Being More Social – Chapters 16-20
It’s here! The final installment of the story. Thank you all for being so very amazing and giving me your time and votes, it means the world. I hope you all enjoy the final five chapters in this story. **No age is mentioned in this story, and for all we know all of the characters in this story are fully of age.**
When I got to the student council meeting, it was as if the negativity that was coursing throughout my body was some kind of atmospheric event that plagued the entire school. Even in my state of shakiness and numbness over what I had done, I couldn’t avoid noticing that the mood of the entire council had gone down. Nevertheless, instead of asking around before the council began, all I could do was find a seat and slump into it.
“You okay?” the concerned voice of Megan asked. I looked over to her, not realizing she was sitting next to the vacant seat. I frankly wanting to avoid talking to people, and clearly, choosing the location I went with was a big mistake.
“Yeah, just, last period was brutal.” I waved her off. “So who died today?”
Megan motioned to Mr. Scott, sitting at the back. “I don’t know what’s happening but it’s something big.” she said fearfully.
Yeah, real helpful, Megan. You really answered any and all questions I could have asked. I rolled my eyes and looked to the front to see a noticeably flustered Phil, pacing back and forth and occasionally making sure some papers were stacked correctly or something. Seeing him made me think of May, which gave me a pang of guilt as I pictured her distraught, betrayed expression, gingerly rubbing her face.
I looked away to Nicole, who was examining some pictures on her camera. I tried waving to her so I could capture her attention. She didn’t look back, but instead took her phone out of her pocket with her free hand and waved it back at me.
I followed suit and pulled my phone out, showing I got a new message from Nicole. Scott doesn’t want an alleged rapist heading the council. Go figure.
The sent time was the exact minute I viewed the message. Did Nicole send it seconds before I looked at her? She kept on impressing me with what I just accepted at this point were her supernatural powers. I looked back at Phil, who was fidgeting with his hands. So what, was Mr. Scott showing up to boot Phil? Seemed kind of… stupid.
I allowed my mind to wander, which led me to think of May yet again, which made me compulsively slam my hands down on the desk in front of me in a kneejerk reaction and take a deep breath. I wasn’t okay. Internally, I was shaking. I had struck another student. That went against everything I stood for. I felt truly and wholly disgusted with myself, ashamed that I would cause another person pain like that.
I was taken out of my headspace by Mr. Scott clearing his throat and standing up, slowly making his way to the front of the room besides Phil. He stood there for a few seconds, mumbling something to Phil, then looked towards the rest of the council.
“Good afternoon, students.” he began.
“This is Mr. Scott speaking.” I could barely hear Nicole mumble in her best Mr. Scott impersonation, which wasn’t half bad. If I wasn’t feeling empty inside I’m sure I would have given a chuckle.
“Now, as many of you know, this council has had its fair share of of disagreements and difficulties in the last few days.” he continued, unaware of Nicole’s interruption. “And as is customary in these sorts of situations, we like to leave it up to the people to decide these sorts of things once administration has done what it can. Now does anyone here not know about the situation involving this council’s president?”
No one said a thing. Not a damn thing. The silence hung uncomfortably in the air. I bet it hurt Phil to know that Scott wasn’t even mentioning his name.
“Okay.” he nodded after a while. “So in the past, the council has voted on whether they want to keep or dismiss the acting presi-”
“How can we be expected to have an honest vote if you won’t even release the findings of the police investigation?” Jeff piped up, practically jumping out of his seat. “If Phil is still here, that means he’s innocent. It sure would be cool if you guys would at least fucking say it!”
“Jeff, your dedication to transparency is appreciated, it really is.” Mr. Scott told him sympathetically. “However, police investigations like this one can’t be fully disclosed to the public. It’s just how it works. If there was another way, we’d be taking that option, but since there isn’t, a vote like this is the best thing we’ve got.”
“So are we voting on whether or not Phil did it? I’m confused.” Megan quietly asked.
“Thank you for asking, Megan.” Mr. Scott thanked her. He was the biggest politician out of all of us. “Given the events that have transpired, you all will be voting today on whether you want Phil to continue acting as your Student Council’s president.”
“Even though there’s less than a month left in the school year, and changing the chain of command would make things worse for everyone at this point.” Nicole dryly added, never taking her eyes off of her camera.
“Nicole, that’s enough out of you.” Mr. Scott said shortly. Clearly he’s had to deal with Nicole before.
“Why? Because I’m right?”
“Another comment from you and I’m going to ask you to leave.” he insisted, his patience thinning. I looked back at Nicole, who just shrugged in indifference. “Whether or not it’ll make things easier isn’t the question. You all have the right to voice your opinions on this.”
At this, Nicole raised her hand. Mr. Scott sighed exasperatedly. “Nicole, ple-”
“Isn’t there supposed to be another teacher here for these kinds of things?” She piped up anyway. “If we leave it up to you, and knowing you this’ll be a blind vote, how can we trust that you’re telling the truth? Not saying you won’t.”
All eyes turned to Scott, but he didn’t break a sweat. “Phil will be here. He’ll be able to see the results as clearly as myself.”
“So you mean Phil will get to see which of his friends are backstabbers firsthand?” Nicole replied coolly, never making eye contact. She was really trying to push her agenda here, especially considering I initially took her as the type to believe that Phil did it.
“Nicole, please exit the room.” Mr. Scott replied with as much chill to his voice. “You’re not welcome in this vote.”
“Systematically getting rid of pro-Phil votes, huh? I’m sure this was the kind of democracy the Founding Fathers died for.” Nicole muttered dryly as she packed up her stuff and left. Scott waited until she was out of the room, then continued.
“Does anyone else take issue with the way this is set up?” Scott asked, clearly hoping for no answers.
“I do like the idea of Phil not seeing the individual votes.” Eli commented. “I think we all trust you to be honest, Mr. Scott, but perhaps it would be best if Phil didn’t witness this.”
Mr. Scott nodded. “Does anyone have any objections?” No one answered, so Scott turned to the man himself. “Phil?”
“Yeah, it’s cool.” he answered flatly and tiredly. “I’ll go outside.”
“And…” Scott began, stopping Phil in his tracks. “…If Nicole is out there, no arguing, keep it civil, okay?”
“Yeah, yeah. I got you.” Phil nodded as he left, closing the door behind him.
“Alright.” Mr. Scott sighed. “As Nicole mentioned, this will be a blind vote. In a minute I’ll be asking everyone to lower their heads onto their desks so no one will be biased by their neighbor’s vote. I’ll be asking those who want Phil to stay as acting president to raise their hands, then the same thing for those who want him to leave. Do we all understand?”
There was a murmuring of ‘yes’ from the council, and Scott nodded. “Alright, could I ask everyone to lower their heads onto their desks?”
I did what I was told, and could see nothing but black. For the first time it occurred to me that this was a bit of a huge deal. This would impact the future of the council, how people saw Phil, maybe even his future. Supposing he did what he did, which I frankly didn’t even believe, did he even deserve this?
Rape is horrible. Being raped is horrible. If he did it, of course he deserved this. He deserved worse. Jail was too good for him. If he did it.
But did he? Maybe I was biased given what May did to me. How she couldn’t take no for an answer. But… was she learning from him? Hell, did I have any place to talk, considering how I struck her?
Fuck. I didn’t know. I was taken out of my thoughts by Scott’s booming voice requesting, “Those who want Phil to stay as acting president, please raise your hands now.”
My hand shot up. I heard the rustling of clothes as other hands presumably shot up too. A few seconds passed and then Scott declared, “Okay, you can put your hands down. Those who want Phil to no longer serve as your president, please raise your hands now.”
I heard more rustling. I almost wanted to ask other people not to do it, to plead Phil’s case or something. I wasn’t too keen on being thrown out just like Nicole, however, so I kept my mouth shut.
After a while, Mr. Scott cleared his throat. “Okay, you can put your hands down.” he repeated. All of us lifted our heads, eager to hear the news. All eyes turned to Scott as he cleared his throat again.
“By a very slim margin, the majority of you have voted for Phil to leave his position.” Scott informed us, accompanied by sighs and quiet grumbles from the more vocal council members. “Effective as of next meeting, Jeff Swanson will be your acting president, taking on both his and Phil’s duties for the next month.
“This is bullshit.” I heard Matt grumble.
“Straight out the ass.” Jeff agreed more loudly.
“Could someone please go get Phil and Nicole to tell them to come back inside?” Scott asked, clearly ignoring the remarks from the peanut gallery. “Whoever’s closest to the door will do.”
All eyes looked around the room until they came to rest at me. Of fucking course… Mustering strength, I got up from my seat and trudged over to the door, opening it slowly. A giant knot formed in my stomach as I realized for the first time that I was going to have to tell Phil. I needed to look this guy in the eyes and tell him that everything he worked for in high school, whether he deserved it or not, was gone.
As I closed the door behind me, I found I didn’t have to after all. After seeing Phil wasn’t to my right, I found him to my left, quietly sobbing into Nicole’s shoulder as she hugged him. I had heard him on the breaking point before, but never fully crying. The sound of his crying was absolutely haunting, and I was stuck between being grateful for Nicole’s involvement and curious as to how their interaction went out here. Her head appeared from behind his shoulder. “It’s okay.” she told me darkly. “He knows.”
“Shoulders down.” Sensei Sparrow barked at me. “You’re too tense. It won’t do you much good in a fight if your shoulders are up like this.” She hunched her shoulders up in an attempt to make a caricature of me. “Got it?”
“Ous.” I responded. Ous. What kind of word was that? Probably a Japanese one, I guess, but it still sounded stupid. I pushed the thoughts to the back of my head as I continued punching, one after another.
Sensei Sparrow nodded. “Good job. You’re really coming along.” she remarked. “Work on your footwork next, it’s kind of messy down there, okay?” Without waiting for a response, she walked away, looking after other students. Like many lessons, we were expected to look after ourselves tonight. After all, a disciplined martial artist doesn’t need an authority watching over them to be diligently working… or something like that.
However, I was still a white belt, so I had the lack of discipline to be able to say, ‘fuck it.’ I lazily glanced around the room, distracted by anything other than what I was supposed to be doing. Some students were practicing katas, Sensei Sparrow was chastising another Sensei for something involving ‘body dynamics,’ and two brown belts were sparring in the corner of the dojo.
Nicole and Paul, to be precise. And they were really into it. Nicole appeared to be giving him everything she could muster, but despite punches and kicks coming from everywhere, Paul didn’t back up. Paul blocked everything she landed, then supplemented a block of his with a punch that didn’t hit hard, but clearly got her square in the stomach.
“Point,” Sensei… um, I think it was Sensei MacArthur who was watching them. I was never good with names.
Nicole had a visible scowl on her face. “This is such horseshit.” she complained, just loud enough that I could hear it.
“Did I hurt you?” Paul asked her with a concerned voice that was tainted with a hint of smugness.
“No.” she growled back. “I don’t get how this keeps happening.”
“I’ve practiced sparring ever since I first came here.” Paul pointed out. “You could do katas in circles around me, but I just have more experience in sparring. Is it really so bad that someone is better than you at something?”
“Shut up, you’re not.” Nicole hissed back at him.
“Guys, focus.” MacArthur had a surprisingly warm voice. This wasn’t like Salvador where it seemed threatening. It just sounded like the tower of a man wouldn’t hurt a fly. The duo said nothing more and got back to their corners of the imaginary ring, readying their hands. MacArthur made a motion between the duo like he was chopping wood with his hand, and the two were back at it again. Nicole flew a flurry of punches in Paul’s direction, hoping to intimidate him right at the beginning again. It didn’t work, as Paul dodged to the side and retaliated with a roundhouse kick which hit the mark.
“Point,” MacArthur shouted again. Nicole made an audible groan. “Two points, Paul. Winner, Paul. Shake hands.”
Paul was clearly trying to stifle his grin and Nicole was trying to do the same with whatever murderous expression I’m sure she had in her mind as the two shook hands. Her eyes said enough – even from across the room, it sent a shiver down my spine.
Sensei Sparrow coughed loudly, taking my eyes away from the two. I have no clue how long she was standing in front of me. “Come on, Adam.” she coaxed. “Stay focused.”
Yeah, I’m sure not focusing on punches was a greater sin than a clear lack of sportsmanship, but Nicole seemed to get away with everything, so maybe it was high time I stopped comparing myself to her.
The rest of class went pretty uneventfully. After it ended and we bowed out of the dojo, Nicole and I changed in the washrooms and made our way to her car, almost wordlessly.
“You know what would be funny?” she asked.
“If you and I fucked in one of the washrooms.” she replied with a sly grin. “Like, in the dojo area. Wouldn’t that be a scandal and a half?”
I stared at her for a few seconds. “Aren’t…” I began slowly. “aren’t we not having sex right now?”
“Well, yeah.” she shrugged. “I’m just talking hypothetically.”
“Well I think you’re trying to enjoy the power you have over me a little too much.” I replied.
“Aw, is widdle Adam bitter because he’s not getting sex anymore?” Nicole fake pouted, winking at me afterwards.
“Well, not really.” I replied, bracing myself for the truth that was about to spill out. “I’m still doing stuff with Megan.”
Nicole was about to shift to drive, and stopped, leaning back. “Stuff?” she asked exasperatedly. “Like, what stuff?”
“Sex stuff.” I replied bluntly, then looked over to see Nicole facepalming. “Oh come on, Nicole, you can’t e-”
“Sure I can.” she fired back.
“You don’t even know how that sentence was going to end.” I complained.
“‘Oh come on, Nicole, you can’t expect me to just stop like that.’” she imitated me. “Spot on, right?”
“No.” I lied.
“And yes I can. That’s why I stopped with you. I wanted to show you how sex makes everything you see different. It kind of fucking ruins the point when you go and do it behind my back anyway, doesn’t it?”
“I didn’t realize you were my mom. Or my girlfriend.” I shot back at her.
“Well, keep living in that world, because I’ll never be either.” She told me. “You’ll never know how to be responsible with sex until you know how to operate with and without it.”
“And how long have you operated without it?” I challenged her.
She shifted gears and began to drive. “Well, my record is over fourteen years.” she told me flatly, and flashed me a grin. “Beat that.”
I chuckled. “Yeah, I think mine’s around there too.” Silence filled the air around us. “So what if I have sex, though?” I brought it back up. “Can’t I just be taught to make the most of my perspective or whatever while having it?”
“You still talk like a freshman. It’s not a good idea for you to be doing adult activities.” Nicole told me.
“Well, that’s condescending.” I grumbled.
“It’s also true. You think I wanted to stop doing it with you?”
“Then let’s just go back to the way it was before!” I protested.
“Oh squirt. You’re too cute.” Nicole chuckled. “But that way you won’t learn anything.”
“I’m not learning anything now.”
“And you have your own libido and Megan to thank for that.” She stretched her shoulders. “Just saying. Plus it’s a bad attitude to say you’re not learning. You’re constantly learning.”
“I’m learning that you can be a jerk when you wanna be.” I remarked.
“Don’t be like that.” Nicole replied, a small smile forming on her face. “You learned that a long time ago.” She and I shared a small laugh. “And there’s nothing you can do about it.”
“Just like how you can’t do anything about me and Megan.” I pointed out.
“Megan and I.” she corrected me before she even processed the sentence.
“Plus, I could always just take sparring lessons from Paul.” I grinned.
Nicole had a don’t-even-go-there smile on her face. “You fucking bastard.” she whispered to herself. “I mean, he’s a jerk anyway.”
“Well, you were the one lacking sportsmanship.” I replied.
“Was not.” she protested. “I have great sportsmanship. Just not with him.”
“You really hate the guy, don’t you?” I asked her. “This seems like more than a ‘he seems condescending’ thing. Did he like, do something to you?”
“No.” she flatly replied. “He’s just a jerk. You’ll see.”
I sure hoped I would, because as of now I definitely didn’t. “Whatever you say.” I mumbled.
“It’s been a long day, hasn’t it?” she brought up out of nowhere, as if we hadn’t just been arguing. “McDick’s?”
I chuckled. “Sure.” The more things changed, the more they stayed the same.
“Oh, and if you can resist it, I want you to stop.” she added.
“Not necessarily the ‘with Megan’ part. Just the sex. As hard as it fucking may be, just for a few days, just cut it out, okay?”
“I’ll try.” I uneasily said.
Megan screamed as I first entered her, allowing her a few seconds graciously before thrusting back inside her again and again.
“Mmm…” she purred, looking back at me as I claimed her. “Master’s a little on edge today, isn’t he?”
“Did I say you could speak?” I growled, slapping her ass hard before continuing to grip it. Megan grunted her approval, but understood her role and shut up. No sounds were left coming from her mouth except for the occasional muffled yelp of me pushing in further or picking up speed from my usual pace, which complimented the sounds of our hips slapping together quite nicely.
Eventually, I stopped, earning a moan of disappointment from Mean. Still knowing she couldn’t speak, she whipped around and batted her big brown doe eyes, asking me wordlessly why I stopped.
“I have an idea.” I replied huskily with a wolfish grin. “Bear with me.” As a promise of good things to come, I flicked her nipple, earning a surprised yip from her.
Maybe porn had warped me, but there was something I always wanted to try, and now that Nicole was ordering me around with what I could and couldn’t do, it just made me more adventurous. I don’t think Megan was exactly complaining when I grabbed her arm and dragged her to the custodian’s closet halfway through lunch, though judging by how her expression changed from slightly frightened to sparkly-eyed in anticipation, I didn’t need to her to voice her opinions to know what she wanted. Within minutes we were fucking, and thanks to the gym and karate, I think I finally had the physique to pull the following off.
I got down on my knees and coaxed one of Megan’s legs into my hand. During foreplay, I always loved to feel up her legs. It had been about three days since Nicole’s talk with me, and Day One of My Revenge Time (title in progress) was spent giving Megan foreplay until her eyes had rolled back into her skull, then leaving her with a chipper ‘goodbye.’ Needless to say, I got to spend a lot of quality time kissing up her legs, feeling them, doing whatever I wanted with them. I loved how smooth they felt, how much power I had… Being with Megan was an experience every time.
This time though, I pulled her one leg over my shoulder, then coaxed her other leg over my other one. My current positioning was awkward, but I was determined to make this work. Finally, at some point Megan caught on. “Oh Adam…” she breathed. “Are you sure? Are you sure you’re able to do this?”
“One more word from you and when we’re done, you’re going to leave here without me allowing you to clean up.” I growled sn response. I ‘allowed’ Megan to go to the washroom the last two times, even though the first time was only spent teasing her, and the fear of not getting that luxury shut her up.
Now both of her feet were awkwardly shuffled around my shoulders. “Now pull your legs in,” Instructed her as I gripped her ass with my hands, slowly standing up and preparing myself to support her weight.
It took an annoyingly long time and a few ‘okay, wait’s, but eventually, Megan had her legs locked around my shoulders at a height where I could easily enter her. Finally, I thought to myself as I chuckled out loud. “Ready, pet?” I asked her breathily.
“Destroy me,” she replied, just as breathily. “Nail me, make me your own.”
How could I turn an offer like that down? I I took my hand off of her hip to line us up and paused for effort, looking into her eyes and grinning. She met my grin with one of her own, albeit an innocent, sweet grin that almost made me feel guilty for what I was about to do.
With one motion, I pushed myself into her and just like that, I was fucking Megan right against the wall. No floor for her to stand on, no other lifelines, nothing between us and what we were doing. This way felt so much more intimate, more daring. I actually really liked it.
The mushy stuff never made me go any slower though. Never taking my eyes off of her expression, which seemed to be somewhere in between pained and blissful, I kept up my efforts, filling her in the way that she desired and craved.
Normally Megan was able to obey my demands for silence with ease, but I had to guess that fucking this way meant more of me went into her, because even after I ordered it, there was no stopping her surprised ‘oh’s and cute little moans, all of which just made me more excited to be nailing her right into the wall.
“This is… so… good…” Megan panted in between thrusts. “Adam… Oh, Adam…” This was interesting. I hadn’t seen Megan be such a chatterbox in a long time. “Adam… Oh my god, Adam…”
“You like that, pet?” I practically wheezed. “You like fucking like this?”
“Can we… do this… all the time?” Megan asked in answer, which almost made me laugh. I couldn’t afford to, though, considering I didn’t know if she would drop if I stopped supporting her hips. “Just all day… you and me…”
I grinned and continued my nonstop assault on her, making her spasm and squirm all over the place. If I had known that Megan would love this half as much as she did, I would have done this a long time ago. It almost brought us back to the first time we did it, minus all the drama afterwards.
“Kiss me…” she begged. “Please?” She was bouncing all over the place, allowing her body to ragdoll as I continued pumping in and out of her. Chuckling inwardly, I leaned forward and without making things too awkward, planted a full kiss on her lips. I found out very quickly that we could make out with me still being inside her after instinct took over and during the kiss my tongue played around her lips and occasionally darted in and out of her mouth. I kept up my rhythm as we passionately kissed and was tempted o move my hands up to her neck as we shared our slow moment.
I didn’t want to pull away, but since cramps started to become a prominent issue as we stayed in that position, I did and we went from a sweet, tender moment to animalistic sex all over again. Megan went back to her moan-panting and I went back to attempting to make my speed rival my depth as I entered her again and again. Every thrust made her squirm more, every push made her feel warmer and wetter, every meeting of our hips increased the euphoria between us two.
Either Megan was in a mood or she definitely liked this position, because her skin felt noticeably hot to the touch. The combination of hotness and smoothness was addicting and soon my one hand was moving around her body in a desperate attempt to grab, feel, and have her all to myself as I continued my efforts, albeit a bit slower. No matter how much I attempted to be as rough and carnal as I wanted with her, Megan had this inherent cuteness to her that made not stopping and admiring how adorable she was a chore.
Even in the midst of our act, I had to shake my head and come back to my senses. Was I getting… feelings for her? This late in the game? I knew she was developing feelings for me, but… I felt like she was a child, frankly. I felt like I had a responsibility to be the adult, to… well, I really didn’t know why ‘being the adult’ meant being the more cold and emotionless when it came to sex. Blame Nicole, or something. At any rate, as adorable as Megan was, I didn’t want to be developing feelings for her. I hadn’t yet, and I knew it would complicate things. This definitely sounded bizarre coming from her ex-boyfriend, but I couldn’t let it happen.
Luckily, just as things became complicated in my head, Megan’s moans started turning higher and more desperate. I silently thanked her God as I gained in speed, coaxing her climax and more importantly, the end. At this point, it frankly didn’t even matter if I got off. Plus, with all the ‘practice’ I was getting, it was actually getting harder to even climax during these meetings at all.
“Adam…” Megan panted, right on cue. “I’m… I’m…”
“I know, baby girl.” I moaned back. “Do it, cum for me…” I sped up and thrust in deeper, whatever I could do to stimulate her.
“I’m… I’m gonna do it…” she continued panting. “I’m gonna cum for Master… Thank you… oh, thank you…” Her moans turned to squeals as a flash of heat, noticeable by touch, flowed through her and she shivered. She would have screamed, I’m sure, but she had learned to be a good girl, and one of the requirements was controlling your screams so no one would become curious as to why there were screams of ecstasy coming from the custodian’s closet during lunch.
As she reached her orgasm, I thrust once more inside her and let her move around on me, enjoying the situation by herself, as had become customary. Once she was done, she lazily opened up her eyes and grinned at me. I felt her pussy loosening on me. Stick a fork in her, she’s done. “That was so great.” she quietly told me. “I love doing this with you so much.”
“Don’t lie.” I smirked, giving her a kiss on the cheek. “You like doing this with everyone.”
“Don’t put yourself down like that.” she insisted as I got on my knees, allowing her to stand. “You have special qualities. You’re going to make a girl very happy someday.”
“Are you guilt-tripping me?” I asked with a sly smile on my face, standing back up now that I had let her go.
“No, I didn’t mean it like that.” she huffed. She tried to formulate another justifying sentence, but just sputtered. At the end, all that came out was, “I’m sorry.”
“Because it’s a little too coincidental that you mentioned that you loved me just a bit ago, and now you’re telling me about a futu-”
“You’re pushing your luck.” Megan informed me, 100% serious.
“Right, sorry.” I stepped back.
“All I mean is that you’re a great lover.” she continued. “I’m happy that you’re going to treat someone really well someday. If it’s not right now and me, I can take it.” A smile formed on her face. “As long as we can keep doing this.”
I pretended to think about it. “I don’t see why we can’t.” I replied as she pulled up her pants. She responded by moving forward and kissing me on the lips. As we shared the kiss, my arms moved on their own to embrace her. They eventually wound up around her neck as our kiss became even more tender, even more loving. A rush of pleasure flowed through me, a wave I didn’t even feel during the sex. My body almost went limp at that moment. I found myself unable to concentrate on anything other than her, other than us.
My eyes fluttered open, as did hers as we ended the kiss, in some kind of poetic harmony. I couldn’t take my eyes off of her. Even in the sweaty afterglow of sex, her golden flowing hair was still heavenly, framing her face perfectly. Her big brown eyes absolutely sparkled, and as a small knowing smile formed on her face, they began to dance, encouraged by her mouth’s movements. There was nothing about her face that didn’t seem purposefully sculpted to bring the whole thing together, to make her seem, in the moment, out-of-this-world beautiful. I was entranced. I was captured, hook, line and sinker.
“I love you.” she whispered delicately.
But I wasn’t stupid. I knew there were limits. I knew what I was supposed to say and more importantly, what I wasn’t. I was smart.
“I love you too.”
Oh, for fuck’s sake… that wasn’t my voice, was it? I looked down at Megan’s face, trying to hide the panic on my face, and saw her smile widen. No, stop that, I thought. Quit it, quit smiling. I didn’t just say that.
It was kind of too late to say, “Oh, but just in a friends that fuck way” like a jackass. I had kind of just boned myself. Hell, I couldn’t even run away, considering our arms were still wrapped around one another. God dammit, I was so stupid.
Megan giggled like a schoolgirl in my arms and hugged me tighter, burying her face in my shoulder so she couldn’t see my nauseated glare into space. After a while, the hug subsided and she took to the ground to grab her bra and shirt. “So what do you have next period?” she asked me.
“Anton is going over the Civil Rights Movement.” I answered. “You?”
“Probably just more To Kill a Mockingbird.” she said, putting her glasses back on and blinking rapidly. “It’s going to be boring without you there.”
“Yeah, we can’t fuck in the back of the classroom or anything.” I replied sarcastically.
“Would if we could.” Megan replied, grinning. “Are you leaving first or should I?”
“Uh, let’s make it you.” I answered. “Anton knows I can be late at this point. It’ll get us into less trouble all around.”
“Suits me.” she replied chipperly, giving me a small kiss on the cheek before opening the door, looking around cautiously, and breathing a sigh of relief. It was a miracle and a half no one had caught us yet.
“When I said ‘no having sex this week,’ I should have clarified: that does include lunchtime quickies with Megan in the custodian’s room.” Nicole huffed out of nowhere as she started the car.
I choked on the water I was drinking, earning a chuckle from her. “Yeah, go ahead, act surprised.” she added smugly.
“How…?” I began.
“You’ve been doing it Wednesday and Thursday too, haven’t you?” She flipped her hair back over hear head. “On Wednesday you had a hint of sex smell to you. Thursday your hair was all messy. I figure you wouldn’t have stopped today. For shit’s sakes, Adam, when I ask for you to stop having sex I didn’t realize it’s like slaying the Gorgon. Do you have an addiction?”
“Coming from you?!” I spat back.
“Aren’t I the foremost expert?” she asked with a wink. “Are you at least getting that this is making for some really weird situations? And don’t just say yes because you think I want to hear it.”
“Yes.” I admitted.
“That’s private information.” I pouted.
“Yeah, and I won’t really believe you unless you spill the beans, so it ain’t private no more.” Nicole added spicily, pulling out of the school’s parking lot.
I shifted uneasily in my seat, earning a chuckle from Nicole. “Am I not allowed to keep some things to myself?” I asked finally.
“I’ve been fully public with you.” she shrugged.
“Yeah, but you’re more comfortable with that. I’m a different kind of person than you.” I retaliated.
“Yeah?” she asked me, genuinely puzzled. “I thought we’re pretty similar. How are we different?”
Really? How?! “Similar?” I asked incredulously. “Where do I start? You’re super smart, super pretty, super popular…”
“It’s a hard life.” she interrupted dryly.
“You have way more confidence and you have way more experience.”
“Experience?” she asked me. “What do you mean, like sex?”
“Well, not just that. Like, you’ve been in situations before and you know how to deal with them and stuff. You know how to be public. I really don’t.”
“Well this year you’ve been getting better with that kind of stuff.” Nicole argued. “So it’s pretty similar.”
“No it’s not! You’re all cool with the sex talk but without you I’d still be helpless talking about my problems.”
“Oh, okay.” Nicole slowly said, understanding me. “So you’re saying given the situation you’re in, on your own things would be more difficult and you’d be in over your head?”
Finally, she was understanding my feelings. “Exactly, thank you.”
“So your actions are putting you in situations you can’t handle on your own.”
Oh, fuck you.
“So when you disobey me and go have sex anyway, you’re only making things unbearable for yourself to the point where you have to run to others. AKA, you’re just proving my point.”
“Were you planning that from the beginning of this conversation?” I asked, head hanging.
“Pretty much.” she replied, grinning.
“I should never trust you again.” I grumbled.
“Saying ‘never’ is stupid, squirt. Especially with me.” she flashed me another grin. “I’m only doing this for you anyway.”
“You’ve been ‘doing this for me’ for like six whole months now.” I replied. “If you want me to be independent, quit bossing me the fuck around.”
“I could choose to be very offended at that. You’re being really rude.” she told me sternly.
I sighed exasperatedly. “It sometimes feels like my feelings don’t matter as much as what you think my feelings are. It’s not enough that you know I’m upset, you have to be right about why I am. I have to be happy on your terms. Every time I’m sad or something, you have to figure out why and if you don’t, you have to explain to me why I’m wrong. I get that sometimes I don’t know my own feelings, but sometimes I do, and you don’t really respect that. Just because you’re two years older than me doesn’t mean you’ve lived through everything I have, or like, every feeling I’ve felt. I’d appreciate it if you listened to how I feel more instead of presuming all the time.”
Nicole didn’t say anything during my entire rant. She just listened without interrupting. When it was clear I had finished, she pulled over to the side of the road, shifted the car into park, and undid her seatbelt.
“Okay.” she told me quietly with a small smile, then moved in to hug me. I went from sad and lonely to happy and feeling appreciated, all while embracing the most important girl in my life. I was very happy. It almost felt rare at this point, with all the shit going on around me. It didn’t even register that my face was moving to meet hers, or how close our faces became, or when I started kissing her.
It sure as hell registered when she was kissing back, though. It suddenly became very apparent what we were doing. My mind rewound to the point where we shared an innocent kiss, then sped up to the point where we were now, which in fact was making out like lovers that hadn’t seen each other in years.
And of course I had to screw it up. In the moment, my mind was turned off, everything rational was thrown away. Not only was my mouth moving of its own free will, so too were my hands. It was after my left hand travelled up her body and enclosed around one of her amazing boobs, giving a soft squeeze, when Nicole swiftly pushed me away with a sharp, “No!”
Both of us sat there in silence for a few seconds before Nicole cleared her throat and moved back into optimal driving position.
We drove for a few minutes before I decided to say something. “Sorry.” I piped up.
“Ugh, the awkward silence is over.” she complained to herself as she continued driving. “I was hoping we could go for the rest of the drive without saying a word then forget this a few weeks later.”
I could tell she was joking to try to make the situation a little better. “I pushed too far.” I continued.
“Oh, stop.” she shut me up. “It’s as much my fault as yours. If you have to come to me to respect your feelings, let’s start by not pinning everything easily pinnable on you, ya wimp.”
“So… was that something? Is… are we…” I stumbled over my words, hoping for the best.
“I’m not about to bone you right here and now, no.” she answered with a chuckle. “You caught me at a weak point.”
“That makes me feel like I took advantage of you.” I nervously pointed out.
“Fair point. We both took advantage of underlying sexual tension and we both had a moment of weakness following a sweet moment. Better?” She took her eyes off of the road for a second to smile at me.
“So you want it too?” I asked excitedly.
“Oh my god, squirt, I swear you’re the dumbest being on the planet.” she blurted out. “Of course I fucking want it. You know that I want it. I’ve always wanted it.”
“So then why do you hold back?” I eagerly asked, nervously eyeing the road. My house was really close, and as soon as I had to get out of the car, the moment of vulnerability would be over and we’d drop this conversation like a hot potato.
“Why the fucking shit do you think I hold back?” she asked, with a little too much ferocity for me to continue thinking this was a good thing. “I’m wanting it too much. I’m opening up to you. My emotional walls are coming down, and I don’t want that. I’m scared of being that close to you, squirt. I’m sorry, I don’t want to be. It’s nothing personal, but I really don’t want to be. I’m not ready to be close to human beings right now. I just want to remain that one girl people admire from afar. I can’t… I’m not ready to handle it right now. There’s just a lot of… Like, no. It’s not going to happen. This…” she gestured between us. “…is never going to happen. I need you to stop pretending it ever will.”
“But why?” I asked. “If you want it, what’s the harm in just accepting it?”
Nicole pulled into my driveway, put the car into park, and sighed as she leaned back. “Pretend…” she began with an unsteady voice. “Pretend you fucking love chocolate. Like it’s the best thing you ever ate. You love it, you love eating it so much. You with me?”
“Yeah…” I began slowly.
“Now picture that somewhere down the line, you got an allergy to it.” she continued. “You still enjoy it just as much, but it hurts you. It’s not like the hurt is preventing you from enjoying it, but it just hurts too much. A part of you is screaming for more chocolate, and another part of you never wants you to touch it again. Your stomach or whatever can’t take it. And it’s not something you can control. So just because you want chocolate, doesn’t mean you can just eat it.”
“So, me being around you…”
“Not really being around me.” she cut in. “Being intimate with me.”
“Me being intimate with you… hurts you?”
A haunting silence filled the car. Nicole remained unmoved for a good ten seconds, at least, before she spoke.
I nodded slowly, and let the silence pour back into the empty space. A concoction of awkwardness, sadness, and subtle anger from both sides swam through the silence as we both stared straight ahead. After a while, the car clicked to indicate the doors were open. I looked at Nicole. Her hand was on the ‘unlock car door’ button. I sighed.
“Not now. Please.” her voice begged, eerily still.
I sighed and nodded. Undoing my seatbelt and grabbing my backpack, I gave Nicole one last glance as I shut the door. Her face showed nothing, as if she was just staring at a blackboard during class. As soon as I shut the door, the car became alive, pulling back out of my driveway. I could have followed the car back to her house with my eyes, but I just didn’t have the energy. I just trudged inside the front door, content to just kick off my boots and lay down on the couch.
I passed by mom, who was still working on the computer, before I did so, out of politeness. She had her headset on, so I only waved. Upon seeing me, she took her headset off.
“Hi, sweetheart.” she warmly greeted me. “How was your day?”
I chuckled. “Long. Yours?”
“Same old. Work is work. Are you hungry?”
I knew where this was heading. Mom always did like to baby me. “Mom, I’m not a kid. I can get something by myself.”
“Well, I know, but if you’ve had a long day the least I can do is help you feel better.”
I sighed and scratched the back of my head, the universal sign for ‘I’m too proud to say ‘yes mom do that,’ and too much of a freeloading pansy to say no and make it myself.’ Mom got out of her chair, took her headset off, and started walking to the kitchen with me in tow.
“Aren’t you still working?” I asked.
“I’m on break.” she answered. “Does a grilled cheese sound nice?”
“Sounds fucking perfect.” I answered bluntly, then covered my mouth. “Sorry.”
Mom wasn’t mad. She just had a surprised look with a hint of humor, the kind of face one makes when they say ‘Oh really?’ “Someone in this household sure is growing up.”
“Yeah?” I asked, plopping down on the couch. “Who would that be?”
“Well it certainly isn’t dad.” she joked, getting some cheese out of the fridge. I closed my eyes as she continued. “So why was your day so long?”
“Just things.” I answered.
“Ah, just things.” She repeated, mocking me.
“Well…” I continued exasperatedly. “It’s just stupid teenager things.”
“If it’s making you feel stressed, it’s not stupid.”
“Yeah, I know, but it’s not stress so much as… I just have a crush on Nicole.”
“Aw, Adam! That’s lovely.” mom said sweetly. “Does she make you happy?”
“Yeah, but that’s where the stupid teenager stuff comes in.” I continued. “She’s not exactly available.”
“Does she have a boyfriend?”
“No! No, nothing like that.” I practically sputtered. “It’s just that she has a lot of… baggage. It’s just like… I don’t want to say ‘it can never be’ because that’s too dramatic, but…”
“She’s just not ready for a relationship right now?” Mom filled in the gaps.
“Something like that, yeah.” I nodded. “I just feel kind of pathetic and small.”
“Aw, sweetheart.” Mom sympathized. “There’s no need to feel pathetic. Nicole obviously cares about you very much. If she’s not ready, that’s just a feelings thing, not an issue of you being ‘not enough’ or anything.”
“Yeah, I get that.” I nodded again. “It’s just one thing to know it, and another to feel it.”
“You understand things deeply, you know that?” mom asked as she brought me my plate.
“Oh c’mon.” I retorted as I sat up, taking the plate. “Thanks. I understand things normally. You’re just saying that because I’m your son.”
“It is my job to keep you feeling happy and confident.” mom admitted. “And fed, don’t forget fed.”
“Thanks.” I repeated. “I mean, even if I understand things better this year, that’s completely thanks to Nicole. She’s really opened me up this year, and made me see things I couldn’t.”
“Yes, I can understand that.” mom nodded, sitting down next to me. “Stoners don’t have the best reputation, but they definitely are known for their unique perspectives.”
I tried my best to stifle my laugh. “She’s definitely unique.”
“So where does your friendship with her go from here?” she asked.
“It’s probably not going to change.” I admitted. Nor is it going to change back to what it was, I bitterly thought to myself, but that was my Nicole-starved sex drive speaking. She definitely spoiled me. Megan was great, and she definitely was more eager, but there was a certain… flavor to Nicole that I got addicted to. I wanted to be inside her, to please her… hell, just to hold her.
“Isn’t that a good thing?” mom asked, smiling. “At least you still have what you have. I’m sure you’re grateful for that.”
I’d like to say I was a good boy, to say I was grateful for what I had. But I was a teenage boy, of course I wasn’t. I wanted more.
To say that the following Monday was weird would have been an understatement. There was no question that Jeff wasn’t ready to take on a leadership position. Even before the council began he was mumbling, checking things over with other council members, pacing back and forth… I guess I should have been glad he found Room 203 in the first place.
He sure as hell wasn’t doing a good job of controlling the place. In one corner, Natalie and Eli were arguing something about a budgeting issue, and in another, Tina and Matt were headlocked in a debate about how the hierarchy in student council had changed. It was like something out of a comedy movie. To complete the set, almost centered in the room, sat Nicole, playing with her camera and singing.
“Nobody knows, the trouble I’ve seen…” she sang in a pitch-perfect voice that would have earned her Simon’s approval any day. “Nobody knows my sorrow…”
“Nicole.” I practically had to shout over the crowd.
“Oh hey.” she said casually as I approached. She held up her camera so I could see the screen. “What do you think, number one or number two?”
She showed me two different shots of the school hallway with students in them. Both of them were framed frustratingly perfectly. They both could have been used for any old yearbook shot. It was impossible to pick one amongst the two.
“Number one.” I answered after picking a random number in my head. “What’s going on here?”
She glanced around her and shrugged. “Politics at work.” she answered.
“Can’t Jeff do something about this? Wasn’t the meeting supposed to start two minutes ago?” I asked.
“Of course he can’t.” she answered. “That’s reason like fifty-seven why firing Phil was stupid. He’s hopeless. He’s good at what he did, but not anymore.”
“Who’s the new VP then?”
“He is.” she sighed. “He’s taking on the roles of both. Hence why nothing is freaking getting done.”
“Well, can something be done about the noise at least?” I asked exasperatedly.
She sighed again. “Fine. Don’t say I never did anything for you, squirt.” She lazily got up, letting the camera dangle around her neck, and walked to the front of the room. She passed Jeff, took the heaviest book she could find off of the wall, and promptly threw it down on the desk in front of Jeff with a deafening thud.
It was enough to render the room silent. “As I’m sure a lot of you know, this time of the year is known to many as ‘crunch time.’” she began. “Crunch time means a very unhappy Nicole. An unhappy Nicole means either cooperation or several homicide reports. To save on paperwork, I think things would just go a lot easier if we all just cooperated. So I’m going to give everyone here ten seconds to resolve their issues and shut up. Afterwards, Jeff is going to conduct a council, and we’re all going to treat this as seriously as any other council meeting, without any interruptions unless they’re from me. Okay? Your time starts… now.”
I expected to hear perhaps confused murmuring, but all I heard was silence, and all I saw were a bunch of chastised students too fearful to look Nicole in the eye.
“That’s what I fuckin’ thought.” Nicole stated menacingly with a dark look in her eye. Almost instantly, it vanished, replaced by a gleam. “You all are lovely. Thanks for being so cooperative.” She sauntered back to her chair and sat back down, beaming smugly at me.
“Is there anything you can’t do?” I asked her teasingly.
“Get enough of your compliments?” she winked at me. “Now shut the fuck up, squirt. Council is starting.”
I didn’t think I was going to begin this particular student council with a grin, but definitely by the end, I was sorely missing Phil. Whether he had bad conduct or not was a whole other topic, but he definitely knew how to command a room, and Jeff… to put it lightly, Jeff didn’t. He had the same control over a room as a gym sock, and by the time the council had ended, I got to remember what ‘excitement’ was when I suffered a small cramp getting out of my chair.
By the time Jeff called out that the council was over, people were beginning to file out before he even finished the sentence. He took it well, clearly, not a single emotion on his face as he packed up and cleared out himself. I took my time, knowing Nicole was going to give me a ride home.
“Crazy day, huh?” I remarked.
“Kill me.” she replied, collecting her stuff. “I’m so done with everything.” By now, everyone else was out of the room, with the exception of Megan, who seemed to just be standing there.
“Do you need something, Megster?” Nicole addressed her.
“Um..” she nervously began. “I just… I got your note, and I’m just waiting for… whatever you needed…” she was playing with her hair anxiously as she spoke.
