Danielle Evans's short story "Virgins" was first published in the Paris Review in 2007. The following year, the story was honored by being chosen for the collection Best American Short Stories.
Erica, the protagonist of this story, is a virgin. It is late summer and Erica's best friend, Jasmine, is angry. She lost her virginity to a young boy who recently dumped her for another girl. She wants to get back at him by finding a new boyfriend. In her search, Jasmine tries to take Erica with her.
One night, the two girls, who are still in high school, apply heavy makeup and carry fake I.D.s into the city. They create stories about being college girls. On the dance floor, they dance suggestively and accept drinks from much older men. Later that evening, Jasmine is invited by four men to take a ride to their apartment. She pulls Erica along with her. Erica panics and escapes from the elevator in the apartment building and runs away. She feels guilty for abandoning Jasmine, but Jasmine was drunk and not making sense, so Erica feels justified.
Erica's only hope lies with Michael. Michael is like a brother to her, a boy her own age around whom she feels safe. He is the only boy who does not hit on her. She calls him. Michael had come to the city with Jasmine and Erica that night but was stopped from entering the club because he looked too young. Michael asks his brother Ron to drive into the city to save Erica. When Michael asks about Jasmine, Erica suggests that Jasmine is all right, though she does not really know. Readers do not learn about what happens to Jasmine. They do learn, however, what happens to Erica.
Erica ends up spending the night at Michael's home on the living room couch. In the middle of the night, Michael's older brother, Ron, coaxes Erica into his bed, where he has sex with her. Erica consents, but later she feels badly. She wanders into Michael's bed. It is not until that moment that she realizes that it is Michael that she wants. She encourages him when he kisses her. But when Michael begins to explore further, he realizes that she has been with his brother and turns his back on her. Readers are left to ponder why Erica took all the wrong directions to get what she wanted.