Fandom: Parks and Recreation
Rating: R for this part
Word Count: 3050
Summary: It's not a bad way to spend a Tuesday night, except it's their eleventh date and they're still at the making out stage. It's like high school all over again, only with fewer zits and weaker lower backs.
Author's Note: This was written for trope_bingo. Have fun guessing the trope! (I'm new at this school and hoping this idea hasn't been done to death in this fandom.) Also, I'm doing some handwaving when it comes to Mark Brendanawicz and his relationship with Leslie. Part two is 70% done and will be here in a few days.
Thanks: To icedteainthebag, my personal Ann Perkins, for magnificent beta and sounding board duties.
Ben likes to think of himself as a patient man, but this is getting ridiculous.
They're on the couch in Leslie's living room, the one room in her house where it's safe to walk without spraining one's ankle on a pile of something, and making out while Ken Burns' Prohibition documentary plays in the background. It's not a bad way to spend a Tuesday night, except it's their eleventh date and they're still at the making out stage. It's like high school all over again, only with fewer zits and weaker lower backs.
Leslie is a world-class kisser. Top notch. She's an enthusiastic kisser who also has the ability to kiss with nuance and style—a real rarity. She does acrobatic things with her tongue that would make Nastia Liukin seethe with jealousy. Kissing Leslie is better than he'd ever imagined during his moments of fancy before they ever got together (which by the way was a really, really good idea even though they could both lose their jobs if Chris ever found out).
Every time Ben tries to make a move to something beyond kissing and light touching, Leslie finds a way to stop him in his tracks. Every damn time.
This time, Ben lets his fingers creep under her blouse. Her skin is warm and soft as a baby's. Inch by inch his hand crawls up her stomach until it reaches the Promised Land, the prickly lace of her bra. He's so hard it's actually starting to hurt. He's been hard for approximately eighty-two percent of the time he's been kissing Leslie. And even some of the rare times when they weren't kissing.
Leslie pulls away from him. "Wow, is it really so late? After midnight! I have a breakfast meeting with the Gray Panthers at seven a.m. Hate to kick you out, Ben, but I've got to kick you out! Early bird gets the elderly worm, right?"
Ben stands up, trying to pretend he's not sporting a giant erection. He casually pulls down his sweater, but there's no hiding it. He only hopes it will subside before he gets home because if his roommates see it, he'll never hear the end of it.
On the way home from Leslie's, Ben stops at the Gas-n-Snax to buy a 32-ounce bottle of Cool Blue Gatorade. He's so dehydrated from three solid hours of kissing that he finishes the whole bottle before he gets home. He has to drive around for a half hour, listening to Rush Limbaugh, the un-sexiest thing he can find on the radio, before his hard-on subsides.
He doesn't get it. Not at all.
Is it him? Does she not find him attractive? He's aware that his hair is has hedgehog-like qualities and he has no idea how to dress (Tom feels free to inform him of both things at least twice a week). He probably should have taken Chris up on his offer to show him how to use the free weights at the gym. And actually joined the gym. More than one girlfriend has teased him about having no butt whatsoever. He knows he's not exactly Adonis.
Does he smell?
But it can't be that. Leslie is clearly into him. She jumps up and down and claps her hands almost every time she sees him for the first time of the day, even at work (which can get kind of awkward at meetings). She sends him mushy emails with attached sparkly pony GIFs. She wants to kiss him pretty much every minute of the day.
It makes no sense to him.
It's not that he just wants to get laid. It would be nice, really really nice, but he can live without it. That's why the Internet was invented. For the porn. That and World of Warcraft.
It's more than sex. Ben really, really likes Leslie. Who wouldn't? She's pretty, smart, passionate about a lot of things, hilarious (frequently unintentionally so), liberal, she's an amazing friend to the people in her life, and she likes him back. It's still kind of too early to tell, but he thinks he might love her. No, that’s bullshit. He knows he loves her.
It isn’t as if Leslie has some kind of religious or moral scruples about sex outside of marriage. She unsuccessfully petitioned the City Council to allow Parks Department employees to give out condoms to horny teenagers fooling around in the parking lots of city parks.
And they're both healthy, single adults. By this point in their relationship, they should be having sex like normal healthy, single adults. It's a pretty much a social convention, for the love of L'il Sebastian!
Okay, yeah. He wants to get laid. And he wants it to happen with Leslie. He's not going to lie—he wants her. He wants her bad and if it doesn't happen soon he's probably going to die.
When he gets home, April is curled up on a Twister mat and snoring. Andy is bending over her, attempting to get "right hand yellow" despite his sleeping wife taking up seventy-five percent of the mat. "Hey," Andy says. "How was the dragon-slaying tonight?"
"Super," Ben says, trying not to sound too sour. His tried and true excuse for when he's out with Leslie is that he's playing Dungeons and Dragons. This sneaking around business is getting kind of old.
He grabs another Gatorade out of the fridge, walks into his room and locks the door. Ben fires up his computer. It's almost too easy to find filthy manips of Tricia Helfer and Grace Park.