“Note? What note?” Nicole inquired. In answer, Megan put her finger on a piece of paper on her desk and slid it forward so it was in front of Nicole. I read the note over Nicole’s shoulder.
Stay behind after the council meeting. I need to talk to you and I need to talk to you alone. Don’t ask me about it, I’ll tell you when everyone left.
Was Nicole hiding something from me? Oh god, was she going to talk to her about the sex thing? That wasn’t fair, talking to me about it was okay but poor little Megan would have died from fright. “Nicole…” I began uneasily.
“I never wrote you a note, Megan.” Nicole replied, dead serious. “I mean, fuck, this is nowhere near my handwriting.”
“Oh…” Megan replied, somewhat confused but still nervous. “I’m sor-”
“No, shut up for a sec.” Nicole cut in. “Why would someone write this note? They wanted the two of us together, in this room, why?” She paced around the room for a few seconds, then spread her arms out cautiously. “Oh my god, there’s a bomb.”
She eyed our fearful expressions and burst out laughing. “Relax, you idjits.” she chuckled. “So what the fuck is with this? Adam, is this you?”
I shook my head no and Nicole’s smile left. “Huh. Weird.” she shrugged, then gathered her stuff and opened the door.
A fiery little brunette greeted her, jumping into the doorframe with a loud “AHA!” as the door opened. Nicole remained unmoved, and slowly turned to face Megan and I. “Well, I think I have an idea now…” she said lazily. She turned back to face the little demon. “Hi, May. Care to come i-”
“I planned this.” May announced crazily, walking in. “I wanted to have all three of you in a room with me, because it’s time we talk about some things, and reveal a few truths while we’re at it.”
No one said anything for a few seconds. “What the hell, why not,” Nicole announced, plopping into a chair. “Meglet, text your bro and tell him I’m driving you home.”
“Why are you encouraging her?” I asked Nicole incredulously.
She shrugged. “Today was boring. This is at least something new. So, what’s up your ass, May?”
“Don’t talk down to me.” May snarled back at her, catching Nicole off guard. I had never really seen May this riled up. It was almost scary. No, fuck it, she was scary, especially given our past. “I’ve got many secrets I’ve been keeping inside for way too long, and it’s time to expose this motherfucker.” She pointed squarely at me, then slowly grinned. “So, Adam, do you want to confess for yourself, or do you want me to talk? Because I have a long list of things I have to get through.”
I looked desperately around the room. Megan wasn’t going to say anything. She was too uncomfortable. I sure as hell knew how she felt. Nicole was too unpredictable to help me, her burnt-out mind too focused on her spontaneous nature and sitcom attitude to take this seriously. I was stuck between a rock and a hard place.
The most worrying part was, I wasn’t even sure if I was thinking the same things as May, or if I was just inventing things she was making a big deal out of, or… maybe I deserved this. Too many things about what May and I did were coming up.
There couldn’t have been a better example of ‘damned if you do, damned if you don’t’ in human history. May was staring me down, just daring me to make the first move and spill the beans. If I didn’t, she would start, and then she would really have the upper hand. Either she would have free reign to twist the story inevitably to make her look worse than she did, or I would keep interjecting with the ‘that’s not true’s, which would get weaker and weaker with every interjection I was goaded to make.
Well fucking played, May. I stared her down coldly as she stared back, her grin never fading. In the two opposite corners of the room sat Megan, so shy and shriveled up she may as well have been through a food dehydrating machine, and Nicole, sitting about as casually as one does when reading the Sunday paper.
“No? Nothing?” May inquired almost evilly. “Well then, shall I begin? After all, your little whores deserve to know just who you’ve been sleeping with, right?”
I nervously looked over at Megan, who was just staring straight down at her desk. It was almost funny, considering about a semester ago she was doing the exact same thing with May. How quickly the tables turned.
“So you fucked? Cut the histrionics, I’m already bored.” Nicole piped up lazily.
“We sure did.” May responded smugly. “More than once. And guess when the first time was?”
“A romantic candlelit dinner?” Nicole quipped. “Who fucking cares when y-”
“Jeff Swanson’s party.”
At that, the lazy look left Nicole’s eye. She sat up straight and put her arms down on the table. In less than a second, serious mode had been activated. “Excuse me?” she asked with a little heat.
“Ring any bells?” May asked her innocently, then turned to Megan. “It should for you. You were in a relationship with him at the time. Remember?”
Megan didn’t respond. Her focus on the table only sharpened and she began quivering slightly. I didn’t dare look at Nicole – I was too scared of whatever expression would have been on her face.
“Remember?” May pressured her.
“Hey, pipsqueak, lay off a little.” Nicole told her with force. “This is meant to be entertainment. You’re making her feel uncomfortable.”
“She should feel uncomfortable. She was with a cheating fuck.” May countered.
Nicole folded her arms but didn’t say anything. I was looking away from her, but I couldn’t help but feel her eyes on me. She wasn’t looking at May, she was looking at me.
“Not to mention, I was drunk at the time.” May continued matter-of-factly. “He took advantage of m-”
“Oh, shut the fuck up.” I cut in for the first time, enraged. “You kept trying to seduce me and didn’t take no for an answer. I told you I was in a relationship with you and you wouldn’t stop.”
“Neither would you after a little convincing.” May countered, staring me down.
I gestured around me. “Do you really think you’re accomplishing anything here? You’re only just making the both of us look like assholes.”
“Lying assholes.” Nicole said a little too casually, looking down at her camera.
“I don’t even care anymore. These girls probably already think I’m an asshole thanks to you.” May replied. “And you don’t know me.”
Yup, there it was. The good old ‘you don’t know me’ line. Even for a grade nine, I could tell that was stupid and immature.
“Why might they think you’re an asshole?” I asked only half-seriously.
“Because you like to think you’re right about everything and have to be the best and everyone else is a dick.”
Mature. “I sure as hell know why you’re an asshole. You fucking lured me out to a public place and took advantage of me right there, not taking no for an answer.” I retorted. “Among other reasons.”
“Oh, come on. You wanted it, you enjoyed it, I know it.” May challenged me. “You just decided to be a little bitch about it after the fact.”
“Is that the same attitude you had with Phil?! Or is it different because that was you, not me?” I challenged her, ice shards flying through my tone.
“Too far.” Nicole pointed at me fiercely, enough heat in her voice to melt the ice.
“Shut the fuck up!” I exploded at her, then pointed at May. “This little fucking bitch had her way with me after I said, I distincted said, ‘I do not consent.’ I said those words, Nicole. Those exact fucking words. If you’re so adamant in defending things like consent, it would be nice if you didn’t fucking side with the girl who raped me.”
“As if raping guys is a thing.” May scoffed.
“No, it is.” Nicole replied, chewing on my words. She looked down for a bit, then looked at me. “You will not mention the traumatizing event with May again. In fact, just forget that party happened, period.”
“Thank you.” May said smugly.
Nicole turned to her. “Shut up.” she said with authority. “He’s right. If what he’s saying is the truth, he’s right. Did he tell you that he didn’t consent?”
“No, he never said anything.” May lied. Right through her fucking teeth, too.
Nicole’s eyes flared, then narrowed. “You’re lying.” she told her, and my heart rose. My fucking hero. I audibly sighed in relief. She could tell. She was on my side.
May was visibly taken aback. “What, you’re just going to ta-”
“Yes I am. Because you’re lying. Stop pretending.” Nicole told her sternly. “The only way you can be more of a scumbag than doing what you did is lying about it afterwards. People have gone to jail for lesser things.”
May chuckled. “Call the fucking cops, then. Let’s see who they side with.” she folded her arms. “Besides, I’m not done.”
“Yes, you are.” Nicole replied, standing up. “I was hoping this would be some entertaining gossip. But nope, fuck it, I’m allowing a raping fuck to get the upper hand here. Fuck you.”
She walked over to me and embraced me in a hug. “I’m sorry.” she whispered. “I hope you’re okay.”
“Yeah?” May sputtered. “Well if you can spot liars, why doesn’t Adam tell you what happened after? When I approached him in the halls? He fucking punched me.”
Nicole broke off our hug and gave May an annoyed look. “Oh, fuck off.” she told her. “Adam is too much of a wuss to hit anyone, much less you. No offense, squirt.”
She may have been looking back at me during that last part, but I wouldn’t have known. I was staring down at the floor, not willing to meet her gaze.
“…Wait, seriously?” Nicole asked me, grabbing my chin and moving my head back up so our gazes could meet. My eyes left hers and stared off to some corner in the room. She let go of my chin, allowing my head to hang, and looked off. “Damn.” she muttered, almost impressed. “So something finally got through to you, huh?”
“You’re not fucking mad?!” May asked incredulously. “He hit a girl!”
“He hit a scumbag is what he did.” Nicole retorted. “What’s wrong, too dainty to get hit? Can’t take it? You’re strong enough to force yourself on someone, be strong enough to take it.”
“Violence isn’t right.” Megan’s shy voice piped up for just about the first time. “He shouldn’t have hit her.”
“Fucking finally.” May muttered. “Someone who sees reason. It’s a shame this fucker cheated on you, Megan. You deserve so much better, you’re such a good person.” May’s tone was a poisonous sweet. She was clearly trying to shift someone, clearly anyone at this point, to her side.
Megan didn’t respond. Her arms were on the desk in front of her and her head just sank into her arms. May shrugged and took this as the time the continue. “See? Look at all the pain you’re causing her, Adam. I bet Nicole is angry at you too. This is what happens when you fucking cross me. I can blow all of your fucking dirty little secrets. You can try t-”
A knock at the door caught the attention of all of us. Mid-speech, May whirled around to meet her interruptor. Nicole looked to the door, as did Megan.
Fucking Jenna was at the door, extending her upper body into the room. “I don’t mean to interrupt,” she began in a tone that clearly showed that she didn’t care, “but are you all going to be out of this room soon?”
“Oh, hey Jenna. Yeah, this is wrapping up soon.” Nicole replied casually. “Just give us a minute.”
“A minute.” Jenna repeated then was gone.
“Why the fuck is she here?!” I asked urgently.
“What, her?” Nicole asked. “Hall monitor. Makes sure rooms are closed and clean at the end of the day.”
My first thought was to wonder why I was even surprised at this point. Of fucking course. My second response was a giant knot forming in my stomach. The school has fucking hall monitors? How in the sheer force of fuck did I never get caught? Wait, how did Carson? If he really fucked in the hallways, he would have been nabbed for sure.
“We have hall monitors?” I managed to ask, hiding my surprise.
Nicole nodded. “She’s only part-time, but I mean it helps the school keep u-”
“Excuse me!” May snarled. “We’re not finished here.”
Nicole slowly turned to face May and slowly started to chuckle. Without uttering a single word, she walked over to her bag and scooped it up. “You guys coming? I’ve had enough of this.”
Megan got up and meekly followed Nicole, who was moving towards the door. May stood there, the little gears turning in her head, before her eyes lit up with yet more unlit gunpowder to fling around the room.
“I bet you’re no angel yourself, camera girl.” May began.
Nicole lowered an eyebrow, thoroughly bored and unimpressed. “Camera girl?” she asked annoyedly.
“I bet you two have been having casual sex for a while. Before we first kissed, before you even blew him.” she pointed at Megan. “So all three of you are assholes.”
Nicole grasped at her heart. “Shit.” she sobbed. “Fuck, you’re right. I’m a monster. Arrest me, why don’t you.” Her expression instantly went back to its bored demeanor. “Grow up. Everyone knows I’m a slut. Welcome to like two years ago, kiddo.”
“And how many people know Megan’s a good-for-nothing slut too? She just uses sex to get whatever guy she wants, even if she knows he’s got his eye on someone else.”
Megan cleared her throat with nervousness yet determination. “Why do you have to be so rude?” she asked, her voice having more structure than I thought it would.
“I’m not rude, I’m just right. If you can’t take it-”
“You’re a bitch! That’s all you are!!” Megan’s face unhinged in a way I had never seen before.
Time stopped. Shit. Holy shit. An uneasy breeze passed through the room as the tension, already at asphyxiating levels, piled up. No one said anything for a good while. Megan swore. Nicole and I slowly looked at each other.
‘Wow,’ Nicole mouthed to me. She looked halfway between that kind of playing-it-cool amused and genuinely concerned. I won’t lie, I was downright scared. Megan had never shown anything remotely close to this side of her before, and I think she was noticing it.
“Just… stop giving me this attitude. You’re not being a good person, you know?” she added awkwardly.
May let a smirk show. “Maybe I am a bitch, but I still managed to get what I wanted using my charms. You had to get down and dirty. Who’s the real bitch here?”
“Me, for allowing this whole thing to go down.” Nicole sigh-whispered to me.
“I second that.” I joke-whispered back.
“Oi.” Nicole shot me a disapproving smile.
A knock on the door sent all gazes back to Jenna, back in the doorway. “It’s been more than a minute.” she sourly reminded us.
“Can you give us a minute? I’m in the middle of something here.” May impatiently told her.
“Is it school-related?” Jenna asked.
“Dear God, no it’s not.” Nicole blurted out, shaking her head. “Yeah, we’re on our way out. Thanks for saving me, Jen.”
“Stay right where you are!” May warned her.
Nicole started to walk out, Megan quickly following her. I stared deeply into May’s eyes and did what I thought would have been impossible from here on out. While looking her in the eyes, I broke out into a smile. Still looking at her and smiling, I began to walk out the door.
May grabbed my arm as I walked past. “Adam, don’t you dare leave. You can’t do this.”
“Get off me.” I simply said, trying to shake her off, still making my way towards the hallway. I was practically dragging her.
“I’m serious. Don’t leave.” May repeated, now in the hallway, still latched onto my arm.
Nicole looked at the two of us. “And here I was, thinking of you as a parasite only figuratively.” she quipped at May, then pointed at Megan and I. “Let’s go, Adam, Meggs Benedict.”
“Hey hey, break it up.” Jenna ordered, moving between May and I as if only noticing for the first time that any kind of conflict was going on. She tried shooing May off, to which May either didn’t notice or pretended not to. Eventually, Jenna’s instincts of ‘I’m some kind of authority in this school’ emboldened her as she grabbed May’s arm. “I said, break it up.”
When one is in a position where they thought they would have a lot of power and influence, it seems only natural that when the tables get turned and everyone groups up on them, they start to lash out. I would be lying if I couldn’t understand May’s thought process, especially given the last few weeks, in what happened next, even if I couldn’t condone it.
As if reliving my personal shame from another perspective, I saw May wind up her other arm as she prepared to let loose all of the pent-up anger and frustration of the past few weeks. In the split second before anything happened, I glanced at Megan, who of course was looking away, not content to spend another second in this situation. Then my eyes turned to Nicole, who stood arms akimbo, eyebrows slightly raising as what was happening was dawning on her.
After the slow motion pre-game show, the spectacle happened as a strong thud was heard. You could only see May’s fist connect with Jenna’s cheek for a split second before Jenna’s ragdoll collapsed onto the ground without even reacting, becoming a Picasso on the floor.
I glanced towards May’s face. Her expression rapidly changed from an enraged girl on a mission to a mix of guilt, worry, regret and panic. She glanced up at me, her eyes pleading for me to have a solution or turn back the clock or something. She was a jerk, but… I couldn’t help but feel pity for her. It seems like May was a victim of herself as much as I was.
I heard Nicole sigh angrily from behind me. “You fucking hypocrite.” she snarled, powerwalking over to Jenna. “The fuck is wrong with you?!” She examined Jenna quickly. “She’s out cold. Meganstein, find a teacher, there should be one in the English office. Adam, there’s an ice machine in the back room of the cafeteria. If it’s locked, use this.” She tossed me a key which I barely caught. “I’m going to have a little chat with May.”
She stood back up and grabbed May’s arm, looking at Megan and I. “Well?! Move!” she ordered. Megan practically jumped and ran off, as Nicole went in the same direction. The cafeteria was in the opposite direction, so I started to walk the other way.
Then I stopped. I couldn’t help myself. I sauntered back to Jenna’s limp body. “Hey.” I whispered. “Since May’s a girl, this must mean she didn’t really hit you, huh?” I smugly quipped. “Or was this the patriarchy’s fault?” I giggled to myself and bolted off.
“So she’s going to be okay?” Salvador asked me gravely.
I nodded. “Yeah, she’s fine. May seemed to take it worse than she did.” I let silence fill the air. “What’s going to happen to her?”
“May or Jenna?”
“May.” I clarified, shifting in my seat.
“I don’t know, and even if I did, I couldn’t tell you.” Salvador shrugged. “What I can tell you is that violence does not get taken lightly at Hazelwood.”
I gulped nervously in my seat, realizing that May could spill the beans about me hitting her whenever she wanted, and I’d be fucked. It’s not like she was above snitching.
Salvador read my face. “Thinking about the fight with the mystery person?” he asked me, lowering an eyebrow.
I almost shook my head no, but then realizing the implications of that, thought better of it. “I don’t like getting people in trouble.” I told him.
“It’s not about getting people in trouble. These people have done unacceptable things knowingly, and they’re being punished for it. That’s how justice works.”
“It seems weirdly unfair.” I mumbled. “Like, if people’s lives don’t have to be made worse, why should we punish them?”
“Couldn’t you say the same thing to those people for what they did in the first place?” Salvador challenged me.
I huffed. “Yeah, I suppose.” I admitted.
“Is there anything else?” he asked me, picking up a pile of papers and collating them.
“No, that’s about all.” I still wasn’t ready to tell him how May assaulted me, or how I punched her. I wasn’t sure which one I was more nervous telling him, but for now I sure as hell knew I wouldn’t be bringing either one up. I picked up my backpack, slumped it over my lap, and started zipping it up.
“Why do you have Paul’s mask on your bag?” Salvador asked me, stopping his paper-sorting.
I looked at my bag and saw the mask Mom sewed on. The weird green mask with the big forehead, its eyes blankly staring off into the distance.
“That day you gave him his marks back, he got disgusted with it and threw it away.” I told him. “I found it in the trashcan and asked him if he wanted it. He said no, so I just sort of took it.”
“He threw it away?” Salvador asked me, then made a disappointed face. “What a shame.”
“Well it’s not like you liked it either.” I pointed out. “What was the mark you gave him, like a 4.7?”
“My job is to be critical and give marks, Adam.” he responded.
“Why don’t you like it, anyway?” I asked, eyeing the mask.
He put the stack of papers down on his desk and turned his attention to the mask. “It’s not well made,” he muttered, looking the mask over. “There’s no clear defining feature of the face, and the paper maché job leaves the mask with coarse skin when the assignment asked for smooth. The colors don’t blend together in a visually appealing way, and the strap was put on lazily, at least when the strap was still on. As well, look at the sides. They’re sharp. He wasn’t careful with the edges. That’s a telltale sign of lazy craftsmanship.”
Damn, son. I didn’t realize I’d be getting Gordon Ramsay. “Oh.” I simply said, looking the mask over. “Well… I mean, I like it.”
Salvador chuckled. “You have the right.”
I stared back at the mask and tried to make sense of Salvador’s comments. The more I stared, the more his comments made sense, but none of them really bothered me. I wouldn’t have liked the mask with smooth skin, it wouldn’t have… fit the tone. The color was unusual and I liked it. Plus, if the mask had an obnoxiously obvious feature, I wouldn’t have appreciated its subtleties.
“Do you think maybe I like it more because it’s like this?” I asked. “Like, that I like it more because it’s, as you say, flawed?”
“I don’t think I ever said it was.” Salvador clarified, then nodded. “Absolutely it can. Sometimes the most beautiful things aren’t beautiful objectively, but because they’re unique to us. Flaws help us relate to the more nuanced human emotions. If something is perfect, we can’t bond to it as deeply.”
“So things can mean more to us when they’re clearly flawed?”
“Yes.” Salvador replied simply. “That’s why art is subjective. You don’t know what you’re going to bond with, but it’s definitely not going to be as meaningful to others.” He sat back in his chair. “As long as you don’t hurt anyone and don’t get hurt yourself, your memories will be the same way.” he mused. “A lot of people like to romanticize high school, and despite all of the drama you may be experiencing now, you’re likely going to look back at high school fondly.”
I scoffed. “I don’t think so.”
“I know.” he nodded. “That’s why I said it about memories, not in-the-moment events.”
I wanted to tell him about the time I was a scumbag and hit May. I wanted to tell him about the time I was raped. But I couldn’t. I couldn’t bring myself to do it. It’s not a kind of ‘I opened my mouth but nothing came out’ thing. It was worse. I was too scared, too nervous to open my mouth in the first place. I was just sitting there, staring straight ahead, probably a nervous look on my face, trying feebly to work up the courage to tell him.
“I know it sounds like I don’t know what I’m talking about.” he continued, shutting off the possibility of me opening up once and for all. “I don’t need you to be able to believe in me. I don’t need to be right either.”
“Then why say it?” I asked, trying to be as polite as possible in my tone.
“Hm?” He sat up.
“One of the lines you use so often in your class is, ‘don’t speak unless what you have to say is more beautiful than the silence it eliminates’ or something like that.” I explained. “So if you’re telling me something I don’t need to believe, and it may not be right, what’s the point?”
“I want you to at least keep it in mind.” he told me. I waited for a further explanation, but as usual, he didn’t give one.
“So that was more beautiful than the silence it eliminated, huh?” I huffed. “Is this another one of those subjective things that I may not find beautiful?”
His eyes danced. “If you like.”
“I don’t get you at all sometimes.” I remarked as I stood up and slung my backpack over my shoulder.
“The important thing is not to get me. I’m hoping you get yourself a little more from coming here.” he retorted.
“Do you want to get me too?” I asked him.
“If it means being able to teach you better, and if it means I can help you get through high school without having bad emotions manipulate you, I don’t really have another option.” He picked up his stack of papers again and peeled one off the top from the stack.
“Okay.” My hands gripped the back of the chair as I leaned in. “Your impression of me. Go.”
Salvador lowered an eyebrow. “I don’t do impressions.”
“Well, do you get me or not?” I asked him.
“You’re an anxious teenager wanting to do good in the world. I once was you.” he replied.
“I’m not going to sit here and bullshit you about how it was right to hit her. I’m disappointed in you.” Nicole dryly told me, not taking her eyes off the sunset as we both sat looking out the window of the church.
“I’m disappointed in myself.” I admitted in a small tone.
At this point, I was beginning to understand how to talk to Nicole more. After she drove me home after the talk with Salvador, she didn’t even have to talk to me to get me to realize she wanted me to follow her this time. We didn’t say anything for the whole walk, or when we got to the cemetery. She didn’t even look at Mitch’s gravestone this time. She just immediately went into the church and plopped down. We sat for about five minutes, then made a little small talk. Then the tears started coming, and I was all too happy to be her literal shoulder to cry on. Then after she eventually shoved me away and continued to stare out the window, more silence. Her telling me she was disappointed was the first thing she said to me since she started crying.
“That said…” she began uneasily, turning towards me. “I’m so sorry she had her way with you. That’s not okay at all.”
“It’s fine.” I brushed it off with a fake smile. “Shit happens, right?”
She gave me a disapproving look. “Shut the fuck up, squirt.” she said in a low, dry, serious voice, bringing me in for a hug. I accepted thankfully, not even registering how long the hug was. It was a long one, and a few seconds in, I started shaking. Not crying, I wasn’t sad. I was just… shaken. I didn’t like thinking about the event. I was just… upset. So upset. Almost giddy, but like a terrible kind of giddy. Every time I thought about the event, I buried my head into her shoulder more and cringed.
Her hand stroked the back of my head soothingly. “Don’t you dare think it was your fault.”
She knew I was thinking exactly that. I sighed uncomfortably as she held me closer, tighter. “It’s okay.” she told me gently in little more than a whisper.
Eventually the hug broke off and we just eyed each other awkwardly.
“So… you lied to me.” Nicole broke the silence.
“At Phil’s party. You told me you’d never cheat. And you’d never be with someone that had a partner.”
“Oh. Yeah.” I replied lamely.
Silence hung through the air. “Are you ready to tell me about it?”
“I think so.” I nodded, then sighed. “So… At Jeff Swanson’s party, May was there. This was shortly after we kissed and Megan did her thing. You know?”
Nicole nodded. “I remember.”
Of course, she remembers everything. “Well she was really drunk and stuff, and she just sorta… got over it and came on to me.”
Nicole raised an eyebrow. “I know, I know, it sounds weird.” I defended myself, hands flailing in front of my face.
“As long as you’re telling me the whole story.” Nicole said with just enough of a threatening edge to her voice, coupled with a stare that could bore a hole in solid diamond.
I nodded solemnly. “Yeah. So she starts hitting on me out of the blue, and like a fucking idiot, I fall for it. For the record, your precious fucking Kenny told me to go for it, knowing she’s in a relationship.”
Nicole waved me off. “Kenny’s a tool. Protip: don’t listen to him.”
“So we go upstairs and… y’know, it happens. Afterwards though it starts to sink in what happened. May starts freaking out, right? She tells me that if I tell anyone, she’ll say I took her… against her will.”
“You’re making this shit up.” Nicole interrupted in disbelief.
“I’m not, I swear. I wanted to tell Megan, I did.”
“And you did, right?” Nicole asked.
I nodded. “Never said it was May though, so I guess she finally got to know who. I told Carson too.”
Nicole nodded. “Right thing to do.” She thought to herself for a second. “And then I kissed you the next morning, huh?”
“Yeah.” I admitted uneasily.
Silence hung over us. “Well, thank you for telling me the whole story.” she said softly, pulling me in for another hug.
“I’m sorry I lied to you.” I said lamely into her shirt.
“I forgive you, ya nut.” Nicole sighed. “Just tell me the whole thing next time. I only wanna help you out.”
“She tried to blackmail me.” I broke the silence with a quivering voice.
“Yeah, that crossed my mind.” Nicole huffed. “Welcome to high school. Ever heard of a ‘toxic’ person? Textbook example.”
“I bet May thinks you and I are toxic people.” I mumbled.
Nicole shrugged. “Probably. That’s the beauty of perspective.”
“I wish I had a bigger perspective.” I said in a small voice.
Nicole turned to me and smiled slightly. “Yeah?”
I nodded, still staring out the window.
“Wanna start now?”
I turned to her with a confused expression. “What do you mean?”
“I’m being spontaneous, squirt. Keep up.” Nicole answered me, leaping to her feet and walking with determination down the stairs.
I just stared at her as she disappeared from view. “You’re supposed to follow me, dolt.” Nicole’s voice echoed through the church’s lofts. Quickly, I got to my feet and followed her downstairs, then out the door.
Nicole kept walking until she stopped at a familiar sight. Good ol’ Mitch. She stood in front of the gravestone, looking down at it, never moving until she motioned impatiently at me without even looking away from the stone for me to join her.
I approached her slowly. I knew better than to ask what was going on, since I didn’t want to upset her in case she was vulnerable again. She visibly breathed in and out a few times before clearing her throat.
“Hey.” she began softly. I looked back to the gravestone. I wanted to be respectful, but she was talking to a hunk of rock.
“So, this is the friend I was talking about.” She gestured towards me with a small smile, which got noticeably impatient as seconds lew by. “Give him your name, knucklehead.” she whispered to me on the side annoyedly, as if there was a real person in front of us.
I turned to the gravestone. “Uh…” I began weirdly, “A-Adam.”
This was fucking awkward. Either Nicole was not noticing it, or was trying super hard to pretend it wasn’t. I gazed over to her, who was smiling and looking intently at the gravestone, occasionally nodding.
She chuckled. “Yup, karate. He’s still a white belt, but he’s got a lot of promise to him. Remember what you said? I believe in him too.”
I sighed and looked down, making sure not to make it too loud. What was this? Why was this? This kind of made me uncomfortable.
“Yeah, it’s going well. I practically have the yearbook done at this point.” she continued. “Classes are stupid, but, I mean, what’s new.”
I had to stand there for maybe two minutes as she made conversation with a dead guy. I tried to be as respectful as possible, and more often than not, I found myself just staring at my shoes. The pauses were the worst part. To entertain myself, I tried imagining what he must have said to warrant her responses, like guessing who’s on the other end of a telephone.
Finally, she uneasily told him, “Well, I guess we should go. Thanks for listening.” She leant forward and gently kissed the gravestone. “I love you.” she whispered.
She turned to me and smiled slightly. “Thanks.” she half-whispered.
“For what?” I asked her, pretending to be oblivious.
“I get it, that’s kind of weird.” she admitted. “It’s just how I get through it and stuff.” She went quiet for a second. “He means a lot to me. Blood is thicker than water and all that.”
I smiled faintly at her. “I understand.” I felt like I lied when I said that. “It’s just weird to me. Like, I didn’t even know him or anything.”
“Yeah, that’s a fair point.” Nicole nodded, then grabbed my hand, tugging me towards the graveyard’s exit. “Come on. I want to show you something.”
She was still dragging me by the hand when we got inside her front door. “Hey mom, hey dad!” she called as she kicked off her shoes. “I’ve got Adam with me again.”
“That’s fine!” Mrs. Baker called from the kitchen.
Really? It was? I normally felt as welcome there as a slow walker in New York City. Did Nicole speak to them?
I barely kept up with Nicole, hastily kicking off my shoes by the time she ran to the kitchen.
“So I was just telling Mitch that I’m nearly done the yearbook.” Nicole said gleefully, practically bouncing around as I walked into the kitchen.
Her mom didn’t share her enthusiasm. “That’s great!” she said with just a tad too little energy. She caught my gaze and shared my slight worry for Nicole’s tendency to talk to her dead brother, it seemed.
Her dad didn’t look up from his newspaper. I’m surprised he wasn’t reading The Charles Dickens Times or something. I tried to scan his face for any reaction to Nicole bringing up Poor Yorick, but his face was so blank one would feel compelled to draw something on it.
Mrs. Baker cleared her throat abruptly. “So, are you two hungry?” she asked us. “Would you like something?”
“I’m fine.” Nicole waved her off, going upstairs in a hurry, stopping only for a second to motion for me to follow her.
Just as I was about to follow her, Mrs. Baker turned her attention to me. “Adam?”
“Yeah?” I asked dumbly, distracted by Nicole’s signal.
Mrs. Baker hesitated as if her question was obvious. Eventually she repeated, “Are you hungry?”
Oh. Right. I guess that was obvious. I looked nervously to my left, then my right. Why was Mrs. Baker being kind to me all of a sudden? It didn’t make sense. Did she seriously just turn on a dime and start treating me better because I wasn’t having sex with her pride and joy? That’s all it took?! That was kind of sad.
“Um… I’m cool. Fine. I mean I’m fine.” I sputtered.
Mrs. Baker just looked at me. “Okay,” she finally said. “Let us know if you two need anything.”
“Yeah,” I awkwardly mumbled as I went up the stairs. Nicole was waiting for me in the upper hallway, checking an invisible watch.
“About time. I’m starting to think you come here for my parents but not me.” she complained.
“I’m Nicole. I’m not the jealous type. Stop hanging out with my parents so much, it’s been at least five whole seconds.” I shot back in a high voice.
“That sounds nothing like me, you clod.” she replied with a grin, shoving me.
“What’s with your mom, anyway?” I asked her, balancing myself.
“What do you mean?”
“A few weeks ago she gave me these death glares and now she’s just welcoming me into her home, offering me stuff to eat.” I pointed out.
“Parents do that. In fact, parents do those two specific things all the time.” Nicole replied. “I think it’s a union thing.”
“Yeah, but it feels like your parents are treating me differently.” I responded. “Why?”
“I don’t think they are.” Nicole simply said.
“Well it feels like they are.” I mumbled.
“Lucky you then.” she shot back bitterly. “Maybe someday they’ll start treating me differently too. Maybe I’ll feel like they actually care. They already care about you so fucking much.”
“Whoa.” I stepped back, throwing my hands up. “I’m sorry. Did I touch a nerve or something?”
Nicole pouted to herself. “No, I’m sorry.” she quietly said. “Firstly, try not to bring up my parents to me, okay? I’m well aware that shit’s unfair. Secondly, it’s the thing I wanna show you. I’m…” She shuffled around. “I’m kinda, like, building up the courage to show it to you.”
I glanced around the hallway. “Is it… is it like a wall or something?”
She pointed to a door next to her. “It’s this room you dork.”
One of these days she was going to run out of insulting words for me. “What’s the room?”
“The study.” Nicole answered, her voice trembling just a tad. “But it still has Mitch’s bed still in it. Dad just uses that room when he wants to be alone with stuff he reads.” She cleared her throat to stifle something. “I know you probably think at me talking to gravestones and crying all the time and you think, ‘damn, she’s messed up.’”
“No.” I told her supportively.
She smiled a sad smile. “It’s okay, squirt. You don’t have to lie. I know you do. But it affects all of us. Sometimes dad comes in here and he doesn’t leave for days. Once or twice I even caught him crying.” Her gaze fell to the floor. “Dad’s one of those guys. He never cries.”
“Literal days?” I asked her.
“Okay, not literal days.” Her gaze travelled back up to meet mine. “But long amounts of time. He’ll skip supper and everything.” She eyed the door. “I think the last time I’ve been in here was before I met you. A lot of bad memories come from this place.”
I reached over and grabbed her hand, holding it in mine. Her head slowly turned to face me, and she gave a small smile.
“But since I’m fine going to see him now, I feel like I’m ready. Plus, I want you to meet the real him, not just his name on a stone.”
“Okay.” I said, and we just stood there, looking at the door, hand in hand, not moving at all.
“Are… are we just gonna-”
“Building up the courage. Don’t rush me.” Nicole said firmly.
“Do you want me to open the door for you?” I offered.
She shook her head determinedly. “If I’m going in there, I’m doing it the right way.” She took a few deep breaths and let go of my hand to put hers on the doorknob. “Count me down.”
“Eighty, seventy-nine, seventy-eight…” I began jokingly.
“Remember that I can kick your ass if I wanted to.” she smirked towards me.
I chuckled. “Three, two, one.”
In the span of a microsecond, Nicole opened the door with the force of an atom bomb. Her hand was back at her side in an instant, and the door swung open to reveal a few bookshelves and a dusty bed in the corner.
Nicole started to wordlessly walk inside, as if in a trance, and I followed her. The room was barely visible given the sun was all but gone at this time. I felt around the wall for a light, eventually finding one and turning it on.
To say the room felt busy was an understatement. Behind the door sat a desk, presumably the one Mr. Baker used, and the walls were filled with posters and corkboards. None of the posters were anything recognizable though. No Marvel stuff, no gaming stuff, just these weird drawings of caricatures.
“Mitch liked to draw, huh?” I asked awkwardly.
Nicole nodded. “He loved drawing. He loved creating people, like his own people. He used to explain how they think, why they wanted what they wanted.”
Nicole certainly was enthralled with them, but me, a little less so. To be polite, Mitch didn’t appear to be Rembrandt. The characters were bizarre in some kind of abstract way. Some didn’t have noses. Some didn’t really have faces at all. They were all crudely drawn, some even hastily.
Nicole was looking at the room like she was playing Where’s Waldo. Eyeing every detail, almost breathing in the moment. I decided not to pepper her with more questions and do a little more of my own observing.
I walked over to the bookshelf. So, what did the great Mitchell Baker read? Apparently Dickens. Like father like son. Either that or Mr. Baker just liked to keep his books in this room.
“Your dad keeps all his Dickens books in here I see.” I remarked, trying to keep up conversation.
I went back to observing the books before Nicole joined me. Upon seeing her, I turned to face her, and she did the same.
“Dad never read a single Dickens book before Mitch passed on.” she told me in a warm, soft, sad voice. “This is Mitch’s bookshelf.”
Oh. Well, I suppose this was a great shot of perspective, running from my heart all the way through my body. So… Mr. Baker… that’s how he coped. He carried on his son’s legacy, or something. Through Dickens books.
“I dunno how to feel about that.” I told Nicole honestly.
She responded by wrapping her arm around my shoulder and rubbing it softly. “Neither do I a lot of the time.” she told me. “I don’t know why I talk to him. Hell, I bet if he were back within a few months I’d start to wonder sometimes why I missed him. He could be a bit of a jerk sometimes. He would…” she breathed heavily for a second. “Sorry. He would shove me around, make me feel like a child, but he never stopped believing in me. I think you would have liked him.”
“If you liked him, I think I would have too.” I replied, smiling at her. She smiled back.
Silence fell afterwards. Out of boredom, I took out a copy of Our Mutual Friend and looked it over. “I haven’t even heard of half of these.” I mumbled to myself.
Nicole followed suit, taking out a copy of Bleak House. “You should read them, they’re pretty cool.” she remarked. “I mean, they’re kind of boring if you compare them to today’s books, but if you take them in the context of their time period, they’re actually quite interesting.”
I moved to put the book back when something caught my eye. In the space between books was something shiny, sitting on the further-back part of the shelf.
“What’s that?” I asked Nicole, nudging her. She looked at the shelf, and I pointed out the shiny metal thing.
“I… don’t know.” replied Nicole, surprisingly dumbfounded. “Hold this.” She immediately dumped her book on me, which I barely caught in time. She started taking books off of the shelf, slowly revealing a locked box.
“Holy shit, a treasure chest!” I exclaimed excitedly. I dumped the books to the floor as Nicole carried it carefully to the bed.
It appeared to be some kind of huge cylinder with seven tumblers, all letters. It looked fancy, some kind of imitation gold with black letters on white tile circling the cylinder. Both ends had some kind of brass plating on them. “What’s this?” I asked.
“Cryptex.” she answered, studying it.
“Bless you.” I joked.
“A cryptex is like a portable vault. Dan Brown coined the term in 2003. It’s a lockbox that only opens if you spell the secret word. See these sevens letter tumblers? If I can spell the correct word, it opens.”
“Couldn’t you just force it open?” I asked her.
“Too easy.” She winked. “If you try to force it open, it breaks a vial of vinegar and it dissolves the parchment inside the cryptex.”
“Parchment?”” I asked, my tone reflecting how stupid that sounded.
“Or whatever is inside. Basically a cryptex is designed so that the only way to safely find out what’s inside is to guess the word on the lock. Try to force it open and whatever’s inside is lost.”
“Is this one of those things? Like, is there actually vinegar in there?” I asked.
“Not a clue.” she answered honestly. “But I sure as hell don’t want to risk it.”
“So then what’s the word?” I asked her eagerly.
She shrugged. “Not a damn clue.” she reported sourly.
“Well, you’re smart, you could figure it out, right? Trial and error.” I stayed optimistic.
She turned to face me. “Squirt, there are…” Her eyes glazed over as she looked beyond me. “…eight billion, thirty-one million, eight hundred ten thousand, one hundred seventy-six different possible combinations to this sucker. There’s no guarantee the correct password is even a proper word, or an English one.”
“Well, how many languages do you know?” I asked her.
“Only five. Point is, there’s no way we can open this. At least, not now.”
“So… what do we do?” I asked. “Seems kinda unfair we found this huge thing and now we don’t even get to see what’s in it.”
Nicole kept staring at it, lost in her own little world. “What is in this?” she whispered aloud. “What kinds of secrets could he possibly have? What did he keep from me?”
I began to get uneasy. “Nico-”
“I know.” she replied flatly. “I’m stopping. But, like, I wouldn’t even know where to begin. He didn’t really use any seven-letter words more often than any others.” She started moving some letters around. “Maybe Dickens…?” She completed the word and tugged. Nothing. “Nope. I give up.”
It seemed almost weird that Nicole would give up so easily. “Are you okay?” I asked.
She took the lockbox and put it back in the shelf. “To be honest, this box kinda freaks me out. I want to put it away and pretend it doesn’t exist, until I can properly figure out what it means.” She put all of the books back. “And don’t tell mom and dad this exists just yet, okay?”
“Yeah, of course.” I nodded.
“Thanks, squirt.” she sighed. “Mario Kart?”
“Thought you’d never ask.” I grinned, then stopped. “But… are you okay? Like, content with visiting here?”
She smiled. “Yeah, I’m fine. Just a little burnt out from school and everything. Visiting here is nice, but it’s a dark kind of nice. Right now I need mindless fun. Like, ‘stupid fun.’ And who better to be stupid with than you?” She winked at me, flashing me a coy smile.
“You’re dead.” I muttered, smiling back.
“First one there gets to be Luigi!” She shouted behind her as she bolted out of the room. I chuckled and got up slowly. I learned around the third time that she always got there first.
Just before getting out of the room, I stopped. Slowly, I turned around and flicked on the light. That couldn’t have been it. There had to be more.
I looked around his room again. The shelf, the bed, the corkboards. And there it was, a little memo that mentioned some daily tasks and reminded him that ‘the password sheet is in the desk.’
My eyes travelled from the board to the desk, to the board again, back to the desk. Could it really have been that easy? I almost got tingly as I slowly approached the desk, opening the desk drawer, expecting the answer to fall right in front of my eyes.
Rats. Nothing. It was completely bare. It was worth a shot, but even still, I let out a huff of disappointment as I closed the desk, shut off the lights, and closed the door behind me.
He had something still to him. Imagine that. A dead guy, and yet it felt like he was still clutching an item close to his chest, moving away if you got too close. It kinda was like he was living. Maybe talking to him wasn’t so nutty, because my insanely curious nature made me want to grab him by the collar and ask him what the thing was. The craptex thing.
“About time,” Nicole complained when I walked into her room. “What, did you get lost?”
“I wish you would.” I mumbled, stifling a smile.
“Already talking smack, huh?” Nicole smirked. “Bowser’s castle it is then, bitch. Now hurry up and connect your damn controller.”
Seconds turned to minutes, which turned into about an hour, so effortlessly. With Nicole, it was hard to say my life wasn’t blessed. There wasn’t a moment we weren’t exchanging jokes, hooting and hollering, and grinning knowingly from ear to ear. It’s like we were telepathic at this point. Nigh inseparable. Even with our problems, we knew how to relax with each other and just… enjoy the moment. The rest of the world may as well not exist.
“I win.” Nicole smugly pointed out and the end of our third grand prix tournament, both of us lying on our stomachs on her bed, controllers in front of us.
“I noticed.” I replied sourly.
“One of these days you’re going to beat me.” Nicole added playfully, rustling up my hair with her hand.
“I barely beat you in one race, and that’s because you got three red shells in a row.” I pointed out. “Plus I don’t play video games. You do.”
“You’re playing one now.” Nicole quipped dryly. “Who knows? Lady luck may eventually side with you.” She started absentmindedly playing with my hair some more.
