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RECAP: Jennifer Baylin, a college student at Boston University, is funding her older brother’s detox and rehab program by finding a sugar daddy named Mel Klienman. With his first installment of $5000 per month, Jen must now respond to the contract: giving Mel a “girlfriend experience.” Still, Jen manages to talk Mel out of sex on their first date, and then visits her brother in rehab. Dixon is going through a heavy withdrawal, and it’s obvious he must complete the program. Without Jen’s money, Dix can’t do it.
Meanwhile, Jen’s boyfriend, Trent, is growing annoyed at Jen’s current unavailability, and when they spontaneously meet on campus, Jen makes a date with Trent for Friday, but then remembers she committed that night to Mel. Jen tries to postpone. But Mel won’t let her, and now she has to break another date with Trent, a young man she loves.
Jen’s next date with Mel is less lavish than the one before, and it ends up in a hotel room. Mel wanted Jen’s company for the entire night. She talked him into a few hours, and even then, the time and sex was a bore…for Jen.
The next call she makes, is to Trent, to set up a get together at TGIF’s.
THANK GOD IT’S FRIDAY on a Wednesday night [Part 7 of 14]
One thing about TGIF’s, it’s consistently a six on a scale from one-to-ten. But there’s something about cheap certainty that keeps people coming back. That’s why Trent and I use this place as our Wednesday night meet-ups. Their couponed basics are under ten and it makes us feel special when we can’t afford more. But tonight I don’t feel special, because Trent’s ignoring me on the other side of the table. Pure passive-aggressive. So I’ve waited until the end of his Kansas City BBQ burger and my Caribbean Passion Salad to break the ice. If I had a cigarette, I’d be burning it to the filter. Since I’m not, I try melting the freeze with, “So what’s the big thing you were gonna tell me?”
“It’s not so big anymore.”
That’s code for, ‘Ask me again.’
“C’mon. What is it?”
Damn! He wants me on my knees. Okay. I’ll beg. “Trent, I’m sorry. I know you’re mad but I’m not trying to avoid you. I’ve just been so busy with Dix.”
“You’re not taking my calls.”
“I always call you back.”
“But you’re not taking my calls.”
“Yes I do. But sometimes, I leave my phone home, or the battery goes dead, or I’m in class.”
“No. That’s not it.”
“Of course it’s it.”
“I called you Tuesday night. Where were you?”
Shit! That was my Mel night. “I was with Dix. I told you.”
“So if you were with Dix, why didn’t you answer your phone?”
“I don’t know. I can’t remember. I guess I didn’t have it with me.”
“That’s what I figured. That your phone was off. So I went to your place looking for you.”
Oh no. Where’s he going?
“And you weren’t home.”
“So?” My hands start to shake. I drop them under the table.
“So I asked one of your roommates where you were. The Asian girl…Melissa.”
“Melissa and I hardly talk.”
“And she said you were out on a date.”
“Well, she was wrong. I was at my brother’s.”
“So I hung out in front of your place and waited.”
Fuck! I’m dead. I’m fucking dead!
“Since when does your brother drive a CTS Sports Coupe?”
“You watched me?”
“Yeah… You and that middle aged pop. And your kiss goodnight.”
All blood just drained to my feet.
“Don’t tell me. He’s your Uncle Joe.”
I want to throw up. I can’t bare to look Trent in the eyes. So I don’t. I look at the table and wait for my words to come. It takes a while. Finally…
“I didn’t want to hurt you, Trent.”
“What kind of excuse is that?”
“Let me explain.”
“Yes. I’d like to hear that.”
“You know that inheritance I talked about, for Dix’s rehab?”
“Yeah. What about it?”
There was no inheritance. And Dix needed eight thousand dollars for detox and there was no place to get that kind of money. So I heard about this website, FindingSugar.com, and I–”
“You can’t be serious.”
“In two months I’ll have the money and Dix will be clean and everything will be back the way it was.”
“You’re charging a thousand a week?” How many blow jobs would that be?”
“It’s not like that.”
“Of course it’s like that! You’re screwing old men for money.”
“It not just sex.”
“Oh, that makes it okay?”
What does he want from me?! I slam the table. Heads turn around us. “Then tell me where else to get the money! I’ll do it! You wanna co-sign for another one of my fucking loans? You want to talk my dad into forgiving Dix? Do it! Give me a way out and I’ll take it!”
“And this is all for Dix?”
“Of course it’s for Dix! Don’t insult me like that again, Trent!”
“Insult you? You’re turning tricks for a guy who will say anything for a fix! And you fall for it every time!”
“You’re talking about my brother, Trent!”
“Exactly! Which is why he spins you in circles.”
“Now it’s different.”
“You bet it is. Look what you’re doing!”
“For eight thousand dollars of therapy! AND A FUCKING ARMY OF DOCTORS!”
