Lessons Learned In A Short Life

by Lara Wilson

Sex is a tool. Rose has known this her whole life. You grow up in a whorehouse and you learn this lesson about the same time you learn to walk.

You also learn that it's not something for pleasure, at least not for the women she knows. It's a way to make money or earn a place to sleep and food for you belly. Or, most important, a way to get what you want, anything you want.

Because men are weak and led by their dicks.

That's the second lesson she learns at her mother's knee as she watches Lili control the men in her life through seductive smiles, gentle caresses, sweet smells and pretty lace and fluff.

Men are simple. They want what's between a woman's legs and, if they can get it in comfort and warmth to the sound of romantic music and accompanied with a glass of wine and some expensive chocolates, it makes them feel classy.

They'll take it with cheap beer and the backseat of a car, too.

Weak, simple, and easy.

When she grows up a little Rose meets other men--her father who's a shocking disappointment, her uncle who's a psychopath, Wintergreen who's old but oddly kind, and then there are the heroes.

She doesn't quite understand the heroes.

But the third lesson she learned was how to pretend and so she moves into Titans Tower and she takes care of Lian--and she really does care for the little girl, that's not faked--and she smiles and she listens and she observes.

There are no whores here, but there's sex, and Rose wonders about it--what sex means to a woman who's never needed to use her body to survive.

As she watches she learns that all people do that to survive to some degree.

She grows up cynical.

The first time Rose has sex she's living with a foster family in Canton, Ohio. She's not quite fifteen but she's been wanting to get rid of her virginity for nearly three years. It's a boy in her school. A stoner with jeans hanging on his slim hips and eyeliner hiding the circles beneath his eyes. He tastes like pot and his hands fumble a lot, but he gets the job done.

She doesn't expect to enjoy it, so she doesn't, and she wonders if a woman every really does enjoy it.

The fourth lesson Rose learned was that her mother fucked her father as payment for getting her out of Vietnam and that's how she came to be. Not that Lili would ever come right and say she'd repaid him that way and not that her father would ever admit it either.

The fifth lesson, the one she's still learning, is the games people play.

Games like trying to seduce Dick under her father's roof. Of trying to seduce Tim at the Tower.

Games that, someday, she'll win.

Not because she needs someone to take care of her or provide her a place to stay or as repayment or even to alleviate her boredom.

But, because she's a woman and she knows the power of what lays between her legs and she's determined to get what she wants without any of the strings that forever bound her mother and the women she knew growing up.

Rose will use sex as simply sex because she can.

Because she can take care of herself.


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