I playfully pouted. “You’re going to mess it up.” I whined.
“It’s already messy.” Nicole giggled, continuing to mess up my hair. I smiled and reached over to mess hers up. Soon we were two people interlocked in a circle of messing up hair.
“Mine just falls back into position, I’m not sure what you think you’re accomplishing here.” Nicole remarked.
I shrugged and gave a small chuckle. “I dunno.” I replied. I slowly stopped as did she, and just looked into her eyes. She didn’t look away. Eventually she started moving her eyebrows in weird positions, making weird faces. “You’re fun.” I said, smiling at every face she made.
“Damn right I am.” she replied with a smile. “You’re not so boring yourself.”
“Oh yeah?” I asked.
“Of course.” she replied. “You’re a great time. Who needs twister when you’re around?” We both shared a weak chuckle at that, never taking our eyes off of each other. Eventually the chuckling stopped and we were just staring into each other’s eyes. No giggling, no weird faces. Just staring.
I never forgot how amazing she looked. It almost pained me every day. Her piercing, beautiful blue eyes, she way she drew me in… her black, gorgeous hair… somehow it managed to remain in place and tidy after all the rustling. Even her nose was perfect. I never thought someone’s nose could be perfect until I saw Nicole’s. I gave a weak giggle as I drank in the sight of her face.
“What?” her voice greeted me.
“Nothin’…” I murmured, staring straight at her. “It’s just… you’re beautiful.”
“Flattery will get you nowhere, squirt.” She chuckled.
“No, like… Nicole, you look absolutely wonderful. You’re so beautiful.” I said slowly, meaningfully.
She didn’t say anything for a bit. A smile slowly formed on her lips. “Thanks, Adam.” she replied quietly. Slowly, her hand went to grab my head again, only it wasn’t to play with my hair this time. She used my head and pulled on it to get herself closer to me.
“Remember when we used to cuddle? Like this?” she asked me softly her head almost nuzzled into my chest, looking away from my face.
“I think about it every day.” I told her, pushing my luck and looping my arm around her, caressing her back.
“I’m not supposed to think about it that often.” she continued quietly. The last words I could barely hear, they were practically a whisper.
“But I do.”
There was no way that Nicole and I were on different pages here. Something was clearly happening. Remembering the cautious words of Salvador, I decided to go for it, once and for all.
“Nicole… do you feel something right now?” I asked. Her head moved up to look at me, saying nothing. “Because I do.”
Nicole stared into my eyes for the longest time. After a few seconds her view narrowed, as if she was looking for something. Finally a huge smile grew on her face.
“What?” I finally asked.
In answer, she moved her head forwards and spontaneously gave me a slow, deep, sweet kiss on the lips. I can’t say I didn’t see it coming, but I still had some element of shock to me.
I missed feeling her lips on mine. Her lips were the perfect shape, the perfect size, the perfect feeling. I felt a tingle go through my body as I felt the nostalgic rush of happiness surge through me. I responded immediately, kissing her back with as much passion as she gave me. Our arms wrapped around each other as the kisses get more heated, more desperate, losing none of the passion. We just lost the subtlety.
I was kissing Nicole again. And this clearly wasn’t some one-off in a car after we talked about our feelings. This felt so much more real, more perfect.
I broke off the kiss first. I wanted to ask her, to make sure. It was stupid to make her doubt herself, but above all, I wanted to make sure she wanted this. It didn’t feel right knowing what she told me before to just continue without another word.
Nicole, however, was a little distracted. As soon as the kiss was broken, a sound that almost sounded like a whine escaped from her lips, as she kept peppering my face with kisses. The kisses trailed downwards until they reached my neck. Every movement of her lips hit the mark perfectly. As she graduated from kissing to light sucking and biting, I felt my hand move up her back to cradle the back of her head subconsciously. Every movement of hers was like creating art. I lightly moaned as she continued.
“That feels so good…” I whispered, our first words said since the kiss.
Nicole took a break from kissing, her fingers tracing lines on my back. “Good.” she purred. “Wanna lose the shirt then?”
“Are you sure you want this?” I asked cautiously. Here goes, I thought. My chance to fuck this up, to lose everything we just built up. “I mean, in the car you s-”
“I want this, Adam. I want you. It doesn’t hurt right now, and I think… I just… it feels right.” Nicole responded, nothing but sincerity on her face, besides the hint of lust in her eyes.
I studied her face for a bit. “Okay.” I finally said, smiling. I sat up and began to work the shirt over my head. “Are you gonna do it too?”
“Say please.” Nicole teased, leaning in and giving me a quick kiss before the shirt went over my head.
“Please, mistress?” I teased right back.
She gave a slight chuckle. “How could I say no to that face?” She quickly worked her shirt over her head, taking it off and revealing a black bra underneath.
“Aw, you wore a bra today.” I mock-complained.
“If it bothers you so much, take it off, stud.” Nicole replied smoothly. I had no clue what changed her attitude so much today, but I wasn’t about to question it. I moved in, my arms snaking behind her back. I felt the back of the bra and unhinged the latch.
No I didn’t. I thought I did. Frowning to myself, I fiddled around with it some more, causing Nicole to lightly laugh.
“Here. Need some help?” she reached her arms around to her back, unsnapping the bra in record time. She shuffled around, allowing the bra to fall naturally, her beautiful D-cups falling into view with a slight jiggle.
They were just as beautiful as I remembered them. The amazing round shape, the curve they brought her body, the way her nipples stood atop them proudly, reaching out to the open air around her as if begging to be sucked. I couldn’t help but stare.
That made her smile. “I bet you missed the girls, didn’t ya?” she coyly asked.
“Fuck yes I did.” I replied hungrily, already moving forward.
“They’re all yours, squirt.” she sighed. Remind me why I love it when you play with them.”
I knew better than to just latch on immediately. I started by feeling them, caressing and tracing around the edge of her breasts with my fingertips, my touch just light enough to make her want more. Next came the attention I gave her nipples, tracing around them until they were even harder than when they first came into view. For good measure, I tweaked one just a tad, earning a sharp ‘ooh’ from Nicole.
I grinned cheekily at her reaction, and gently pushed her down onto the bed. She smiled in anticipation, making herself comfortable as I hovered over her, lowering myself down mouth first. Gently, I extended my tongue and made contact with her skin. Slowly, teasingly, I made circles around her areolae, teasing her and making sure she was lightly whimpering by the time my tongue dared to flick across her nipple.
The effect was visible. She flinched ever so slightly, wanting me to go harder and faster so badly. I didn’t afford her such a luxury, keeping up my efforts until I myself couldn’t take it anymore and dove in, using every trick in the book and every function my mouth could provide to make her experience a memorable one. My tongue traced, flicked and ran around her nipple as I sucked. Every once in a while, I would suck the nipple into the back of my mouth and let my teeth graze the nipple on its way back out. Each time she cooed and sighed and panted.
“Adam… oh baby, you’re doing such a good job…” she whispered.
Baby, I smugly thought to myself. That’s a new one. The other breast got the attention it craved from my hand as I tweaked and played with her other nipple. Eventually I thought that fair is fair and switched my mouth from one nipple to the next as my hand snaked its way down her body, slowly gliding its way down her stomach until it reached the beginning of her pants. I attempted to start putting pressure on her pussy, but alas, she was wearing jeans.
As psychic as ever, Nicole reached down, undoing the button of her pants, then lowering the zipper. She couldn’t contain her smile as she slid the pants and her underwear down her leg. “Full access.” she murmured. “Do your best, squirt.”
I had planned to do my best. ‘Squirt’ was going to be her nickname by the end of the night. Skipping the plan to finger her, I took my mouth off of her amazing breasts and slid down, smiling at the familiar sight. I ran my hand through her almost trimmed pubic hair and marvelled at the sight. She even had an amazing-looking pussy, as if she wasn’t already the perfect girl. I loved seeing her engorged clitoris, practically begging for me to play with it with my tongue. I sure as hell didn’t want to disappoint.
I leaned my head down and began in my usual teasing fashion, licking around her folds instead of going right in.
“Adaaaaam…” she whined. “Just go for iiiiit…”
“Beg for it.” I ordered sarcastically before going back to my teasing.
“Pl… please…” she panted, really getting into it. I think she missed this just as much as I did. I was half-surprised I wasn’t panting myself.
Well, since she said please… I moved my tongue slowly from outside the folds to inside, beginning to experiment with different speeds and tongue movements, listening for which got the best reactions from her. Every so often I would give the clit a gentle lick, making sure that I always left her wanting more.
“Yes, that’s so good…” Nicole sighed in approval, squirming around slightly in a subconscious effort to match my movements. Most girls might have closed their eyes, but not Nicole. She looked intently at me, smiling as much as she could given her panting as I continued my efforts.
“I missed this so much…” she purred softly as my tongue traced patterns between her folds, occasionally lightly dancing on her clit. Every so often I’d challenge myself to see how deep my tongue could go inside her, then what I could do in that position. Every little moan she made let me know what worked, what made her feel good. I so desperately wanted to give her the grand finale she desired. If nothing else, to prove to her why she should never second-guess doing this with me, having sex with me, being with me.
As her pants got shorter and more pronounced, my energy and enthusiasm got higher, my actions became more precise, more stimulating. I used everything I knew, everything I learned, to make her feel as good as I could.
Before long, her hand subconsciously went to the back of my head, holding me down as I performed the last few notes of my orchestra. Her pants and moans turned into soft cries, then sharp ones, then at the crescendo, she froze in place and her eyes closed, her face contorted as time froze for her. My tongue could feel her spasms as her muscles danced and a short spurt of her juices shot into my mouth, complimented by a sharp “Ahh!” I could practically feel the waves of bliss and ecstasy flowing through her as she remained still for a good ten seconds before letting out the first of many satisfied long sighs.
Slowly I pulled my head up, mostly because my need to breathe started to surpass my desire to give her pleasure. “How was that?” I practically wheezed.
Nicole beamed lazily. “You did great, squirt.” she cooed happily.
I wiped my face. “Should that be my nickname or yours?” I noted suavely.
Still smiling, one of Nicole’s eyebrows lowered. Okay, not as suave as I thought. “Wow, nice one. First time I heard that. How long were you holding that one in?” She reached her nightstand and pulled out her mint water. She brought it to her lips, chugging a bit, before passing it to me.
“You want me to drink this?” I asked, a tad hesitantly. “Does this mean…”
“Round two.” She smiled, almost shyly. “If you’re up for it.”
“Are you?” I asked. “Like, are you su-”
“I want you inside me, Adam.” Nicole confirmed. “I want this.”
I smiled at her as I held the bottle dumbly. She wanted this. What changed? Did she finally snap, did she reach a conclusion? I resolved to not ask myself so many dumb questions as I took a good swig, then reached over her to put the bottle away.
“Now that your mouth is all clean…” Nicole trailed off seductively, pulling me into a sweet little peck on the lips. “Ready to do this?”
“You seem eager.” I joked.
I looked into her eyes to see they were hazy with lust. “Don’t fucking joke around with me.” she ordered. “I want you. I want you now, and I’ve put this off for way too fuckin’ long.” She smiled at me. “So do you want me to guide you in or do you want to do it yourself?”
I smiled back as I reached down to grasp my cock, pulsating and all-too-ready to enter her, the girl I was denied for too long. I pulled my dick up to her entrance, enjoying the friction of rubbing up against her the whole way there. She lightly jumped, just a touch, when she felt my cock hit the outer folds of her pussy for the first time. She sighed contentedly.
“I missed this.” she cooed. “The anticipation… the teasing… but it’s been too long. Please, no more. Don’t tease me.”
The tip of my cock, practically bouncing in pulsing anticipation, slid across the surface of her beautiful pussy, shining with its temptation. Poised, set and ready, I gave Nicole one last look for confirmation. She nodded, and slowly, I slid in, feeling every inch of my cokc glide into her pussy, her warm, caressing walls enveloping my manhood as the pair of us connected in that way we were craving, becoming one.
Testing the waters, I pushed all the way in, only seeing a slight wince from Nicole at the very end as I felt her pelvis against mine. Slowly, I started to pull back, feeling our skin depart as the sensations built up around my dick and spread like a fire over my whole body. Every second that I took, my lust grew, and soon I couldn’t resist it anymore as I picked up speed, knowing full well my desire to animalistically ream Nicole for all her worth.
Given her sighs-turned-moans, this was exactly what Nicole wanted as well. As I began to pick up speed, her hand grasped around my arm for support as her cries got more desperate, more lustful, more wild. Nicole wanted more, she wanted me. I began to feel her hips grind against mine as all logic was turned off in her brain and she just went mindlessly for what she wanted: more pleasure. Gladly, I gave it to her, savoring the look of my beautiful princess as ecstasy painted her face and sweat lightly caressed her body, accentuating every curve. She was more than getting into this, she was in her own world. Her own world of pleasure, and I was the key to that lock.
Every cry she gave made her pussy clench against my cock, amplifying our orchestra further. Not that she got the opportunity to cry out for long as I dove forward, desiring to feel her amazing lips on mine. As we kissed, so too did our bodies, pushing us towards the state of bliss we both knew was arriving shortly. Every movement sent a jolt of joyous electricity up my body, reminding me each and every second every way I loved Nicole, and why I did.
I truly did. I loved her. The way she kissed me back, energetic passion in her movements, traveling through her tongue to meet mine, it couldn’t possibly have been any different for her. Every thrust, every push, sent me closer and closer to giving her that built-up surprise I never thought I would get to give her again. As I hammered my full self into her over and over, I felt a surge of gratefulness that almost brought me to tears. I was fucking Nicole Baker again. No, I was making love to her.
We broke the kiss as Nicole moaned in carnal desperation. “Oh, fuck, Adam,” she panted. “Fuck me, please, yes, fuck me. Just like that. Keep going, you’re driving me crazy.”
“You’re amazing, Nicole.” I panted right back. “I love you so much.”
A few seconds of silence passed, and as I kept thrusting, I worried that I went too far. Maybe I shouldn’t have brought that up so early as the first time we’re doing it again. She’s going to make us stop again. She’s going to put up walls, and e-
“I love you too.” she panted, almost in a whisper, as I kept going.
A unique surge went through me and positively uplifted my body. This wasn’t quite like the electric shocks sex gave me, but the two complimented each other very well. I found myself subconsciously smiling as I kept drilling her pussy, knowing that I was getting close.
“Ni… Nicole…” I breathed as I tried to last as long as I could.
She read my mind. “Almost there, squirt… Please just try to last a little longer…” Her face was contorted in concentration, the feelings building up in her body almost too much for her to take.
I wasn’t about to last too much longer. I tried thinking of other things to prolong the event but it always came back to Nicole and how amazing she looked, how sex y she looked, how good being inside her felt. My whole body was tingling and every breath came out as an increasingly pained moan as I held out as long as I could.
“Oh my God…” Nicole all but squealed, “It’s coming. Shit, it’s coming. This feels fucking incredible, Adam, oh fuck, Adam, it-”
She cut herself off, taking one long breath in and squeezing her eyes shut so hard it must have hurt. She was buzzing, she was shaking so hard. In the nick of time too – I could only handle one more thrust before I let loose a load with a prolonged “Ooooooh,” slamming into her as the first rope of cum erupted from my dick. I could practically hear her filling up and knew this only heightened the immense pleasures Nicole felt from our tryst.
We didn’t say anything. Eventually I collapsed on her and practically blacked out. We just held each other afterwards for God knows how long. We didn’t say words. Words weren’t needed. The whole thing felt right, too right to ruin with words. After a while, Nicole opened her eyes, looked at me, and giggled.
“Just like I remember.” she told me softly.
“It was even better for me.” I grinned back.
“Well, you’ll have to earn that one.” she winked at me.
We lay there in silence for a bit until I decided to sit up. “So, now what? I inquired. “Not to be that guy, but I wanna make sure. What happens from here?”
“I’m not sure.” she answered. “I honestly didn’t think this would happen. Now that it has though, I guess we’re through the looking glass. As long as…” she trailed off, looking away.
“As long as?” I asked.
She shook her head at me. “Never mind. Nothing.” she rolled over and picked up our clothes from the floor, tossing my shirt at me. “Put this on.”
“Just the shirt?” I laughed. I was rewarded for that comment with a pair of my underwear to the face. “Well played.”
As Nicole put her pants back on, she made oddly little eye contact with me. Being the overthinker that I was, I couldn’t help but wonder if this was the start of something amazing or something terrible.
“Not meaning to say it’s not good to see you again.” I clarified to Carson as he booted up his Xbox.
“I get ya.” he waved me off. “Everyone’s busy this time of year.” He sat down and waited for the system to boot.
Carson had lost his ‘natural glow.’ The spark that once surrounded him abundantly, filled with childish glee yet mature superiority, with a dash of mischievousness, was all but gone. The air around him felt dead.
“You okay, man?” I asked him. “You don’t seem as chipper as you usually are. Is something up?”
“Nah, nothin’…” he trailed off, slumping over the couch so much he may as well have been one with it.
“You’re a shit liar.” I quipped.
He smiled lazily. Even when he smiled, all of his usual charm was gone. “Yeah, probably.” His smile faded as he sat up.
“So…” I trailed off expectantly.
“…So what?” he asked me, looking over at me. If his glance hadn’t been so dead I would have thought he was challenging me with his eyes.
“So are you just gonna sit here like this or are you gonna tell me?” I asked exasperatedly.
“I dunno.” he slurred, slumping back down. “I think…”
I waited with bated breath as he collected his thoughts or something.
“I think I’m gonna try to get back together with May.”
Yeah, of course. What the fuck else was I expecting? “May?!” I asked in disbelief. “Why? She-”
“I feel like…” Carson interjected, his voice just powerful enough to make me stop talking. “I dunno. Just feel like it.”
“Buddy.” I said sympathetically. At this he gave me an ice-cold glare.
“You don’t get to call me that.”
Woah. Well, okay then, mister. Call me ‘buddy’ all you want, I see where I stand. I sat in silence for a few more seconds before Carson sighed.
“Sorry, buddy.” Of course he got to say it. “I’ve just been… I… It feels weird. Y’know? This whole… just feels weird. I’m just, like, going through the motions and it…” He sighed again. “I’m gonna go to the washroom. When I’m back we can play or some shit.”
I felt almost guilty as I watched him get up and trudge off. What was my social obligation here? He clearly wasn’t feeling well. Should I be supporting him more? Should I offer to leave and give him some alone time? I really didn’t know how to do things here. I felt awkward and uncomfortable.
I saw Jenna getting a glass of orange juice from the kitchen fridge in the corner of my eye. I waved to her, but she didn’t respond, in classic Jenna fashion. Well, what the hell, I thought to myself. If she was going to be a bitch about it, I could flex my proverbial muscles.
“You feeling better?”
Oh. That was supposed to come out as a ‘How’s that punch to the face treating you, biiiitch?’ Maybe I was maturing. The horror.
“Yes.” Jenna simply said from the kitchen, finishing her pouring then putting the juice container away. She picked up the glass and walked to me, looking down the hall.
“Carson might be in there for a bit.” she observed. “He’s feeling like trash lately.”
“Yeah, I noticed.” I nodded, looking down. “Any idea why?”
“I feel like he’s beginning to understand the oppressive nature of his ways.” she muttered, almost to herself.
“Ah, so the patriarchy’s gettin’ to him, huh?” I replied, a little too much dismissiveness to my tone.
“No.” she replied bitterly, staring daggers at me. “He had a girlfriend until recently. They broke up, almost spontaneously. He didn’t even have sex with her, as far as I know.”
I hated to admit it, but that definitely didn’t sound like Carson. It wasn’t like him to go out with a girl and not take advantage of the fact that she had a girl’s anatomy. “What?”
Jenna nodded, looking off towards the washroom. “He kept being all proud, saying this one would be different. This one was different all right.” She huffed. “Maybe he is getting more mature. Sparing her his usual sexual advances was the kindest thing he ever did for a girl.”
Carson being low-energy and slumping and mumbling and shit was one thing, but I knew that Carson in his right mind just wasn’t that kind of person. “Out of curiosity, who was it?” I asked her innocently, trying to play it cool.
“I think her name was Jasmine Dunn. She’s a good person, very kind. I don’t know why he did that. He got her all infatuated with him, then…” She demonstrated letting go of something and letting it fall to the floor.
“Just like that?” I asked her.
“Just like that.”
I stared straight ahead. Carson was definitely not that kind of person. He seemed very intent on what he wanted, but was he the manipulative type to get people to show him affection, only to drop them? No. No he wasn’t at all. Was this why he was so low-energy? Did he do something he regretted? Or was it something else?
“I don’t think Carson would have done that intentionally to her.” I started, realizing talking to Jenna was playing with fire all the while. “He may be ignorant of what he does to girls, but he would never intentionally build a girl up to make her feel awful.”
Jenna didn’t look at me. “I agree.” she said in a factual tone. “Something is unusual here.”
“What do you think it is?” I asked her, practically wide-eyed.
I was expecting the heroic “I intend to find out,” but with Jenna being Jenna, she just shrugged and walked away, still never looking at me. I shrugged too, watching her leave. Blame it on my curious nature, but if she wasn’t going to bother digging deeper, I sure as hell was.
Being in the student council came with a surprising amount of connections. With my mind set to it and the right people being around to ask, I was able to find out pretty quickly that Jasmine Dunn partook in French class. This significantly helped, since French was in such little demand that there was only grade nine class for it. Even better, it was during fourth period.
“Mr. Brock,” I wheezed, running up to the Adonis of a teacher a few minutes into the daily jog we had to do.
“Heeey… man.” Mr. Brock replied, trying to use his 90s workout instructor persona to mask the fact that he didn’t bother to learn any names except for the five students that actually were athletes. “How’s it going?”
“I was just wondering if I could be let out of class a little early today.” I started.
Even as he gave me that ‘can’t let you do that’ grimace, the smiled remained on his face, as if it were permanently stuck there. “Sorry, lil’ guy. Can’t let you do that. You’re still a minor and I could get in trouble if I let you go. I’m technically supposed to be watching over you.”
“Okay…” I replied slowly, trying to think on my feet. “But what if I needed to walk home in a hurry? Like if it were a family thing?” I wasn’t saying it was, I was just… implying it. Plus, Mr. Brock didn’t know where I lived, it was worth a shot.
“Um…” He scratched the back of his head, probably removing a few sun-bleached hairs in the process. “Then I guess you would need to talk to the attendance office and call your parents.”
“Cool, can I go do that now?” I asked.
His smile became increasingly forced. “Yeah, of course, go ahead.” he replied, knowing I had a right to anyway given I was a student. I loved knowing my rights. Thanks, James Madison.
I walked almost triumphantly into the office and let the secretary know I wanted to call my mom to ask her if I could go home early. Politely, the secretary complied and after asking for a phone number, handed me the phone.
“Hello?” came the sweet, rehearsed voice of Mom, proving in her voice that this was her line of work.
“Hey mom. It’s me. I… uh…” Crap. I hadn’t really thought this far ahead. “Could I miss the last half of gym today? I’m not feeling all that great and I don’t want to be running around.”
“Oh, hello, sweetie.” she began. “So are you just asking to sit on the side during class?”
Crap. Crap again. Complications. “Um, no…” I attempted to find a way around this one. “I was just thinking of sitting in the cafeteria because it’ll be quieter there.”
“Ohhhh, I see… do you have a headache?” Mom asked, her tinned voice full of concern.
Bingo. “Um, yeah.” I replied, feigning pain in the same way every scumbag kid does when they lie to their parents about feeling sick.
“My poor sweetie.” Mom lamented. It took all of my strength not to roll my eyes. “Yes, of course that’ll be okay. I hope you feel better soon.”
“Thanks, mom. This will definitely help. Want me to pass you back to the secretary?” I asked.
“Yes, please do. I’ll talk to you at home soon, love you!” Mom’s voice cheerily declared.
“Luhyou.” I lamely mumbled, still childishly embarrassed of saying ‘I love you’ to my mom. I passed the phone back and the secretary talked for a bit before putting down the receiver.
“Okay, everything checks out. You’ll be dismissed from class halfway through, which means you’ll still need to be in class another half hour.” She typed a few things on her computer and some kind of receipt started printing. “If your headache is that bad, tell your teacher and they can make some accommodations for you.” She ripped the receipt out of the machine and handed it to me. “Hope you feel better soon.”
“Thanks,” I warmly smiled as I took the paper from her. What a nice lady. I was so glad some of the horror stories about school weren’t entirely true.
I practically skipped back to gym class, handing the paper to Mr. Brock along with a short explanation. I promised him I would be ‘good to go’ for those last thirty minutes despite the headache, mostly because I felt awkward just sitting there while everyone had to jog around the track. A gruelling half an hour later, Mr. Brock called me over and dismissed me, almost disappointedly.
But whatever. Phase one was complete. All I had to do was lie to a bunch of adults that trusted me. No problem. Now to phase two.
I wandered around the school for longer than I would care to admit before finally finding Room 315. ‘The French Room,’ as people called it. Gathering up my social anxiety in one big ol’ basket and chucking it out the window, I knocked on the door.
A few seconds passed and the door opened. A friendly yet stern-looking middle-aged woman with ‘teacher glasses’ and blonde hair clearly out of a bottle opened the door, not stepping outside so that I could get the full experience of every student there staring a hole through my face.
“Bonjour.” the woman told me. “T’es correct?”
“Um, hi.” I broke out into a big smile in embarrassment as I pointed at her. “I don’t know what that means, but okay. Could I talk to Jasmine Dunn for a second please?”
“What is this about?” the woman asked me in slightly accented english.
“Just class stuff, it shouldn’t take longer than a few minutes.” I lied coolly.
The woman nodded. “D’accord. Jasmine, if you need to see him…”
I wasn’t even sure who I was looking for, all I was staring at was a sea of different-looking wannabe French people. A shy-looking girl with frizzy brown hair and glasses got up nervously and wordlessly walked over out the door, passing me. The door shut behind her and I looked around for a few seconds before turning to her.
“Okay, hi. This clearly isn’t about class stuff. I don’t think we’ve even met before.” I began. Not the best opening liner I’ve ever given.
“Okay,” was all she said. She was looking at me with a bit of a concerned expression.
“I just needed to figure some stuff out. I, uh, understand you were with Carson Carter until recently…”
Her face fell. “Did he say I did something?” she asked timidly.
“No no! No.” I waved my hands in front of my face. “No. I just know that Carson is… I just…” I tripped over my words. “I just know who Carson is as a person, and he seems really sad lately. And the only thing I know about it is that he broke up with you. I just wanted to know, for my friend’s sake, what your side of everything is.”
Jasmine crossed her arms uneasily and let her expression fall to the ground. “Um…” she began nervously.
“I totally get this is weird. This is weird for me too, believe me.” I gave a small laugh out of nervousness. “I’m just trying to fix the situation.” The words of Phil warning me to never get involved in other people’s business floated around my head, but I shooed the thoughts away.
“Well… Carson was a nice guy, at least I thought he was. I knew that he liked to… well… How much do you know about Carson?” she asked.
“Total manslut. You’re good to go, sister.” I reassured her.
“Yeah, he told me about that. That was okay, I didn’t see it as a problem if it was just his past. He said he was going to change for me. He never touched me or anything, he never pressured me. I thought he was the sweetest guy ever. But before anything happened, before we ever went public or anything, he…” Her eyes started to well up. “He just stopped. He just told me that he couldn’t keep going like this anymore. I don’t get it. Nothing changed, I wasn’t doing anything different. He just decided one day that I wasn’t good enough for him.”
“I’m sorry.” I tried to console her. “Was he mean about it?”
“No, it was like he just gave up.” she answered me, trying to blink rapidly to stop any embarrassing tears from happening. “He wasn’t mad, he just… stopped trying. Like I wasn’t worth it.”
“I’m sure he didn’t see it that way at all.” I coaxed her soothingly. “Believe me, if Carson wanted to go out with you, that means something. “Was there something that you know could stop this?”
She shifted her feet uneasily. “I can’t tell. I mean, this could be in my head but I got really jealous and protective knowing his past. Like, I trusted him but I didn’t trust any of the girls that always were around him.”
I never liked admitting to myself how much of a chick magnet Carson was, but he was. Even if he was abstinent he’d have at least three girls a day strike up a conversation with him. And of course, every time they did, he would be charismatic as fuck.
“There was this one girl I really didn’t like. Always flirting with him and stuff. He brushed her off, but she kept clearly trying to one-up me.” she continued.
I was starting to lose faith in Jasmine. I couldn’t help but feel like she was lying or exaggerating to get me on her side. Great. My one lead on why my friend was acting like death warmed over and she was a drama queen.
“I think her name was May.”
Nnnnever mind, this all sounded completely legit now. “May Stevens?” I asked abruptly.
“Yes…” she said slowly. “Do you know her?”
Oh boy did I fucking ever know her. “Yes, I do.” I replied, not trying to let my tone reflect how I felt in the moment. “Um, anyway, I’m sure it’s just Carson not being ready for a relationship like this. I think he learned that with May. You bringing her up reminded me of that.”
She gave me a small smile. “Yeah, maybe.” she pettily admitted. “What’s your name? I never got it.”
“Oh, it’s not important. I mean, it’s Adam, but it’s not important.” I flashed her a polite smile. “Anyway, I’m sorry for bringing you out of class like this. I, um, I hope you feel better soon.”
“Thanks…” Jasmine said slowly, a little weirded out by my clear sudden shift in demeanor.
I walked down the hallway with purpose. Fucking May. How many people was she willing to steamroll in her quest to manipulate people into believing she was a decent human being? This had to stop, and it had to stop now.
As soon as May opened her locker, I shut it. Not knowing I was there, she give out a little yelp and fearfully turned behind her to face me. Once she was it was me though, her fearful expression went away, masked by a fake face of apathy.
“Expecting someone else?” I all but growled.
“What do you want, Adam?” she asked blandly. I realized then and there that this was the first time I shared a conversation with her since Nicole had the talk with her.
“What was the talk with Nicole about?” I asked, leaning on the locker next to her. It was stupid, but I wanted to make sure I always had the upper hand in this conversation. In Salvador’s words, I wanted to make sure I was ‘higher status.’
“None of your business, that’s what it was about.” she replied flatly.
“Look, you burst into the room trying to drag me through the mud. You made all of this my business. So as soon as you’re put in the same situation, you don’t get to pull this shit. Cut the crap.”
She laughed condescendingly. “No, putting you in the same situation would be punching you in the face and putting on a big show to get everyone else on my side.”
“Would it also include me blackmailing you into keeping your mouth shut by threatening to say you raped me, then me raping you a few months later? Or does that not fit your little story of woe?”
“Bite me.” May added coldly yet calmly.
“Not to mention, I sure as hell didn’t try to get back with my ex after they found someone else. It’s curious that you only went after Carson as soon as he got someone else. The way Jasmine tells it, you started flirting with him and trying to one-up her.”
Ugh. I was contributing to teenage drama. I had lived long enough to see myself become the enemy. Still, I was in too deep at this point, and had to keep going.
A look of fury crossed May’s eyes and left as quickly as it came. “Why does this even matter to you?” she asked me, her words delicate and non-confrontational, trying to seem like the better person. “After all, you chose the other two over me. You don’t care about me like I did about you. So really you’re being hypocritical if you’re coming after me as soon as I move on and accusing me of doing the same to my ex.”
My blood boiled. “Okay, first of all, we were never a thing. We were absolutely never a couple. Don’t you even pretend like we were. Nothing happened between us.”
“It can still be something even if there isn’t a label, can’t it? I would have thought you and Camera Girl would know all about that.” May’s grin, not present on her face, was evident in her eyes.
“Leave Nicole the fuck out of this. And I’m following up on this because my friend is hurting, and Jasmine is hurting too. You’re just making everyone around you feel terrible, and that’s not fair to anyone.” I huffed as she stared at me, daring me to continue. “And anyway, If you’re so damn sure you could get Carson wrapped around your finger at the drop of a hat anyway, why even bother with me?”
May rolled her eyes, as if I was asking a stupid question. “Because,” she began, drawing out the word as if it were obvious, “I’ve clearly always loved you more. Loved you more than him, and certainly more than you ever loved me. Or anyone, I bet.”
I shook my head in disbelief. “That’s your fucking argument?” I started, ignoring the small crowd staring at us. “Seriously? May, you throw around the word ‘love’ as if it’s candy on Halloween. I bet you don’t even have a fucking clue what it means. It’s okay if you’re lonely or sad or whatever, but a good person admits their pain and tries to find ways to move on from it, but you like to inflict your pain on everyone around you. You’ve caused God knows how many bad situations this year. You’re the chief cause for a stupid amount of them. To sit back and say that you’ve loved me more is laughable.” I turned to the crowd. “This girl tried to blackmail me at a party after we had sex together. She felt guilty after we did it, so she said if I ever blabbed, she’d tell everyone I raped her. How crazy is that?”
“Adam!” May interjected sharply, the calm look on her face gone.
“What’s up, May?” I asked, my tone full of confidence knowing I won the higher ground. “Was that untrue? By all means, face the people. Tell them I’m lying. Because I fucking wasn’t.”
I practically danced out of the way so that the students could see May. She didn’t make a move to speak. She barely moved at all. She just stood there, her face getting redder.
“That’s right.” I moved back in front of her. “You’ve been a great audience. Get out of here, the rest of this is private.” I just stood in front of her, staring at her, challenging her with my eyes as the students awkwardly moved behind me. It was a good four minutes until every student was gone, and I spent every second staring her down.
“It sure sucks being faced with what you’ve done, doesn’t it?” I asked smugly. “Be thankful I didn’t bring up that you had your way with me after I didn’t give consent. What kind of ‘love’ is that, May? If that’s what you think love is, God help anyone you love ever again.”
“I don’t want to speak to you ever again.” May said softly, the first thing she said in a while.
I chuckled and folded my arms, hiding the twinge of pain I felt from those words. Somewhere inside me, May was still the high school crush I pined for, even if that part of me was getting exponentially smaller every day. “Fine by me.” I said. “But only if you promise.” I held out a hand and stared her down. Slowly, May extended her arm and I firmly shook her hand.
“Goodbye forever, May.” I said, slowly and meaningfully.
“Bye.” she said, half in soft anger, half in fear.
I couldn’t help beaming to myself as I walked away. At this point in time, this was all I wanted. I won. May was out of my life. As far as I was concerned, she was one big problem I wouldn’t ever have to worry about ever again. More importantly, I won. The last conversation we ever had wasn’t dominated by the sneaking, cheating, raping May. I got to have the last word.
I was still smirking to myself as I got to the main hallway. Most of the students were gone – I would have to spare no time in getting to the bus. Either that, or pray to God that Nicole was still here and willing to drive me home. There were only a few students left, just standing in pools talking amongst themselves about classes or whatever.
Among the sounds of the crowds, one stood out, and it sounded like a vaguely familiar one. In the main hallway, there was one branching path that led to a small dead end, so to speak – the elevator hallway, just in case anyone in a wheelchair or something decided to go to Hazelwood. Being the stupidly curious kid I was, of course I had to go investigate.
Very quickly, I discovered why I recognized the sound. It was Megan, because life decided it hadn’t thrown enough shit at me today. She was crying.
‘Crying’ was being generous. She was bawling her eyes out, the quiet kind where you weren’t doing it for attention or anything – you were doing it because your life was as good as over.
“Megan?” I asked her in shock. She didn’t really respond – she was curled up in a ball. I couldn’t see her face. If her hair wasn’t so distinctly beautiful, I wouldn’t have been so sure it was her at all.
I walked over next to her and slid down the wall. If Megan was this devastated, the bus could wait. “What is it, what’s wrong?” I gingerly moved my hand to her back and started stroking it supportively, to which she pulled back and moved away.
Damn, she must have been really upset. I moved my hand back to my side slowly. “Sorry.” I mumbled.
I sat next to her for a good minute before she lifted her head. “I-I-” she attempted to say between sobs.
“It’s okay.” I soothed her. I had no clue what was going on, but I didn’t want to worsen matters. “Do you want to talk about it, or just sit here? Nod if you wanna talk.”
She stared straight ahead crying for a few seconds before hesitantly nodding.
“Okay.” I replied supportively and slowly. “Can you tell me what’s going on?”
Megan made a few attempts at words which quickly dissolved into sobs, sniffles and sorrows. Following my advice, she took some deep breaths until she was able to control her breathing, and spoke.
I’ll never forget the shock that hit me when I heard her words. My heart froze and lightning struck me as soon as I processed what she told me. I wanted to refuse she said it, I wanted to pretend it wasn’t real. I have have experienced a lot of shit this year, but never in my life had I expected to deal with what came out of her mouth right then.
I was going to have a stroke before I was 40, I swear to God. I’d like to say that I was calmly sitting behind Megan, stroking her back and reassuring her it would all be okay after she informed me of her pregnancy, but unfortunately, no such thing happened. Within microseconds I was up and pacing the cramped hallway in a frantic manner.
“You don’t- how? Why? No way. This isn’t true, you’re lying.” I breathily spat out.
This only made Megan’s sobbing harder, the first thing that sobered me since she told me the news. After looking her over I tried to understand that this was her suffering, not mine. As I tried to conduct a few deep breaths for myself, I tried to remind myself that this had nothing to do to me, and my role was to support her. My hand outstretched, aiming for her shoulder, I steeled myself to be her guardian in this crisis.
Before that happened, I shot right up. What the fuck was I thinking? Of course this had to do with me. It was probably… I was most likely… Oh god… I was a…
“Who’s the father?!” I demanded in a panicked voice, grabbing her head and yanking it up so her eyes could meet mine.
She stared deeply into my eyes with a look that was a third incredulity, a third sadness, and a third anger. “I don’t know!!” she practically shrieked at me.
Oops. Right. How the hell would she know? I needed to calm down. I steadied myself by leaning against the wall and slinking down to meet her, still conducting those deep breaths. Eventually I built up the bravery (or nerve, I suppose) to put my arm around her.
“I’m sorry.” I softly said.
Megan attempted to shove me off, her crying never faltering. She was entirely inconsolable. I sighed, knowing the prudent course – I sat in silence for a good twenty minutes, missing my bus and brushing off one confused sophomore who found us at one point, but mostly just sitting awkwardly, stroking her back, listening to her cry the entire way. The crying got quieter and quieter over time, although the ferocity of it never stopped. She just lost the energy to make noise. Eventually she was making frantic pant noises, her body shaking with every one, when I got the courage to speak again.
“How long have you known?” I asked her.
“I-I… I…” she attempted to speak through her uncontrolled soundless sobs.
I continued stroking her back. “It’s okay. Take all the time you need.”
“T-today.” she managed. “I-I don’t know how l-long I… I’ve been preg…nant for.”
That sounded about right. I frankly knew absolutely nothing about how these sorts of tests went down, and I should have known better, but I had to ask. “Was it a medical test or something?”
“N-not really.” she answered shakily. “I w-was talking to the school nurse and I told her everything.”
“Everything?!” I asked urgently.
I could swear I heard a chuckle amongst her chokes and cries. “Not names.” she reassured me. “I told her I could never, although she w-wasn’t happy.”
Go figure. A hidden sex circle is running amok in Hazelwood and adults aren’t sitting idly by when they find out it happens.
“I was t-there to get tested.” she told me. “To make sure I’m c-clean. She recommended the pregnancy test too.” she sniffled,trying to turn off the invisible waterworks at this point.
I nodded, trying to hide my internal panic. STDs. I never fucking thought of that. God knows who Nicole has banged in the past. Or if May never banged anyone else on the side. Hell, or even…
“Wait, how many? Y’know…” I gestured outward.
Megan shuddered. “Sixteen.”
Damn. Sixteen times, huh? She got around. “Sixteen times, really? Well, we know quite a few of those are with me, and Carson pro-”
Silence hung through the air as I stared, mouth agape, at a frightened Megan who didn’t dare look back at me. “Sixteen guys?”
“I know, I know.” Megan uneasily remarked.
“I don’t even know sixteen guys! God knows how many guys have a chance to be involved in some shit now! I really hope you don’t have an STD, because thi-”
“You’re not helping!” Megan sharply interjected.
I shut my mouth and looked straight forward. “You’re right.” That wasn’t easy for me to say. “I’m sorry.”
I sighed and the silence returned. I had learned to loathe its presence, and decided to get rid of it while I had the ability. “So, are you going to tell your parents?”
“I can’t. No way. It’s out of the question.” Megan immediately and quickly replied.
I gave a low chuckle. “That was fast.”
“Adam, I was raised a John Miles Baptist. Both of my parents are incredibly… y’know… ‘by the book.’ They would murder me.”
Well, thanks, John Miles, for making our lives that much more complicated. And speaking of hypothetical murder…
“So then what’s the plan?” I asked grimly. “Are you going to have the child, raise it? Or…”
“I can’t. I’m not having this child. I’m just… I can’t.” Megan spat out, the convulsions of her crying returning to her.
“Not having it at all? So you’re not even putting it up for adoption? So that means…”
Megan buried her head into her knees and violently shook her head yes. I can’t imagine how much Mr. Miles would have approved of abortion, but personal morals aside, I could hardly blame Megan. I was scared as shit of this whole thing. Chills were running up my whole body, so much so that my blood was running cold. I was one wrong word away from having one of my full-on panic attacks. It was difficult to even ask her the questions I was asking, and I’m sure I was visibly shaking as much as her.
The small voice of Megan took me away from my inner hell. “What…” she began uneasily, then brought her head up. “What would you choose to do if this were your child?”
That just about did it. In a hysterical fashion, I flashed a smile that constantly twitched as I breathed out slowly and painfully. “There’s…” I choked out. “There’s a good chance it is mine, isn’t it?”
I couldn’t take it anymore. Like Megan, my head hit my knees and I was full-out crying. I didn’t want this. I wanted this whole thing to go away. I wanted nothing more at this moment than to just run away from Megan and never return. My whole body was uncomfortably shaking, so much so that every movement my body made almost took the wind out of me. It was my turn to be inconsolable, and based on Megan’s hesitantly placed hand on my back, I think she understood.
Everything raced through my mind. My parents, my future, my deadbeat child I would most assuredly never raise properly, and Nicole’s gaze. I couldn’t escape its path. I knew she would be disappointed in me, I just fucking knew it. It terrified me. This whole thing terrified me. I needed to switch this situation off, to wake up from this dream.
“Adam!” Megan said with force, tapping my back.
I just realized I was screaming. Full-on screaming into my knees. I was terrified. I wasn’t okay. None of this was okay.
