Monday, August 31, 2009

First Love

Dear Diary,
I am tired of feeling so alone. All I want is someone to love, who loves me in return. I will never understand those romance books my mom reads by the bag-load. All of those exotic, pretty, intelligent, perfect women being so damned stupid about welcoming love. If I am ever given the chance, I am going to grab it with both hands and heart and never, ever let him go.

Casting furtive glances left then right, she snapped her journal closed then hugged it tight to her chest. For a moment Bart felt jealous of the red, cloth-bound book. He loved watching the way she seemed to hide behind her dark brown bangs, withdrawing into her own world as she wrote.

Grinning, he watched as she slid the journal into her book bag then retrieved a book. That was something else he liked about Lauren, she didn’t read those stupid cock books like all the other girls she read real books, horror novels. His cousin told him the easiest way to spot a dyed-in-the-wool virgin was to watch what they read. If they got all flushed and starry-eyed over romances, don’t even bother, they were waiting for a happily-ever-after, i.e. engagement ring, before getting down and dirty.

Sliding a look at the study hall teacher, Bart had to stifle a laugh. This guy did not fool anyone. Every day Mr. Dan loaded his thermos with double malt whiskey and snoozed through the post-lunch study period. Mr. Dan was the nickname slapped on the droopy faced geometry teacher from time immemorial. His real name was, fantastically enough, Charles Daniels. No one dared to call him Charlie Daniels after the renowned country and western singer, it was the only time the old fart came alive. The last time a smart-ass freshman got cute and lipped off, the boy ended up with a week of detention, extra homework and when no one was looking (meaning everyone was stunned into silence) a smack upside the head. The title Mr. Dan, however disrespectful, fit, in fact the guy took to it so well that other teachers and school administrators even used it.

Today seemed to be an especially long day on old Mr. Dan, no more than ten minutes into the period and he was sleeping, no, snoring face-down on his paper strewn desk. Bart shook his head in amazement the guy not only still had a job but that he was half-way proficient at teaching the few classes he had. Everyone in the school eventually had Mr. Dan, even if it was only for study periods. A few years back Bart’s older sister Naomi had Mr. Dan for math, the dude got so trashed over lunch she ended up teaching the class. The whole school knew about it, up to the principal, but everyone looked the other way. It was a mystery to Bart, and to the hundreds of other students in the school, as to just why the old man was allowed to get away with so much.

Instead of wasting time on the snoring mass of frizzy brown hair and ugly brown tweed (the dude seriously looked like a half-shaved bear), Bart slung his book bag across the floor and slowly made his way behind it, heading towards Lauren. The first time he had done this, she almost fell out of her chair. He liked watching her face turn all pink and red. He liked watching her get nervous and shake. He enjoyed listening to her soft voice as it got all tongue-tied. She still jumped and turned pink when he did it, but now she peeked up at him through those thick bangs and smiled, that he liked even better.

No one understood why he spent his entire free period chatting up the class geek-girl, Bart least of all. In the ninth grade it had been easy to dump on her, with all that hair and braces and those clothes. Her hair had been waist long and done in two braids like a little kid. After tugging unmercifully on a fat braid, Bart wondered what her hair would look like freed, sliding over his arm. About a month into school, the braids were gone, replaced with bangs and a softer layered cut that was still nearly waist long. Any thoughts regarding her hair was short lived, all he had to do was look at her clothes.

The insult, “your mom wears combat boots” really applied to this girl. Literally. It did then and still did now. But, her mom did wear combat boots. A Marine Corps Drill Sergeant of all things. Obviously, her mom saw no problem with her one and only daughter dressing like a recruitment poster gone wrong. G.I. Joan was one nickname that stuck. “No one wants to call her G.I. Jane because that Demi Moore movie is way too cool for this chick,” at least that was what his best friend Mark sneered.

