Some people swore that the house was haunted. They attributed the flickering lights and ghostly shadows to some disembodied entity. Truth be told, the only entity roaming the halls of Wakefield Manor is me.
Now why, you ask, would a handsome young collegian such as myself devote his nights to keeping this particular piece of folklore alive? My answer is this–sexual conquest.
But please, let me explain.
My sexual prowess is legendary, not because I am willing to bed any accommodating female, but because of my commitment to the long abandoned art of seduction. I indulge in romantic illusion; a “haunted” house becomes a gothic castle, and I, for one glorious night, become my intended’s very own Heathcliff. I elevate the act of wooing and bedding to carnal exaltation, and I consider my technique to be well worth the effort. Though not all on campus would agree.
My fraternity brothers would have you believe a dorm room kegger is the easiest way to separate a sorority cheerleader from her pom poms. I find this approach lazy, and if I may be frank, rather sloppy. I have always preferred my heart (or loins) desire coherent, and when at all possible, vomit free.
Then there are my oft-misguided brothers who subscribe to the theory of proximity. They unabashedly join drama clubs or dance teams in an effort to appear “female-friendly”. This method seldom works as expected, and generally lands them in a romantic Siberia known as the “friend zone” or, heaven forbid, as a “gay confidant”.
Nothing short of public coitis counters that specific reputation.
No, my preferred method of seduction requires strategy, finesse, and pain staking attention to detail. I combine these elements to create a cleverly orchestrated fantasy; a fantasy that until one fateful night, never failed to deliver.
It was on this same ill-fated night that I drove the new girl to the abandoned manor. And I, as planned, left her to wait in my car while I went inside to set the stage. I spread a blanket on the floor and placed candles around the room. I smiled as I lit them, the smug bastard that I am, confident their life would end before my encounter did. All I needed to do was sit back and wait for the sound of my name called out for rescue from the darkness.
Or so I thought.
This girl, unlike the others, was not content to wait for me to rescue her. This girl marched, unaccompanied, into my half-lit lair of seduction. I tried to read her expression as she looked around the room, but couldn’t decide if she were insulted by my efforts or amused by them. Then she spoke.
“You can’t be serious.”
I panicked and dove deep into my repertoire. “Darling” I started, “let me explain. I–”.
She raised her finger to my lips. “Don‘t.” She smiled at me, but only slightly.
I felt oddly exposed. I had no idea how to handle a woman I couldn’t bewitch. All I could do was watch her walk around the room, blowing out my candles–all but one.
“I think it best you see me home now.” Then she looked into my eyes and saw me– I mean, really saw me. And it was at that very moment, ladies and gentlemen, that I knew.
I had been conquered.
“Give me your arm,” she commanded. And I, completely against my nature, obliged. She held the last candle high against the darkness and led me out the manor door. Nothing was ever the same again after that.