“It’s okay.” Megan reassured me as I brought my head up. “We… we have a lifeline here. I don’t want to do it but…” she grimaced. “we don’t have a choice.”
My teeth stopped chattering enough for me to form coherent words. “I think… In… in r-regards to your question…”
“Yeah?” she asked, weirdly interested in what I would do.
I could feel tears fill my eyes. “I couldn’t tell you what to do, Megan. If this ever happened to me, I could never look you in the eyes and tell you what to do. I’m sorry, it just seems so wrong. I would leave it up to the…” the last word hung in my throat like vomit. “…mother.”
Megan and I had the exact same instinct as we pulled each other into a frantic hug as we both nuzzled into the other’s shoulders. So it was decided then, Megan would have an abortion. What a fucking dirty word. It was her son. It was probably our son.It was sickening, the whole situation was sickening. As I tried to regain control over my breathing, I murmured a silent prayer i thanks that this happened with Megan and not May. The last thing I wanted was to have a reason to be trapped with her, especially if the reason was a chapter of life I was just not ready for.
Megan’s hand clung to my other shoulder, clawing at it as she attempted to nuzzle further in. “I’m so sorry, Adam.” she breathed. “I love you so much.”
Don’t say it.
“I love you too.”
She slowly brought up her head and I followed suit. “Thank you so much for being there for me,” she began. “You’re so kind and sweet and I don’t know what I would do without you.”
My eye twitched. I tried to remain eye contact with her, but I ended up scoffing and looking down at the floor.
“What?” Megan innocently asked.
Well, every fucking thing was happening today. I may as well let today be ‘truth hurts’ day. National holiday or something, why the fuck not?
“Megan… I haven’t been good for you at all.” I began. Tears began coming back, letting me know that I was going to have to fight to get through what I wanted to say. “You were young when we first… did stuff. Like, fucking really young. And all because I made you feel like you needed to have sex with me to get me. I made you act all submissive for me, I made you my sex toy, all because it made me enjoy it. I feel… I feel like…” I sighed and faced the floor.
“I feel like I turned you into a slut who gets off on being used.” I told her gravely. “And now here you are, fifteen guys later. One of those guys is Carson, who likes to use girls too. And you’re pregnant, and you’re unsure if you have an STD, and… and your relationship with your brother is ruined, and you keep doing things that damage you, and…” I shut my eyes tight to extract any tears then opened them again. “I can’t help but feel like your life would be so much better if you never met me. I’m not good for you. I’ve been a shitty boyfriend and a worse friend.”
Megan said nothing and looked to the floor. We both said nothing for a bit. Hello silence my old friend.
“When I say I love you, I don’t mean as a lover.” Megan said slowly. It was a new tone for Megan. Authority. It almost scared me. I looked up at her face to see a facial expression I never saw before. It was seriousness, but not anger, like if she were in Debate Club or something.
“But that doesn’t mean there’s no connection there. I love you, and I can see it in your eyes. You love me. That’s why you say it.” She paused for effect. “You curse yourself every time you say it. I can see that in your eyes too.”
I looked at her in shock, and she gave a small, low laugh.
“I’m not the simpleton you take me for, Adam. I notice things. You cringe because you think that love has the connotation of a lover. But it doesn’t. Look me in the eyes. Think of everything we’ve done.”
Not knowing why, I stared deeply into her beautiful, doe-like, brown eyes.
“I love you.” she said, slowly and meaningfully.
“I love you too.” I feebly managed.
“But… we’re not lovers, are we?” she asked me seriously.
I shook my head no. “I don’t think we are.”
She bit her bottom lip. “Okay.” Gathering her strength, she stood up. “Then I’m definitely getting that abortion.”
I have no clue what was going through Megan’s mind. In the space of about a minute, she changed. She was no longer the shy, sweet little girl. Even her playful aura was not as contrasting to her shyness as this. She had something she was craving for a long time now – authority and boldness, the kind that could make her respected. How unfortunate that if this last, she had to get her inner authoritative attitude this way. Secretly, I had hoped she’d go back to the old Megan tomorrow, that this event had no consequences.
But that was stupid of me. Consequences were very real. They were abundant, and they were not over.
“…And out of nowhere, you want to hang out?” Paul asked me, concluding his point.
“Yeah, so what?” I asked.
He shrugged, putting his car into park. “I just feel like it’s not just hanging out. Is there something specific you need to ask me?”
“No.” I told him truthfully. “I just figured since you’re moving away soon this will be the only opportunity I get.” Okay, that part was a lie. I just wanted to get away from anyone who had intimate knowledge of anything that happened within the past month, but still wanted to hang out with someone. Knowledge-hungry yet clueless Paul seemed like the best option at this point.
“Ah.” He grinned at me. “So you heard about Peterson University, huh?”
“Yeah, I heard. Congrats!” I had to force my enthusiasm.
“Thanks.” He opened the car and got out. “I’m excited. Psychology. Understand people. Change the world. All that jazz.”
I followed him out and sized up his house. It wasn’t bad. It seemed like he came from a decently affluent background. “Nice place.”
“Oh, you think so?” he asked coyly as he practically danced his way to the front door. “Crazy enough, it has an inside too!”
This was going to be a long day. I went inside and kicked my shoes off, noting the house’ ‘urban rich kid’ house smell. “Will your parents mind that I’m staying over?”
“Even if they did, they won’t get to meet you.” Paul told me. “You said you had to be back at the school for 6:30, right?”
It was Wednesday. Karate started at 7:00 and like hell Nicole was willing to drive her prized possession to Paul’s place. In fact, ‘like hell’ were her words exactly.
“My dads aren’t home until 7:00 at the earliest. Sorry if you wanted to meet them or anything.”
“Nah, it’s okay. I came here to hang out with you, not your… dads.” I felt guilty with the way I handled the last word, but either Paul didn’t notice or ignored me.
Paul gave me finger guns and grinned. “Sweet. Okay, in that case I have only a few hours to show you everything you’ve been missing. First up, Skyrim. Follow me.” He thundered down the stairs to his basement.
“You seem to be in a really good mood.” I called after him, walking down the stairs behind him only to realize he was nowhere in sight.
A can of something came at me out of nowhere. I barely caught it. I looked at the can to discover it was Coke. “My performance piece is done.” Paul announced, coming out of the darkness back into the room with another can in his hand.
“How’d you do?” I asked.
“I have no freaking clue.” He grinned. “But it’s over.” He walked past me to a couch setup with a fairly big TV and a games console. Popping in a disc while I sat down, Paul sighed contentedly.
I figured now was the time to address a point I remembered from Salvador some time ago, since he seemed unlikely to let anything get him down now. “Do you just not care about living up to your potential in drama class?”
“Been talking to Salvador, have you?” Paul asked back immediately. He turned back to my face, no doubt showing that I had been taken off guard, and raised his eyebrows twice at me before breaking into another smile.
“What gave it away?” I asked.
“He asked the exact same question not too long ago. Something some people might call ‘too harsh.’ Luckily Salvador knows I can take it.” He sat down next to me and handed me a controller. “Start a new game.”
“So what, you just don’t care about not doing well in that class?” I asked him a little incredulously.
“Ouch.” he chuckled. “Sounds like you’ve only been talking to him. Salvador and I both know that I’m the best actor in the class. Not to toot my own horn, but one of the best in the school.”
“Except for Nicole.” I countered.
“Nicole can do better impressions, but she doesn’t quite have the heart for it. She’s a little too hesitant.” Paul said, almost to himself, cracking open his can and taking a swig. My primary reaction was to scoff, but for some reason I thought about it. It wasn’t really in Paul to lie. It kind of made sense for him to be a better actor than her given the weaknesses she had shown me time and time again.
“So when Salvador complains that I’m not living up to my potential, he’s not upset that I’m doing badly…”
“He’s upset that you’re performing at everyone else’s level when you could be the class star.” I concluded.
“Bingo.” Paul remarked between sips. “I had to work my butt off given how terrible I was in grade 9, but that doesn’t mean I have to live up to his standards just because I can. It won’t benefit him when I’m gone, it’s just Salvador nosing his way into people’s personal lives, as usual.” He took a long sip before continuing. “Which he will continue to deny until his dying day.”
“He says this, he always says it…” Paul cleared his throat and put on his best Salvador voice. “I hope to be someone you can talk to, but not your friend. I am not your friend, I am your teacher. Having an intuition for people’s inner workings doesn’t make me their friend.”
“He said that?” I asked.
“Exactly like that when I called him out.” Paul nodded.
“What did you call him out for? I asked, half-watching the opening cutscene of the game.
“You probably know I was with Brianne Lynne last year.” Paul started, then waited for my nod before continuing. “Salvador has a habit of playing favorites. He babies some students for no reason other than the fact that he likes ‘em. He babied the shit out of Brianne, and I called him out for it.”
“Then what did he say?” I asked.
“I just told you.” Paul told me with a smirk.
“Right, right…” I trailed off.
“Some intuition anyways if he can’t even figure out when students don’t want to lead. I think he’s also upset at me for not going above-and-beyond because my year has no leaders. Neither does next year’s class, by the way. Since you brought her up, I can tell you Nicole breezes through the class and her mind is always somewhere else. She acts like drama is her spare class.”
Ah yes. The mythical spare class. That was our name for the optional elective in grade 12. Since you only needed so many completed classes to graduate, some students opted to take one less class and use the time to complete homework from other classes or just straight-up sleep in or something.
“The only actor in my year who really seems to give a crap is myself, and why should I have to lead everyone when drama isn’t my future? It wouldn’t grind my gears so much if he didn’t treat it like it was an obligation. I can act, it doesn’t mean I want to rally everyone else.” Paul continued.
“Is that why you were so upset that day I saw you talking about the performance with… Was her name Lauren?” I asked.
Paul took a sharp inhale and laughed to himself. “Ooh, Lauren. Yeah. That was a thing.”
“Did you have a fight?”
“Not a fight, no…” He scratched the back of his head. “It’s just that she doesn’t dedicate herself to her performance like I do. This year we were asked to put on our own play. Write it, direct it, make the set, the whole thing. The unit is called One Acts, and it’s a shit-ton of work.”
“Sounds like it.” I commented.
“Lauren didn’t really know what she was in for and because I couldn’t work with most of the cats in our class, I went with her for the duo piece I wrote.” Paul continued. “In fact, no one in the class can apparently write either. My piece was the only one that ended up passing Salvador’s quality check, everyone else got a pre-written .”
“Nice job.” I interjected.
“Thanks. So I find out that her performing style is wooden. Like, super wooden. By the way, here’s where you just to choose your character.” He pointed to the screen. “Make it whatever you want, apart from your race it really doesn’t matter. So she can’t act, she can’t memorize a , and she maybe makes it to half of the rehearsals. She jeopardizes my play, so I figure, enh, if Salvador wants me to take initiative, I will. I march into his office and demand a switch of cast. I take steps to ensure my play goes down smoothly and well, and he says no.” He scratched his head again. “Like… that’s just hypocritical. And no disrespect to Lauren. Just like I have no obligation to live up to his standards, she doesn’t have any obligation to live up to mine.”
I nodded. “That’s good of you.” I lamely commented out loud. “Is this good? Is it bad to pick an Imperial?”
“Nah, that’s actually smart if you’re new to the game. The Imperial ability comes in handy a lot.” he commented with the same lame tone to his voice. “At any rate, I did the best with what I was given, but I whipped Lauren hard to get it. I imagine she hates me now.”
“Do you hate her?” I asked.
“Nah, of course not. Hating someone because they hate you is childish. Let’s take you, for example. I would imagine May doesn-”
“I…” I interrupted loudly, holding up a hand. “…wouldn’t go there.”
“Ooh, is there a-”
“I’m serious. Please. Someday I might tell you, but for now… another topic please.” I pleaded with the most serious voice I could muster.
“Uh, yeah. Of course. I’m sorry.” Paul replied genuinely. He got points for that. “I’ll tell you what. Want me to whip up something for us? I thought I got some frozen pizzas upstairs.” He got up out of his seat, regaining his smile.
“Uh, yeah, that would be great!” I replied, trying to regain my composure. At least he was polite about it. As I watched him disappear up the stairs, I put down the controller and checked my phone.I hadn’t checked it since school – as a matter of fact, I was dreading it, ever since Monday. Sure enough, that dread stared me straight in the face as the glow of the screen hit my eyes.
Im having the abortion, everything is planned
I sighed, never taking my eyes away from the text. Megan. I suppose I should have been grateful this was the only time I would be texted something like this, given how much trouble I got into. But still, I couldn’t take my eyes away. I was looking over every word, judging, thinking, overthinking. Still, I suppose I had to respond with something.
I’m sorry. Is there anything I need to do?
Sent. Wait, shit.
Or anything I can do for you?
The dreaded double text. Still, I would have rather come across as clingy than a guy who didn’t care about my own friend. And… my own child. Shit, that still shook me something fierce. I was still young, fuck, Megan was even younger and we already brought a child into the world.
And now we were taking it out of the world.
No. I dont want to talk about it
That was fair enough by all accounts, but it sure as hell didn’t make me feel better about anything. All I could do was stare at my phone and think about Megan, how she must have been feeling.
“Okay, it’s in!” Paul announced as he paraded down the stairs. “All I had was classic pepperoni and cheese. That sound okay?”
“Uh, yeah.” I shouted back as I shoved my phone into my pocket and stifled a sniffle. “Yeah, that’s okay!”
“Cool, what’s up in the world of the Dovahkiin?” Paul asked, taking a gander at the TV screen. “Ah. Nothing, huh?”
“Sorry, I was texting someone.” I meekly replied.
“Hey, no worries.” he replied, sitting back down. “Pizza will be twenty minutes. Someone I know?”
“Trick question. I know everyone at school.” Paul replied smugly.
“I…” I didn’t really want to tell him Megan. I knew myself well enough to know that if I told him truthfully, I would be telling him the whole truth before long, and just as it was wiser to let the dead rest in peace, it was wiser to let Paul remain clueless. “Nicole.”
He sat up. “Nicole? So, you two are remaining in contact, huh?”
Oh shit. ‘Nicole’ was the first name that came to mind, and by the looks of things, that decision backfired badly.
“Uh, yeah.” I mumbled. “We’re all good now. Besties.”
“Huh.” he sat back, eyeing the TV, bother written all over his face.
“What’s up?” Speaking of Salvador, this was a clear-as-day status shift in action. As long as the spotlight was not on me, I was fully content to milk this.
“Hm?” He looked over at me in slight confusion. “What?”
“Well… there’s something there, right?” I asked him. “You reacted weirdly.”
“I don’t think I did.” he dismissed me.
“You don’t have to think you did, you still did.” I boldly pointed out. “Did you and her have a fight?”
“Nah, nothing like that.” he clarified.
“So there is something!” I retaliated.
He grinned. “No there isn’t, you little snoop.”
“Come on…” I egged him on. “You wouldn’t have said something like that if there wasn’t anything.”
“Are you using my own tactics against me?” His grin wasn’t fading.
“Is it working?” I grinned back.
Paul laughed into his hands. “Not bad, not bad.” he admitted.
My eyes gleamed. “Is it too private for me to know? Like, is it something bad?” Bam, the double bluff. Make it sound bad so he’s forced to clarify that’s it’s not… by spilling the beans.
He laughed to himself. “You’re not going to let this go until I tell you, are you?”
“Nope!” I wanted to know. Ever since hearing it from Nicole’s end, and then seeing it time and time again, I was dying to know Paul’s side of the story. Hell, I was 110% ready to hear Paul tell me about that time he did this one thing that abused her trust and like a candle in the windowsill being blown out forever, she was never able to trust him again. Nicole seemed hard on the outside, but especially given her past with Jeff Love and now Phil, it seemed like something that could easily have happened.
“Fine, but it’s really nothing. Hell, it’s lame.”
“I live for lame. I’m craving something lame at this point.” I honestly admitted. “With all the shit that’s gone on in the past little bit, I would love something lame.”
Paul grinned. “Teenage drama?”
“Like you wouldn’t believe.”
He adjusted in his seat. “Well, it’s stupid, but…” he chuckled, almost nervously, to himself. It was clear that Paul was usually on the receiving end of the gossip train, not the giving train. I couldn’t tell whether he was enjoying this rare opportunity to be on the other side, or hating it. Or somewhere between the two.
“Again, it sounds stupid at first until I explain myself. I have a crush on Nicole.”
“That’s it?” I asked out of reflex.
“Right? On the surface it seems so stupid. But it’s bigger than anything I’ve ever felt. I like to think I’m a guy who doesn’t feel much. Like, if life were a sitcom, I’m that comic relief character everyone appreciates but no one actually focuses on. And I’m actually really content with that. But occasionally I like to try to be my own ‘main character’ for once, especially with things I feel passionate about. I feel passionate about solving people’s problems. So, I’m taking psych at Peterson. That kind of thing.”
“So you did something involving Nicole and it backfired?” I guessed. That must have been it.
He chuckled, this time with a twinge of sadness to it. “I kind of wish that was the case. Then at least I could have some closure out of it. Nah, it was just some point in grade ten – she was the shy nobody at that point. Too scared to open her mouth and make something of herself. Like, this was before Jeff and everything. I got it bad for her early – Bri always hated her too. I think she knew I knew she was special.”
“So Brianne broke up with you over Nicole?”
“Oh hell no. We broke up because we were bad for each other, but that’s another story entirely. Anyways, so she was obviously going for Jeff, but he didn’t even know who she was yet. I stupidly think to myself, ‘hey, there’s a chance.’ And even if there weren’t, I always play for the long-term goal. Suppose I try to connect with her, and it goes nowhere, despite me slowly trying to warm up to her after two years. At least I got a good friend out of that. It’s how I got anything and everything remotely close to a girlfriend. Most importantly, there was barely any drama out of it.”
I half-smiled. No drama, huh? I should have been taking notes. It was kind of sweet of Paul to have that outlook – it wasn’t exactly Ghandi, but at least he was being respectful. After a freshman year full of assholes, it was sadly refreshing.
“And with Nicole, I… it… You ever been in love, Adam?”
The question came out of absolutely nowhere, taking me off-guard completely. “Wuh, me?”
Paul looked around the room. “Is there anyone else in here?” He stared at me intently and asked me more slowly, drawing out every word. “Have you ever been in love? And I don’t mean loving someone. I mean being in love.”
I opened my mouth, then shut it, looking away from Paul in thought. I thought for a long time about every interaction I had with Nicole, then everything I ever said and did with Megan. Hell, even as much as it left a bitter taste in my mouth, May popped into my head as I wondered the question. Everything before freshman year seemed irrelevant as I looked over the three unique situations.
“I don’t think I have.”
Paul nodded, a small smile forming on his lips. “Good answer. As many times as I’ve been involved in some kind of romantic situation, I don’t think I could say I’ve been in love more than once.”
“You know it.” he admitted. “I don’t know what it was about her. It was there when I first saw her. It was there when I first talked to her, in my usual me fashion – just randomly striking up a conversation in the hallway.”
“It just didn’t go anywhere?”
“That’s the fucking worst part, excuse my French. It was immediately somewhere. Our chemistry was electric, she really enjoyed my spontaneous nature and she made me laugh. I usually only laugh out of politeness. If social standards didn’t exist, I would barely ever laugh at people’s jokes.” He paused for a bit. “She was… she was a dream. Like, that type of person you only ever read about in stories. I figure she was my one chance, you know? I never felt anything like that around anyone, even since.”
“Then why does she…?” I trailed off, gesturing with my hands. I didn’t want to outright say that she disliked him, but it was clear that she did.
Paul only shrugged. “It’s not like we talked often, maybe like once a week, but there was clearly some kind of something, even if her heart was set for Jeff. We still had potential to be something, until one day.” He snapped his fingers. “Instantly. Just like a switch, she stopped looking me in the eye, stopped talking to me, and any conversation I brought up with her was treated with this cold tone and small sentences. One day, she just decided to hate my guts.” He paused again, shrugging once more in a drawn-out manner. “Now, I’m a bit of an overthinker…”
Yeah, in the same sense that Michael Jackson was a bit of a pop star.
“…and I can’t not keep revisiting sophomore year now. Grade 10. What did I say, what did I do? It had to have been something I did. It was too drastic not to have been. I would give anything to rewrite time, to maybe say things differently, anything to avoid accidentally driving her away in the way I did.” He put his elbows on his knees and buried his head in his hands. “Like, anytime I even see a picture of her on Facebook in passing or something, I just… I stop and stare at it. I can’t help it. I think way too long. What’s she thinking right now? How’s she feeling? I wanted to be there for her so badly when she lost Mitch. She needed someone so badly. But the one time I got the courage to go up to her, sure enough, emotional walls ahoy. I didn’t want to make things worse so I backed off, but I…” I felt his mouth go dry. “I dunno.”
I felt guilty as sin knowing just how close Nicole and I were. “I’m sorry.” I slowly and awkwardly said.
“It’s cool, man. It’s not your fault at all. It’s just…” He stared straight ahead. “It kills me knowing it was once a thing. Like, our friendship was so alive. I would kill just to have even that. She could be with any guy in the world but me, fine. I just want to be friends with her.”
At this point, I felt too awkward and anxious to say anything, so I let silence hang as I waited for Paul to inevitably add on to his thought.
“And soon, I’ll be off. I suppose Peterson isn’t exactly that far away, but it’s enough of a location change to signify a new chapter in my life, you know? That means letting go of the past, and I’m dreading letting go of her.” His hands covered his eyes. “I’m not ready to let go of her, dude. I’m just not. And the worst part of it is, she’ll be on my mind every day and yet at the same time she’ll never think about me again. Ever. I’ll be a good riddance for her for… for what I only know as no reason. I’ll be insignificant to her, the one most important person in the world to me. I just need to move on and forget about her. I know that’s what my future will be. Sometimes I even think that I’m forgetting about her, but then I see another picture of her or something that reminds me of her, and bam, it’s right back to square one.” He sighed deeply. “She’s that kind of girl that can make anything remind you of her. People with cameras, student council, shy girls, girls with long hair… Hell, even Ford cars.” He chuckled out loud, albeit sadly.
“Is karate with her ever difficult?” I asked him, if nothing else to leave Paul alone with his thoughts. I never identified with him more than this moment, and going by how I knew myself, I didn’t want him to think too hard about what he just said.
Paul didn’t respond for a bit. “Sometimes.” he admitted. “I’m sure you’ve seen, she goes from ‘silent but deadly’ to ‘spitting poison’ when she’s at karate. She kinda changed. She never really used to be competitive, but at this point she’ll cut you out of her life if you even know something she doesn’t.”
“That doesn’t sound like something that would mix with your personality.” I pointed out.
Paul slowly smiled. “It really doesn’t.” he admitted. “But I think at this point I just fell for her so hard that anything that becomes her becomes beautiful. I never used to be into girls with long hair. Now it’s all I can look for in a girl. I don’t like the competitiveness, but I don’t hate her for being competitive, I think I just began to hate myself for not liking it. Does that make sense?”
“It makes too much sense.” I admitted.
“Either way, all I am to her is an inconvenience. And for now, for the next month, that’s all I will be. Then summer hits, and I won’t be anything at all.” He got up and stretched. “It’s all for the better. Ask Brianne, I’m a bad boyfriend.”
For some reason, I didn’t need to ask how. I both knew how he was and why I could look past it just from what he told me. All I did was nod.
“Bleh. Talk about your mood draggers, huh?” Paul interjected awkwardly. “I’m gonna go check up on the pizza. If it’s done, we eat, then we finish a quest. Then I’ll drive you to the school. Sound bueno?”
“Bueno.” I repeated. As he started to waltz away, I added, “Thank for having me over. I appreciate it.”
Paul turned around and smiled. “So do I.”
There was only so long I could putz around the weight room on Thursday afternoon before I had to conclude that Nicole was late. I huffed. I hated wasting time like this, especially since I had to get into a mood to get pumped enough to lift. Being denied the satisfaction of actually going through with it really pent me up.
Eventually I was so pent up that I exited the room to go look for her. She didn’t indicate at lunchtime that she was going to cancel, and it was Nicole – she didn’t forget things. She had to be held up somewhere.
She wasn’t in the main hall, or anywhere near the arts hallway (she hung out in the photography room a fair bit). The next stop was the school paper’s office, on floor three near the student council office.
As I approached the ‘T’ hallway near where I could find both rooms, I heard a voice – no, voices. I peered around the corner and sure enough, one of the two voices was Nicole’s, her eyes preoccupied staring a hole through Phil Love’s skull. I kept myself hidden around the corner as I kept peering around to watch the drama unfold.
“Do you seriously expect me to believe that?” Phil icily demanded, his tone so low and cold he sounded like a biblical monster.
“It’s common practice for human beings to believe the truth.” Nicole spat back. “That’s why they call it the fucking truth.”
“Don’t you dare give me that.” Phil growled. “You knew. From the second I come out of that office, you tell me I’m fucking finished. Before we were told, before the vote even fucking happened, you drop that bomb on me. And you tell me that’s your fucking intuition?”
“What else was it, you numbskull?!” Nicole yelled in his face. “What, you think the vote was rigged? These were highschoolers. Scott could have told them you burned down the very school they were sitting in and their peabrains would have still made them go, ‘Oh mah Gawd! Phiyil burnt dahwn the skewl! We’d betta get riyid of hiyim!’”
“You’re so quick to forget you are one of those highschoolers.” Phil shoved a finger in her face.
Nicole quickly swatted it down. “Yeah, but the second you were accused it was game over. Of course everyone was going to turn on you. No one had anything to gain by voting to keep you. Welcome to politics, Philly boy. Do you want to still live in high school dreamland with the idiots, or since you’re graduating, would you like to step into the real world?”
“You have no respect for your council. Or for the school. Why the fuck are you even applying for president next year? You have nothing but contempt for them!” Phil shouted, his face getting red.
“Well, I dunno…” Nicole replied coyly, folding her arms. “I figured it’s better to have contempt for them than to sexually assault them, wouldn’t you agree?”
That was the last straw for Phil. In one swift motion he pulled back his fist and swung right at Nicole’s face in a fit of spontaneous fury. Nicole quickly and deftly leaned out of the way, then once Phil was good and off balance from swinging too far without hitting anything, grabbed his wrist. Stepping in with what I understood was a ‘front stance’ from karate, she twisted his wrist forward and brought her other hand across his arm further up, hitting what I’m guessing was a nerve cluster with the side of her hand. Phil was helpless, falling to his knee and bending his back now that Nicole had him by the arm in an awkward and uncomfortable position for him. She had such a good grip that any time he tried shifting a foot or straightening his back, she just applied a little more pressure and kept him in the position. Looks like if you stay at karate long enough maybe you can actually defend yourself from Student Council thugs.
Phil was utterly defeated. All he could move was his neck and amid his struggles and gasps of pain, he was very vocal about how displeased he was to be in his predicament. That was, until he clapped eyes on me. At that moment, he froze. Nicole hadn’t seen me, at least yet, but Phil had no doubt seen me. I should have pulled back, but I was frozen in fear.
His eyes flared. I could see a mix of confusion, a little fear, and pure anger in them. I couldn’t tell if any of those were at me, or at his situation, but I sure as hell didn’t want to find out. And yet, I was caught ,and he would give up my position any second now.
“So, are you going to be a good boy?” Nicole taunted Phil in a sing-song voice, still holding him down. “That means no hitting. Say whatever the fuck you want, but take another swing and this will start to become a familiar scenario.”
Phil never broke his gaze from mine. “Sure,” he told her. She released him and he fell to the floor, quickly picking himself back up so he could stare back at her. Was he willing to forgive me? Did he want me to watch? Did he want to continue this conversation at all costs? I didn’t get it. What was his end goal here? The look he gave me told me he knew what he was doing, but that may just have been his inner politician.
“Great. Well if you only want me to use words, listen to mine very carefully.” Phil told her with a tone that could cut rocks. “You’ve always shied away from this question. Answer it like the man you pretend to be, right here, right now: Do you think I did it?”
“Did what?” Nicole asked cautiously.
“Do you think I sexually assaulted May?”
Nicole leaned forward, giving him such an intense stare that I half-expected his head to explode. “Hell yes I do.” she told him, enunciating every word.
Phil instinctively grabbed Nicole’s shirt in a threatening manner, which Nicole immediately pushed aside with one hand. “Don’t touch me,” she told him sourly.
“You little bitch.” he almost whispered, his voice carrying the texture of boiling lava.
“Fight me. We already know I’ll win.” Nicole smugly retorted. “Of course you fucking did it. We both know you did. There’s no one else here, why can’t you admit it like the man you pretend to be?”
Oh shit, things were getting serious. I bet Phil thought about looking back at me, but knew better. I couldn’t see his face given the angle, all I knew is that he wasn’t saying anything.
“Okay then, big boy.” Nicole continued. “Prove it. Look me in the eyes and tell me you didn’t. This is your chance.”
“If you didn’t, tell me. I know when people lie, Love. Tell me, just tell me, that you didn’t do it. I dare you.” Nicole challenged him, stepping closer to them, eliminating the remaining space between them. Even though Phil was a tall guy, it seemed as though Nicole was a foot taller than him in this moment.
“I didn’t d-do it.”
Phil’s performance didn’t exactly rival DiCaprio. I couldn’t tell whether he was nervous but still remaining truthful, or caught in his lie. Then again, that wasn’t up to me – at this point, the judge, jury and executioner was Nicole.
“Didn’t do what, Phil?”
“I didn’t rape May.”
The tension hung thick in the air, almost plentiful enough to outweigh the malice. Nicole stared him in the eyes for what seemed like forever. Eventually she started nodding slowly, and I saw Phil’s shoulders relax as he sighed.
“Phil” she asked him innocently.
Nicole grabbed him by the collar. “You’re despicable.” she snarled in his face, letting him go forcefully. He took a few steps before finding his footing.
Phil actually started laughing. It began with a small, throaty chuckle, and evolved into a full-out laugh. “Yeah. Great. Sure, whatever. Believe what you want, Nicole. I may be despicable and all, but hey, what’s up with you?”
“The fuck are you talking about?” Nicole angrily spat back at him.
“Hmm… what am I talking about?” Phil replied in gleeful mock thought. “You told me that I was going to get booted, but I seem to recall you did something else in that hallway. What did you do?”
“You kissed me.”
I was worried my gasp was loud enough to hear? She did what?! Why?
“You kissed me.” Phil practically shouted, making sure he was heard. By me.
My attention turned to Nicole, whose gaze could’ve set ice on fire.
Still, Phil continued. “We don’t exactly need you to look me in the eyes and tell me to both know that you did, do we? So do you really believe me, or are you just trying to cast me as the rapist bad guy so you can try to get over me and move on with your life? I can’t imagine how disappointed Adam would be in you if y-”
“Leave him out of this.” Nicole’s voice stood firm, but she broke eye contact with him, now staring at the floor.
“Great, good point. This would just break his widdle heart, wouldn’t it?” He took Nicole’s chin with his index finger and moved it upward. “Knowing about us.”
My stomach was churning. I didn’t know how much of this I could take. I could feel another panic attack coming on, and yet I couldn’t afford to give my cover. Certainly not now. Phil played me like a fucking fiddle.
“You still did it.” Nicole stood firm. “You still assaulted her. My actions don’t… my actions don’t change that.”
“Mmm, so what do your actions mean?” Phil asked wickedly, grabbing the back of her head and kissing her passionately.
Nicole quickly broke away. “We can’t. I can’t, not anymore. I can’t do it to him.” She started to pace towards the opposite end of the hallway.
“Why? Why?” Phil shouted after her, his curiosity fully invested at this point. Taking advantage of Nicole facing the other way, he whirled around to look at me, his face full of fascination. Grinning, he turned back around. “Could it be that someone broke through your icy shell? Nicole Baker, professional girlfriend?”
“You’re just jealous it’s not you, you fucking asshole.” Nicole spat back. At this point, all I could do was hear them. I couldn’t look at Nicole anymore. I stopped peering around the corner. Instead, I just faced the wall in front of me.
This wasn’t fucking happening.
“No, but speaking of jealousy, imagine if he knew you couldn’t resist me.” Phil piped up.
“I fucking can.”
I shook as I listened to a brief rustling of clothes and the sounds of a heavy makeout session. It was absolutely abhorrent and disgusting. I never wanted to kiss another human being ever again. Eventually, after a minute or so, the noises died down.
“You lose.” Phil announced gleefully.
“So… so what?” Nicole argued, noticeably panting. “In a month it won’t matter. You’ll be out of this school forever. Maybe… maybe I’ll fucking do it. Hell, imagine if I ask him out. The precious boyfriend you wanted to be for so long, scooped up by a lowly freshman.”
“‘Lowly’ is fucking right. Have fun with him. How long do you think it’ll last? I’m betting you won’t even last the summer with him. You may buy into the charm of it for a bit but sooner or later the real Nicole will poke through and you’ll get bored of him, and just toss him aside. You’ll just spend the whole time thinking about someone else anyway.”
“You fucking wish.”
“And that someone is me. And you know what? If I could never be your boyfriend anyway, this is better than Christmas. I’m super happy to be the guy that’s always on your mind instead. It means I fucking win.”
“I’ll forget about you.” Nicole argued.
“But in the meantime, you won’t want to. Besides, when will you truly get over me? One year, two? Who cares? By then you’ll probably have gotten so deranged that you’ll start playing in traffic or something, maybe slit your wrists like you’re always talking of doing.” He paused for effect. “Maybe even overdose.”
Phil stretched out the last word and in a flash I realized the significance of that word to her. He couldn’t have done that intentionally to her. He wouldn’t have. That would have been inhuman.
Instantly I heard Nicole start to cry. “You’re a monster.” she feebly whimpered.
“But…” Phil continued as if she didn’t say anything. “I can’t imagine that’ll happen anytime soon. You don’t have the stones for it. Have fun leading the council, I hope you and Adam have a blast working with each other. God knows you won’t be able to look him in the eyes knowing what you’ve done to him. And hell, if he ever found out, he would be absolutely crushed. He wouldn’t be able to work with you ever again. Sure would make your presidency a difficult one seeing as you already wrote him in as your VP. That’s why you’re never going to tell him about this, right pet?”
Nicole sniffled. “Yes, sir.”
“That’s a good girl. And you know what? I want to go out on a good note, I like that guy. Well… I kinda like that guy. So if he ever asks…”
“I tell him you didn’t do it, sir.” Nicole, doing her best to end her crying, had completely submitted to this guy. Here she was, the most powerful girl I ever knew, and this motherfucker had her wrapped around his little finger, at her expense. I didn’t think it was possible… he was more evil than his brother. He spent this entire year conditioning her, and managed to play me from the moment he saw I was eavesdropping. Phil won. I was the loser. Why the fuck was I even trying?
“Good girl.” Phil said smugly. “Now today my pet said some very naughty things. I think she needs to be reminded of her place.”
Something happened and I heard Nicole gasp. At first I thought it was in pain but it was worse. She was gasping in sensual pleasure.
“Adam’s… waiting for me, sir. He’ll get suspicious if I’m not there soon…” Nicole murmured.
“Ah, he can wait a little longer, can’t he?” Phil asked rhetorically.
“You’re confusing a question with an order. Get on your knees, slut.” Phil hissed.
My heart beat in my chest. Come on, Nicole. Stand up to him. Beat the shit out of him. You can stand up to him, why the fuck are you doing this?! I’ll forgive you. I’ll forgive all. We can still be together, just cut him out of your life. Stand up to him. Please!
“Yes sir.” Nicole answered in a husky tone.
I raked my hands over my face as I heard a zipper being undone. Some clothes rustled, followed by Nicole’s signature involuntary moan. As soon as I heard the distinct sounds of a blowjob echoing through the hallway, I couldn’t take it anymore. As soundlessly as I could, I rushed down the hallway and bolted for the weights room.
I didn’t get it. It didn’t make sense. She hated Phil. Phil mistreated her. I finally worked my way up with her and earned her trust, and now Phil had to ruin absolutely everything for me. I felt so useless, so worthless… so fucking beta.
If I told her about it, she wouldn’t be able to cope. Fuck, her being able to trust me this much was already brave of her, I knew that. And if I just kept it to myself, I wouldn’t be able to live with it. Well done, Phil. Well fucking done.
I sat down on the bench, clutching my head. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know how Nicole felt, or what she did. Was he blackmailing her? It seemed like she was genuinely enjoying being his… his pet. I gagged at the thought. Then why? Was she addicted to him? Why? Why would she even get addicted to such an abusive user w-
A thought. A vivid, fresh thought entered my head. This Monday, in the very halls of this school. Something I had said to Megan.
I feel like I turned you into a slut who gets off on being used.
Phil was me. Phil was another version of me who, upon discovering the devil in the mirror staring back at him, had laughed instead of recoiled like I had. Both of us had used a girl as their plaything at the girl’s own expense and caused their life to become a living hell. The only difference was that I couldn’t bear it and Phil was milking it.
I thought of crying, but I was too tired, too shocked. I couldn’t cry. Should I just give up on Nicole? Even though I cursed myself for thinking such a thing, what other option was there?
Be Paul. That’s exactly what would have fucking happened if I did that. I would have lived a life of regret knowing I had lost that which was so valuable to me. Paul was right, Nicole was a once-in-a-lifetime girl. And she meant too much to me. Hey Paul: I had my answer now – I fell in love, once. And once was all I needed.
I knew exactly what to do. I knew exactly what to say to Nicole as soon as she walked through the door. I breathed a silent prayer that I hung out with Paul yesterday – he inadvertently gave me the perfect advice.
A couple minutes later, Nicole walked through the door to the gym. “Yo!” she called to me as if she hadn’t just been blowing a dude.
“Finally! What took you so long?” I asked incredulously, beaming at her, being happy and casual, and using every drama class I took as well as every fiber of my being to not let anything show.
I would say nothing and let this whole thing pass. I would let Phil have his month, because he would never get to have her again, and I would make sure Nicole would want for nothing else afterwards. I was playing for the long-term goal.
I was still breathing heavily when we had reached Nicole’s place. “Told you you were pushing yourself too hard,” Nicole commented, looking me over as she put the car into park. “Is something up?”
Nicole knew as well as I did that I used working out at this point to get rid of my stress, and thanks in no small part to her, it was practically overflowing. “Exam stress.” I simply answered her, shrugging.
She shrugged back. “Just study a bit. You’re probably just stressing yourself out – it’s easier than you think.”
“And how long did you study when you were in grade nine?” I asked her.
She smugly smirked back at me in answer. Of course, she didn’t study at all. How stupid of me.
“You suck,” I humorously commented as we exited the car.
She turned around and winked at me. “Only for the special few.” she retaliated.
It was becoming harder by the minute to hide my pain from her. I’m sure my eyes gave her a scowl as my smile continued, the sounds of her submissive efforts in the hallway just a few hours earlier still fresh in my mind.
Entering her house had become a familiar scenario to me, and I guess I could at the very least take comfort in the fact that any sex she was having with God knows how many other guys was not in her bed where we spent so much time. Since Nicole’s parents, upon hearing someone else was home, always assumed it was me, I knew Nicole wasn’t bringing any other trophy boys home.
“Hi mommy, hi daddy!” Nicole announced in her dichotomously childish voice alongside her mature posture.
“Hello, dear! Do you have Adam with you?” Mrs. Baker’s voice called from the kitchen. Her voice carried no malice but Nicole still looked at me, rolling her eyes at her mother’s words.
“Yes!” Nicole shouted back with annoyance. “Is that a problem?”
They gave n response as Nicole kicked off her shoes and went into the kitchen. Meekly, I followed, giving a polite wave to the Bakers as Nicole bolted upstairs. It was kind of odd… If anything, the Bakers have been more polite to us than ever, and Nicole was just getting more and more dismissive. Still, I didn’t want to make things more awkward than they already were, besides, her parents didn’t seem at all upset.
By the time I went upstairs, Nicole was already in her room, sitting on her bed with a piece of paper on her lap.
“Whatcha doing?” I asked her.
She didn’t look up. “Nine-letter word for nonsense. Ends with a ‘k.’”
“Poppycock, thanks.” she absent-mindedly mumbled, scribbling something down. She then threw the piece of paper across the room. “I go through three crossword puzzles a day.”
“Why am I not surprised?” I quipped.
“So, what do you wanna do?” she asked, sprawling out on the bed.
I trudged over to the other side of the bed and flopped down on top of it. “Anything that doesn’t require physical movement.” I mumbled into her pillow. “I’m so exhausted.”
“So no sex, huh?” Nicole asked with a giggle.
“…Okay wait, hold on.” I replied, pushing myself up so I could sit down on the bed.
Nicole chuckled.”Thought so. But sure, tell you what. Are you in the mood?”
“…Is this a trick question?” I asked.
Nicole giggled again, purring as she sat up and crawled over to me. “You know, there are ways that we can help… satisfy you…” she cooed, tracing a finger along my body as she eyed me up and down. “But, you’ll need to do something for me.” She gave me a small smile and reached for the back of my head, pulling me in for a kiss. “What do you say, hotshot? Are you up for it?”
I smiled at her suspiciously. “What is it that I’m agreeing to?” I asked her slowly.
Nicole giggled maliciously. “That much you’ll have to find out on your own. But what do you say, squirt?”
One part of me wanted to figure this out. Something was definitely fishy. But the other part of me knew Nicole’s boobs were strategically placed right in my face, and that I missed her. Plus, especially given… recent events… I wanted to remind herself (as well as myself) that she was mine.
I leaned forward and kissed her myself. “I say yes.” I replied, kissing her again and again. My hands went to her neck, massaging both sides as my kisses gained momentum, my passion building. I love you, Nicole. Without a doubt, I love you. I want you to be my lover, and whatever stupid gimmicks you set up for me would be easy to conquer if it meant more time spent with you.
Eventually she broke off the kisses and smiled at me naughtily. “Good boy.” she purred, hopping back on the bed. “Well, first off, I’m a little hungry. Get me a bag of chips downstairs.”
I laughed. “Really?” I asked her. “That’s what I’m doing? Being your little servant?”
Nicole smiled innocently. “Consider this your trial period, my little politician. You wanna be my VP? Let’s see if you’ve got what it takes.”
I chuckled. “I hate you,” I joked, walking out of the room. I practically floated down the stairs, a smile on my face as I thought not only of how much I enjoyed being around Nicole, but the promise of what was to come.
“I said, can we help you?” came a voice, snapped me out of my daydream. Mrs. Baker stared expectantly at me.