Ben hasn't masturbated so much since he was thirteen and first discovered the charms of Winona Ryder. He's probably growing hair on his palms but he's afraid to look.
It's the middle of the night when Ben sits bolt upright in bed. It comes to him in a flash of insight like lightning across the summer sky. He knows why Leslie is being so weird. He knows, or at least he has a pretty good idea.
Now he just has to figure out how to confirm his hunch.
Ben should probably go right to Leslie and have a conversation with her about his suspicions, but he chooses the sneaky path instead.
He parks two blocks away (can't have Leslie driving by and seeing his car, even though she's supposed to be at a Jaycees meeting tonight) and creeps in the shadows towards his target. On the front stoop, Ben knocks softly on the door. He almost hopes she isn't home.
The door swings open and Ann is standing there in sweats, a glass of wine in her hand. "Ben!" she says in surprise. "What are you doing here?"
"Can we talk?"
"Of course." She ushers Ben inside. "Is everything all right with Leslie?"
He shoves his hands in his pockets, feeling as shifty as he's sure he looks. "Sure, sure. Leslie's just fine. She's pressing the flesh of the Jaycees tonight."
Ann wrinkles her brow. "No, I meant...is everything all right with you and Leslie? You know, relationship-wise."
"Oh, yeah. No, everything's good. I just wanted to ask you something."
"Have a seat." She waves her hand at the couch. "What's up?"
He sits down. "Uh, this is super uncomfortable, Ann, but I figure you know Leslie better than just about anybody and she probably tells you lots of stuff, so there's something I wanted to know about her."
Ann folds herself into the chair opposite the couch. "So, what is it?"
Ben's face starts to feel hot. Shit, is he actually blushing? "Do you happen to know...has Leslie said anything about...do you think it's possible...is Leslie a virgin?"
"What?" Ann looks at him like he's sprouted horns. "Of course she's not! And why are you asking me? Why don't you ask Leslie herself?"
"It just feels like a really awkward question to ask her." He starts to stand up. "I'm sorry. This must seem really inappropriate."
"She's a thirty-six-year-old woman, Ben. Of course she's not a virgin," Ann says indignantly. Then she inhales sharply and a look of wonder crosses her face. "Oh, waiiiiiiiit a minute here. OH MY GOD, LESLIE'S TOTALLY A VIRGIN."
Ben sits back down. "You think so?"
Ann's eyes are wide. "It all makes sense now. It all makes a terrible, weird kind of sense."
"Ann," he warns. "Talk to me."
"It's just that Leslie has always been kind of strange and squeamish about talking about sex. She's had boyfriends but she's never really said anything about having sex with them. And whenever I bring stuff like that up she changes the subject. The only guy she's ever definitely said she slept with was Mark Brendanawicz. Did she tell you about him?"
He shakes his head. "She didn't. But Tom did."
"Of course he did. Tom's worse than Perez Hilton and TMZ combined. Mark and I went out last year. I asked him once about the one-night stand he had with Leslie and he denied it ever happened. But I didn't believe him."
"I thought he probably thought it would weird me out hearing that he'd slept with my best friend. But...but what if Mark was really telling the truth?"
"Then Leslie definitely could be a virgin. Not that there's anything wrong with it," he adds hastily. Wait, was that a Seinfeld reference?
"Ben, I don't know why, but I think she could be." She shakes her head in disbelief. "It explains so much. My question is - why do you think she is? You don't have some kind of freaky virgin fetish, do you?" Ann's eyes seem to bore into his.
"No, no, I do—"
"Because if you do, I'll have you know that even if Leslie's never had penis in vagina sex, she might not have much hymen left anymore. Many women with active lifestyles don't. In fact, the whole notion of 'breaking' a hymen is largely a myth. The hymen is actually a corona that—"
"Jesus, Ann!" he interrupts. This talk about hymens with his girlfriend's best friend, even though she's a nurse, can't end quickly enough for him. He can't look Ann in the eye anymore. "No, I'm not a virgin fetishist. NO."
He stands up again. "I'd rather not say. I’d rather it be between Leslie and me. Is that cool?"
"Yeah, I feel kind of disloyal talking behind her back anyhow," Ann says.
"Would you feel better if you knew my intentions were good?"
"Tons. Because nobody messes with my Leslie."
"I know. It's one of your best qualities," he says. “By the way, we never had this conversation.”
“Ben, just talk to her,” Ann says. “You know Leslie. She’d rather you be straight with her than dance around the issue.”
“Thanks, Ann.” He lets himself out.
Under cover of night, Ben slinks back to his car.
It takes Ben a few days to come up with a plan, the perfect plan, to bring up the subject. It’s not like you can just waltz up to your new girlfriend and say, “Great job at the swing set forum and, by the way, are you a virgin?”
On Friday night, he brings a pizza and a DVD over to Leslie’s house. “Were you able to get Hotel Rwanda?” She looks especially pretty tonight, wearing jeans and a rather tight black t-shirt, her hair loose and her face scrubbed free of makeup. She’s the Casual Friday Leslie he almost never gets to see.
“Yeah, I thought maybe we could stand to watch something lighter so I picked up a comedy.” He tries to sound super casual, as if his choice of movie were not completely premeditated.