As he made his way over he considered her glowing face. What made things progressively worse for Lauren wasn’t that she stayed quiet or never fought back, but each year she got prettier and smarter. That first year, wow, what a wreck. Sophomore year the braces came off and mom must have relented on the year round diet of camouflage because she started wearing solid color shirts. This year mom must have really given in; she had pierced ears, jeans and even casual running shoes. Nothing designer label, but a huge improvement over the old men’s wear, Bart, as well as a number of other guys, had noticed those changes with the unerring nose of a hunting hound. Not that he gave up his steady string of girls, not at all; this was a bit of a challenge, a game, a toy.

At first he wanted to see if she’d give it up fast out of never getting any real attention. Instead of being slavishly easy, she had nearly stuttered herself off her chair and ran for the bathroom in a panic. It had taken nearly a week of saying ‘hi’ in the halls to get her to relax to the point where he could actually talk to her. Normally, that sort of non-rewarded effort pissed him off, this time it didn’t. Naomi, now a know-it-all college girl, just snickered and quoted annoying crap from literature books about him “only being attracted to the hunt and not the cunt.”

Naomi never put it so simply or so crudely, Mark did, for which his sister promptly slammed the book she had been reading down on his head. For a straight-A smart guy, Mark was a real moron whenever Naomi came around. Gave some credibility to the comments of her clique that the male IQ dropped by 20 points for each inch of an erection. He knew Mark. Too well. If he dropped that many points each time Naomi got him going he wouldn’t be fit to tie his shoes, but then given his mouth around her lately it was making more and more sense. And well worth making popcorn and charging for admission.

Bart slid into the chair next to Lauren and leaned over to ask her something stupid when he noticed that she smelled pretty damned good. Not that she normally stank, totally not the case. Normally she smelled clean, like soap and stuff with a hint of girl underneath. This was totally different. He put his arm behind her on the chair and leaned in, “Nice! Mom letting you go for perfume now too angel eyes?”

He loved teasing her that way. Her eyes were this dark brown, like melted chocolate with a little warm gold. Pretty, but also pretty common. Or so he thought before. He frowned, when did her eyes actually start making him think of stupid stuff like that? Oh well.

“One day Bart, I am going to think you are serious,” she smiled up at him through those thick bangs. He gave in and touched her hair, sliding a finger in the tresses that had fallen along her ear. Another drift of sultry scent reached his nose making him think harder about the soft curves on display in her tighter than usual shirt. Without thinking he slid closer. “I was going to ask you over to my house tonight, so you could see for yourself the fun of Mark and Naomi in action.” He frowned lightly as the fingers of his other hand lightly caressed the skin of her arm. Silky hair and satiny skin, his mind tumbled to other fields than watching his sister and best friend denying they were hotter than the sun for one another.

He was stunned out of his reverie when Lauren leaned back into his arm and pushed into his shoulder, almost cuddling. Bart felt his jeans grow tight and realized uncomfortably he didn’t want to share her tonight, not with anyone. “I don’t know Bart, your sister and Mark in the same room? I think I’d be the bigger target.” Her soft laughter vibrated against the side of his chest and all he could think about was how close her mouth was, how soft her lips looked. Instead of acting on impulse, he cleared his throat, “I wouldn’t let them.” The words came out thicker than he’d liked but he was more surprised that he meant them. Lauren’s eyes widened then narrowed. “Bart. Are you okay?”

All the months he had put into getting this close were so he could dupe her into doing his homework, which she did in this sickeningly happy way. She was content to talk about her horror books and scary movies as some sort of weird payment.

“How about instead of going to my place tonight, you see if you can go with me to the movies. Death Watch is set to open tonight.” The idea of sitting alone in the dark with her had him shifting in his seat. She blinked at him. Then she started stuttering again. He more than liked that, he craved it, wanted to taste it as she managed to say, “A-a-a-are y-y-y-you a-a-a-asking m-m-me out on-a on-a date?” He figured ‘what the fuck?’ and whispered “yes” against her lips as he planted a soft kiss on her open mouth.

Follow the Trail

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