“Uh, sorry.” I mumbled. “Nicole sent me down to get a bag of chips for her.”
“Not for the both of you?” Mrs. Baker quizzed me. “Cabinet next to the fridge. Bottom shelf.”
“Thanks.” I smiled politely at her as I opened the cabinet and grabbed a bag, rushing back up the stairs.
“My queen, may I come in?” I teased as I walked in, holding the bag.
“Mmm, queen, huh? Maybe I like that.” Nicole teased, winking, sitting unmoving on the bed. “Drop the bag next to me.”
I did as I was told, a sly smile on my face. Nicole eyed the bag and frowned. “What, no bowl? What, do I look like a savage? If you really appreciated your queen, you wouldn’t make her eat out of the bag.”
The sex had better give me five million orgasms for this. Shaking my head, I went back downstairs.
“Me again.” I called out, making Mrs. Baker lower the newspaper she was reading. “Could you show me where the bowls are?”
“Remember last time you got a bowl? Same place.” Mrs. Baker told me, moving the newspaper back up. Well, no help there. I looked through a couple drawers before finally finding a bowl, then brought it back upstairs.
“Your bowl, Your Highness.” I announced, playing along.
“Well, look at you.” Nicole remarked as she saw me come in. “And you’re only slightly later than I thought you would be.”
My eyes narrowed. I got on the bed, kneeling as I approached Nicole.
“You’re having fun with this, aren’t you?” I asked her in a voice barely above a whisper. “Watching the boy you can’t get off your mind, doing your bidding.”
As soon as I mentioned that I was on Nicole’s mind, the smug look was wiped clean off her face. I smiled in victory, taking advantage of the opportunity and kissing her.
“You’re lucky I worship you like I do. I wouldn’t do this for just anyone.” I stole a few kisses, moving down to her neck. “Or is that the point?” I asked between kisses. “You just like it when I show my favorite girl how much she means to me.” My kisses became longer and longer, and before long, I was using my teeth,making her give a soft ‘ooh’ with every kiss/bite.
After a few more, Nicole pushed me off of her. “Oh, Adam.” she shook her head slowly, looking me in the eye and smiling. “How can I believe you? How can I believe that you call me your ‘favorite girl…’”
My heart sunk. Looks like I hadn’t won her over as thoroughly as I thought.
“…if you brought me something this salty and didn’t even get me anything to drink?” she finished, a gleam in her eye. “Water will do fine.”
I had no clue what was saltier, the chips or me in that moment. So, that’s how she wanted to play it, huh? “When I come back, I’ll make those kisses look like child’s play.” I warned her, getting off the bed.
“Do it, I dare you.” Nicole flirted back, never moving as I left.
The third time I entered the kitchen, Mrs. Baker’s eye followed me, one eyebrow lowered. “She’s just having fun with you at this point, isn’t she?”
“That would be my guess.” I replied exasperatedly. “Cups?”
“Glasses are in that cabinet.” Mrs. Baker said, pointing. “Why are you doing it then? You’re only encouraging her behavior.”
“Yeah, but I like her behavior.” I answered, taking a glass and filling it from the tap.
Mrs. Baker chuckled. “You’re trying really hard to make her fall for you, aren’t you?”
I blushed. “Is it that obvious?”
“Hey, you’ve got my support.” Mrs. Baker replied casually, taking me off guard. I blinked rapidly as the water overflowed in the glass.
“What did you say?”
“I said you have my support.” she repeated. “Duncan’s too. You can be a spineless little worm of a man, but you respect her. If Nicole’s going to marry any of the mansluts she parades through this house, I’d prefer it be the one who doesn’t treat her like property.”
“Property?” I asked uneasily.
Mr. Baker put down his book. “If homicide were legal in this country, half of your school would have gone missing by now.” he gruffly said. “I don’t know what’s worse, the fact that so many boys taught our little girl that her only value is sexual, or how she just kept encouraging it.”
I would have judged Mr. Baker a bit for that first response, but if murder were legal, Phil would be six feet under by now.
“Since you’ve proven you care more about her than sex, of course we’re going to put up with you.” Mrs. Baker added. “You always act like we have it out for you.”
“I’m big on first impressions.” I shrugged, dumping out some of the water. They didn’t respond to that, so I went back upstairs. I needed to stop skipping leg day – going up and down the stairs this much was taking a toll on me. It helped that I was still fatigued.
“Water, mistress.” I teased as I walked in, only to see Nicole drinking from her mint water bottle.
“You took too long,” she simply said, putting down the bottle. “Then I remembered I had my water in my backpack.” She looked me up and down. “Wow, you look tired. Maybe you should drink that water yourself.”
“Oh my god, you little…” I replied with a smoldering tone. Looking at the water, I decided to give her the satisfaction and drink it down. “That had better be the last fucking thing.”
“Well, now that you’re holding a dirty dish, wouldn’t the polite thing be to put it in the kitchen sink? Dishes don’t wash themselves, you know.” Nicole coyly stated. “And while you’re at it, could you take my trash out?”
I gazed at her trash can, full of used post-it notes and candy wrappers and things. I sighed. “You’re so lucky I adore you.” I grumbled.
“I know I am.” Nicole tenderly added.
Aw, for fuck’s sakes, don’t. I really didn’t want to like Nicole right now, but that little add-on made my heart fucking melt. I gave her a smile as I picked up her trash can. “So, what do I…”
“Just take it downstairs. In the kitchen there’s a drawer full of plastic bags. The garbage can is outside.”
Well, okay then. Wordlessly, I took her trash can and, balancing it out with the glass, went for hopefully the final trek downstairs.
“She wasn’t done with me.” I announced, letting my displeasure with the situation be known. “Plastic bags?”
“Next to the sink.” Mrs. Baker replied. I walked over to the sink, put the glass inside, and looked over the contents of the trash.
Normally, going over someone’s personal notes, even their trashed ones, would seem kind of rude, but I couldn’t resist. Something stood out to me – a big ol’ post-it note that read ‘PASSWORD LIST.’ I picked it up and read it over, and sure enough, there was a list of everything, from Nicole’s Facebook password to her Tumblr, to her DeviantA- really, DeviantArt? Well, whatever, you make sacrifices for the people you love. Each password was different.
“Damn, I just found her password list.” I commented out loud. “Shouldn’t she have shredded this or something?”
Mrs. Baker gazed over to me. “Most likely, although when she trashes one list, that means she’s made new passwords for everything.”
“You know a surprising amount about this.” I commented, getting a plastic bag.
“I do it too. Everyone in the family does. We store our passwords to everything somewhere. But we all change them every few months, to prevent anyone getting access.”
“That’s intense.” I replied.
“We’re used to it. It’s thanks to Duncan – he’s a software engineer. He’s used to things like this.”
Woah, a software engineer? Not bad, amigo. Good to know if her parents want us to marry, I’ll be marrying into a well-off family. I took the bag and threw it out, taking Nicole’s trash can back up the stairs.
A little bit down the hallway, I stopped. Turning slowly to face a particular doorway, I thought to myself about the conversation. So, the Baker family stored their passwords to everything, huh?
Looking around to make sure Nicole didn’t spot me, I put the can down and made a slight detour, opening the door to Mitch’s room. The drawings, musty smell, and dust greeted me. It looks like I was right to suspect he would have the password written down somewhere, hopefully, at least. But if they changed them every so often…
My eyes travelled to his desk. This time though, I looked below decks. It was a long shot, but…
Aha! The trash can wasn’t empty. Excitedly, I looked through it. It was fairly full, and it was everything one would expect… Pencil shavings, wrappers… a suspicious amount of slightly stiff tissues… gross.
Near the bottom though, I had reached paydirt. ‘PASSWORD LIST.’ I couldn’t believe my luck. I glanced over it… Facebook, YouTube, DeviantA- oh for fuck sakes. Well, now I knew who to blame for that. Near the bottom, there was a crude drawing, unmistakably his cryptex. I had found it. The clue I needed. Below it sat a simple phrase – ‘The sum of life.’
The fuck did that mean? It was like Nicole’s crosswords – ‘Seven letters, means the sum of life.’ I whipped out my phone and googled the phrase, then ‘word meaning sum of life,’ and sure enough, nothing conclusive. I huffed. I had a clue fall right into my lap and I couldn’t make heads or tails of it. Thanks, Mitch. I sure hope there wasn’t an afterlife – if there was, he’d probably be up there beaming and laughing his smug little ass off right now.
Still, I stuffed the note into my pocket. Either it was going to be important later, or I would make it important. Gingerly, I put the trash back in his trash can and hastily covered my tracks, making my way towards Nicole’s room – I didn’t want her to get suspicious.
Her door, weirdly enough was closed. “Um…” I found myself mumbling aloud, before knocking. “Can I come in?”
“You can.” came a voice behind the door. It was Nicole, but it was tainted with… something. Something I couldn’t identify. Once I had opened the door, however, I realized that the something was lust.
Nicole was wearing just her underwear (complete with a bra, unfortunately), sprawled all over her bed in a provocative position. “Mmm, hello there.” she purred. “Why don’t you put down the trash can and join me?”
I would have joined her in an active volcano. With speed that surprised me, I practically threw the trash can back into its position and was about to get onto the bed with Nicole when she pushed me off. I fell into a chair that she no doubt strategically placed there for this very occasion.
Eyeing my confused expression she cracked a lazy smile. “Not yet,” she told me in a sensual voice. “It’s been a long time since I sent you a picture, hasn’t it?”
I went from being uneasy to liking where this was going in the space of a lightning strike. “Yes it has.” I replied, my smile growing.
“How rude of me.” Nicole commented to no one in particular, standing up. “I know how much you like those pictures.”
As much as I hated to admit it (it made me feel creepy or whatever), I did spend a lot of alone time with her pictures. I never would have admitted it to her, but I missed getting them.
Nicole looked at me, only opening her eyes slightly, and gave a slow giggle as if she was drunk. She was definitely enjoying this. “You look so shocked, Adam.” she told me in a low, quiet voice. “It kind of reminds me of when we first met.”
I certainly wasn’t expecting this, and this combined with how unsure I was of her after… after today, must have been showing on my face.
“Remember what else happened when we first met?” She asked me teasingly, reaching behind her. I heard a clasp undo, although her hands just remained behind her back and her smile got wider. “We got in the car and I knew I’d have fun with you. And in return, you had fun with these.” Her hands came back to her front, and with that, her bra came off, peeling off of her amazing D cup breasts. “Remember?” she asked again, kneading them in front of me.
“I do remember.” I answered quietly, feeling my mouth going dry.
“Good.” she almost moaned, playing it up. She really didn’t need to – the sight of her caressing her amazing breasts in front of me was hypnotizing enough. She already had me rock hard, and I felt like a great load more of teasing was in store.
“Take out your phone, Adam.” she demanded, giving another small smile.
My mouth fell slightly open in shock. “Really?” I asked.
“Don’t you think it’ll be more fun if you’re the one to take them?” Nicole asked, sauntering over to me until her mouth was an inch away from my ear. “Since you were such a good little servant, I’ll even let you tell me which poses to take.” she whispered as her boobs dangled in my face.
She kissed me softly and backed up. “What are you waiting for?” she asked me.
This was too good to pass up. Practically fumbling at my pocket, I pulled out my phone and opened the camera app as Nicole stood in front of me, absent-mindedly holding her boobs.
“You’re the photographer here, aren’t you?” I asked her, smiling at her. “Show off your figure.”
“Giving me creative control, huh? A man after my own heart.” Nicole snickered. “Alright then hotshot, how about this?”
I looked into the phone’s screen as she struck pose after pose, with each one earning my silent approval as she heard the camera shutter sound play. She started off innocently enough, but I could tell she was excited by this too. Starting off coyly, she was covering her breasts but sticking her hips out, enjoying the rise she got out of me. Every time my eyes flared, she gave a little giggle and made a more provocative pose.
My cock wasn’t showing any signs of going down soon, and at this point my lust for her was making me dizzy. It was about time I took some control.
“Hands down, Nicole.” I ordered.
She gave me a slight smirk and she raised her eyebrows, slowly lowering her hands, allowing me full access to photograph her beautiful breasts. I was still in awe – for their size, her boobs were remarkably vibrant, staying just perky enough to be realistic and believable, not to mention downright sexy. Her nipples were a telltale sign she was enjoying and lamenting this teasing as much as I was – they stuck out a noticeable amount, begging to be played with.
“Arch your back. Show those beauties off.” I ordered, my voice thick with desire for her.
“Do you like this, Adam?” Nicole asked me teasingly as she brought one leg behind the other and pushed her boobs out. The camera shutter let her know the answer. “Or maybe do you like this instead?” She switched legs, putting the other one behind as she bent her back a little, grabbing her tits from both sides and mashing them together, keeping herself just upright enough so I could see her beautiful nipples.
I snapped a picture then lowered the phone. “Did I say you could move?”
Nicole laughed a deep, throaty laugh. “No you didn’t, sir.”
Bleh. That word left a bad taste in my mouth. “My name isn’t sir, Nicole.”
The smile slightly left Nicole’s face, as she stared into my eyes. I couldn’t tell if she was upset or just wanted to roleplay something a little more serious, but her body language told me we weren’t stopping anytime soon. “You didn’t, Adam.”
“Good.” I told her. “Now, lose the panties.”
“Yes, Adam.” she obeyed, slowly taking off her panties and showing me them briefly before tossing them to the side. Her pussy was now in view, covered by a thin layer of hair and clearly glistening. She was enjoying this. Scratch that, she was loving this. She wanted me as much as I wanted her.
“Turn around. Advertise yourself.” I ordered.
“Yes, Adam.” she submissively responded, showing me her ass. I focused on her tits so much I forgot what a great ass she had, curvy in all the right places and enough to make you do a double-take. And here she was spreading it for me as she leaned forward.
“Like this, Adam?” she moaned.
“Just like that, Nicole.” I answered, snapping a few more pictures.
She turned around and winked at me. “Am I being a good girl?”
I chuckled. “Yes, but I think I have enough pictures to satisfy me.”
Nicole turned around, smiling hungrily at me. “Aw, does that mean we’re done here?” she asked innocently.
“Not on your life.” I told her confidently, standing up and putting my phone away. “Turn around and bend over the bed.”
At that, Nicole raised one pointed finger and opened her mouth, hesitating to speak. “Point of order.” she finally said.
“Shoot.” I replied.
“Feel free to drive, but the light isn’t exactly green down there.” she explained.
My face was blanker than a sheet of paper. I blinked twice in confusion.
“Ever heard of the term, on the rag?” she went on.
Two more blinks.
“I’m on my period, knucklehead.” she spat out.
“Oh, okay.” I replied. Right. Periods. They were a thing. Um… how was I supposed to proceed? Was it unsanitary, or was it unsafe? Would it be an act of kindness to ask Nicole if we could anyway, or would it be insulting? Or would it be insulting to not ask i-
“So I’d prefer if we didn’t full-on fuck, if that’s okay.” she continued. Well, that answered that conundrum. Her serious expression turned into a smile. “But, if you’ll sit back down on the chair, I’ll give you the next best thing.”
I smiled back and undid my pants, sliding them past my knees. “I was hoping you would say that.” Kicking off my pants, Nicole pulled my shirt over my head. Now we were both naked, save for my socks, and Nicole and I shared a long, passionate kiss. Our tongues fought for dominance as we melted into each other’s bodies, getting out our pent-up hormones and sharing our excitement for what was to come. This was why I fought so hard for her, this was why I was willing to put up with so much shit. She made everything worth it.
“Now sit down.” she told me. “Let me take care of you.” I did as I was told and sat back down, as Nicole followed me, getting down on her knees. Gently, she grabbed my cokc in her hands and started to rub it slowly and teasingly.
“Mm, I haven’t done this in a while, have I?” she asked me in a seductive voice. “Did you miss it?” She gave a slow lick from the base all the way to the tip. My cock was practically jumping in her hands. All of this teasing was going to give me blue balls for sure, but I knew the payment was worth it.
Nicole smiled. “I know you have,” she murmured to herself, using her expert hands to make quick work of me. Every touch was light and delicate enough to make me crave more, to make me want her like a wild animal. She could tell the temptation was getting too much to bear as she licked once, twice, then took me into her mouth.
The initial sensation was like electricity of euphoria travelling through my whole body. The blissful heaven of being inside her mouth made me sigh out loud as Nicole’s head slowly started bobbing. Her skills were as amazing as ever – every movement of her mouth, every skillful swipe of her tongue, the way her teeth made for no discomfort, every part of the experience was downright blow-you-away brilliant.
“Oh my god, Nicole…” I moaned out loud. “This is the best…”
She took her mouth off of me for a second. “Don’t you mean I’m the best?” Nicole asked me. Not waiting for the answer, she dove back in, savoring my taste as she worked her mouth to make sure I was getting as much out of this as possible.
The unfortunate side effect to getting a blowjob from such an amazing performer as her was a less-than-impressive stamina. “N-Nicole…” I warned her.
She released my cock from her mouth and let her hand take over in perfect timing. “So soon? My poor baby must be soooo pent up…” Still jacking me off, she smiled devilishly. “Well, what do you say we try something new?” She picked up the pace, pumping me for all her worth as she stared me down intently. I couldn’t stare back – I could only stare at the ceiling with my mouth open as I felt the load boiling. This would be a big one.
I felt a tingling sensation in my balls as the load began. “N-Nicole!” I tried to give her a full warning, but the one word was all I could muster as my orchestra hit a crescendo. The first rope fired out of my cock and amazingly, I saw Nicole aim it straight at her face as she stuck her tongue out. She was giving herself a fucking facial! The sight added to the pleasure I was receiving from her efforts and with groan after groan, and shot after shot, my balls emptied themselves right onto her face.
“Holy crap.” Nicole commented dryly as the loads began to subside. “You haven’t jacked off in a while, have you?” I didn’t like to admit it, but I hadn’t. What with the news I got from Megan, I was kind of scared to do anything except with Nicole. She made me feel safe, loved. Maybe Salvador was onto something.
As I caught my breath, to tease me further, Nicole licked off most of what was around her mouth, but eventually we had ridden down from the high of our pent-up hormones and I found her a towel. Without even needing many words, we decided to dress and play a few rounds of Left 4 Dead 2 which, partially thanks to my own ineptitude at the game, ended up with the both of us spooning.
“You have an ungodly amount of hair.” I remarked, looking her over.
She looked back at me. “Did you just notice or something?” she asked me.
“It just makes spooning difficult. I’m going to choke one of these days and you’re going to feel super guilty.”
Nicole softly chuckled. “I’ll give you a nice funeral, squirt.” she told me, spinning back around so we could face each other. She gently kissed me on the nose.
I looked down. I couldn’t look her in the eye. I wasn’t ready to. I so badly wanted to build up the courage to talk to her about Phil, to talk her out of it, or even just tell her it was okay, but I just couldn’t. Number one, it wasn’t okay, and I didn’t want to lie to her. Number two, I knew that as soon as I brought it up, she would feel guilty and then push me away. Goodbye, any chance of being with her. Three, for some strange reason I felt like I couldn’t convince her. It was clear Nicole didn’t like her being attracted to Phil any more than I did. She just… couldn’t resist. The fact that she didn’t like it must have made that worse. Even if she promised me she would never go back to him, that was with a sober mind. God knows how he managed to have such a grip over her, but I knew I didn’t witness the last time those two would do something sexual together.
“I think it’s about time I get going.” I let her know, beginning to get up.
Nicole let loose an unattractive groan. “I don’t want you to.” she whined.
“I don’t want to either.” I lied, kissing her nose right back. “I just have studying to do. Not all of us are born with eidetic memories, you know.”
“I don’t have an eidetic memory.” Nicole argued. “I’m just smart.”
“Let’s Groove, artist, album and year.”
“Earth, Wind & Fire, Raise, 1981. That doesn’t count, ‘80s jams are my… my jam.”
“Nailed it.” I laughed, getting off the bed. “I’ll text you when I’m home, okay?”
“Yeah, I wanna know you made it home safe.” Nicole sarcastically fired back. “A bear could eat you or some shit. There’s like a hundred meters between our houses. If you didn’t get home safely, I don’t think you deserved to leave the house in the first place.”
“Love you too.” I joked, then blushed. Even in joke form, it still felt weird telling Nicole I loved her, especially since I knew she wasn’t going to say it back.
As I looked back at Nicole, I saw the awkwardness wasn’t lost on her either. She was looking at the floor beneath me, back at her TV, anywhere but in my eyes. “Yeah, text me when you get home.” she softly added.
I took that as my hint and finally left her room, going down the stairs in time to see her parents putting a note in a jar. As I entered the kitchen, I recognized the jar as the ‘Disappointment Jar’ I saw before.
“Not staying for dinner?” Mrs. Baker asked me.
“No, I hope that’s okay. I should be getting home.” I said, a tad hastily, walking out of the kitchen.
“Are you wondering what’s in the jar?” she asked, making me stop mid-walk.
I spun around. There was only one note in the jar, the one that was freshly added. “Yes,” I admitted. “But I imagine it has something to do with me, and I’m too scared to ask what it is.” Silence filled the room, so I continued. “Because I’m a wuss.”
Mr. Baker gave a single chuckle, never taking his eyes off of his book. “At least you’re honest about it.”
“Adam, what happened to our agreement? I thought you were going to be different. I think you’ve forgotten how easily we can hear what goes on upstairs.” Mrs. Baker said with the same tone as a scolding mother would give her own son.
I cringed. I was afraid of that. “I didn’t think it would happen either.” I told her. “Things just sorta… evolved.”
“Listen to me.” Mrs. Baker told me. “When you tell us you’ll be doing something and we start to open up to you, that’s because we trust you. It doesn’t help when you go behind our backs and do something else.”
“We can’t trust you if you do that.” Mr. Baker added.
“We’d rather you told us you were having sex again.” she concluded.
“Really?” I asked.
“Really. If you’re going to, just tell us. Like we said earlier, we’ve just accepted that you’re going to be around more often. And since you make Nicole a little happier around the home, we appreciate that.”
Mr. Baker put down his book, a rare move for him. “Ever since last August, things have been tough around the house.” he told me. “But Nicole got hit the hardest. We haven’t seen any real improvement in her mood until you.”
“And we are grateful for that. It shows you actually care about her.” Mrs. Baker continued. “We trust you with her feelings. Just know that Nicole won’t do this for just anyone.”
I stared at her for a few seconds. “Meaning what?” I asked, gathering that she had a point to this she was getting to.
“If you break our little girl’s heart… we won’t forgive you.” Mrs. Baker simply stated.
“She’s vulnerable.” Mr. Baker added.
“And we know there will be some low points in your little… relationship or whatever you two have. But if you send her home crying… if you two break up badly or she can’t look you in the eye or you make her life worse in any way, you won’t be welcome back in this house. You can count on that.”
Internally I let loose an angry roar. This complicated everything from Phil tenfold. Twentyfold. I wanted so badly to have the talk with Nicole about this. Up until now I let it slide because I valued her feelings more than mine. Now I lost the opportunity. Even if she was just upset at herself… Even if she would be okay in a month… Even the best-case scenario looked bleak now that her parents decided to stick their noses in. Now I had to bottle everything up, as always, and not tell anyone. Not Salvador (God knows what complications would arise from that), not my parents (that would require way too much backstory), not Paul, not Megan, not Carson… This was a problem. This was a big problem.
“No problem.” I told them.
I had always tied the normalization of seeing things growing to the end of the school year. I felt like it was fitting to feel freed from the shackles of school just as everything started growing again. It was summer’s saving grace to me. Or at least late spring’s.
A week to exams. I felt like I may as well have blinked and second semester flew by. If I was any more ignorant, I would have presumed this was what it was like to grow old, on a much smaller scale. It wasn’t that time was getting faster – I was just less able to grab it as it flew by. Plus, having stimulating classes definitely helped. I could remember any of Salvador’s classes way more vividly than any of Mr. Brock’s classes. Then again, gym classes may as well have blended together. I guess a better example would have been history classes, and bless Mr. Anton’s heart, he certainly tried to make history interesting.
Spanish and geography classes were two great examples of things I tried to block out of my mind for incredibly different reasons. When it came to Spanish classes… I felt a weird sense of vulnerability. Before high school I never really got anything below a 70, and now, I just wanted to pretend Spanish class didn’t exist. Even though my parents were decently accepting of it, I didn’t even like looking them in the eye when they brought it up. I was glad that it would be over soon.
On the other side sat geography class, where the one who didn’t dare look people in the eye was the teacher, of all people. Mr. MacDonald was a good actor, I’ll give him that – there was barely any difference to his attitude after he got caught, unless he was speaking to me. He got quieter and would look down at the floor more often, and every time I couldn’t help but look at Megan, who got uncomfortable and looked at the floor herself. I really needed to stop doing that. If not for Megan’s sake, to make sure no one suspected anything. For all the class knew, we had a threesome and I was the only one that was proud of it or something. I shudder to think.
It was a testament to my personal growth to have seen where I was at this point of the year. A crowded gym, the day of the Student Council election. I was the only junior on stage, and apparently the only junior in the history of Hazelwood to be on this stage twice in my first year, and yet, I wasn’t nearly as nervous the second time. I could have said that I had gotten a better grip on my anxiety, but I knew too well that the true reason I was faring better this time was sitting right next to me.
“This is boring.” Nicole dryly complained as she stretched, students filing into the gym, waiting for Mr. Scott to make an appearance. “How’re you holding up? Gonna start crying again?”
“Fuck off.” I retaliated as she grinned. “So, what happens if you get in but the other guy gets in for VP? Who’s even running this year anyway?” I looked around me, hoping the other chairs would offer some explanation.
Nicole shook her head. “Not how it works. If I get in, you’re in. Whoever the president picks as VP runs with them.”
“Oh, cool.” I mumbled, mostly to myself. “So it’s like an actual presidential race.”
“Kinda, except it’s about two years shorter, doesn’t use attack ads and the Canadians haven’t found a way to butcher it yet.”
I had no clue how the Canadians handled politics. Frankly, it took her saying this to remind me they knew what politics were. “So who’s the VP running against me?” I knew Jeff Swanson, the ‘current president,’ was running against Nicole, but even though it was a little late, it may have been wise to have some working knowledge of the competition.
“Matt Schneider.” Nicole absent-mindedly, looking at her nails. As soon as she felt my gaze fixate on her, she looked back at me and gave me an all-too-innocent smile. “Play nice.”
My head went back to look around, eventually finding Matt. He was sitting next to Jeff, drumming on his thighs in anticipation. As soon as he saw me, his gaze fixed on mine just as mine fixed on him. Surprisingly, there was no malice in his gaze, but no warmth either. His eyebrows moved up to acknowledge me, then he looked away in another direction.
“Is he making you uncomfortable?” Nicole asked.
“No, no, he’s fine. I’m fine.” I assured her a little too quickly.
“Be honest.” Nicole told me sternly, still not looking me in the eye. “He already kicked the shit out of you once. I don’t want it to happen to you again.”
My heart stopped. She knew. I mean, of course she knew, but she knew. Did she know before she beat him up? Did she know instantly? This wasn’t the freaking time to have a curveball thrown in my face.
“How long did you-” I began to say, getting cut off by Mr. Scott clearing his throat at the podium microphone. As he continued with his usual greeting, Nicole gave me a sideways smile.
“Good afternoon, staff and students. This is Mr. Scott speaking.” Classic. “Today, as you all know, is the day we elect next year’s student council. The student council has always been an important part of young ambitious students wishing to…”
“This is stupid.” Nicole angrily grumbled as Scott continued.
“Huh?” I asked.
“I said this is stupid.” Nicole repeated herself. “It’s always been the duty of the acting president to make the introductory remark. Phil shouldn’t have even been removed in the first place, now they’re just trying to rub out his entire role as if it never happened.”
I couldn’t help but feel a twinge of jealousy in how Nicole talked about Phil, knowing what I knew. Would she have spoke so highly of him if she weren’t… No. Can’t think about that. Not today. I didn’t want my nerves to get the better of me, not twice in a fucking row.
“Do you think he did it?” I asked. Brilliant. That was sure to change the topic.
Nicole gave me another sly smile. “That’s irrelevant to the whole thing, squirt.” she softly told me. “I’d like to think bureaucracy exists for a reason. When we start finding exceptions, it becomes harder and harder to put that genie back in the bottle. Enter Scott, parading around, enjoying what should have been Phil’s democratically earned responsibility.”
I turned my attention to Scott, who was making some speech about student empowerment. “Well it’s a good thing he won’t be doing this two years in a row then, huh?” I asked her, trying to make her feel better.
“Yeah, hopefully.” Nicole retorted. I went back to listening to Scott’s speech, before Nicole cut in again. “That said, if there was one president this had to happen to, at least it’s Phil.” She turned to me. “Do me a favor, hotshot. If you have any good memories of the guy, burn them.” She turned back. “He’s a vile, cruel, evil person.” She looked down at her knees. “Evil.”
I looked down at my own knees too. Nicole blamed herself for this, at least partially. I was sure of that. I was all too knowing of what she was saying, and why she was saying it. I wanted to tell her.
I know about you and him.
Such a simple sentence. If I said it right, I wouldn’t need to elaborate. She wouldn’t cover up talking about the stupid dating period they had. She’d know that I know. It would be out in the open. We could work it out together. We could work him out of our lives. All I needed to do was say it. Say it.
“I know-” I managed before my nerves acted up. Shit. Almost had it. On the inside, I could feel myself trembling, and my throat closed up. So close yet so fucking far.
Nicole chuckled. “No, trust me, squirt. You don’t. If you think you’ve seen his bad side, you probably saw his good side from a bad angle. The man is pure evil.” She turned to face me. “Look into my eyes. Tell me you’ll stay away from him.”
A rush of adrenaline surged through me. “Will you?” I asked her.
I expected Nicole to be taken aback, but she just looked at me, readying her answer in her head. As she opened her mouth to speak, the voice of Mr. Scott announced, “Nicole Baker!” Nicole gave me a small smile and stood up, walking away.
Any weakness or even potential weakness evaporated as she swayed up to the podium to a surprising amount of cheering from the crowd. It was absolutely insane how Nicole had the entire student body wrapped around her little finger.
“Well, well, well…” she began, surveying the crowd. “This has been a moment I’ve been looking forward to all year. Do I even need a speech?”
Her question was met with a cheer of “NO!” from the crowd.
“Well, tough. I brought one anyway.” Nicole retorted, pulling a piece of paper from her pocket. “Now, I could tell you all why I’d make a good president by promising you stuff, but I think going over what I’ve already done would be a pretty good indicator. So, did you all enjoy the Tight n’ Bright dance? Y’know, the one with an actual DJ?”
I giggled to myself. I stayed home from that one because the name sounded nauseating enough, and Nicole stayed behind with me. Not that anyone in the crowd knew that, especially given their cheers.
“You’re welcome.” Nicole winked. “Music kids, did you appreciate the funding increase this year? You were finally able to tour around the middle schools this year. Do you want that again next year?”
More cheers came from the audience, some louder than others for obvious reasons.
“And hey, how about some promises for next year? Like a new microwave for the cafeteria, and actual mirrors for the washrooms instead of that fake plastic shi-” she stifled a grin and glanced at Mr. Scott. “…stuff?”
More cheers. I looked over at Mr. Scott, who was trying his best to hide how much he didn’t approve of this situation.
“I’ll see to it that the next year we have is our best yet. It’ll be a privilege working for the best student body in the world. Are you ready to whip this school into shape?”
Students cheered in agreeance.
“Are you ready to become the best school in the state?”
They were really getting revved up now. The cheering in the gym was borderline unbearable.
“Then get out there and vote for your new president! I can’t do it alone. Ductus exemplo!”
Ductus exemplo, the school’s motto. Something like ‘lead by example’ in Latin. Why did school mottos always have to be in dead languages?
Grinning at the crowd one last time, Nicole took her seat and beamed at me, the cheering still almost deafening as Scott tried to quiet it down.
“Not bad.” I commented, giving her a golf clap.
“Not bad? I fucking nailed it.” Nicole replied. It was true – it wasn’t even her words, but how she said them. Nicole could give a speech to the National Association of Paraplegics and still get them out of their seats. As Scott quieted down the crowd, he introduced Jeff Swanson, who walked slowly by us.
“Don’t bother.” he told Nicole. “You’re in way over your head. You need to be more than a popular slut to be a president, Nicole.”
Nicole was unmoved. “Flectere si nequeo superos, acheronta movebo.” She told him, in what I presume was more Latin. He rolled his eyes and walked to the podium, readying his speech, as Nicole turned back to me. My eyes never left attempting burning a hole in the back of Jeff’s head. What was it about these situations that made everyone so awful?
“So, you prepared this time?” Nicole winked at me.
“Yeah, I think so.” I nodded, turning back to her. “It’s basically just why I think I’d be a good VP, right?”
“Yup! No required. I made sure of it.”
“Hey, I’m decent with a . I just forgot about it the first time.” I defended myself.
“And you’re telling me you wouldn’t have forgot about it this time too?” Nicole playfully prodded me.
“Fuck off,” I chuckled. I didn’t want Nicole to see me sweat, but on the inside, I was definitely nervous. We sat, not talking, as Jeff finished his speech and got an applause, though it wasn’t nearly as big as Nicole’s. I started breathing deeply to prepare for my inevitable time in the spotlight.
“And of course,” Mr. Scott began, taking back the microphone, “behind every good president is a good vice president that helps them manage the council. This year, we have Matt Schneider running alongside Jeff Swanson…”
A polite round of applause rang through the crowd.
“…and Adam Watson running alongside Nicole Baker.”
The applause for me may as well have not existed. Instead a sea of murmurs and concerned whispers crashed ashore of the stage, darkening my face with the knowledge of an impending squall.
I have a tendency to go all Jack Kerouac when I’m worried, and Nicole didn’t have to hear my inner poet to understand the lack of applause concerned me.
“Don’t worry, hotshot.” she assured me, grabbing my hand and squeezing it. “They’re just confused that such a lil’ one is running.” She let go of my hand and ruffled my hair. “You’re gonna do great. The people love you. Don’t worry.”
“Correction, the people love you. I’m just drifting along.” I grumbled back to her, then smiled. “And every day you give people a new reason to love you.”
Nicole rolled her eyes. “I didn’t sign you up as my VP just to ride the Cheesy Express, dude.” she lamely commented. In the background, Matt walked past us up to the podium, readying his speech. “And you’ve done a good job this year. Fucking own it. If I want you as my VP, I don’t want you to always think you’re riding my coattails. You might start doing it.”
“I’ll pull my weight.” I promised. I wasn’t ready to say I had done a great job – my duties were small at best and the drama spotlight was centered on me a little too often to be comfortable this year.
“I sure hope so.” she said, smiling. “You ready to go?”
“I think so.” I replied thoughtfully. “You mind if I ask for some silence? I just need to… like, y’know, ready myself.”
Nicole nodded and faced the front again, giving me the time and space I needed. I wasn’t exactly zen, but I definitely could put the time ‘alone’ to good enough use that by the time Scott called my name, I could walk up to the podium without having a panic attack. On the way there, Matt mouthed, ‘good luck’ to me, which I just gave a nod in return.
Hello crowds my old friend. I could picture the crowd the last time I ran as I readied myself and cleared my throat.
“Um…” I began nervously. “Hi.” I chuckled and shook my head, smiling on the outside but hating myself on the inside. “M-many of you remember me from this past year. Megan Schneider and I were happy to serve you all as your grade nine reps. This coming year, I’m hoping to put these skills to work and double down…” I took a breath. I felt like I was dying. “…double down on the amount of work I’ll put in for this school. Like this year, I’ll be making sure I listen to the whole student body when Student Council makes their decisions. Being on Student Council was a great opportunity this past year and if you elect Nicole and I to lead the Student Council this year, not only will Nicole shape the school into the best it can possibly be, but I’ll personally see to the fact that all of you will have your voices heard. Every single person at this school matters and Student Council should reflect that. Let’s make this coming year the best it can possibly be. Thank you.”
The crowd gave a sadly modest applause as I went back to my seat and Mr. Scott took over again. As soon as all eyes were off me, I curled into my chair.
“I blew it.” I mumbled into my knees.
Nicole’s hand was supportively rubbing my back. “You had a rough start, but at least the ideas were there.” she said soothingly. “For what it’s worth I’m still proud of you.”
That was why I was willing to fight so hard for her. I looked up at her and smiled, wondering how I had such good luck to have her in my life. Feeling more confident, I surveyed the crowd as Mr. Scott made his closing remarks.
My smile faded as my eyes locked with another pair near the gym doors. The door was ajar, and leaning against the doorway, arms akimbo, leaned the near-silhouette of a tall senior, hair red and eyes blue. There was the beginning of a small smile on his face, though his eyes were cold and practically pierced my soul. He just stared me down, unmoving, telling me exactly what was on his mind with his eyes.
Maybe it wasn’t good luck for Nicole to be in my life. Maybe I was just the placeholder. Maybe fighting for her was pointless. But I was young and stupid, and nothing could stop me from trying.
“…In Revere’s case, the news went all the way to Ashby by nine o’clock, but William Dawes’ announcement that the British were coming was so underwhelming that Waltham, one of the main towns he visited, had so few of their men fight that morning that until recently, many historians thought the town was mostly made up of loyalists. It turns out, Dawes was just so terrible at communication that almost nobody in Waltham knew that the British were coming.” Mr. Anton’s arms started flailing around as he got excited. “Come on, Dawes! If you’re not going to rev up the patriots, just send someone else!” He mimed riding a horse across the classroom. “Hey. I guess the British are coming. Anyway, I should leave.” He mimed riding away then stopped the mime routine giving us all an incredulous look.
Mr. Anton was freaking weird. His way of making history interactive definitely made us all pay attention to the lesson, but maybe not for the reasons he had hoped. Either that or he was playing us all like fiddles.
Being used to silence following his points with perhaps a few giggles mixed in, he continued. “One of the reasons why Revere’s ride was so crucial t-”
Suddenly, the PA system crackled, practically making Mr. Anton jump at the sudden intrusion. “Good afternoon staff and students, this is Mr. Scott speaking…” began the drone over the PA.
I held my breath. It was happening. We all voted right after the assembly in our first-period classes, and now the votes had been counted. The results of the election. I wasn’t quite shaking in my boots, but a lot was riding on this.
I blinked in realization. A lot was riding on this. If Nicole didn’t win, we wouldn’t be working together on the council, which meant less was at stake. If she didn’t win, there was a possibility that we could have an open discussion about him. We could finally get this out in the open, and, fingers crossed, behind us. All of a sudden, I didn’t know where my allegiances lied.
“We have the results of the Student Council election that happened today, starting with the treasurer…” Mr. Scott went on. Well, this was going to take a bit. There were about 12 students in all, 13 this year since Megan and I got on together. There were about eight roles Scott had to go through before he got to us, which, lucky for me, left me plenty of time to overthink.
Name after name flew through the classroom to moderate polite clapping. Some names I knew, some I didn’t. “And your president this coming year will be…”
Of course he paused. Of course he freaking paused. At this point I wasn’t even hoping for one result or another, I just wanted to know.
“Nicole Baker!” he announced. “This also means your acting vice president this coming year will be Adam Watson.” A few students cheered for me and the guy next to me politely patted me on the back. I looked over to see it was Baseball Kid. I didn’t even know he was in this class.
“Thanks.” I politely replied to everyone, nodding. I guess that was that. It wasn’t exactly a twist to see that the team with the super-popular Nicole on it had won, but there was enough of a chance she wouldn’t win to make it interesting.
A chance that was fully caused by me, I thought bitterly to myself.
“All new council members please meet in the principal’s office immediately following these announcements. Thank you and have a good day.” Mr. Scott concluded.
“Well, it looks like we have a politician in the room.” Mr. Anton stated, acknowledging me.
“He was on the council all year.” a student pointed out from the peanut gallery.
I know that Mr. Anton had a bad habit of actually responding to people that chirped him and I didn’t want to stick around for that cringefest. I stood up, excusing myself from the room before anything could ensue, making my way to the principal’s office quickly and somewhat nervously.
By the time I had gotten there, almost everyone had already showed up, including Nicole who was sporting the most smug grin I had ever seen in her life. When I got there, she winked at me in acknowledgement. I couldn’t help but chuckle.
The students were a veritable soup of different cliques I could identify on sight – mostly people who at least looked like they could have been popular, though there was the occasional other demographic. A guy who looked like he never left a library in his life, a girl who was permanently stuck in the goth phase, a guy who may as well have carried around a neon sign saying ‘Theater Kid,’ among other things. A few seconds after I got there, a tall blond boy came in behind me, and then there were ten. Mr. Scott asked Blond Boy to close the door behind him and cleared his throat.
“Good afternoon, students.” This is Mr. Scott speaking. “Congratulations to all of you for making the senior student council. In this meeting, we’ll be going over all of the responsibilities and expectations you will be expected to uphold as part of this council.” He turned to Nicole. “And how easy it is to go too far and do damage to the student body.”
“You’re, uh, makin’ some solid eye contact with me there, Mr. Scott.” Nicole replied back, cool as a cucumber yet still visibly weirded out. “Anything I should know?”
“Just trying to make sure I look at everyone, Nicole.” Mr. Scott replied a little too cheerfully. “So, first off, the Treasurer’s duties…”
“And boom goes the dynamite.” Carson announced smugly as he threw his controller in the air in celebration. “Maybe you should take a break from climbing the corporate ladder and learn how to fire a gun.”
“I’m assuming that means ‘congratulations’ in your language.” I shot back.
“It means ‘good for you, buddy, but I dunno why you do this to yourself.’” Carson replied. “It looks like student council shit is one big headache after another.”
“Hey, it has its perks.”
“Like what?” Carson got up, starting to make his way to the kitchen before he pointed at me. “And don’t just say something like, ‘I get to help the students.’”
I chuckled, looking down. “I’m sure if you weren’t taken you’d love working under Nicole as much as I do.”
A huge grin broke out on Carson’s face. “You got me good.” he replied. “Yeah, a’ight. So you’re just there to be a birdwatcher?”
“Well, there’s also the cheesy helping people out stuff too.” I replied, shrugging.
“Buddy.” Carson shook his head, walking over to the fridge, pulling out a drink.
“What? Someone has to do it.”
“I just don’t see the point. Other than the Nicole thing, totally valid.” He resumed his sitting on his gaming throne. “Oh, and plus, I’m not taken.”
