk in on them.
Brian watched her parading in her outfits with the eyes of a man who had found his life's treasure. She felt proud of that look, so proud that she was on the verge of tears of happiness most of the time.
He put the delightful cocktail dress they had both liked the best on his Amex card and suggested, in a cheerful stage whisper, "Now let's get you some fancy undies."
The sales consultant in the lingerie department took her off into the Secret Women's Business section of the store, stripped her down to her own purely functional underwear, complimented her on her physique, and asked if the purchase was for, "a special occasion". The woman's tone, so confidential, even conspiratorial, made her blush. As she was in her underwear, it was no secret that it was an all-over blush, which was twice as embarrassing. It was as if the woman knew that the lingerie she was buying now would be the last thing she would wear as a virgin.
Was it that obvious?
The woman put her at ease with the skill of a true professional, and outfitted her in a set of lingerie that had all the complexity of a medieval suit of armour, while at the same time being made from nothing more substantial than satin, silk, and gossamer. They both admired the finished result in the full-length mirror.
"I think your young man will be very happy with that, don't you?"
"It's beautiful fabric," she murmured, enthralled by the spectacle of her own self in the glass.
"It's not the fabric, miss," the woman assured her. "It's what's inside the fabric that's beautiful. But even that's not why he's so in love with you."
It was true, she realised. He was in love with her. Even shop assistants could see that with just a cursory glance.
"It's what's inside of you that he's in love with. This," she indicated the expensive lingerie, her perfect skin, her perfect curves and bumps and hollows, "this is all just wrapping for that most precious and unique of all things. You."
Her head was swimming and she felt like the marble floor was foam rubber as she paraded from the department store in triumph, the tall, dark, handsome Brian on one arm, and her elegantly tissued and boxed purchases on the other.
"I will need to duck home," she said, breathlessly, almost fainting with the speed at which everything was progressing. "To change into these wonderful things for tonight."
"No need for that," Brian smiled in his rich, smoky voice, "I've made some arrangements." He produced a hotel suite swipe card from his jacket pocket, and, within what seemed like moments, they were in and out of a taxi, speaking to the Concierge of the hotel, and riding the elevator up to their room.
She was impressed when the door swung silently open, but knew better than to seem too yokel, too small town, by being visibly amazed by the luxurious appointments of the room, the room she was going to lose her virginity in. "I'll just change," she said, and then added, teasingly, "No peeking!"
The restaurant was a painting from another time, and piano music floated in the air like tropical butterflies. Candles, as long stemmed as the roses in specimen glasses on each table, were aflame with solemn dignity.
But she easily outshone those candles. She shimmered and she glowed with the sheer energy of being in her Moment. The Maitre d' couldn't do enough for them on account of her beauty and poise, and the waitstaff all, lad and lass alike, fell in love with her.
She felt like the princess in a Disney movie, but one to whom nothing calamitous needed to happen.
She barely registered eating whatever it was he ordered for her, and coffee and mints couldn't come fast enough. Then they were back in that room of theirs. The room in which they would share more than just each other.
She slid off her cocktail dress, and showed him the lingerie he had bought. He did, indeed, like what he saw.
He walked over and kissed her, once, on the lips, gently.
"I'll get myself ready," he said softly. Then he went into the bathroom, and left her there, to sit on the bed and reflect on what was happening. On what was about to happen.
The most commonplace thing in the world.
Except that this was going to be extraordinary. A moment neither of them would ever forget.
He reappeared, dressed only in his satin boxers. His chest was deep and powerful, his six-pack like steel plate. He stepped up to her, and she stood up to meet him. They undressed each other, slowly, revealing the last facets of their physical selves.
She knew what to do.
And so did he.
Their bodies sang with each other in a duet of such sweet, joyous music that it seemed impossible to believe that they were two separate beings, and not one single harmonious organism.
At just the right moment, his rigid penis gently pierced her, tearing her hymen with so little fuss that he barely seemed to have noticed it, and then sliding snugly into place inside her like it was returning home. She kissed his face with tiny, teardrop kisses as he made love to her with a quiet passion. They were so connected that it was actually uncomfortable on one level; not at all what she expected, but much, much more. His fingers played over her breasts, making them blush and bringing her nipples to erection, and she, in a move she had studied more times than she cared to think of, slid her fingertips over the meaty ball of his prostate, scattering spasms of ecstacy throughout his body like explosions of static electricity.
They made love slowly, like savouring a fine liqueur, and then, in the fulness of time, his back arched, and his thrusts became more emphatic, his semen spurting into her so hard that she could almost feel it.
"Oh, Julianne! Julianne! Yes," he cried out as he came inside of her with the force and elemental power of a oceanic wave, "Julianne, my love! My life..."
It was the perfect end to the most perfect day imaginable. There was only one tiny detail that spoiled slightly the total perfection of the moment, of the start of their lives together.
"That was so amazing, Julianne! Even better than our first time, at the party..."
Julianne was her twin sister's name, not hers.