Oh… I shouted that. And now everyone’s staring at me. And my boyfriend’s turning away. I grab his arm.
“He’ll make it this time, Trent!” My voice echoed again. Fuck! I don’t care. “He will!” I slam the table. “He will…”
And now…silence. I see people in other booths continue their looks. And now that it’s quiet again, and my scene’s over, they return to their own private worlds and I come back to mine.
My anger’s starting to cool. So is Trent’s, as his eyes stay fixed on my shaking red hand clutching his wrist.
“Okay,” Trent mutters, “if you say he will, he will.”
“Please. Just understand.” I release him.
His eyes raise to mine. “Intellectually, I can. Emotionally, I…” He shakes his head. “Okay. I’m a chauvinist. But this thing about you and old men…”
“ONE man. Who I don’t care about.”
“Whatever. I can’t get comfortable with that.”
“Will you try?”
He sighs. “Jen, we’ve been keeping it light, ‘cause who knows where we’re going. But I’m crazy about you. You know that.”
“It’s goes both ways.”
“And I was thinking about our graduation, about keeping us together.”
“Was that the big news for last Friday?”
“Yeah. That was it.”
“But not anymore?”
“I don’t know.”
Another iced chill creeps down my neck. I grab his hand again. We squeeze tight, our fingers conveying connection. And hurt. But I’m thinking, it won’t be forever. I’ll get past this. And I say it. “In five weeks it’ll be over.”
His head drops again. What’s going on in his mind is way more than I’m doing with Max. Still, I can’t explain it any more. And I know he’s scorched.
“How can you do it, Jen?”
“I turn off.”
“Is he treating you okay?”
“Yes. He’s a nice man.”
Trent lets out another frustrated sigh. And I ask him the ‘askable.’ “Will you at least try to support me? This is not a choice.”
“Jen… I gotta wrap my head around this. I don’t know.”
Before this whole thing started with my needing serious money, I never faked an orgasm. I’m now getting good at it, timing my yelps and twitches to Mel’s little spurt. Then, after his wienie shrinks back to an acorn and the condom falls off, Mel picks the subjects to talk about in bed. Tonight we’re more personal. Or rather, Mel is, as he directs questions to me about my past.
I tell him my mom was an alcoholic, which is true, and that my dad traveled a lot as Maritime law attorney, also true. And I tell him I have no siblings, which is safe. No way do I want Dixon’s shit brought up for any reason. And then Mel digs deeper.
“What about children?” he asks me. “Do you think you’d like to have them someday?”
“I don’t think about it.” Again, the truth. “But why would you want to know?”
“No reason in particular. To know you better, if you need a reason.” He rolls to his side, now facing me under the covers.
I remain on my back, looking up. “Honestly, I don’t think I’d make a good mom. I’m not very disciplined. I just get by with a lot of things.”
“Are you religious?”
“No. My parents raised us to believe what we wanted to.”
“Us? You said you were the only child.”
“I said, us?”
“You said us.” Fuck! I’ve gotta spin this!
“Well, the secrets out, Mel. I’m mental.” Think fast, Jen. “I always wanted a sister, and pretended I had one when mom went wild after her tequila dinners. Or daddy was away. I named her Jennifer. She was my favorite doll, and when Mom and Dad died in the crash, Jen became my calm sister. In my mind, she knew things would work out, and she told me so. And I think, to some degree, the spirit of Mom and Dad live within her. She has become real to me. So I talk about her in that way.”
“You’re an incredible young lady, Starlyn. And so strong.” His eyes are wide now.
“No I’m not. I’m just weird.”
“I think you’re mistaking that for twenty-one.”
He props his head up under his raised arm, holding his gaze. And I’m thinking, we better be going. He touches my arm endearingly. Not good.
“What do you think of Jewish men?”
Ohhh…kay. I now know where this is going. “I don’t have any particular opinion one way or the other.”
“Could you see yourself being married to one?”
“Mel, are you talking about you?”
“Me? No. My bride would have to be Jewish.”
Now I’m interested. “Why would that make a difference?”
“Because I’ve always had a Jewish home. Celebrated the Jewish holidays. Laughed to Jewish humor. I would want my wife to be part of that.”
I nod. His answer was predictable. “Mel, I have to get home. I’ve got an eight o’clock class in the morning.”
We’ve all had experiences where our dates or boyfriends or wives wanted US more than we wanted THEM. We’ve all had to be kind to our partners in situations like that. And there are times when we wanted to break up, but didn’t for any number of reasons. In marriage, one of those reasons might be money, or not enough of it, or keeping the family together for the sake of the children.
So thinking about it in that way, how much different is Jen and Mel’s situation from ones in our past? Is someone’s heart going to get broken?
And if you were Trent, would YOU stay engaged to Jen?
Part 8 publication date: 01/13/12