“No?” I had to try hard to hide my tone of glee. Carson was a friend, and I wanted to stay far away from May, plain and simple.
Carson shook his head. The good news was he was back to his emotionless primal self – no more deflation and ennui. “Nah. It was never gonna work out. It turns out…” He sighed annoyedly. “…that she’s switching schools in the new year.”
“Oh snap!” I replied, carrying on the conversation. “Sorry about your luck.”
“Sorry about hers. She says she’s getting bullied too much and she wanted a fresh start.” he shrugged. “Shit happens, right? If it ain’t meant to be, it ain’t meant to be.”
“Yeah.” I mumbled absentmindedly. Bullying, huh? Was it too egocentric of me to think she was referring to me? I mean, I saw a couple times where people called her a skank or some stupid shit in the hallways, but we did have that huge fight not too long ago. And it was so like May to play the victim card in the face of absolutely everything.
Although… I mean, fuck, she was some kind of hypocrite about it, but she was sexually assaulted. Or at least Nicole was sure she was. And if Nicole was sure of something, odds were it was true. Maybe she didn’t want to outright say, “I’m switching schools because this one reminds me of the time I got raped.” Go figure.
I hoped she wasn’t talking about me. She was despicable, hell, my worst enemy. But I knew why I wanted to switch to Hazelwood and get away from the people in my life in the first place, and there was a phrase that came to mind when thinking of May in the same situation – ‘I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy.’ Part of me felt relieved she was, without a doubt, gone and not a problem anymore. But at the same time, I didn’t want to perpetuate that which made me suffer. Last thing I wanted to be was Pierce. I wanted to forget my past, but I didn’t want to become my past in the attempt to move on from it.
“Yo, Adam. Wake up.” Carson’s voice broke me out of my trance.
“Wuh? Sorry.” I shuffled uncomfortably.
“Yeah, just… stress from exams and shit.” I rubbed my eyes.
Carson’s smile got wider. “Hey man, that’s why you’re here, right? I’m ordering a pizza. Pick the next map.”
My smile followed suit. “Deal.” I replied as Carson got up. Even though my smile disappeared as he left to get the phone, I still felt better knowing I was surrounded by friends. After all, if I allowed these things to keep making me question myself, I wouldn’t have been moving on from the past at all.
I wasn’t really sure what Megan thought she would get from us spending lunchtime together but it was as awkward as I expected it would be. Once we knew that everything was, cough cough, ‘sorted out,’ we made a pact to never bring it up again.
And yet here we were. Barely making eye contact, let alone talking, eating our lunch practically in solitude despite being few feet away from each other. This hallways used to be occupied by May, but she was barely to be seen these days. Apart from her teachers, practically no one ever saw her. Not that I would ever ask the teachers or anything – I wanted to never see her again, and I wasn’t about to complain when I got just what I wanted.
In one respect, at least. In another, I wish I could have just turned time back. I wish I had never asked Megan out to the dance. I wish I never got close to her. She could have grown up to be innocent and pure like she would have had I not intervened. I regretted a lot of things with Megan – our relationship, our sex… our fucking child. It was a nightmare that it happened and another that she got rid of it so readily, though I was never going to admit that to her. It’s not like I was ready to raise a child either. I just… I was so scared. I was asked for an answer and I legitimately had none. It was one of those situations where you weren’t mentally prepared to do anything but close your eyes and pretend it’s a bad dream.
“Are you thinking about it?” Megan asked quietly. I could only nod in response, to which she sighed. “Me too.”
“We said we wouldn’t talk about it though.” I pointed out. “Don’t we want it to just… go away?”
“I don’t feel like it’s going to.” Megan replied sadly. I scoffed then shuffled over, putting my arm around her and squeezing supportively. We were somewhat more comfortable with silence at this point. It wasn’t really a big bad villain replacing what we wanted to say to each other now, it was more like a mutual understanding that we were exhausted. Everything we could have said to each other, we already knew and just made us spend our energy. It was like Salvador said, the silence was more beautiful than any of the ugly truths we had to regurgitate.
But inevitably someone had to speak. “So how are you going forward?” I asked her. “Like, all things considered.”
Megan looked down at the floor for a long time, processing her response before she began. “Sex is awful.” Simple and to the point I suppose. “I thought I was having fun with it, I thought that good things were coming from it. But I got lost along the way, you know? I rushed in too quickly and I didn’t know what I was in for. I wish I never had sex in the first place. I wish I could turn back the clock.”
I nodded. “I feel the same way.”
Megan looked at me with uncharacteristic boldness and shook her head. “No you don’t. You didn’t reduce yourself to a toy for someone you thought you liked. You didn’t sell yourself as sex fuel for dozens of people just to prove to yourself that you were desirable. And you didn’t have to make the decision to kill your child.”
I hung my head. “Y-you’re right.” I admitted in a tiny voice. “I’m sorry.”
“I forgive you.” Megan replied with a surprisingly strong voice.
“What I meant was that I regret all of the bad that’s happened here.” I tried to explain. “Like with you, and Nicole, and May, there was just a bunch of bullshit that didn’t need to happen, and I hate it. I hate that the only time we were in a relationship, it was built out of lies. You deserve more than that, because you’re really special and important.”
“Thanks.” Megan nodded, not visibly affected by my attempts to make her feel better about herself. “Where are you going from here?”
“I wanna find out what love is.” I replied. “Like, real, actual love. You know? I think there may be something with… I mean…”
“Nicole?” Megan guessed, a small smile appearing on her face. When I nodded, the smile became bigger. “I thought so. Go for it, Adam. I hope you find what you’re looking for.”
“What about you?” I asked. “You never really answered me. What are you going to do now? If you can’t turn back the clock, how are you going forward?”
Megan cleared her throat nervously. “I didn’t tell him everything, but I spoke with my pastor on Sunday about the whole thing. He sat me down and talked with me, it was actually really nice.”
“Good.” I smiled.
“And I think even though this whole experience brought me away from God’s guiding light in the moment, now I’m more understanding than ever about what I need to do.”
“I’m going to take a vow of abstinence.”
Woah, that was a bit of a leap. I mean, granted, I wasn’t exactly the one in Megan’s shoes here, but it did seem a bit drastic. I mean, there were some truly awful experiences in sex I had to deal with, but I can’t think of a time where I thought I would never have sex again. That said, I guess Megan had her own values, even if those values were being dictated by a third party in the sky.
Would that actually solve anything though? I mean, what happened happened. If she was just going to pretend sex was only a force for evil, fine. But I doubt given we had little chemistry at the start if Megan and I would have even ended up friends without sex. Nicole too. Sex has its good moments, mostly in the moments themselves I guess, but I wasn’t about to just write them off as bad, period. I think people did the same thing with sugar in the olden days, and I wasn’t ready to live life like a Puritan.
“Go ahead, I’ve heard it a million times.” Megan chuckled.
“I can see it on your face. You’re not sure if you think I’m doing the right thing.” Megan guessed.
“I mean… yeah.” I admitted.
“Are you religious?” she asked, interestingly for the first time.
“I don’t think I’m an atheist, but I’m not ready to say I believe in anything that strongly. I guess I’m agnostic.” I said thoughtfully.
“That makes sense.” she replied softly. “I know what I’m saying doesn’t make a lot of sense, but this means a lot to me. It’s how I live. I can’t ask you to understand, but-”
“I will support you.” I interrupted.
She smiled warmly. “Thank you.” she said appreciatively, moving in for a hug.
I hugged her back, trying to hide my inner demon who cursed his luck knowing the last time I had with Megan was genuinely the last time I would get to have with Megan. I guess it was just a part of growing up, though; letting go of things that ought to be let go. Besides, with new doors closing came new windows opening, and while this Christian girl had gotten on her knees for me for the last time, I had something, someone, better who I would get to see in a mere few hours.
Tuesday afternoon meant weight training for Nicole and myself, and I couldn’t do anything without my coach. After the incident two weeks ago, I wasn’t ready to take any kind of chances with the implications of an empty weights room. As soon as I had changed and noticed I was coming back to an empty room, I was instantly in the hallway looking for Nicole.
If she was at it again, I didn’t know if I had the strength to resist letting my presence be known. I didn’t know how strong I would be at all in that situation, in fact. I was just praying it was something else.
I felt a surge of relief wash through me as I approached the main hallway, my first target destination. A few students were still mulling around, waiting for their buses or something, but they weren’t of any interest to me nearly as much as the black-haired beauty locked in conversation with that flamboyant guy I saw before. Chris, I think his name was.
As I got closer I got to hear their conversation, one I’m sure Nicole had heard a lot by now.
“I always knew you’d be a star.” Chris beamed excitedly at her. “I’m really happy that you won the presidency. Congratulations, sweetheart.”
“Thanks.” Nicole flatly said, looking at her nails.
“So, uh… Have you thought about what you’re going to be doing next year? I mean, the president is a tough j-”
“Look, Chris.” Nicole interrupted in a clearly annoyed tone. “I really just don’t care. I’m busy, okay? I get what you’re trying to… y’know… like, I get it, but I just don’t care. Can’t you just let me live my life without breathing down my neck, please? It’s weird how often you keep doing this, and it’s always in front of other students.”
“I, uh…” Chris stumbled, caught off-guard. “I’m… sorry. I mean, this is the first time we’ve spoken in weeks and I just wanted to say that I’m happy for you and stuff…”
“Great. Got it. Could y-” she cut herself off as she saw me enter her field of view. “Oh hey Adam. Sorry I got held up.” She gave Chris some kind of look.
“Uh, no, it’s cool.” I replied, looking at Chris, then back to her. “Am I interrupting something, or…?”
Nicole shrugged. “Nah, it’s fine. We were just having a conversat-”
While she was talking, a student that practically had to drag his knuckles on the ground was walking by us. At the sight of Chris, he sneered. “Faggot,” he mumbled under his breath. Nicole immediately stopped her sentence and stared at the assailant, who barely broke his stride.
“Whoa, hold on, that wasn’t cool.” I said out loud, noting that no one was saying anything. “Can we do something about that? That wasn’t kind…”
Nicole’s eyes went from the disappearing boy to Chris, then to myself. “Not really.” she dismissed me. “I’m going to the gym. I’ll meet you there, huh?” She started walking away before I could even say anything.
Nicole was acting strange, to say the least. It wasn’t like her to just dismiss these kinds of actions. She was like Batman, minus the suit and the penis. She wasn’t being much of a Silent Protector right now, though. “Um, are you okay?” I hesitantly asked Chris.
Chris’ eyes were locked on Nicole as she walked away from us. He chewed his lip and lazily let his gaze fall to mine. “Yeah, I’m fine.” he acknowledged me. “Once you get past the first few times it happens, you get used to it. Most of the people here are good folks.” He looked back at Nicole.
Choo choo, all aboard the Awkward Train to Tension City. “Uh, right.” I stumbled. “Mind if I go after her?”
Chris shrugged. “I’m not your dad.” he replied flatly.
I awkwardly stuck out an arm. “Adam Watson.” I told him.
“My name is Chris. I’ll be graduating in a few days, but it’s still nice to meet you.” he told me, shaking my hand.
“Yeah, cool. See you around!” I said, waving as I turned to walk away. It didn’t seem right to just leave it without at least trying to be kind, especially since Nicole was so unmoving. Lord knows what could have made her so stiff in the moment, but luckily, I was catching up to her so I could ask.
By the time I did, however, she was already in the weights room. “Yeah, sorry about that.” she preemptively told me.
“Why didn’t you stop that guy?” I asked.
“I’ll report him later.” she waved me off, doing some stretches. “There was nothing I could do in the moment that would have stopped his kind of behavior.”
“You still could have at least said something. You’re the president.” I retorted.
Nicole gave me a look. “Dude, we go to one of the best high schools in the country for this kind of thing.” she told me. “Normally, people like Chris get beaten up for stupid shit like that. People are just dicks. That’s the long and short of it.”
I shivered. “It doesn’t feel right.”
“When you’re in politics, you gotta pick your battles. As stupid as it sounds, going after everyone who does the wrong thing makes everyone in school hate you.”
She shrugged. “People start seeing you as a snitch or something. It’s weird. People are really defensive, it’s why we always like to feel like we’re better than others.”
I smiled to myself. “You, for example?”
She smiled back. “I don’t have to think. I know I’m better than others. President, baby.” She shot two thumbs at herself.
“Someday I may be president too, you’d better watch your back.”
She laughed in pity. “Yeah, when will that be? 2016? How many years do you think it’ll take before you can hold your own in front of a crowd?”
“In the September election I got the most applause of the whole day!”
“You also had to be carried away on a stretcher.”
“I’ve stood up to people more powerful than myself, including you.”
“And those same people have, more often than not, put you in your place.”
“I stuck with you after you told me it could never happen.”
Nicole stopped. “What?”
“Like, you know, us. You told me it could… like, nothing would… you know?”
She stopped stretching and walked over to me. “Adam… what do you think is happening here?”
Uh oh. That did not sound good. “Um…” I began, nailing it right out the gate. “Well, I just thought that since we were having sex again, it…” I couldn’t find words and Nicole just stared at me, waiting for more. Since I couldn’t find any words to describe myself further, I slowly and tentatively reached forward and grabbed her hand, caressing it slowly with my thumb as I looked up at her.
Nicole was staring at the hand, a flurry of different feelings flying across her face, even though I wouldn’t have been able to identify a single one of them. Eventually, she pulled her hand back. “This sounds like a conversation for later.” she flatly said.
“Who else is in the room? This is a conversation for right now.” I told her, surprising myself with my rash nature.
Nicole chuckled in slight anger, looking to the floor. She started to pace around, keeping one hand to her chin as she formulated her following words in her mind.
“Do you… do you remember when I kissed Phil?” she slowly brought up.
She was going to do it. She was going to tell me. We were finally going to work it out. I needed to play it cool though – I didn’t want her realizing that I already knew. “Y-yes…” I managed, simultaneously putting on a fake concerned voice and hiding my real concerned voice.
“Well, it’s kind of like that. I told you that I didn’t know my own feelings.”
“And it’s kind of like that.” she concluded.
This was killing me. Now I had to move on from the topic like it was nothing. “Okay, so then there’s something?”
“Squirt, you’re killing me.” Nicole complained, raking her hands over her face. “I don’t know. I know you want for there to be some cute Disney storybook happily-ever-after, but I’m… I just don’t know. I’m not comfortable.”
“Is there someone else?”
Nicole stopped mid-pace. “What?”
“Is there someone else?” I asked, just as flatly as before.
Nicole stared at me for the longest time, then resumed her pacing. She paced to the end of the room, sighed at the wall, then paced back, looking at me. She tore her eyes away and started pacing again.
“I guess if I was going to say ‘no,’ I would have done it immediately, wouldn’t I?” she asked with a dry throat.
“Yeah.” I replied, an adrenaline fire happening in the pit of my stomach.
“Um…” she began uneasily. “It’s…” she sighed. “It’s not like there’s a single ‘someone else.’ It’s weird. I’m so used now to being casual, that even the idea of being with someone, being tied down, makes me want to push that person away. So many people this year have asked me if we’re dating. I almost feel like that’s more of the reason why we stopped having sex than looking out for your well being.” She laughed softly to herself. “I just… I just don’t know if I can do it. I feel so secure being casual.”
“Let’s start here, just for the record: do you have feelings for me?” I asked slowly, almost fearfully.
She slumped down on a nearby training bench near me, facing away. I walked over to her and put my hands on her shoulders.
“Yeah. I do.”
Her voice was dry as parchment, her delivery slow and small. But the light shining through such a dim announcement was the feeling behind it, a soft wind that went through my entire being and lifted a huge weight off of my shoulders.
“And if you were to date anyone…” I began, almost worried I was pushing my luck.
“It would be you.” Her left hand went to her right shoulder, grabbing my hand and squeezing it. “I want to date you. I just… don’t want to date you.” Her hand returned to her lap and she let out an angry groan. “It’s complicated.”
“I don’t want to date you.” I told her, making her whirl around with a confused expression. My stern face turned into a smile. “I want to be in a relationship with you.”
“Don’t fucking do that.” She warned me with no hint of humor on her face. “I’m being very open right now.”
“Right, sorry.” I stepped back, chastised.
“What about you?” she asked in a small voice. “Are your feelings for me real? Like, would you actually date me?”
“I would, and I would treasure every moment we spent together.” I answered honestly.
“I’m not sure if I could be tied down though.” she explained slowly.
“Like, if we were to date. Would you be okay with… with an open relationship?”
I wanted to say that didn’t bother me but I would be lying, as evident in the grimace on my face. “What, would I not be enough for you?”
“It’s not that. I’m just… “ She hung her head. “Look, I have no excuse. I love sex, and I love sex with a lot of different guys. Alright?”
“Could you learn to be with just one? I mean, you said if you dated one guy, it would be-”
“If I could, we’d be dating and exclusive already.” she waved me off. “So, no, I can’t.”
“Is that why you and Phil have your thing?”
I wish I actually asked that. I wish she could hear me say it. Unfortunately it was only wishful thinking – I just sighed and walked away,pouting to myself in the corner.
“Adam, listen.” Nicole followed me, walking up to my back, grabbing my shoulders supportively. “Normally I wouldn’t even go for a freshman.”
“Oh, so what?” I barked, turning around, forcing her out of her supportive grab. “Are you expecting me to be grateful for sinking to my level? It doesn’t do a lot of fucking good when you freely admit we can’t be a couple. But hey, I should feel proud. Since I’m a low-down pathetic freshman and you still look at me as if I’m your equal. What’s with you – hell, what’s with everyone and categorizing people by their ages? What if I am your equal? Does that fucking frighten you or something? Not that it matters, since you want every dick in the immediate area inside you. God knows feelings and shit aren’t good enough for you.” I turned back around after unleashing weeks, or maybe months, or pent up anger over bullshit that didn’t even have to exist.
“You’re only pathetic when you invent drama for no reason like you’re doing now, you jackass.” Nicole huffed back, losing her sympathetic tone. “No wonder I’m never emotional with you anymore.”
“No no no.” I replied back. “You’re never emotional with me because you’re getting bored of me. I can’t help but feel like you see me as convenient, and when the convenience wanes you go looking for someone else. Maybe that’s why you want to be casual – you can’t handle committing to one person.”
“Of course I can’t commit to one person, you nimrod! I practically just said that!” Nicole all but shouted. “Do you want to actually listen before you rebut my points? God, no wonder your speech was trash.”
“You knew what you were signing up for!” I protested. “I’m sorry that not everyone can be perfect and loved by everyone like you.”
“Would it have killed you to just write and rehearse something? God forbid, commit to the position you applied for? The position you got because of me?”
“The position you practically foisted upon me?”
“I didn’t hear any complaints!”
“I can’t complain to you, you just pretend any criticism of you is fake because you’re perfect little Nicole Baker and everyone is wrapped around your finger! How do you think you’d do in the real world?”
“A lot better than some pipsqueak who can’t talk to more than two people at the same time without having a heart attack. But hey, you almost ruined fuckin’ Megan’s life so there’s that. I guess you can be bold.”
My eye twitched. “Leave her the fuck out of this.” I snarled.
“Why, don’t think it should be addressed? Well I do. If you’re turning unknowing girls into nubile sluts in their spare time I can’t imagine you’re too good for the student body.”
I chuckled smugly. “Yeah, like you and Phil and that hallway blowjob are any different.”
My heart practically stopped. This time it was real. I just said that. What’s more, I just said it in possibly the worst possible situation. Nicole just stood there, her expression slowly becoming more horrified, her mouth slowly inhaling sharply as she had to re-learn how to breathe. Before I could blink, she had me pinned to the floor.
Pain hit me like a wave. Nicole was surprisingly heavy on top of me, although I guess that would be expected since she was trying to leave me with no escape. An inferno blazed through her eyes as she looked at me as if I was the murderer of her parents. “What did you see?” she all but whispered.
“N-Nicole, you’re hurting me…”
She grabbed my collar and hoisted me up, still sitting on me. I instinctively coughed. “What did you fucking see?” she repeated.
I held back tears. “Fucking everything, Nicole. Even the part where Phil mentioned me. How could you do this?”
Nicole stared in my eyes for a good ten seconds before letting go of my collar, allowing me to collapse to the floor. “Shit.” she muttered in disgust, getting off of me and pacing back and forth through the room. “Well, are you fucking happy?” she yelled, weirdly seemingly not at me. She paced a little more and turned to look at me. “I don’t think it would have worked out between us anyways, squirt.” she said with a surprisingly weak voice. “I’m sorry.”
The words crushed me. “Nicole, wait.”
She was already out of the weights room. “Come on, Nicole!” I protested further. “You can’t leave it here!” I chased after her, finding her walking calmly down the hallway.
“Hold the line,” she was singing to herself. “Love isn’t always on time…”
“You can’t just leave me like this!” I protested again, catching up to her.
“And yet here I am, walking away.” Nicole flatly responded as if nothing happened, not even looking back at me. “Aren’t I such an enigma?”
“This isn’t fair! This is… There’s gotta be a way! Stop walking!”
“You are not helping your case, Adam.” Nicole responded coolly. “Every word you expel is just making me more sure I made the right call.”
I stopped trying to catch up with her. That’s what did it. Knowing that nothing I could do could get her back. She was sure she made the right call. I guess Phil knew it all along – mentioning this would mean the ending of us.
“Phil said this would happen. Remember?” I said weakly, not even caring anymore. If I lost her, I at least wanted to speak my mind. “What the hell was even your plan once this started? Were you never going to tell me?”
“Yup.” Nicole replied, not breaking her stride.
“What a fucking relationship that would have been.” I chuckled in misery. “Maybe you two should get together. He cares about you so damn much.”
“No one does, squirt.” Nicole replied, her voice getting more echoey as the space between us grew.
“I fucking did. Do.” I responded angrily.
Nicole turned around and looked into my eyes for a brief period of time. “Adam.” she called out.
“Yeah?” I didn’t want to get my hopes up, but I couldn’t help it.
“Go to Scott’s office tomorrow and tell him you’re going to resign as VP. Ask him to give the position to someone else. Tell him you can’t handle the responsibilities. I don’t want him to call me in. I’d like this to be the last time I look at you. There’s a bus that arrives late at the school in about ten minutes, that’ll get you close to home, take it. I’m going home right now and I don’t want to give you anything more than I already have. Got it?”
Fucking hell. If Megan was right about there being a God, what a fucking cruel bastard. I couldn’t even bear to look at Nicole any longer before sighing and walking away.
I didn’t get it. Things seemed so… okay. Hell, things seemed like they were working out. Nicole and I were heading towards that Disney happy ending she mentioned. Then, all of a sudden, everything went to shit. I trudged towards the weights room, every word weighing me down, ringing in my ears. Nicole and I were nothing. And it was all Phil’s fault.
Fuck, was it even his fault? If I never brought it up Nicole and I would have been fine. If I worded things better we would have been fine. If I had just been someone… anyone… different, I bet we could have worked through this. But because I was fucking me, I fucked things up. How fucking typical. This was somehow worse than Paul. I was painfully aware of how it was me that fucked everything up. I think I would have been more okay with not knowing. And now Nicole was gone. Everything we were, every moment we shared. Gone. In a fucking instant too. We went from ‘it would be you’ to ‘never again’ in world record time.
I didn’t take that stupid bus. I didn’t have the energy. I knew I could call mom and she would have picked me up at like five anyway. I just sat on the training bench and stared at the floor, mulling over… life. It didn’t seem as full as it did a short time ago.
Thoughts passed through me. Thoughts I wasn’t so proud of. I’m sure to anyone else it would have been silly, to daydream or even fantasize about your own death, just because of some girl. To me, in the moment, it just… made so much sense. Not enough that I was going to do something, but it was like… In that moment, if I had a button in front of me, a button that could have ended my life, I would have pressed it. No fucking hesitation. I would’ve liked to see if there was an afterlife so I could see Nicole. How she would react. If she would care then.
Eventually I sighed and got up, recognizing how unhealthy those thoughts were. I couldn’t just stay in one room. If I were going to wait a long time, I needed to clear my head, get some new scenery in.
Hallway after hallway I wandered, no destination or goal. Thought after thought passing through my head – some optimistic, some pensive, most, fucking depressing.
I couldn’t cry. I was too exhausted emotionally to cry. I couldn’t even bear it. I just wanted to hide in my room and wait for death to take me. Starvation or something. I was too much of a pussy to kill myself, but I could definitely understand the want in that moment. It made sense.
I was taken out of my thoughts by voices approaching me. Someone else was in the school. I stopped and listened, hearing a male deep voice. My eye twitched. Phil’s voice. Great. He was the last fucking person I wanted to talk to right now.
Still, his voice got closer, and I was smack-dab in the middle of a long hallway. I couldn’t risk running back the way I came without taking too long and getting caught by a guy I had zero interest in talking to. I looked around desperately, nothing but lockers around me. I shrugged – it’s not like I could sink any lower today – and quick as I could, soundlessly stowed myself away in one of the empty ones.
“…music budget. Which is why you’ve got to be aware of every single event the school hosts.” Phil said as his voice became clearly audible. “And don’t let your council push you around either. Be firm.”
He was giving advice. But to whom? Nicole said she was going home immediately.
“Okay, thanks.” Nicole’s emotionless voice met my ears.
I guess I didn’t consider the possibility of her lying.
“Speaking of, did you take care of the VP?” Phil asked, a hint of smugness tinting his voice.
“Yes.” No feelings, no emotion, just a flat tone.
Phil chuckled. “Great.” he said to himself. “Was it hard to bring it up?”
“Not really. He’s really easy to manipulate. I just worked him up, then he got himself angry and brought it up. I saw my opportunity and did the deed there.”
“You’re a miracle worker, pet.” Phil told her. “Did it hurt? All your chemistry, all your past?”
“No, it didn’t hurt. Boys come and boys go. Eventually you just learn to not expect anything different. You’re going.”
“And I’m going to miss you more than anyone.” Phil told her. I heard a kissing sound and tried to focus on not throwing up.
“He’ll go to Scott tomorrow, on my orders, and resign right there.”
“Revenge is sweet.” Phil basked in his glory. Their voices weren’t getting farther, they must have stopped for some reason.
“Not quite revenge.” Nicole told him, as flatly as ever. “I have a gut feeling he voted to keep you on the council. Out of everyone you asked me to ‘punish,’ I think he’s the most innocent.”
“Oh.” Phil replied, almost pensively. “Well, you should have let me know before. I wouldn’t have been so harsh with him.”
I could practically hear Nicole shrug.”What’s done is done. Neither of us will need to worry about him again.”
“I don’t get you.” Phil said slowly to her. “One day you’re convinced you two will get married and the next you turn on him all because I tell you to.”
“I do anything my Master says.”
“Oh, come on. There’s more.”
“Do I have to tell you?”
“I claim the one-time right of silence.”
“Tough, use it some other time. Tell me, pet, or I get rough. Not the kind you enjoy.”
There was silence for a long time, then some rustling of some sort. “Mitch spoke to me again.”
“Yeah. He told me he didn’t think Adam would be good for me. Said he would cause me unnecessary headaches. Then today, the fight happens. I get that I orchestrated it, but… just the fact that it was so easy for him to go along with it, you know? Mitch just has a feel for these things.”
“Yeah, good ol’ Adam’s got a screw loose.” Phil acknowledged. “I mean, I’m talking to an unhinged slut that thinks her fucking brother talks to her after like a year of death, so all things in perspective.”
“I do literally everything you want. Allow me this one fucking thing.” Nicole growled.
Silence followed for a little bit. “Damn, has it been raining?” Phil asked nonchalantly.
“Um, I guess.” I heard their voices get a little farther.
The window. They were looking out the window near where I came in, meaning they were looking away from me. I have no clue what motivated me to leave the locker right there. Maybe with all the shit that happened I didn’t even care. Maybe it was my ‘fight or flight’ instincts. Either way, I soundlessly opened the door to the locker and crawled out.
I looked at Nicole and Phil, seeing only the back of Phil and Nicole’s hair hiding her like a bashful silhouette. On the ground sat a coffee lid.
No, not a coffee lid. Her camera cover. This was too perfect. While in the locker, I wasn’t just listening – I was too emotionally tired for that. I was fucking planning. And the cover would be perfect. As they pointed out the window talking about the parking lot or some shit, I crept up behind them, knowing how preciously small my allotted time was. I couldn’t screw this up. I couldn’t afford to.
Gingerly, I slowly extended my hand, never daring to breathe as one wrong foot movement could have ruined this. My nerves were shot, my hands shaking like I was at the Parkinson’s ward. Somehow, I managed to get a grip on the camera cover and lift it without anyone noticing. Quickly, I pulled it back and made for the nearby staircase as quickly as I could. Maybe this was all in vain, but for what it was worth, I had a plan.
As I ran back to the weights room I had a revelation. Maybe Megan was onto something. I had a weird surge of gratefulness in me. If there was a god, they were listening to me. Everything was too perfect. Evil made a plan and the forces of good kept planting seeds that would blossom into my response. The decision not to take the bus, the walk, the locker, the coincidental way Phil and Nicole were there, the fucking camera lid… God knew. I know, it sounded stupid when I actually said it to myself, but it was like a test. And I was going to make sure I passed.
Nicole fucking loved her camera. She wouldn’t be able to cope without having it, which meant every part of it. And if she couldn’t find her cover, she’d look for it. And where was she earlier today? The weights room.
The waiting was the worst part. I placed the camera lid in the center of the room, shut off the lights and waited near the door, where she wouldn’t be able to see me. The minutes passed by painfully slowly – ten? Twenty? Thirty?! I couldn’t say. I was just relieved when the door finally opened and the lights flickered on. I held my breath to make sure I didn’t give myself away.
“Yup.” came the lazy cold tone of Nicole as she walked towards the center of the room and picked up the lid. Just as she bent over, I walked to the door and shut it, making al oud band which pracitcally made Nicole jump.
“Jesus fucking christ!” she shouted, looking up in a panic. As her eyes registered that it was me, her face moulded into one of pure confusion.
I folded my arms. “Did he buy it?” I simply asked.
Nicole just stared at me, heavily breathing as she processed the implications of what I said. I was expecting a lot of reactions, but not her bursting into tears and running for me. She hastily grabbed me, refusing to let go.
“I- it- I c-” she tried to form sentences, but they just kept devolving into sobs. I was in shock, but eventually I snapped to attention and started stroking the back of her head.
“Y-you knew?” she eventually managed.
This wasn’t a good life lesson, but I knew telling the truth got me into trouble in the first place, so I decided a lie was safest. “From the moment you brought up being casual.” I answered her. “I pretended to get all worked up, gave Phil what he needed, and took your lens cap.”
“Holy shit.” Nicole said, sniffling, looking down at the floor. “Salvador’s getting better at this. Your performance was fucking flawless.” she looked up at me with red puffy eyes and gave a sad smile. “Why couldn’t you do something that good for your election speech?”
I laughed sympathetically but she devolved back into crying fits. “He made me.” she managed between gasps. “I’m so sorry, Adam. I couldn’t say no.”
“It’s okay.” I soothed her.
“No it’s not. Don’t fucking lie.”she told me, desperately sobbing. “I meant nothing. I didn’t mean any of what I said.”
“Even the wanting to be casual thing?” I asked.
She didn’t respond. She just shook her head as she cried some more. Crap. Well, I guess I couldn’t win it all.
“So…” I kept going awkwardly. “What happens now? Fuck, what happened then?”
Nicole kept attempting to explain, collapsing into a fit of sniffles, before finally finding the ability to speak. “Phil asked – demanded me to do some things to the council for impeaching him.”
“Even though he did what they think he did?”
Nicole gave me a look. “You don’t know that.”
“You seemed pretty sure. You told him to his face.”
She shuddered at the remembrance that I was there that day. “Right, yeah. So this was what I had to do with you. Create an argument that would result in the ultimatum of you resigning. Since you didn’t come to that conclusion yourself, I had to demand it of you.”
“You were willing to never speak to me again just to fulfill a request for some guy you hate?” I asked incredulously.
“I wasn’t going to never speak to you again, dumbass. I would have tried to make up over the summer. I can’t… I have the weirdest relationship with Phil on the fucking planet. I can’t say no to him. I just can’t.”
“Is he blackmailing you?” I asked.
She shook her head. “Nothing like that. It’s more like a personal thing. Like I can’t deal with refusing him.”
“Sounds like he’s gaslighting you or some shit.” Gaslighting. I heard it recently from Jenna, couldn’t remember when she told me – the act of making your partner believe they’re mentally ill or couldn’t survive in the real world without you or something.
Nicole didn’t respond. She just looked to the floor.
“So, let me ask again, what happens now?”
She shrugged. “I did what he asked of me. I guess I can’t control it if you choose not to get upset and didn’t resign. I could just tell Phil that your reaction wasn’t what I expected.”
“I’d prefer if you told him to fuck off.” I lamely commented.
She smiled, although her eyes were still red. “Just a few more days of patience. Then he’ll be gone.”
“Then…?” I asked hopefully.
“Nicole…” I began exasperatedly. “I want to be the only guy in the world for you. I wan-”
I obeyed, stopping in the middle of my sentence as Nicole started pacing the room.
“Look, you empty-skulled little doofus, I’m going to lay this on the line in the best way I can. You need to stop pretending you can change me, or own me, or something. If you truly want to be with me, you have to accept me for me. And you know what? I’m uncomfortable with any relationship that’s monogamous. It’s not the person, it’s the relationship itself. I will literally never be in a relationship like that. Being tied down scares me. It scares me, Adam. Every time you ask me to be tied down, I get more uncomfortable with being with you in general. I know what you want, but if that’s what you want, I’m not the girl you want. It’s like Heisenberg’s principle. We can be together, and you can be in a monogamous relationship, but you can’t have both at the same time, even in theory.”
Oh cool, thanks. That comparison helped me understand things completely.
“I’m uncomfortable with being monogamous. It won’t happen. I can accept that you’re uncomfortable with being in an open relationship. By your decision, that will never happen. I accept this because I don’t want you to be uncomfortable. But when you keep asking me to change, you’re not offering me the same respect. Do you understand?”
“Yes.” I admitted.
“Good. Thank you.” She collapsed on one of the nearby training benches. “I’m still open to the stuff we’ve been doing, though.”
“What, like sex?”
She smiled, her eyes closed. “You would jump to that. I was thinking cuddling, but yeah, sex too.”
“I mean, it’s okay if you don’t want to-”
“Oh hush.” She opened her eyes lazily and got up slowly, walking over to me. Slowly, she smiled as her hands moved up to cup my face.
“Hey.” I stated shyly.
“Hi there.” she giggled back, before slowly advancing and giving me a long, albeit hesitant kiss. “Missed me?” she asked as she pulled back.
“I always miss you when you’re not around.” I replied.
“Cute. And subservient.” she laughed. “A man after my own heart.”
“Did you miss me?” I asked.
She nodded. “Of course I did, hotshot. And I missed this.” Teasingly, she ran her hand up my leg, brushing my cock through my jeans with her fingertips. “I bet you missed this too.”
Nicole was so very spontaneous. It was always so hard to keep up with her. One moment she’s asking we never speak again, then crying, then trying to seduce me. I mean, I could complain about it, but it was working. Nicole was the picture of seduction. She knew exactly every movement that would get me going – every movement of her hips, every delicate touch of her fingers, every little smile she made when she knew she was working me up, everything was perfect.
“I really have missed this…” I breathily admitted.
“I know, hotshot.” she purred, moving in and gently kissing my neck. “What do you say we try it somewhere new?”
“Here?” I asked incredulously. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’ve done it in worse places around the school.
“It’s been too long, don’t you think?” Nicole complained, almost with a moan in her traditional sexy fashion. “It’s been a long day. I want the stress fucked out of me. Can you handle it?”
Could she? I was certainly down. “What do you want me to do?” I almost involuntarily said. She was still rubbing my dick despite it being at full mast, knowing exactly where and when to apply pressure.
Nicole laughed a deep, throaty laugh and nuzzled my neck affectionately. “You?” she asked innocently. “I don’t know, Adam. It seems that you’ve been doing a lot for me lately. Are you sure there isn’t anything I can do for you?”
Playfully, her eyes flickered down to my pants, then back up again. “Anything at all?” she insisted. She lightly kissed my cheek and let her lips trail all the way down to my neck.
“Hey.” she piped up. “Want an ego boost?”
I could only nod.
“I thought about you a lot lately. I hooked up with Brian this past week and I imagined it was you inside me. I guess this is kind of like the loyalty you wanted, isn’t it?”
I could only chuckle, albeit nervously.
“Sometimes I think about you when I masturbate too. And I masturbate a lot, Adam.” She was getting lower and lower as she kept talking. “And it feels really good. But nothing could feel as good as having this inside me.” She unzipped my pants and gently pulled them down along with my underwear, releasing my throbbing rod. Every movement of hers catered to me, every motion deliberately planned to make me shudder with anticipation.
She held my cock in her hands, moving her fingers along the shaft. “Such a beautiful cock you have.” she purred, looking me over. “Have I ever told you how much I like it?”
“Actions speak louder than words.” I heftily told her, smiling slightly.
She nodded. “So they do.” She lightly kissed the head of my dick, taking a painfully long amount of time in doing so. “And what action were you thinking in particular?”
“I think you know.” I mumbled, my hand falling to the wall to support me as every nerve ending tickled, every inch of me wanted more.
“Mmm… I’m not sure I do. I think I want you to tell me exactly what you want me to do.” Nicole insisted, lightly dragging the tip of her tongue across the head of my dick after she finished talking.
I chuckled internally. “Take every inch of me.” I ordered. “Remind me how talented your mouth is. Give me the best blowjob you can.”
“That’s all?” she winked at me. “This’ll be a piece of cake. No voices you want me to imitate or anything?”
“Hell no. You’re by far the most attractive girl to me.” I told her in a quiet voice. She smiled, bit her lower lip and looked to the floor.
“You’re cute.” she told me quietly, before giving the head of my cock a lick. The little licks continued, going along the shaft, evolving until they involved her lips, then her whole mouth. Before long, she was using her whole mouth expertly on me, taking a large amount of my dick in her mouth and working it using everything she had.
But she knew I asked for more. Taking one last breath through her nose, she sunk in further, taking the rest of my dick in her mouth as she began to deepthroat. She barely even flinched – moving slowly at first to get accustomed to the new visitor, but soon, deepthroating me with absolutely no issue, taking my whole dick like a pro.
I groaned and leaned my head back. “Nicole, you’re as amazing as ever. Holy shit. I fucking missed you.” I babbled like a cicada on Adderall. Nicole said nothing (go figure given the situation) and continued her work, her head bobbing as my dick sld down her throat time and time again.
Eventually she had to work my dick back into her mouth, if nothing else for her own well-being, but she never gave up. Her attention was still fully devoted to the cock in front of her, even though she now was undoing her jeans button and slipping her left hand inside so she could enjoy herself too.
I cleared my throat. “Hey, you know, if you want to have some fun too, we could skip the foreplay.”
She took my dick out of her mouth and grinned at me, wiping the saliva away from her mouth. “Anything you had in mind?”
Answering the question herself, she got up, taking her shirt off while playfully wiggling her cute little ass at me. Feeling playful myself, I gave it a little smack.
“Ouch!” she said childishly. Taking off her bra, she surveyed the room, her eyes finally landing on the training bench. “What do you think? Up for the challenge?”
Taking off my own shirt, I looked it up and down and laughed. “How would it work?”
“I get on the bench, support myself with my arms, you take me from behind.” she replied as if it were obvious, bending over and placing her hands on the bench to demonstrate.
Oh. I was thinking of something way more complicated. “Yeah, sure, why not?” I grinned, fully removing my pants as she did the same. Both of us only had our shoes and socks on as she assumed the position and I sauntered up behind her.
She wiggled her butt playfully as I observed the poetry sprawled out before me. “Enjoying the view?” she teased.
I teased back by slapping her ass, decently hard, making her stumble a bit. “Well then.” she replied with a laugh. “Now hurry the fuck up, handsome. You promised me we’d skip the foreplay, don’t keep me waiting.”
She didn’t need to tell me for me to see she was eager. With her ass presented high in the air for me, I could see the glistening wetness of her pussy lips. I had to smile at the sight – she looked too beautiful to be human. I couldn’t believe how lucky I was – Nicole had curves you could only dream of, a slutty eagerness that any teenager would kill for, and wanted me just as much. The hungry lust in her eyes confirmed just that.
I lined my cock up with her pussy, rubbing it against her entrance. Nicole, in turn, took a sharp inhale and groaned softly. “Do you want this?” I asked, loving the way she admitted she did but also making a habit of always asking consent.
“I want nothing more, Adam. Take me. Have fun with me.” Nicole moaned. Who was I to argue? I grabbed her hips and pushed my way in, savoring the velvety sensation of being inside her. It had a familiarity at this point – kind of like I felt safe, I felt right, inside her. I sighed in pleasure.
“What, is that it?” Nicole asked over her shoulder.
“Smartass.” I quipped, slapping her ass again before picking up the pace and beginning to fuck her.
“Oh God…” she groaned as she hung her head and enjoyed the sensations that came flooding into her. Each thrust of mine made her exhale, each push making her give a small groan. Eventually as we got into a good rhythm, she started pushing her hips back into me.
“I said I wanted the stress fucked out of me.” Nicole panted. “Fuck me like you mean it. Didn’t you say you missed this?”
I chuckled in disbelief, renewing my grip on her hips as I doubled my efforts, slamming her onto my dick over and over.
“There we go.” Nicole panted in satisfaction. “That’s what I’m talking about. God, you’re so good at this… fuck I missed this, Adam…”
“Do you like this?” I asked her. “You like getting fucked by me?”
“Yes!” Nicole replied without hesitation.
“You like when I get rough?” I started slamming into her faster to prove my point.
“Yes!” Nicole shouted, a little louder.
“You want more?”
“Give me all you got, Adam.” Nicole moaned, her breaths getting shorter as the pleasure started to override her. I knew Nicole well enough to understand the pleasure was overriding her and she would start moaning and say whatever now, and I wanted to have a little fun with it. Grabbing her long hair, I hoisted her head up and leaned in towards her now elevated head.
“Do you want more of me?” I asked.
“Yes, Adam. Yes.” she panted.
“Is it me you want to be with? So you can get fucked like this every time?”
“Yes, fuck it, yes!” she repeated.
“I bet you even have feelings for me, don’t you?” I pushed my luck.