Leslie lifts the top off the pizza box and sniffs appreciatively. “Ooh, sausage and pepperoni! You know me so well. What movie did you get?”
“The Forty-Year-Old Virgin,” he says. “Have you seen it?” He takes a quick swig of beer.
“No, I haven’t. Heard it’s good, though.” Ben might be imagining things, but her voice sounds a little strained.
“It’s the best. You’ll love it.” He puts the disc in the player and pushes play.
It turns out that Ben’s supposedly perfect plan for breaking the virginity ice, no pun intended, was a really bad one Leslie hardly laughs during the movie and while she holds his hand throughout, she doesn’t lean over to kiss him like she always does when they’re watching any kind of televised entertainment in the dark. Weirdest of all, Leslie hardly eats any pizza. Every time one of the main character’s friends makes fun of him for still being a virgin, Ben cringes. Why did he think this was an awesome way to bring up the subject of virginity again?
As the credits roll, Ben turns to Leslie. “Did you like it?”
She shrugs. “It was all right. It had its moments.”
“It’s one of my favorites,” Ben says. “I do wish Andy’s buddies had been a little more sympathetic about him being a virgin, though. I mean, there are a lot of reasons why someone could still be a virgin and there’s nothing wrong with it. It’s totally normal; everyone goes at their own speed and there’s no point at which it becomes ‘wrong’ to still be a virgin.”
Oh Christ, he’s babbling like an idiot.
“Sure,” Leslie says, her voice sounding strangely brittle.
Okay, he’s just going to go for it. There’s no good way to ask what he’s about to ask so he might as well just say it and be done with it.
It all comes out in a rush. “LeslieIdon’twanttooffendorembarrassyoub
She turns to him, her mouth open. That gorgeous mouth that he wants to kiss so badly, even though he knows it’s not a good time. “What?”
Ben tries to keep his voice as gentle and non-judgmental as possible. “Are you still a virgin?”
Leslie’s face goes pink immediately. “What? Why would you think that? What?”
He touches her shoulder. “I don’t know. Just a feeling I have. We’ve been together kind of a while and things...you know, sex things, haven’t really progressed.” Now his face is red.
Leslie doesn’t say anything, just stares straight ahead. It is very possibly the first time she has been silent in her entire life.
“I’m not trying to pressure you. I want us to take things at a pace we’re both comfortable with, but I get the sense that you’re maybe not that experienced and that’s why you’ve been putting the brakes on our physical relationship. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.” He really is parroting old Seinfeld episodes now. Fantastic.
She turns to him, grimacing. “Yeah, I’m a virgin,” she says softly. “It’s totally embarrassing.”
He pulls her to him and kisses the top of her head. “Why are you embarrassed?”
“Ben, I’m thirty-six. Trust me, it’s embarrassing.”
“You’re being stupid,” he says. “You don’t have to be embarrassed. Not with me.”
“I’m sorry I kept stalling things but I knew if we went any further we’d have to have this conversation. And everything with us has been so amazing and I didn't want to ruin it." She takes a deep breath. "It’s just…it’s just that when I was young I told myself I’d wait for the perfect guy and the perfect situation. But I never really found the perfect guy or the perfect situation and the next thing I knew I was in my mid-thirties, still a virgin. It’s weird, like having a third nipple or something.”
“The perfect situation? What would that be?” He’s almost afraid to find out what that would be, let alone her concept of the perfect guy.
She gets a dreamy look on her face. “Something like making love on the top of a mountain at the exact moment of sunset while a pair of mated bald eagles fly overhead. And a string quartet playing Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata.”
He feels his eyebrow raise. “A string quartet? You want a string quartet to watch you lose your virginity?” He pokes her in the ribs.
“They’d be behind a screen, Ben. Duh.” Leslie laughs a little. “I know, it’s really stupid. But I’ve always wanted my first time to be memorable. Perfect.”
If there’s one thing Ben Wyatt knows for sure, it’s that he’s not the kind of guy who’s going to be able to deliver a perfect first time for any woman, even if Leslie wanted him to be that guy. He’s not completely terrible in bed, but a blissfully romantic first time of sublime perfection? Not so much.
She takes his hand. “Ben, I’ve been thinking about this. I think you’re the perfect guy.”
His heart actually lurches. “Wow. Are you sure?” He’s honored and awed that Leslie wants him to be her first. And that she thinks he’s perfect. At least, perfect for her.
She nods. It might be the light but he thinks he can see tears in her eyes and quite a lot of mischief. “Yeah. Now you just have to come up with the perfect plan.”
Sure. No pressure. But this is Leslie, he’ll have to come up with something good. She’s worth it.
“You do realize that there are no mountains in Indiana, right? And I’m not having any form of sex with a string quartet nearby, screen or no screen,” Ben says.
“I trust you,” she says and kisses him.
They end up making out so hard that Ben wakes up the next morning looking like he got back-alley collagen injections in his lips. He spends the bulk of the day hiding from April and Andy in his bedroom with an icepack to his mouth.
END OF PART ONE.