“I fucking doooo…” Nicole moaned softly.
“Wouldn’t you just love that? To parade me around, and get fucked by your boyfriend every day?”
“I want that, Adam, I do.” Nicole was far gone at this point. I knew she would say anything, but it was so satisfying to hear her say it.
“You want me as your boyfriend then?”
“I really do, Adam.” Nicole all but whined.
“Say it then, baby. Say it.” I half-begged half-ordered her.
“I want you to be my boyfriend, Adam. I want to be with you.” she told me.
I loved hearing that. It made my heart fucking soar. With a grin I pumped into her harder, making her almost shout her moans of pleasure as she and I both approached orgasm. Granted, it was way harder to actually have a simultaneous orgasm than porn or anything makes it look, but I got to have a lot of practice with Nicole by this point and I knew exactly how to bide my time while still pleasing her and delay her orgasm while rapidly approaching mine. I just had to listen carefully for her telltale signs and time it well. I was glad I was with a girl who could climax from penetration, otherwise god knows how I would have figured this all out, but I was getting pretty good at knowing when her orgasm would strike, and I wanted to make sure she got as much out of this as possible.
With avid concentration, I fucked Nicole thoroughly and her orgasm hit right on target, just as I practically let out a roar and let loose a torrent of cum inside her. Both of us stayed mashed together for a good ten seconds, feeling the pulsating pleasure flow through us before we slowly picked our rhythm back up to milk out the last few drops of pleasure before sensitivity took over. Once it did, I slowly pulled out and Nicole collapsed on the bench, completely spent.
“I think… we should probably… wipe this down…” she panted, making me laugh.
“Yeah, no kidding.” I replied, out of breath myself. “Do you think we’ll get caught?”
“No, but just to be safe we shouldn’t stay here for too long.” Nicole commented. “Just in case, who knows. Want a ride home or do you wanna come over for a bit?” She got up gingerly and looked for her clothes.
“Oh, so you’re willing to give me a ride now?” I teased.
“Oh fuck off.” she retorted. “Don’t guilt-trip me for that. That’s not fair.”
There was a kernel of truth to that, even though the situation was complicated as fuck. I wanted to ask her more questions about it, but I knew that this wasn’t the time, nor the place.
Though, I wasn’t really sure if there was a proper time or place for that topic. I saw what happened when I brought it up the first time, and planned or not, I did not want that event to repeat itself.
“I don’t think so,” Nicole protested, her mouth full of food. “The biggest issue the thirteen colonies had was the lack of representation in Parliament. It wasn’t just the taxation, that’s what everyone thinks of when they hear ‘no taxation without representation.’ All I’m saying is that if we had a clear understanding of the British Constitution and both sides quit making up their own rules, maybe we could have spared a bunch of lives.”
“You’re forgetting about the Townshend Acts, young lady.” Mr. Baker argued back. “The Patriots understood that the people had rights that no government could violate. ‘It is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.’”
“I’m forgetting no such thing.” Nicole fired back at her dad. “The British had a conflicting viewpoint with the patriots. This is what I’m saying. It’s been well established since the Revolution of 1688 that the Parliament held supreme authority in the empire, at least according to England. Nothing they could do was unconstitutional. Was it right? Of course it wasn’t. And FYI, the prevention of non-intrusive trade arguably did more damage than any taxation measures. If you wanted to be a blacksmith in the Thirteen Colonies, you had to jump through hoops just to make and sell your own freaking products.”
“I don’t think trading restrictions were as important as you’re making them out to be.” Mr. Baker replied.
“Well, that’s fine. It’s okay to be wrong.” Nicole sarcastically quipped, staring her dad down as she drank from her glass of water passive-aggressively.
“Is dinner always like this?” I asked Mrs. Baker. I feel like Nicole would have a field day in Mr. Anton’s class. I didn’t even know how we got here. Things started off with an innocent discussion about movies, and then somehow they got to talking about some playwright named Moliere, then boom, the Revolution. I mean hey, why not. It’s not like I wanted to ever leave history class.
“Not always.” Mrs. Baker dryly responded. “When Nicole gets an idea in her head, it’s hard to convince her otherwise.”
“Why are you trying to convince me though? I’m right!” Nicole protested. This was one hell of an introduction to dinner at the Baker household. I wasn’t sure whether I wanted this to become a more regular thing or not, but hey, whatever made them more comfortable with me, I guess.
“Do you want me to get the dishes?” I offered.
“Don’t be stupid, you’re the guest.” Nicole snapped at me, standing up and gathering the plates near her.
“Nicole! Don’t be rude!” Mrs. Baker barked.
“Nah, he’s a big boy. He can handle it.” Nicole retorted, winking at me as she walked away with the plates.
“Is she like this with you often?” Mr. Baker asked me, almost surveying me like he needed to know how mad at Nicole he should have been.
“Nah, we just like kidding around with each other.” I diplomatically answered. “I don’t mind, really.”
“Wow, can you believe this guy?” Nicole asked the table, reaching in front of me to grab my plate. “Can you say, ‘whipped?’”
“Nicole!” Mrs. Baker interjected.
“I’m just horsing around, mom. Relax. Besides, who cares who’s more dominant with us two? Do you not care about female empowerment, mommy? Are you saying I should be completely subservient to him?”
I never really asked what that word meant, but I could figure it out. “You should at least show him some respect while he’s having dinner under our roof for the first time.” Mr. Baker ordered.
“Enh, doesn’t seem that celebratory.” Nicole remarked, going around to the other end of the table. “Besides, he’s eaten here a lot of times before, just not dinner.” She gave me a wink that only I could see, making me blush and look to the floor.
“You’re not eating chips in the bed again, are you? You know how that makes your father’s chores ten times harder.” Mrs. Baker complained.
“Vacuuming is harder anyway.” Nicole replied, making Mrs. Baker open her mouth in objection. “Relax, relax. Yeah, I kicked that habit.” She bounced over to Mr. Baker and kissed him on the head. “Love you, daddy.”
Mr. Baker rolled his eyes in response.
I figured it was my turn to say something. “Well, hey, thanks for having me over for dinner. I appreciate it, and everything was delicious.”
“Were the potatoes delicious?” Nicole piped up. “Because three guesses who made those tasty bitches.”
Ignoring Nicole, Mrs. Baker half-smiled at me. “You’re welcome, Adam.” she told me. “And we’re glad you could enjoy yourself. We try to make those small moments in life happier.”
“Trifles make the sum of life.” Mr. Baker added.
“Yeah, this’ll be a moment you’ll treasure forever.” Nicole’s voice rang dryly from the kitchen.
I stood up from the table. “I should probably get going soon though, my family was expecting me back home a bit ago.”
“You could have texted them if you were smarter.” Nicole’s voice rang again.
“Well, we hope you enjoyed yourself. I suppose we’ll be seeing you sometime soon.” Mrs. Baker acknowledged me.
“Have a good night.” Mr. Baker added, already nose deep in a book. I excused myself from the table, got up and went for my shoes in the foyer.
“So, how was it? Dinner with the Bakers, yay or nay?” Nicole asked, walking up behind me.
“Yay.” I smiled at her. “I had a good time, thanks.”
“Let’s hope so. It’s only gonna get more chaotic from here.” she responded, looking behind her. “You got everything? Your phone, backpack…”
I rifled through my pockets. “Yeah, I think I got…” My brow furrowed as I felt a piece of paper in my pocket. Was this a receipt for something? I pulled it out and looked at it. By this point Nicole had already walked back to the kitchen so I didn’t feel conscious or anything when I realize it was the password list I nicked from Mitch’s room.
No wonder this guy had to write his passwords down. Ia5cD77PbitB. That was his Facebook password. I bet even in heaven he couldn’t remember that. My eyes gazed down to the bottom of the page where the cryptex sat, mocking me.
‘The sum of life.’
I winced in confusion. Deja vu. Did I hear that phrase recently? Like, really recently? I could swear that…
In a flash, I remembered and practically bolted back for the dining room.
“Forget something?” Mrs. Baker asked.
“Uh, yeah, just left something upstairs.” I lied, walking casually to the stairs. “Hey, Mr. Baker, what was that thing you said earlier? Something about the sum of life?”
Mr. Baker lifted his head. “Trifles make the sum of life?”
“Yeah, that!” I practically shouted like a madman before regaining my composure. “It just sounds like a good phrase. Is it like a family motto or something?”
He shook his head. “It’s line from David Copperfield.”
I grinned. David Copperfield. Charles Dickens. Ladies and gentlemen, we had a winner. “Ah, cool.” I nonchalantly replied as I made my way up the stairs. After quickly turning around to make sure I wasn’t being followed, I burst into Mitch’s room and started moving the books to his bed until I saw the cryptex.
Mitchell Baker, you have met your match. Gleefully, I took the cryptex and carefully moved it to the bed. Trifles. That was the combination. Carefully, I set every letter and gently pulled on the sides of the cryptex.
Then I pulled slightly harder. Then my heart sank. Nothing? How could it not work? It was perfect! Sighing to myself, I put the cryptex on the bed and sat down. Fuck. I thought I had this. It didn’t make any sense. Either way, Nicole or someone would be upstairs soon so I had to dispose of the evidence.
I sighed again as I stood up and grabbed the cryptex. I stared at the word spelled before me and a thought entered my head. Slowly, I moved around the tumblers and heard a click.
My first thought was, ‘Wow, I’m a dumbass.’ T-r-i-f-l-e-s. Not ‘trifels.’ My second thought was pure excitement. I carefully moved the cryptex over to the desk and pulled. It came apart easily, revealing a compartment.
The compartment had a small green-hide book and a piece of paper inside. Instinctively, I grabbed the book and thumbed through it, and as I saw the first page, I grinned. Mitchell, you little devil, you. Page after page had a different girl, complete with every time and place they ‘did it.’ I can see that when it came to hormones, Nicole was no outlier. Shannon, Lily, Diana, just to name a few… Not bad, amigo. Not bad.
A noise from downstairs made me jump. I was taken back into reality, remembering that I was not supposed to be here. In the heat of a fight-of-flight moment, sometimes people do very stupid things, and I suppose that’s why I took the piece of paper and stuffed it in my pocket before putting the book back in the cryptex and shutting it. Hastily, I stuffed the cryptex back in the bookshelf and put the books back on to hide it.
After putting the room back in its natural order, I turned off the light, shut the door behind me and got the hell out of there. My mind was a-buzzing with the possibilities of that piece of paper. Was it a schematic? A confession? God forbid, a suicide note? The rest of my time at the Baker residence was practically a blur as I left. I was polite enough to make sure no one suspected anything, although I was less careful with my parents when I got back home, going upstairs within three-ish sentences.
By the time I got upstairs, my hands were almost shaking. To me, Mitch wasn’t even really dead – more like a person who lived somewhere else. A person I was only getting to know. And soon, I would know something about him even Nicole didn’t. And I would get to be the first to share it with her. I’m sure she wouldn’t be upset with me knowing I figured out the combination and got his note. I slammed the door behind me and carefully took out the note, unfolding it and beginning to read it. As I read more and more, my skin went paler and paler, and I wondered if perhaps it was more foolish of me than anything to have pried into their business.
If you’re reading this then I’ve finally grown the balls to do what I should have done a long time ago. I always wanted you to be the strong individual you could be, but you’ve made it clear that as long as I’m in the picture this will never happen. I don’t want to be too harsh with you, but I feel like at this point, enough is enough. ‘Growing’ means more than living in another person’s shadow, and you simply aren’t growing. The way you obsess over me… You don’t know this, but mom and dad have had talks with me about it. This can’t continue. It’s not healthy. As of the moment you read this note, I will stop coming home, and I wish you could have found out in some way other than a pathetic little note on your bed, but I know that if I were to tell you in person you’d grab onto me and never let go. At some point you have to grow up. This will be the last communication you have with me. I’m planning to leave the country soon, and any contact you attempt to make with me will be futile. So don’t try. Goodbye.
In-the-moment actions can feel startlingly different than actions in retrospect. It’s easy to look back at one’s actions and say, ‘Wow. I sure overreacted to that.’ or ‘I never had it that rough. What was I thinking?’
As Mitchell’s note slowly burned in front of me, I wondered if this was going to be one of those instances. I looked around the park again in a paranoid fashion to make sure no one was looking at me – if I had done this in the house someone most assuredly would have smelled the smoke or something. It was burning. I had set fire to someone’s property – what’s more, something not meant for me to ever read at all.
Even ripping up the note was too good for it. It had to be completely destroyed, no two ways about it. I couldn’t help but feel like I had learned a weird lesson that I wasn’t supposed to learn yet – I had to lie. I knew now that Nicole was… well, delusional. She lived with a brother who tried to shake her away with increasing desperation, but according to her, he thought the world of her. And when reality is too grim to share, tuck it away and repress it. I had to burn the note.
I thought back to what May said a long time ago. There was her, and then there was the mask she put on. Nicole clearly made a mask, but not for her – for her brother, perhaps before he died, perhaps after. It wasn’t my place to say when. The version of her brother she adored was perfect. Why should I ruin that perfection with reality? What right did I have? If it meant her happiness, I was content with hanging this skeleton up in my closet.
Once the embers were out, I stood up and looked at the large rock where the ash of the note lay. I made my hand into a fist and pounded down on the ash, if nothing else to symbolically destroy what was left of this note. It wasn’t as hot as I thought it was going to be, luckily.
I looked over my work, admiring it. Now I was the only one who knew. The secret would be safe with me. Smiling to myself, I stood up and put the lighter I carried with me away in my pocket, before starting to walk out of the park.
Suddenly, I stopped in my tracks. I wasn’t the only one who knew. Someone I had purposefully avoided talking to, but there was something on my mind for the last while now. Something huge, too huge for me to even admit to myself, let alone others. I needed to talk to that other person, as soon as possible… but not today. Tomorrow, after dinner.
I chewed slowly, looking off into the distance, head in the clouds. Less than 24 hours ago, I was burning what could have been the most important thing for Nicole to see this year. Did I make the right choice? I didn’t know.
I did know I couldn’t dawdle with dinner. I asked Dad if we could have it early tonight specifically. I needed to see him while there was still daylight outside. It felt wrong otherwise. And I needed to talk to him. He didn’t need to talk to me, but that was his problem.
“Do you want more of anything?” Mom softly asked.
“Hm?” I snapped out of my daze. “Wuh?”
“Would you like more of anything” she repeated herself.
“Oh, no thanks.” I replied. “Sorry, thinking about stuff for next year.”
“Student council things and all that?” she asked.
“Once again, way to go.” Dad commented. “I always wanted to be the dad of a politician.”
“Yeah, because student council does so much.” I lamely commented.
“You’re elected, so that means you’re at least not the most hated guy of the school.” Dad rebutted.
“Yeah, I’m definitely happy with how this year went.” I smiled.
“That’s good to hear.” Mom told me supportively.
“So, uh, I won’t be sent back to the local school then?” I half-joked towards mom.
“Oh, of course not.” she immediately dismissed. “You seem to be doing very well at school, and making a lot of new friends.”
“More than before, yeah.” I replied, looking down at the table and thinking. Not just of Nicole, but of Megan, Carson, Paul, Jenna… hell, even Phil and May. This year was one hell of a roller coaster, that was for sure.
“Speaking of, you should have Nicole over for supper sometime.” Mom continued. “After yesterday, we owe her that much.”
“Plus, even without the owing, it’s good manners to have your own girlfriend over to meet with your parents. I’d be more comfortable being more sure you’re not dating a serial killer.” He gestured around the table. “A femme fatale.”
I opened my mouth to correct Dad, and hesitated. Girlfriend. Was Nicole my girlfriend? It felt weird to even ponder. Even just a few weeks ago, I would have corrected him immediately, but now? Now, I wasn’t so sure. Whether Nicole wanted to admit it to my face or not, something was happening. I mean, fuck, she admitted it to Phil’s, even if it was just to get some higher ground in the conversation.
Before I could think further, Mom cut in. “Oh, she’s not his girlfriend, Tim.” she mock-scolded him. “Adam told me that she has a boyfriend, in fact.”
“I hope he’s not the jealous type.” he muttered, almost to himself, concealing a smile ineffectively.
“Oh, they broke up.” I blurted out before realizing. “It, uh, didn’t work out.”
“Oh.” Mom replied blandly. “Poor thing. I hope she’s okay.”
“It took her a bit, but I think she’s over it.” I couldn’t even tell if I was lying anymore, or if I was just trying to make a metaphor out of her and Phil. Maybe that’s just the excuse I was making to myself.
“Good, good.” Mom replied meekly. All of us knew the conversation was going nowhere, and my parents knew pretty well that I had a huge crush on her. I didn’t know if I was trying to hide it or anything. Maybe I should have just stopped. After all, it’s possible something was about to happen. But if it didn’t…
Dad cleared his throat. “Well, if you’re finished, why don’t I handle the dishes?” he offered. “I know you wanted us to eat early so you could see your friend.
Oh, he wasn’t my friend. “I appreciate it, thanks.” I replied quickly as I got up and gathered my shoes, bolting out the door with little more than an apathetic ‘love you’ tossed behind my back.
I ran the whole way there. It’s not like he was going anywhere, but I wanted as much time with him as possible. I knew the way off by heart now, and soon I was going under the gateway and greeted with a familiar sight. Scanning the path, I eventually found him, amongst some grass. As soon as my eyes locked onto him, I deliberately slowed my pace. The sunlight hit my face, almost blinding me as I walked painfully slowly towards him. I didn’t care. I wanted him to feel my presence.
I sat down calmly on the grass, never taking my eyes off of him. The stone just stared back at me. If Nicole was allowed to talk to her brother, so was I, and I had a hell of a lot to say.
“You recognize me, Mitch?” I asked, my voice smouldering. “It’s Adam. Adam Watson.” Go figure, there was no response. I didn’t need a response. I just wanted, on the off chance that he was listening, for him to sit down and listen to me.
I stood up and began pacing, never taking my eyes off of him. Silent. Never speaking. A good minute passed before I worked up the anger to finally talk. “How dare you.” I started. “How fucking dare you. She thought the world of you, and you fucking knew it. Then you pissed in her face, didn’t you? Where do you fucking get off, buddy?”
I knelt down and got real close to the stone. “You’re lucky I value her happiness. If I were someone else, I would have showed her the note. Is that what you would have wanted? Losing you was bad enough, she’d have to lose the you she treasured most.” I shook my head in disapproval. “The you that you never were.”
“What the fuck would it have taken to give a crap about her? Yeah, she’s a fucking clingy unstable mess. Anyone can see that. And you were thinking of leaving her?” I started pacing again. “I don’t care if you’re dead. I don’t care how you died. Because I bet you anything, if you lived, and you gave her that note, there would be a different grave here, but it would still say ‘Baker’ on it. You get me?”
Tears started to form in my eyes. Speaking of repression… I didn’t ever want to say this out loud. I didn’t ever want to acknowledge it to myself. In a way, this was never real until I revealed it to him out loud. “I’m not an idiot, Mitch. I’ve seen the marks on her arms. I know what it means.” My nose curled in anger. “You’d better fucking hope those began after you died. If you saw those and still wanted to ran away from her… I… fuck.” I sat down. “Mitch, I’m fucking scared. I’m scared not only of what’ll happen, but of you and what kind of damage you caused. I get the plan wasn’t to, like, you know…” I gestured to the grave. “I’m sorry things happened the way they did. But I don’t know how to talk to anyone about that. I don’t know how to talk to Nicole. I know she likes to close her eyes and pretend everything bad is all a bad dream, but it just isn’t my style, okay?! I don’t know what to tell her. ‘Everything will be okay’? Yeah, that’ll help her. I…”
I breathed in and out. “The first time I saw it, it fucking terrified me. It was just after sex, though. What the fuck could I say? ‘Hey, nice tits, they match your cuts’?” I got back up again. “How the fuck do you talk to the person you love most about suicide? Clearly you were too much of a fucking coward to. You’re her brother, for fuck’s sake. Couldn’t you have just noticed? Couldn’t you have been there for her, you selfish prick?!”
I sat back down and remained there for about a minute. “I don’t know why I’m blaming you.” I quietly told him. “Maybe I’m just making you a scapegoat because you’re dead. If you’re not cool with that, just say something.” I paused. “Cool, thanks.” I chuckled aloud. “I’m sure you’re not, like, the reason any of this is happening, but if I want to be her boyfriend, I need to address it sooner or later. We can’t just pretend it doesn’t exist. It’s like… I understand why she visits here so often. It’s like I begin to understand how she feels. If she were ever to leave, my whole world would be shattered. Everything would stop making sense.” I looked back at the grave. “I’m sorry you’re gone, Mitch. I’m sure you had your own life ahead of you, and it would have been great. But where the fuck does it leave me, man? It’s unfair.”
I blinked quickly to hold back tears. “But it’s worse. Like, not trying to undermine you, but your death… Complete accident. Are overdoses accidents, or…? You know what, it doesn’t matter. Nicole is doing this to herself. And your letter, man… It cuts really deep. It’s not cool what you did. You could have pushed her over the edge. You were the one person she could trust, and you were about to just give her the finger and walk away.” I pictured Nicole lying in a bed, peacefully in a most ominous way, not sleeping, drenched in a sea of red. I shivered. I don’t know what death feels like to witness. I never want to. Mitch, help me.”
I stared back at him, expecting, for some reason, something. Movement. A promise. Anything. What I got, unfortunately, was confirmation that he was gone. It was eerie before, now… it was just cruel.
“You know what, fuck you.” I huffed. “I bet her parents don’t know. I bet she even thinks I don’t know. Or she doesn’t care. But I care. I’m not just gonna sit around and let this happen. But I gotta know how to do it, Mitch. What if I, like… what if I…” my fist hit the ground. “Fuck.”
I sighed for another minute solid. Darkness was starting to eat away at the atmosphere. I had to get home soon.
“I wanted to say this to someone for a long time. I don’t know what the fuck made me think saying it to you would be a good idea.” I stood up, and chuckled again to myself. “Because you won’t judge, I guess. You literally can’t. Salvador – fuck. He’d put Nicole on some sort of therapy shit through the school. She’d never talk to me again. Carson? He’d probably tell her to get over it or something. Megan’s volatile enough.” I was looking down at the grass at this point. I looked back up to him. “None of those named probably mean anything to you, but they’re… they’re people, you know? And somewhere out there is someone I can talk to who will make all this shit go away. God didn’t spare you, why the fuck should I believe He’s looking out for Nicole?” I sighed.
My head slowly turned back to the grave. Talking to Mitch… well, ‘talking to Mitch’ put an idea in my head. “What if it was you?” I said with a menacing slowness. “You’d better hope to fuck you didn’t do this. I’m almost sad you’re gone purely because you don’t get to see what you’ve done to your own sister. IF you truly cared, you’d have been more careful. Then you could have fucking understood the stuff you’re doing to her.” I was silent for a good ten seconds. “Something sure as hell is doing something to her. Maybe it was you. Or Jeff, or even his brother. There’s stuff about Nicole I just don’t get. You meet someone, you spend maybe 20 hours with them, you go, ‘Okay, yeah, I know how this person acts.’ Nicole keeps making no sense. I just wanna… “ I cleared my throat. “I just wanna shake her sometimes, you know? Grab her by the arms and just ask her to be normal for once, for me. Be straight with me. Tell me everything she feels without needing to hide behind her sarcasm. I bet Salvador would call that postmodernism.” I smiled slightly. “I don’t even know what the fuck postmodernism is. And I need someone to do that. I need, more than ever, to… for… core Nicole. You know? I need to see her raw form. I feel liked even though I’ve seen her with no clothes on, I’ve never really seen her naked. I need someone to tell me what to do or how to act. I need someone to help her. A therapist or something.”
I smiled. “You know, maybe it’s me. Maybe I’m that guy. I don’t think I am, but you know who I’ll be if I don’t try to make sure Nicole has the best life she can?” I got really close to the gravestone. “You.” I whispered.
“Yeah. Yeah, you know what?” I stood back up, feeling an adrenaline rush. “I’m going to do it for her. She’s been through some shit, huh? Sexually assaulted by one guy, then his brother. Made to feel like she had to give everyone sex to feel like she has value. What do you do? You tell her to go ahead with it. See, I get it now. She sees you as a hero for that. I bet you just saw it as the easy way out of actually caring for her. She fucking reveres you for what you did, but what did you actually do? Fucking nothing. I’m going to do what you couldn’t, Mitch. I’m going to give it my all, and make her feel whole, not like she has to present herself to feel validated. You’re the fucking reason she has those cuts, give or take a few Love brothers, but I’m going to be those reasons those cuts will never reappear on her skin again. I may not be able to have the guts to reveal to her just what a shitty brother you’ve been, but I can love her, and I will. Every day. I’m going to m-”
I stopped. A presence. I whirled around and saw an older woman, looking at me with a weirded out expression on her face.
I turned pink. I guess paying attention may have been smart. I was completely embarrassed. So much so that, as much as I would have liked to prove to Mitch that I wasn’t a coward like him, I ran. I fucking bolted. I peaced it. I wasn’t even able to look that woman in the eyes, let alone finish that conversation.
Whatever. Mitch got the message. I may not have been the biggest smooth operator on the planet, but I was enough for Nicole. And I was going to make sure that, somehow, someway, I would solve her problems. Nicole was not going to feel lonely anymore. I meant what I said – I was going to do what Mitch couldn’t, and truly make her feel whole.
“I heard that you won the Student Council election with Nicole,” Salvador commented as I put my bag down in his office. “Congratulations.”
“You and I both know that she won the election and I was along for the ride.” I retorted, sitting down in the chair facing him. “No need to be polite.”
“If I didn’t mean to congratulate you, I wouldn’t have said it.” he replied meaningfully.
“Of course,” I laughed, throwing my hands up. “I should have guessed.”
“You seem cheerful.” he observed. “Is something important happening?”
I paused. “Not really cheerful. I guess I just feel a lot of… anticipation.”
“Summer’s coming.” I answered. “I feel like a lot of my life is changing. Like I’m closing a chapter or something. I mean, I barely knew how to do Student Council stuff this year, and now I’m expected to be the VP?”
Salvador nodded slowly. “People have large expectations of you now.” He wrote something down on a piece of paper and looked back up at me. “Is that it?”
“I don’t think you would just come to me for that.” he answered simply. “You know that I know you won the election.”
“Nicole won t-”
He waved a hand around to signal he understood. “You asked me for this meeting just because you’re feeling anticipation?”
“I can’t meet with you to tell you I’m having a good time for once?” I retorted.
“It’s nothing you couldn’t have told me in the hallways.” he coolly responded. He may have been right, had he not had the tendency to never speak when walking by someone, and only wink at people who said hello to him in those circumstances.
I sighed. “Maybe.” I conceded.
“I’m still trying to figure out what it is.” I confessed. “So… you know how I want to be with Nicole?”
“Yes.” he replied simply, looking at me. Wow. No ‘this ought to be good’ or any other quip. Maybe this is why I liked him.
“Let’s say… Okay, first of all, can this be off the record?”
“You’re going to need to put a lid on the number of ‘off the record’ things you tell me, Adam.” he replied seriously. “I only need to get fired once for serious consequences to happen.” He stared at me for a bit. “Be vague. Go.”
That was fair enough, I thought to myself as I shrugged. “Okay. Vague.” I said to myself, formulating the story. “So, there’s this girl. I’m totally not mentioning her name. Just a girl, you don’t know her. And she has… she’s cute. I think things are going well between her and I. I’m gonna try asking her out soon.”
“Would this girl’s past suggest you shouldn’t?” Salvador asked me, with just the slightest twinkle in his eye, suggesting he enjoyed the ambiguity of the situation.
“A week ago, I would have said yes. But some information has come up. I never would have thought it, but this girl digs me. I heard her talking to a… talking to a friend about asking me out. So I figured she may be a little shy, and thought that I’ll just ask her out myself instead.”
“Sounds like an open-and-shut case.” Salvador observed.
I nodded. “It’s just that there’s been a few more complications that have come up. She’s… she has a problem.”
“What kind of problem?”
“The kind that would rank second-highest in the country for people fifteen to twenty-four.” I said, relieved I knew the statistic well enough to remain ambiguous and not have to say the word out loud.
Salvador’s eyes focused and he leaned forward. “Are we talking about suicidal tendencies?”
“Well, there goes ‘ambiguous.’” I muttered.
“Adam, I’m disappointed in you.” Salvador said with a cold voice. “I was being ambiguous for your sake. I didn’t realize someone’s life was on the line. This is more than my obligation as a person, this is my obligation as a human being.”
I stared down at the floor. “I mean… I just…” I muttered.
“I can’t make any exceptions here. I’m going to phone the school counsellor when you’re gone, and inform her that Nicole Baker is expressing suicidal tendencies. Is this information true? If not, correct me immediately.” He started busily writing something down on a separate sheet.
“No one, even a school counsellor – hell, especially a school counsellor, could make Nicole comfortable with that. She clams up when I bring up anything remotely sincere. What makes you think this won’t make things worse?” I piped up.
He stopped writing. “Adam, I understand your frustration. In your attempt to make things as comfortable as possible for Nicole, you’re seeing things through her perspective. Normally, that would be mature of you. However, Nicole is very disproportionately anti-establishment. Why do you think we have a counsellor employed here?”
“Well, I’m sure the counsellor helps most people, but Nicole…” I trailed off.
“She’s a human being with psychiatric problems. You admitted that yourself. Not even just here. She has difficulty at making and maintaining social relationships as a result of abandonment issues.” I opened my mouth to talk, but Salvador pointed his pencil at me with a surprising amount of force. “You told me that yourself. Don’t try to back out of this just because you don’t understand what she needs.”
“I…” I started lamely. “I thought…”
“You thought what?” Salvador responded, finishing his write-up and looking at me.
“I thought that maybe if she had someone, a shoulder to cry on… she’d get better…”
Salvador sighed and gave me a sad smile, the likes of which I had never seen from him. “Adam, I know you care deeply about her, but you can not even think about being her savior. Do you understand?”
I blinked rapidly to hold back tears. “I just don’t want to risk something that may not make her feel better.”
“I understand that. Truly, I do.” He took off his glasses and wiped them absentmindedly. “I’ve seen couples come in and out of my office that didn’t have a tenth of the commitment and feeling you two have. If your stories are true.”
“They are, I promise.”
“Not the point. But you don’t know how to fix her. Blind support can only get some people so far. The reason they call depression a mental illness is because only some perceived ‘cures’ can truly cure it. Our school counsellor has received training for years on the subject, and has helped dozens of students with surviving through their depression. Do you have any training or experience like that?”
I stayed silent.
“You don’t. I understand that you want to be the one to help her through it. She means a lot to you. You mean a lot to her. She trusts you more than anyone you know. It should be you, if anyone, that can help her. That’s what you think, isn’t it?”
I nodded meekly.
“But you don’t know how to do it. You worry if the counsellor can’t help her, but the fact of the matter is, the counsellor has a better chance than you do. Imagine you try to help her, and you screw up, and make things worse for her. Let alone what she would do, would you be able to live with yourself?
My mouth was dry. “Okay, I get it.” I croaked.
“Again, I understand why you want to help her. That’s noble. But if you truly want to help, pass the torch onto someone who can. Summer is starting so we may have to defer to someone, but we need to do something. It’s not just my job as a teacher that’s on the line here. I don’t think you’d want to see this handled less than professionally.”
“I understand.” I admitted. “Go ahead, do what you need to do.” Salvador returned to his paper, and after a few seconds of silence, a thought popped into my head. “Nicole… she’s going to hate me, isn’t she? She’s very inward. Information about her like this getting out… she’ll never forgive me.”
Salvador looked up at me and nodded gravely. “I’m afraid if you’re the only person she’s told, even if we don’t expressly say why, you’re going to be implicated in this. I’m sorry, but those are the only words of comfort I can say.”
“Oh, she didn’t actually say anything.” I clarified.
“I noticed. Marks. Like, on her arms.” I pointed at my arms to demonstrate.
“I see.” he slowly replied. “And you’re sure they can only be one thing?”
“Yeah.” I quietly replied. “It was more than one time. They were always in slightly different places so they were always new. And they were, uh, y’know, vertical.” It was hard not to choke on my words.
“Okay. There may be a way we can talk to her where you don’t have to be directly implicated, if you so wish.” Salvador absentmindedly said as he jotted down some notes, before looking at me. “Are you okay?”
“Of course I’m not fucking okay, what kind of question is that?!” I lashed out before tears began to stream down my face. “I’m scared, Mr. Salvador. I don’t want to lose her.”
“And now that you’ve told me about this and I’m enlisting professional help, that will become less of a possibility.” he calmly retorted. He reached forward and grabbed a hand of mine on the table. “It will be okay.”
I shook his hand away. “I hope.” I muttered, trying to get the tears out of my eyes.
“It doesn’t matter if Nicole is anti-establishment. This will help her.” Salvador responded. “Students get this idea that adults don’t know how things work. They think that they could teach better than teachers, that counsellors can’t help students, and yet here we are.” He gestured around him. “We were teenagers once too. We take this into account. iPhones and Facebook don’t change the fundamentals of human nature. Nicole can pretend no one understands her all she likes, but… I’m sure I don’t need to tell you she sometimes gets wrapped up in her own emotional walls and becomes hypocritical or self-deprecating.”
I shrugged. “I guess,” I flatly said, not wanting to admit to him just how right he was.
“This very meeting shows that. If she was open about her feelings, it’s possible you wouldn’t need to come here at all. It’s why being honest about yourself helps you in the end.”
“I didn’t realize I was going to get a rant about how to be a good person.” I retorted.
“If you already knew this, I wouldn’t be telling you.” Salvador responded, staring daggers at me. “The good news is, she will get the help she needs.” He clasped his hands together in front of him. “What about you?”
“What about me what?” I asked, my face blank, the evidence of tears almost invisible at this point.
“I didn’t start meeting with you with the intention of doing this until you graduated.” he told me. “Are you in a stable place right now?”
I thought about it for a second, and began to nod slowly. “I think so.” I replied.
“Do these meetings need to continue?”
I was so used to these meetings, I think I began to depend on them. That said, I knew that was the opposite of what was supposed to happen. Salvador was trying to get me back on my feet, not cut me off at the knees. I knew as well as he did that if I showed I was getting attached or anything, he would stop the meetings in an uncomfortable way. I would have liked to have a few more meetings…
But that was just it. I would have liked it. Not ‘I needed it,’ not ‘I couldn’t function without it.’ They were becoming a comfort to me. And here we were, the culmination. I still didn’t like it, but I guess Nicole was getting professional help now. Maybe Salvador was right, maybe this would help her. I guess if I was going to be VP of the Student Council, I needed to put a little more faith in my school. Maybe they would help her. Hell, maybe they could cure her. The more I thought about it, the more I understood what Salvador was saying. I didn’t know the first thing about talking to someone with depression. And yet I talked to one all this time, and didn’t know it. Then, after I knew it, I just denied it, all this time…
“Do these meetings need to continue?” Salvador repeated with purpose.
I looked up suddenly at him, snapping out of my thoughts. “No.” I responded. “They don’t.”
“I’m genuinely glad to hear that.” he flashed me a small smile. “Do you feel better overall?”
“Do you feel able to carry on by yourself?”
“I’m the VP now. I gotta carry the school, let alone myself. Yeah, I feel able to do that.”
Alright.” Salvador stood up from his desk and extended a hand to me. I got up myself and shook his hand. He had one hell of a firm grip.
Salvador looked my face over. “I sincerely hope you’re thinking of taking drama next year.” he commented emotionlessly. “I think you have what it takes.”
“What does it take?” I asked him.
“What you have.” he simply replied, sitting back down. “Is there anything else you need?”
I chuckled internally. “No, nothing.” I replied, picking up my bag. “I’ll see you next year, I guess.”
“Goodbye.” Salvador replied, looking me in the eye. Finally hearing him say it hit me harder than expected. It was amazing the power a single word had if it was withheld for long enough. I didn’t say anything more, I just left. It didn’t feel right to stay any longer than that.
Nicole had promised she’d meet me in the main hallway. It didn’t make sense. She was never late. If anything, she had a tendency to be annoyingly early. If I had known she would be this late, I would have skipped the meeting with Salvador and just went home on the bus.
I shivered I remained sitting on the main hallway bench. If I had skipped the meeting… Salvador’s words sunk into me. Maybe I was just really naive and fell for whoever presented their case the best, but I had gone from agreeing with Nicole’s ‘fuck the system’ attitude to being fully on Salvador’s side within a split second. Maybe I was just being naive. I shrugged to myself – as long as Nicole got better, I would be happy.
Although a ride wouldn’t hurt. I glanced at the clock. 4:30pm. My meeting with Salvador couldn’t have possible gone past 4. Where could she have been? My inability to sit still was getting to me. Over the next five minutes I went from fidgety to pacing around the hallway to deciding to walk up and down the halls.
I walked up and down the 100 hallway first (the basement, where every room had a 1 in front of it), then the 300 hallway, and finally the 200 hallway.
I came upon a familiar room – Room 203. I gave the room a sad, strange smile as I approached it – there were a lot of memories caused by that place. Sex, violence, angst, sadness… What a weird year. What a weird place. Did politics make students do this?
“Looking back on fond memories?” came an ominously familiar voice. I whipped around to see the face of pure evil, Phil Love, with a surprisingly soft facial expression.
“You.” I barely choked out.
“Or are you just thinking of next year as VP?” he continued as if I said nothing.
“What are you doing here?” I asked him quietly and defensively.
“I was looking for you. Nicole said you’d be around here. I got her to get you somewhere alone where we could talk.”
“I don’t want to talk to you.” I replied coldly.
“Tough.” Phil said, walking towards me. Instinctively, I got out of the way, watching him as he unlocked the door to the student council room. He gestured with a hand, inviting me in. I shook my head no.
“I don’t want to talk to you. You need help.”
“Adam, I’m not going to ask you again. This conversation is important. I have other shit I could be doing right now.” Phil insisted.
“I don’t want to talk to you.” I stood my ground.
“And you think I do?!” he all but shouted. We remained silent for a few seconds. “This whole situation is… soup. It’s a soup of stupid shit and… stuff. Look, Nicole isn’t going to come back until I summon her. It’s either wait in the hallway for a girl that is not coming, or have a small chat with me.”
“Or call my mom and get a ride home.”
“Yeah, if you wanna take the undiplomatic bitch route.” he countered.
“Yeah, like you know anything about being diplomatic.” I spat back.
“See? We’re having a conversation.” he gestured between us. “I dunno about you, but I’ve had a siht day. If we’re gonna talk it out, it may as well be on chairs.” He walked in after finishing his sentence. Sighing, I followed, more out of feeling trapped than anything.
He sat down on the main desk, with me taking a seat in front of him. “So,” he began, “Do you wanna begin by saying anything?”
“Yeah, fine. I do. I used to trust you. I used to look up to you. I don’t get how you can do what you did and feel okay with it. The way you treat Nicole is inhuman. Especially knowing how your own brother treated her, I don’t get how you can look at yourself in the mirror without wanting to smash it. You’ve taken a mistreated girl and made her into your own nubile bitch just because you could. That’s not just being a douche-canoe, that’s being morally fucking bankrupt. I could forgive everything you did to me if it weren’t for how you also treat Nicole. I cry, I complain, I get jealous, but I carry on. Nicole is going to need counseling now for the shit people like you put her through. Imagine if she-”
I cut myself off. I couldn’t mention her suicidal tendencies, not to Phil. He’d do something. Something. Anything. Anything that Phil would do, armed with that information, was something I didn’t want to see if I was alive. I looked up at Phil to see that he was intently listening, arms crossed while sitting on the desk.
“Imagine if she did this to you. You hate her, but you obey her every word. You feel trapped by her. You feel bound to her, but every second you want to escape. You’ve made her life empty to make yours just a little bit more overflowing with fucking nice things and privilege and shit.”
“You had me until ‘nice things.’” Phil mumbled to himself. “Great. I’m glad you got that off your chest.”
“Did you even listen to me?!”
“I listened to you, man.” Phil replied, surprisingly coolly. “It’s nice to know that’s what you think, since after all, I mean, you’re on the outside. Do you think I’m bad? Did you ever hear about last year’s President?”
“I don’t care about last year’s president. You’re the one preaching about representing the school well. You shouldn’t be justifying your own terrible behavior because some dude may have been worse.”
Phil chuckled. “Fair point.” He sighed, and uncrossed his arms. “Hey, listen. It gets worse. I didn’t just drive Nicole to try to get you to resign, I ordered it. I got her to start that fight with you.” He stood up. “Yeah, I know about the fight. I know how she asked you to resign as VP. The initial plan was to get you to quit on your own, but, you being you, you just wouldn’t. Kudos, by the way.”
At this point he was pacing in front of me. I said nothing, just stared him down. I guess he took this as some kind of surprise.
“Look, I know. I just wanted to get back at those punk bitches who voted me out. All I wanted was to be the President, bring integrity back to the student council office.”
“You fucking think ‘bringing integrity back’ means stabbing fellow council members in the back when things don’t go your way?! That’s the opposite of integrity!” I shouted.
“Do you think making decisions like that is easy?” he yelled back in my face. “Welcome to the game, move your pieces across the board and obey the rules or you’re out of the game. You can’t avoid shit like that. Ding-dong. That’s the real world waiting for you. Wait until next year when you’re VP. You’re going to see just how fucking bad it can get. One little slip and boom, suddenly, you’re off the council, everyone hates you, God knows what’s going to happen to my scholarship.”
“I wouldn’t call raping a girl ‘one little slip.’”
“Oh, just shut up.” Phil dismissed me annoyedly. We stood in silence for a bit before he piped up again. “I just wanted to say congratulations. You’re a good guy, I’m glad you’re staying as VP. I’m sorry I tried to have you booted and all that.”
“You can make it up to me.” I found myself saying.
My voice was small, but powerful. “I have no reason to trust you on this, but you could give me your word. Give me your word that you won’t boss around Nicole even once more, and we’ll call it even.”
Phil found his way back to the desk and sat back down. “I don’t see what I get from this transaction.”
“You don’t.” I simply said. “You’ve been taking a lot lately, Mr. President. It sure would be nice to give back to the school for once.”
Phil laughed and crossed his arms. “You’re wrong on so many levels. First of all, you are not the school. Secondly, you’re no angel yourself. You’ve been involved in more scandals for a freshman than the rest of the council at your age combined. Thirdly, I’ve been an amazing fucking president. It just had to end on a shitty note because the rest of the council has been conditioned to vote me out.”
“Conditioned?!” I asked incredulously. “In what way were they conditioned?”
“They were. Believe me, they were.” Phil replied, staring off into space.
I could see that Phil had history with this place. I’m sure if he were anything other than the world’s biggest slimeball, I may have even felt sorry for him.
“Listen.” he said after a period of silence, leaning in to face me. “You think I like this? You think I like chopping my balls off in front of somebody I’m never even gonna see again? This is the fucking worst for me. I get you’re not comfortable, but I’m not either.”
“Then leave, why do you gotta stay here?” I rebutted.
“Because I feel bad, okay? I feel bad for you, I feel bad for Nicole. I don’t need you to tell me I’m a bad person.” He was clearly getting flustered at this point. “Look, you and Megan, yeah? You guys were together under the guise of a relationship.”
“What does Mega-”
“Just shut up for a bit, and listen. Just shu- just shut up, alright?” He was rapidly moving from ‘flustered’ to ‘unhinged.’ “It wasn’t quite a relationship, was it?”
Silence filled the air. “Do I still have to shut up?”
“No, of course it wasn’t.”
“Then that blowjob happened. She forgave you, but there was some kind of imbalance. Did you ever feel bad? Like you were turning her into a slut or something?”
Ouch. Bullseye. “Maybe.” I cautiously replied.
“Don’t bullshit me with that ‘maybe’ crap. Okay? Yes or no. Cards on the table.”
“Yes. Yes, okay? Nicole and I – same way. Again, you don’t need to tell me shit. I already know. I am already fully aware of what I did. Thing is – once I started, I couldn’t stop. Once you figure out you have the most powerful girl in the school at your command, you’ll have the answer to fucking everything. And once you do, you’re gonna get tempted to use that answer for everything.”
“So you’re saying the fact that you had Nicole at your command justifies what you did?” I asked, for some reason adopting a softer tone.
“Not justifies.” Phil said, pausing. “Explains. Look, dude. We could talk in circle, re-explain that I’m a bad guy, but I get it. I don’t see anyone else here. Who are you trying to convince?”
“So what’s the point of telling me this?” I asked him.
“I just want you to understand. Go ahead and preach from your ivory tower, but when your life as going as shitty as mine, and you have an easy way out, you’d take it. I bet you anything you’d take it. Have you never taken advantage of Nicole’s nature before? Bet you have.”
“Don’t paint me into a corner here. The only times I have done anything even close is because she offered or suggested I could use her or-”
I’m not sure whether I stopped first or couldn’t get another word out because Phil interrupted me. “And if she did that with someone else, to a bigger degree, could you understand why they said yes?”
We sat in silence. Phil had changed his expression to a patient smile.
“You’re telling me that Nicole offered you this subservience?”
“Back when we were still a thing. We kinda organically discovered the whole master-servant thing. And boy, did Nicole ever like it. I found out even after it ended that she still couldn’t resist. And I was still mad at her for breaking up with me, so…”
“So you too couldn’t resist?” I offered.
Phil grinned. “We were equal parts the creator. Suddenly I had a girl telling me she’d do anything for me. The only time she didn’t was at the party itself.”
“Gee, I wonder why.” I muttered.
“You know what, fuck you. Say what you want, I’ll defend ‘til I die that I didn’t rape her.” Phil proudly replied. “Anyway, even after the party’s fallout, she agreed to try her hardest to overturn the voting process. When that doesn’t work, my mind clouded and I went to revenge.”
“Why me though?!” I asked in disbelief. “I voted to keep you on!”
“Yeah? Well… I wasn’t informed of that.” Phil admitted defeatedly. “I only found that out after.”
“Cool.” I threw up my hands. “Great, as you would say. So you just went around willy-nilly in a blind rage, not caring who you took down with you. All because you had Nicole doing your every will.”
He shrugged. “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
I sighed and shook my head.
“Look Adam, fuck you. At least I’m being honest with this shit. I have the balls to look you in the face and tell you. You think it doesn’t kill me inside that I know you and Nicole will end up together after all this is finished?!”
“So in turn, you decide to kill me on the inside by making her blow you while you know I’m watching?!”
“Yeah, I fucking do!” he exploded. “How does it fucking feel? Good thing didn’t spend an extra whole year trying to win her over, only to have some geek who’s three years younger than you with no social skills get picked up by her just because he’s ‘little brother’ cute. I bet that would have felt like complete shit.”
“I couldn’t control that. You absolutely could control making me feel like shit.”
“I stopped giving a shit about your feelings when Megan blew you, dude. You clearly didn’t care about me since you kept doing things that made me look awful for just keeping you on the team. I fucking stood up for you because it was right. You know where that got me? Jeff had a discussion about taking that decision up with Mr. Scott. How would that have gone?” He sniffed the air. “Smell that? Smells like impeachment. Every fucking time, I try to be the good guy, and every fucking time, it bites me in the ass.” Tears were in his eyes now. “Like, just bear with me here. Imagine if I was just talking with May, thinking that I would be the one older guy she trusts. Imagine if she sees an in and fucking cries wolf. What fucking then, man?! What then?!” He wiped his eyes with his sleeve. “Fuck, the only time I got to have my way was when I bent the rules. Maybe that’s why so many politicians do. It’s the only way out. I’ve seen the light, man. I’ve seen the fucking light.”
He wiped his eyes again. “I just didn’t want you to get caught up in this. You’ve been through enough shit. I’m just… sorry. You’ve been weird, and kind of a dick in your own right, but I’m sorry.”
I hated Phil for winning me over, but part of me felt genuinely sorry for him. He was a dick, but dick or not, he didn’t seem like he was having the best time for it. “I’m sorry for my part in it too.” I replied reluctantly.
“Don’t apologize. It was just fate. I get…” he cleared his throat. “Well, fuck, you already know. So like, on my end it’s my fault. You, you’re just a geek who seems to be everywhere. Either you’re way craftier than you look, no offense, or it’s just because you and Nicole are a thing.”
I shrugged. It was kind of true. Everything weird that happened this year could be traced back to Nicole in one way or another.
“This isn’t high school. I just want you to know that.”
“Huh?” I didn’t get what the heck he was on about.
“Like, this.” he gestured around him. “All of this. What’s happening every day around you. It’s not normal high school. You kind of got a shitty grade nine year. It happens. And hey, maybe it’s more common in student council. But not in regular high school. This whole year was really weird. If you’re going to say as VP, especially with Nicole, it’s probably going to get more weird.”
“Yeah, especially since she’ll be ‘thinking of you’ the whole time she’ll be with me.” I shot back at him bitterly.
He sighed. “Look, I’m sorry for that too. You and I both know it’s not true. I just said it because of the hotheaded thing. Deep down, I know she’ll forget me within a few months. Probably to be replaced by you.” He suddenly got up and grabbed me by the shoulders. “If nothing else, understand how fucking shitty that is for me. I fucking love her, man.”
Jeez, Nicole was one hell of a heartbreaker.
“And I get that it’s impossible to stop you two now. I literally ordered her to break things off with you, and she obeys my every word, and she couldn’t do that.”
Things started to dawn on me. “So once the illusion of your power was broken, that’s when you could see what you did and wanted to apologize.”
Phil shrugged with a sad smile. “Sorta, yeah.” He straightened himself up. “Look, dude. In a couple days you won’t even be seeing me around anymore. I’ll be gone. It just wouldn’t be right to leave things as they are.”
“So what are you asking?” I asked him.
He shrugged. “You know what, I don’t even know anymore. A truce?”
“I didn’t realize we were fighting.”
Phil chuckled to himself. “When have we not been fighting in some way?”
I chuckled too. “Yeah, true.”
“So, how about it? We leave each other on a good note?”
I chewed my upper lip and let time pass us, then sighed. “No.” I finally concluded. “I just can’t. Not after the shit you pulled. I know you want to erase the past and act like it never happened, but it’s not my style. I appreciate you being honest and having this talk with me, but you took things a bit too far.”
Phil didn’t say anything for a long time. “Okay then.” he finally said quietly. “Have it your way. I won’t lose any sleep for this. I’m gonna go text Nicole, and you can be on your way then. Sound good?” He hopped up off the desk and started to walk out of the room.
“Remember my earlier deal?” I asked him just before he walked out of the room.
“To leave Nicole alone?”
“Is that what you’re asking of me in return for this truce?”
I trailed my eyes up from the floor to meet his. “No. I’m asking you to do this so that you can be a kind human being again.”
A smile slowly spread its way across Phil’s lips. “You talk like you’re anybody but you, you know that?” he asked me.
“It’s the only way I’ve found to get shit done.” I replied.
“Condescending tone aside, maybe I’ll do that. Guess I can’t ask for respect – I gotta earn it. But you remember this – Phil Love was a damn good president. And maybe it took him until the end of the year to do it, but he was a good person too.” He disappeared from the doorway into the hallway. “In five minutes Nicole will be in the main hallway.” his voice echoed, getting quieter and quieter as he walked farther away. “She’ll find it’s the last thing I ever ask of her. Treat her right, man.”
I could do nothing but shake my head as I tried to wrap my head around the conversation. It wasn’t too much of Phil to ask me to think of him as a good person, but… well, as he said, he was leaving soon. How I thought of him wouldn’t really impact him down the line, so in the end, it was okay to see him as I did.
“I’m not entirely sure we should be doing this.” I said cautiously as Nicole worked her shirt over her head.
“Oh, relax, will you? It’s the last day of school. No one’s gonna even check the school.” Nicole purred in response, grinding her topless body against mine. “Now where were we?”
I grinned at her as I undid the button on my pants. “What’s gotten into you?”
“I’m just excited,” she simply answered as she sank down to her knees in front of me, undoing the zipper. I leaned back against the workout machine, smiling in excitement. “Summer’s here. No more school, no more responsibilities for a whole season. Just you and me. And I would say we’ve earned some alone time, wouldn’t you, hotshot?”
I wasn’t in any kind of position to say no. I couldn’t help but stroke her hair and she slowly, sensually pulled down my pants. I know that she was trying to pull off the spontaneous horny vixen act, but even amongst all that, I coudn’t think about anything but how cute she was. Her hair, reaching the floor given her current position, perfectly framed her cute face in every way, from every angle. It seemed impossible. The whole situation seemed impossible. Why me? I was a geek, if not something of a reformed geek that had some muscle and style. Was that all it took? Hell, she liked me from the beginning. And it wasn’t my looks, it wasn’t my dick or anything… I didn’t get it.
Nicole was about to fish my cokc out of my underwear when she stopped. “Something wrong, squirt?” she asked playfully as she started rubbing me through my underwear.
“Why me?” I asked. “Why did you decide to go after me? I’m not good-looking, I was awkward, I was shy. I was clearly a virgin. What made you think to yourself, ‘yeah, I want that guy’?”
“Ah, is this what we’re doing today?” Nicole grinned as she took my underwear off. She caressed my shaft lovingly with her free hand. “Great timing.”
“I just want to know. There must have been something there.” I replied, trying to ignore the sensations going through me as Nicole took me into her mouth for the first time. I looked down to see her beautiful blue eyes drinking in my enjoyment, sparkling. I bet she was enjoying watching me try to downplay the sensations I was feeling, trying to look impervious to her efforts as she wore down my resolve.
She took me out of her mouth and chuckled to herself. “You want the truth?”
“That’s why I asked.” I replied, as coolly as I could.
Nicole smiled slyly at me and placed a hand on my shaft, beginning to jack me off at a painfully slow rate. “I wanted to scare you.”
“Think about it.” She increased her pace slightly. “You were blazing ‘clueless freshman’ in neon lights. After snapping you for the school paper, I was frankly about to leave. The only reason I stayed around was because you needed a ride.”
I winced. She was increasing her pace more. Nicole noticed my wince and her smile got larger. She stopped her motions to spit on my shaft, then kept rubbing, making the handjob more wet and slippery.
“When I pulled out my tits, it was only because you were so bewildered with everything.” Nicole continued smugly.
“So you were trying to scare me away?” I asked her, trying to keep my breathing under control.
She gave a single chuckle. “I didn’t quite know what you’d do. I wasn’t counting on you being brave enough to actually go for it.”
“Have you done it before?”
She thought to herself for a second. “I sure never got that far with a freshman in the car before. There were a few I’ve driven home that immediately touched my tits or something. One even pulled his dick out and told me to suck it. Cheeky lil’ dude. Emphasis on lil’.” She stopped jacking me off for a second. “It definitely was a good idea to wait for me to demand it. You may notice, I get horny pretty easily.” At that, she took me back into her mouth and gave me a wink. “Any more questions?” she asked in between sucks.
She was definitely weakening my resolve, but I was determined to keep my cool. “You still never answered me. Why me? That was just a one-time thing. But I feel like I became your personal pet after that. What made you… know… keep me?”
Keep me. Wowee. How’s it going, Captain Beta? It felt good to know I had so many ways of saying, ‘I feel inferior to you.’ Luckily, Nicole just smiled, a smile I could feel given I was in her mouth.
“You like making me say stuff, don’t you?” she asked with a playful lilt in her voice. “Because you’re attractive, you jackass. Because I want you. I don’t think it’s something you can explain.”
A surge of adrenaline bolted through me. “Like love?” I asked.
Nicole looked up at me fiercely, then her eyes immediately softened. “We’re not talking about that here, do you understand?” she asked me. “I would have thought that this would be enough to distract you.” She returned her hand to my shaft and kept pumping.
“It only makes it more prominent in my mind.” I playfully retorted.
Nicole grinned. “What a sucker. Get a crush on Nicole, why don’t you? It’s just gonna mean heartbreak for you.” She replied, staring at my dick. “Have I ever mentioned what a great cock you have? I fucking love it.”
“Get a crush on my dick, why don’t you?” I replied slyly.
Nicole gave me that cute little smile girls give where they stick out their tongue slightly. “If I could fucking marry your dick, I would, dude. I’m super glad that you happened to be so attractive to me. To think, I almost missed out on this dick…”
“How did you almost miss out on it? We’re here now.”
“There have been so many incidents this year where we almost stopped having sex. Do I need to list them?” she replied dryly.
“I wouldn’t have given up on you though.” I told her sincerely. “Not in a million years. I would never forget you, and I would never stop chasing you.”
She stopped jacking me off and stood up, standing in front of me, staring me right in the eyes. Suddenly, she gave me a kiss.
“You’re cute.” she told me simply, with just too little emotion for me to not believe she was hiding her true tone. She sank back down to her knees. “By the way, if that kiss tasted weird, that would probably be your own dick.” She winked at me as she popped my dick back into her mouth. With her free hand, she started saying something in what looked like sign language.
“I don’t understand, are you saying something?” I asked.
She rolled her eyes and took her mouth off my dick. “I was trying to tell you to stop talking, at this rate I’ll have graduated before I finish sucking you off. Quit asking about our history and just enjoy yourself.”
As she finished her sentence, she took my dick, yet again, back into her mouth and seemed to seal the deal by applying a little extra suction than usual. It hurt a tad, but it also felt weirdly good. I sighed and gripped the machine behind me tighter as I closed my eyes. Nicole’s blowjobs were always something else. It’s like she had this psychic link to me, always knowing exactly what buttons to push and when. She’d pick up speed when I wanted her to go faster, slow down when I got more sensitive, and accommodate anything I could have asked for. I never had to say ‘faster’ or ‘slower’ or anything. In fact, usually the only thing that came out of my mouth was something like…
“Oh my God, Nicole.” I panted. “This is fucking amazing.”
She simply giggled onto my dick in response as her hands started affectionately playing with my thighs. Her eyes closed in concentration as she focused all of her efforts into making me feel good. She tapped into my psyche and knew exactly what I wanted, delivering with every swift action. It wasn’t too much of a stretch to say that her mouth was heavenly, and soon my panting turned into slight squirms and little mouth noises, each one no doubt very much enjoyed by Nicole.
“F-fuck…” I muttered as I felt my orgasm approaching. Nicole, as clairvoyant as ever, sensed this and doubled her efforts, to the point where I was audibly repeating ‘oh’ over and over.
“Nicole, this is-!!” I barely got out. In response, she gave me a thumbs-up, not even opening her eyes as she coaxed the last little bit of resistance out of me, seducing my whole being with her mouth. Like a proverbial succubus, she reduced me to absolutely nothing as my long-awaited orgasm hit me like a train, washing over my entire body like a euphoric wave. I couldn’t control the things coming from my mouth, though I heard, “Nicole, I love you so much” flowing out of there amongst the various sounds. Cum erupted from my cock after shooting its way through my dick, which of course Nicole took without breaking her stride. If she wanted to suck my soul out through my dick she could have right there – as a matter of fact, shortly after, my legs couldn’t help but give out.
Nicole quickly swallowed what I gave her before helping me to the ground. “Woah, you okay?” she asked, her voice full of concern.
I panted heavily. “Next time… if we’re… if we’re gonna… gonna fuck… we should… not do it… after a full workout.” I wheezed. Nicole grinned and got to her feet.
“Maybe next time you could return the favor then.” she offered playfully. “It’s been too long since I’ve been eaten out.”
“H-hey, I mean… I’d be glad…” I weakly panted, not even fully conscious at this point. Given the lack of consciousness, my pants hitting me in the face sent me to the floor.
“Wow, you are weak. I think my blowjobs have biblical power.” Nicole commented after throwing my pants at me, putting her shirt back on. “Now come on, you baby. Unless you plan on returning the favor, let’s go home. I got chores and shit to do.”
“Yeh…” I mumbled. “Greh…”
“Boy, I really did a number on you.” she shook her head. “You normally can at least speak. I’m going to the washroom for a bit. When I come out, I want you on the school’s front steps, fully awake. Unless you need something now.”
“Nah, I’ll be good…” I mumbled, beginning to snap back to reality. I raised my head back up. There we go, gravity.
“Cool, see you in a bit then, squirt.” Nicole tossed behind her as she left. “Good job today.”
“You too…” I mumbled as I slowly stood up. I shook my head a couple of times and blinked. There we go. Unobstructed sight, was I glad to have you back. I picked up my underwear, slipping it on, followed by my pants. Taking my school bag and slinging it over my shoulder, I left the room, turning off the lights and shutting the door behind me. I took a few seconds to look at the room, smiling at the varied memories Nicole and I shared in that weights room. I had to say, I had really good body image now. When the year had started, I hated looking at myself in the mirror. I looked – no, felt like a failure. Now, I wasn’t a failure. I was a process. A constant goal. A reason to get up tomorrow. I loved seeing my progress for myself, and I loved bonding with Nicole over it. It was scary how powerful she was, though. My muscles may have looked bigger thanks to my semester-long training, but she must have had more muscles… somewhere. She didn’t really look muscular, but that didn’t stop her from being weirdly strong.
My strong girl. I found myself grinning like an idiot again as I walked through the main hallway. I stopped in front of the counsellor’s office and my smile vanished.
My strong girl… I sure hoped so. I shivered. I wonder when Salvador’s words would come to fruition. Maybe she would have to come to the school over the summer. Maybe she’d know it was me, and hate me. I shook my head. Whatever, she was going to get help. She was strong, but there was no shame in asking for help up if you’ve been knocked down, right?
I opened the school’s front door and breathed in the spring air. I was in heaven. Winter was my favorite season, but spring smelled so amazing. Flowers, cut grass, pollen, fresh air, sometimes you could even smell the sunlight. It smelled like life. Smiling to myself, I watched a breeze carry some sort of flower’s spore or something cross the sky.
The spore travelled past a telephone pole or something. I glanced up at the wires. I didn’t even fully recognize this was here. I guess I got used to it. I looked the pole up and down. There were a couple of posters, one or two talking about electrical safety or someth-
I froze. A ‘missing’ poster. I couldn’t see any of the words besides ‘missing,’ but the person on the poster looked familiar. I found myself forgetting my weakness as I ran up to the poster. I didn’t like recognizing someone on a ‘missing’ poster of all things.
‘Pierce Jennett.’ It was Pierce. It was fucking Pierce. Pierce was missing. My old high school bully, the guy I got to see once again before he all but vanished again. He said in time I would come to like him again or some shit. I wasn’t exactly his biggest fan, needless to say, especially given he made my life up until this point hell. Hell, I didn’t like him. But I wouldn’t want him to go missing.
“You okay?” came the voice of Nicole behind me. I heard footsteps approach me, and saw a shadow of Nicole’s head appear next to mine.
“The missing poster.” I croaked. My throat was dry, but I didn’t really have any hint of sadness or anything to my voice. Just… numb.
“Ah, Pierce, huh? Yeah, he went to our school for like two weeks. Beat the shit out of someone and got expelled. Apparently he was a problem kid.”
Looks like old habits died hard. “So what, do you think he ran away from home or something?”
Nicole studied the poster. “Not recently. Looks like the poster is from a few weeks after he got expelled. So this baby is a few months old.”
A few months. He was gone for a few months? “Was he found?” I asked. I was floored I didn’t hear about this in my school.
Nicole shrugged. “Probably not. Usually posters don’t stick around after someone gets found. I guess he’s still out there somewhere. Or like, dead or something.”
My mouth went dry again. Dead. I hadn’t even considered that. I felt myself going dizzy with confusion. Pierce. Such an important guy in my life for all the wrong reasons, was missing for several months and maybe dead, and I didn’t even know.
“Hey, sorry. Relax.” Nicole piped up, noting my silence. “I just think out loud a lot. He’s probably not dead. Just ran away or something. You know, problem kid. Happens all the time.” She looked back to the poster. “Is he a friend of yours?”
I stared at the poster for a bit longer. “No.” I answered honestly. “I just don’t like the idea of him not ever getting to return home.”
“Yeah, I know that feeling.” Nicole quietly added. Snapping out of my own feelings, I realized I was beginning to hurt hers. I slowly grabbed her hand and held it, stroking supportively. She looked at me and smiled shyly in response.
“Would you like to get out of here?” I asked.
“Thought you’d never ask.” she replied softly. I gave one last glance to the poster before turning with her as we walked, hand in hand, to her car.
If I thought my mind was clouded before, it was ready for a storm now. I just hoped Pierce was okay. He was only slightly older than me. Nobody around my age deserved to die. Not Mitch, not Pierce, and…
And not Nicole.
The front doors swung open violently. I’m sure no one in the entire history of Hazelwood flung them open with the force of Carson Carter when he felt on top of the world until this day. Megan and I hesitantly followed. Carson strutted until all three of us were in front of the front steps, and whirled around.
“Boom, bitch.” he proudly spat, making finger guns towards the school.
“Real impressive, dude. You survived first-year exams.” I replied dryly, not bothering to stop as I walked by him. “Like every other student here.”
“We haven’t gotten a report on the fatalities yet, don’t count your chickens before they hatch.” Carson replied, whirling back around and putting an arm around Megan as he walked. Megan immediately brushed his arm off.
“So what’s the plan?” Megan asked.
“Pizza.” Carson replied confidently, pointing at the pizza parlor about a block or two away from the school. It was a popular place among the students at Hazelwood for lunch, as long as they didn’t mind the commute. “I’m buying.”
“Damn.” I muttered aloud. “You’re in a really good mood. I’m in.”
“How could I say no?” Megan cheerfully added, giving us a small smile.
“You can’t. Don’t worry, I’m used to it.” Carson interjected smugly. At that, Megan turned to face me and her smile waned a tad.
The walk there was pretty eventless – a quip about the exams we shared, excitement for the summer, the occasional word or two from Megan – before we arrived. Before long, we were cheerfully chomping down on some slices, enjoying both our time together and our time enjoying the first taste of true freedom we had tasted in a year. And it tasted good, like happiness with a side of pepperoni.
“Seriously? Black olives?” Carson asked incredulously.
Megan shrugged. “My tastes are unusual.” she replied simply, a smile on her face.
Carson shook his head. “Cheese and pep is where it’s at.” He put his slice down and made a motion to fist-bump me. I hastily put down my slice so I could bump his fist before things got awkward from too much waiting.
“It wouldn’t kill you to try some new things in life, Carson.” Megan replied flatly. “You could surprise yourself.”
“Ha!” Carson smiled and lowered an eyebrow. “I’m always trying new things. I’m a never-stopping adventurer.” At that, he slid his arm around Megan. “Or have you forgotten?”
“Remember what I said.” Megan said with an ominous calmness, like a dormant volcano.
“Right, right.” Carson immediately retracted his hand and slid back to his side. “So… buddy, how are we gonna see you this summer if you live so far away?”
“I’m not sure what I can promise.” I replied. “Obviously my parents still have to work, but it’s possible Nicole could give me rides. I just don’t want to ask too much of her, obviously, especially since I can’t pay her back or anything.”
Carson grinned. “Ah, so the creepy VP used his peepee to get some freebies?” He started laughing at his own joke, and Megan couldn’t help but join in.
“Shut up, jackass.” I replied, sporting a grin of my own. “I’ll find out, alright?”
“Alright, cool. In the meantime, if you can’t, we may as well treat this as the last time. You wanna come over for a few matches? Grand tournament or something. Winner takes all.”
My grin got bigger at his request. “Sure, I’m down.” I gave a glance towards Megan, who was absentmindedly chewing. “What about Megan? Is she in on the tourney as well?”
Carson’s head turned to Megan as if he forgot she was there. “Oh, right, crap, sorry. You want in as well?”
Megan slowly swallowed. “Sure, why not? She shrugged. “I could try.”
“Don’t worry, we’ll go easy on you.” Carson assured her. “Fuck it, can we eat on the way? I don’t wanna wait.”
How very Carson of him. Within a minute at most we were walking back in the direction of the school, then past it as we neared his place. By the time we got there, Carson had engaged turbo mode. He practically threw his pizza at the counter before firing up the console.
“Dude, calm down.” I joked. “We’ll probably see each other this summer.”
“It’s not that. I’ve been practicing and I just know I’m gonna cream ya. Just wait until I show you what’s up my sleeve.”
“You guys sure talk up the game.” Megan replied from the doorway, still taking her shoes off.
“In a bit you’ll see why.” Carson retorted. “Just watch. I’ll take out Adam first so you can see what I’m talking about but then I’m coming for you. You sure you don’t want to back out?”
Megan smiled innocently. “Nah, it’ll be fun.” she chipped. She walked over to the couch and I scooted over to make room for her. Once we all had controllers and were fully prepped, Carson prepared the match and the game began.
All of us took off like a bat out of hell. I was surprised to see no trace of nervousness from Megan – calm and collected, completely unlike the creature she was even a few months ago. I guess for one reason or another, odds are the reason that had to do with genitals and teenage drama, she really came out of her shell this year. Although I expected the unfamiliar territory of Halo to be enough to make her at least a bit more bashful.
I turned my attention back to the screen after just giving a sideways glance at her to find that I was being attacked. Shit, I thought to myself. Carson really was getting better. I didn’t even see him coming, and his accuracy improved.
It wasn’t Carson. It was Megan. I sat in stunned silence as I witnessed sweet, innocent Megan teabagging my corpse. This wasn’t a fluke, either – it was clear Megan had stupidly high levels of experienced. I gave a glance towards Carson, who either didn’t register what happened or didn’t care – until about 20 seconds later when Megan did the same thing to him. The rest of the Slayer match played out like a broken record player – the exact same thing again and again, and the persistent feeling that that wasn’t supposed to happen. When the match was over, Megan gently put the controller down on the floor and started giggling.
The giggle grew and grew until it turned into a full-blown laugh. Red Team, three kills. Blue team, one kill. Gold team, fifteen. Three guesses which team Megan was playing. I turned slowly towards Carson, who appeared to turn towards me at the exact same time. Both of us then turned to Megan in disbelief, still laughing.
“What? Didn’t I tell you?” she managed to say between laughs. “I love Halo. I play it all the time.”
Carson shook his head, eyeing the floor in disgust. “Fuckin’…” he began ominously. Both of us turned to face him just in time for him to break out into a shit-eating grin. “…Nice!” he finished, fist-bumping Megan. “That was awesome. You gotta show me how you did that. You free next week?” We took turns celebrating Megan’s victory and trying to hide how surprised we were until Carson left for the washroom.
“So are you actually gonna teach him next week, or are you just gonna keep kicking his ass for fun?”
Megan smiled. “Little bit of column A, little bit of column B.” she replied matter-of-factly. “You should come as well. It’ll be fun to watch.”
I gave a single chuckle uneasily. “I don’t know if I can.” I replied. “Now that school’s out, I can’t get rides out here like I used to. Like, it’s easy for you guys but I don’t live around here.”
Megan pouted, appearing to just remember that fact now. “I’m not going to get to see you that much this summer, am I?”
After all we were through together, I had something of an aversion to lying to Megan of all people. “Probably not, no. Like, I can try once or twice, but my parents are too busy, and I would feel too guilty asking Nicole to keep driving me places.”
Megan nodded. “That makes sense. Carson is going to be disappointed too.”
I shot a gaze down the hall, then back to her. “Carson? I don’t think so. It doesn’t seem to affect him whether I’m there or not. He seems cool with hanging out and stuff but I feel like if it weren’t me it would be someone else.”
Megan’s smile waxed slightly. “I know that’s not true.” she replied softly. “He misses you when you’re not around. A few weeks ago he was asking if he did something to offend you because you were too busy to hang out.”
“But I was.” I protested.
“I know that. Just trust me, he’ll miss you too.” Megan told me, her smile now gone at this point. “And so will I.” She advanced forward to give me a hug. “Thank you for being there for me this year.”
I huffed. “If it weren’t for me, you wouldn’t have had such a stressful time to begin with.” I admitted.
“Well, it happened, and you’re still here by my side. It means a lot.” she answered me.
“And I always will be, I can promise you that.” I added. Megan smiled and kissed my cheek.
“I’m looking forward to sharing my time in high school with you two.” Megan told me sweetly. I smiled in response, feeling like I didn’t even need to say the same. All in all, I was pretty lucky. With all of the shit that happened this year, the odds that Megan, Carson and I were all still friends were about one in a billion.
I sure was a lucky little squirt.
Nicole sighed in deep bliss as my tongue first entered her.
“Now this is what I’m talking about.” she moaned, clutching her breasts in her hands, finishing off by giving her nipples a little squeeze. “Fuck, you need to do this more often.”
I moved my head back. “Well, now that I have some time this sum-”
“No no no no no.” Nicole swiftly and hastily replied, putting her hand on the back of my head and moving it back. “Don’t stop. We can talk later, just keep going.” With that, her eyes closed again and she was whisked back to her own little world.
I smiled internally, knowing this would be the first of many, many times this summer that Nicole and I would get to hang out and… well, hang out and fuck this summer. I had an emotional attachment to her but it was so easy to make sex a routine thing when other shit like school was on your mind, especially with Nicole’s insatiable nature.
I went right back to work, alternating from lazily lapping at her slit and swirling my tongue around her large clit, making her moan in approval.
“Fuck, I needed this.” Nicole breathed out in ecstasy, grasping my head and messing up my hair as I dived in further, eventually getting a good rhythm with her clit and getting a hand free so I could slip a finger inside. At the first touch, she gasped, and then purred as she felt my finger slide inside her.
After a few testing-the-water pumps of my finger, one quickly became two, then three. I alternated between feeling around her g-spot and furiously pumping the trio of fingers in and out, all the while continuing my efforts on her clit, looking up at her angelic face every so often to enjoy the effects of her enrapturement.
Once or twice she opened her eyes, allowing me to see the lust she was accumulating. At one point she even noticed me. Without the lust leaving her eyes, she simply chuckled almost lifelessly and said, “Keep going, hotshot,” weakly. She then closed her eyes and began lightly moaning again, now pushing her pelvis forward to meet my face. It made keeping contact with her clitoris difficult, but I was determined to make Nicole cum.
And it was working. Soon, Nicole began to arch her back and her breaths became shorter. “Harder, Adam, please.” she begged me. “Harder.”
It was interesting. Most of the time she was animalistic when she fucked – I was almost nostalgic for that. This time, she seemed more tender and gentle – dare I say it, loving. I didn’t really mind it, though – there was an invisible connection we now shared, and whenever she was more tender, I could feel why. I could never articulate it myself though – it just felt right, it felt like we were in the same universe, our little universe, with no one else around. She didn’t need to ever tell me she was going to climax, I knew.
And I knew exactly how to respond. Three fingers went back to two and I went straight for her g-spot, giving it as much attention as my fingers could muster. Meanwhile, my tongue switched directions, darted back and forth, even went upside down (a personal talent of mine) and then, right at the point of the dam breaking, my tongue went gentle and delicate, barely even making contact with Nicole’s clit as it danced around.
The effect was immediate. Nicole couldn’t even make coherent words at this teasing gesture – just a series of high-pitched whines and incoherent begs for me to continue. In my head I counted down: five, four, three, two, one, then resumed the assault on her clit just in time for the dam to break.
And what a break it was. I don’t think Nicole ever came so hard from oral before – her body went all stiff , twitching ever so slightly, then starting spasming a little bit. I could feel the electricity coming off of her body as she writhed on the bed, allowing the shock enter her system before a wave of blissful pleasure crested overtop of her body. You could see it impacting every part of her body from her pussy outwards – her hips, her arms and legs, her hands and feet, her chest (which caused her to push her beautiful breasts out, something I could never object to), then finally her beautiful face, contorted with every single feeling she felt in the moment.
I stayed there for a few seconds before she let out her all-clear siren in the form of a long sigh, then I moved quickly. I rushed to her dresser, grabbing her water bottle and taking a big swig, then set it down as I ditched my clothes like they were on fire. Quickly, while she was still recovering from her intense orgasm, I got on the bed right beside her and kissed her back to consciousness.
She slowly opened her eyes, then blinked twice and adjusted to her surroundings. “Oh my God.” she murmured as she saw me, naked and fully hgar,d waiting for her.
“I know how much you like riding me immediately afterwards.” I said with a smile.
“You’re too good to me.” she replied, grinning, as she slowly rose up. She quickly fell back. “Woah! Jesus. You did a number on me.”
“Yeah. Feel proud of yourself though, can’t say I’ve been this weak after cumming before.”
“I’ve been taking notes.” I admitted half-proudly, half-bashfully.
She lowered one eyebrow. “Hoping to eliminate the competition or something?”
“Hoping to satisfy you.” I replied, a little too honestly.
She looked at me for a little bit, then squinted a little at me as if in thought. “You’re cute.” she said finally, getting back up and straddling me. “Now, how about we get to work on this little problem?” she asked, taking her index finger and resting her fingertip on my dick.
“It’s all yours.” I told her, and she smiled to herself in response.
“Fuckin’A.” she almost whispered as she lifted herself up, lined herself up with me, and slowly sank down on top of me.
I could believe other people if they say that sex could get a little mundane, or always feel the same, but with Nicole, it always felt like a new experience each and every time. Just… a new yet familiar experience. An experience I could never imagine, yet one I craved. And now I got the release I was seeking, as I felt her warm, heavenly grip on my cock enveloping me inch by inch until finally her hips rested on top of mine. Nicole practically squeaked in temporary pain, then began rocking back and forth on top of me as she got accustomed to having me fully inside her. I groaned once or twice to signify that she was going a bit too far and bending me, but before long she scoped out the limits and knew exactly what movements to make.
Almost out of pure instinct, I reached around her and grabbed her ass, savoring the feeling of her full yet firm ass cheeks in my hands. She moaned slightly at the touch and eyed me, biting her lip seductively as she flipped her hair and put on a little shy act for me.
“You ready, sexy?” she asked me, playing with a lock of her hair.
“Give me all you got.” I responded, grinning.
She grinned herself and started moving up and down, milking me for all of both of our worth. It began in slow, awkward movements, but gradually, we both felt each other’s natural tempos and began to turn improvisation into coordination. Before long, Nicole was slamming into me at full force, every movement of hers tailored for my pleasure, every movement of mine tailored to her’s. We spent a good amount of time either with our eyes closed or looking away, but occasionally we would lock eyes and in amongst the moaning, start smiling at each other, even laughing. We had no idea why, we just would. After one spurt of laughter, Nicole leaned down and, doing her best not to make the angle awkward, kissed me on the lips. I would kiss her back, and before either of us would realize it, our tongues would be intertwined in a battle rivalling that of the Seven Years’ War. Both of us brought our highest-class warfare to the table – while making out, I would suddenly spank her ass before going back to grope it, making her almost squeal into my mouth. In response, she would grip the back of my neck and massage it while still trying to keep herself balanced – she could multitask like a pro. The sensations on my neck, combined with the rest of my body – practically set me on fire. No part of me wasn’t tingling. Nicole was magic, no two ways about it.
While the two of us didn’t need to exchange any words, occasionally a few would fly, and when we began to feel the tingling come to a crescendo, Nicole voiced it to me, though perhaps not in the words she would have meant had she not been drunk on her lust.
“I love you, Adam.” she moaned as she began to feel her sensations reach a high.
I didn’t even find it puzzling at this point. “I love you too, Nicole.” I practically shouted, so proud and happy to be with her, to be hers, to have her be mine.
“T-together?” she asked, ready to blow any second.
“Gimme a bit…” I barely choked out, focussing on ramming her from the bottom position so we could climax together. When it was coming, I couldn’t even find the strength to tell her in normal English that I was there. I just pant-screamed out a few “Aah!”s, but I think she got the message and with one final thrust, we had achieved the mythical simultaneous cum.
It felt out-of-this-world to cum with Nicole. To be there with her, to be inside her, closer than anyone else could be with her at that moment. It was a moment locked in time where the two of us became one, shared the same mindspace and combined our bodies. The sensations overwhelmed me as they did her – soon she collapsed on top of me as we lay there panting, bringing ourselves back to reality from the euphoria we experienced from pleasing each other.
Our breathing got less pronounced until we both had clearly recovered. Nicole found the strength to once again push herself up from the bed and kissed me deeply.
“You’re amazing.” she purred.
“As long as you’re happy.” I replied, smiling.
She slowly pulled out of me and plopped down beside me, nuzzling into my neck and cuddling into me. “I’m so happy.”
My smile remained there for a long time, though it temporarily went away when I stroked her arm and felt a bumpy patch. A scar. I shivered, though I hoped I didn’t let her know. I went back to stroking as nonchalantly as possible. The silence in the room had taken on a more sinister nature.
“Are you scared?” Nicole asked, in a surprisingly warm tone.
I chewed my lip. She had noticed. “Yeah, a little.” I replied. “Did you know I knew?”
“When do I not know… anything?” she asked, and we shared a small laugh. Silence took us again and she moved her head slightly, nuzzling my neck again. “Does it change anything?”
I emitted a small smile. Whether it was happy or sad, I couldn’t say. “No, Nicole. It changes nothing. You’re still you.”
I could feel Nicole smile into my neck. “Thank you.” she said in a small voice. “I don’t want it to be a burden on you.”
“It’s not.” I replied. “You’re not.”
“Do you wanna talk about how you feel?” she asked me, her voice as small as ever.
I laughed out loud. “You know what, no. It’s all I ever do. Do you already know how I feel?”
“I think so.” Nicole laughed too, kissing my neck. “Thank you.”
“Would you… would you be my girlfriend?” I asked in a shy voice.
Nicole removed her head from my neck so she could stare me in the eyes. “Huh?”
“I’m willing to do it. Would you be my girlfriend?”
She looked at me, weirded out. “You know I didn’t backtrack on that whole ‘sleeping with other guys’ thing, right? Did I misinform you?”
My smile didn’t wane. “You didn’t.”
“And you don’t care?”
“I want to learn not to. I want to be with you. I want these feelings to be natural and open, not a joke. We’re more than a joke, Nicole. I want to be your boyfriend.”
Nicole shook her head. “You’re a dumbass.” She leaned in and gave me a soft kiss. “But a cute one.”
She studied my face again, and gave that same squinty expression, eventually breaking into a soft smile. I could swear I even saw her eyes start to water. “Let’s do it.”
“For real?!” I sprung up. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.
Nicole threw up her arms. “I might as well. Otherwise you’re never gonna get off my ass about it, are you?” She grinned at me. “And you’re right. The feelings are real.” Her hand snaked across the bed and found mine, and they clasped together. “I’ll be your girlfriend, Adam.”
Both of our eyes were probably watery now. I practically leapt into her embrace as we had our first kiss as a couple, a true couple, and yet nothing truly had changed. It was just a title, but it was real. We were real. We were finally together.
We collapsed down on the bed, still kissing, and settled into a spooning position with me grabbing her boobs from behind, feeling close, feeling together, feeling right.
“I love you.” I said as tenderly and honestly as I could.
I heard Nicole’s tongue click. “I’m not quite there yet, squirt. I’m sorry.” She turned back around, and kissed my nose. “But gimme time. I’ll be there eventually.”
“I’ll gladly wait for you.” I replied, smiling at her, absolutely smitten. She couldn’t help not smiling back. We were such a couple of teenagers, and we loved it.
“I guess this means we have a conflict of interest on our hands, Vice President.” Nicole giggled.
“We’re totally in bed with each other, President.” I giggled back. We went back to snuggling and being high as a cloud on each other’s company until we both drifted off into a nap together. It was the perfect way to end the day, and the year. That day was the last day of exams, and it felt right to end the year on that note.
They say that good things come to those who wait, but I think the quote is wrong. Had I just waited for Nicole, I would have lost her at least ten times by now. My year may have been filled with unnecessary drama, but if it weren’t for every single event that had happened up until then, I never would have gotten to this moment I had been hoping for all year. The sadness, the heartbreak, the shock, the anger, the lust, all of it culminated to a single moment, an event, me. I was the result of an entire year of shenanigans, and after a childhood of bitterness and wishing I could turn back the clock, I finally understood why people told me they would never change a thing if given the chance. It wasn’t that every moment in life was supposed to be perfect, it was that every moment in life had its purpose. With where I had ended up, as cheesy as it was to say, I never would have done anything differently either. Perhaps I was only beginning a single chapter of a new adventurous life and would never get to have my old boring life back, and perhaps maybe I would even miss that life from time to time, but if you ask me, that’s just one of the consequences of being more social.
Author’s Note: Hello, all! This has been the finall installment of Being More Social. The book is now complete and concluded. I hope you all enjoyed the story and its characters. Thank you all for your votes, comments, feedback and overall support, it has meant the world to me.
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Once again, thank you so much for being a great community. I’ll be sure to read all comments below, I hope you enjoyed the story! I’m already hard at work on the next story I post here, and I hope you enjoy it when it comes. 🙂