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the attic

The Gambler

The Lounge | The Techie Bible | Other Stories | Six

 “If your boyfriend comes back he’s gonna kick my ass.”

            “Stop worrying,” she cooed before sucking on the sophomore’s lower lip. It was thick and slightly chapped from alley-way kisses. She briefly considered stopping at the CVS to buy him some Chap Stick. He laughed and nudged her away.

            “I’m serious, babe,” he smirked at her. She batted her lashes, her icy eyes fluttering in and out of sight. Her lips were smeared with a deep red lipstick, her own seal of approval. She was the biggest tease on the east coast. His lips were blushing. He slid his hands down to her waist; a studded belt at the top of her low-rise hindered the movement but didn’t stop it. He noticed a bruise starting to show through the powder under her left eye and some more in the form of fingerprints on her arms but he knew better than to say anything about them. She let her dark hair fall in front of her face before brushing it away coyly. It was long and itched at her bare shoulders, causing her to shiver. Her black tank top rolled above her pierced belly button but she fixed it absently. “He may not be bigger than me but he’s in your grade. Soon I’m gonna have a gang of juniors coming after me. You wouldn’t want that, would you?” He planted a small kiss on her forehead, trying to send her away.  

            “Maybe I would, maybe I wouldn’t.” His dark eyes were afraid, she suddenly felt bad for using him. Guilt passes. She pressed him up beside the wall, shoving her lips against his. He tried to push her hips away from him but she tasted like vanilla.

*                                  *                                  *

            “Have you seen her?” he said in a gruff voice. He was in a hurry, horny and not in the mood for games. He clenched and unclenched his fists as he waited for the delayed reply. His spiked hair stood on end like bleached fur on the back of an angry cat.

            “Her who?” his friend asked, not taking his glazed eyes away from his newly purchased Superman comic; the colors were dancing even though he could barely make them out. His curly brown hair fell into his eyes again, but he didn’t lift his hand to move it. His grey t-shirt failed to cover his boxers which were hanging out of his jeans. He thought about pulling his pants up but decided against it. If he let go of the page, Clark might fly away.

            “Your mom. My girlfriend, ass,” he spat. His eyes were brown but seemed darker; he was angry. His girlfriend was a flirt and he hated when she was out of his sight for even a second. She ditched him earlier that night when he had stopped to take a leak. He had been pissing in the bushes at Riverside Park, talking to her about when he’d pick her up for a dealer’s party, when he realized that she was gone. She’ll never think of doing that again. He pulled up his pants that were two sizes too big, but they wouldn’t stay. If he had lived somewhere else he would have seriously considered investing in a belt. Time’s as they were, he’d be called a pussy if he did. Rolling up his sleeves, he kicked at his friend who was sitting against the store wall.

            “What the fuck, dude?” the blazer asked, dropping his comic to the sidewalk. A woman all dolled up for a late dinner kicked it as she walked past without noticing it. She’d break her stiletto over a man’s head to keep him from raping her later that night, but she didn’t know that yet either. His beat up wallet fell out of his pocket, spilling his license, cash and condoms everywhere.

            “I asked you a fucking question, so give me a fucking answer!”

“Chill out! Last time I checked she was two blocks over at the diner. God, give me a fucking heart attack, why don’t you?” He picked his comic up and brushed the dirt off of Clark’s face. “I’m not her babysitter,” he mumbled as his friend stomped away. The blazer had seen her with some kid but didn’t feel like getting the shit beat out of him before the last page. If she found out that he had told on her, she would have told her boyfriend about that time that he had spent two days at her house when her parents were away in Jamaica. He certainly didn’t want his best bud to find that out.

            She had complimented his muscles and the fact that he didn’t use them. He called himself a lover, not a fighter, and she laughed for hours. She actually smiled for the full two days that he slept there. She didn’t smile now.

*                                  *                                  *

            “So what are you going to do if your boyfriend does show up, huh?”

            “Red Bank’s pretty big, Hun, I don’t think he’s gonna find me before I want him to.” Why wouldn’t he just shut up and let her kiss him? Why did he have to make her think about what she’d have to go through later? She tried to erase her boyfriend’s face from her mind. It was hard to do; he’d made a shrine to himself in her locker. She pulled on the front of the sophomore’s shirt to draw his lips to hers. He wasn’t much taller than her but enough to make being the dominant female difficult.

            “But what if he does?” he insisted, pulling himself away. He was really starting to get on her nerves. She had picked a whiny little sophomore this time, but she had had no choice; everyone else was either her boyfriend’s goon or at the football game. She was lucky enough that her boyfriend hadn’t found out about her past exploits with his best friends yet. The lights from the diner behind her lit up his face; he looked paler than usual. Somewhere a siren sounded. It was curfew.

            He unwound her arms from his neck and held her hands in front of him. He didn’t like being yelled at, but he didn’t like biting the curb either. No one said no to her.

            “It’s curfew, I have to get home.” He kissed the top of each hand and let her go.

            “You’re kidding,” she nearly laughed, but she was too angry to laugh. He was saying no. “You really are a prude, aren’t you?” She was in disbelief. She’d been playing the gambler since freshman year; risk was her middle name and she loved it. The one thing she risked every day was her neck, though she was more afraid of leaving her boyfriend than of staying with him. “Well if you really don’t want to get picked up by the cops, we can go back to my place. My parents won’t be home for hours,” she smiled, trying to pull him back in. She wanted him; then again she always wanted everyone. She kissed him again but he pushed her away more forcefully. She didn’t like forceful, but his hands were soft; he was just a little boy pretending to be a man.

            “Babe, I really don’t feel like taking a trip to Riverview, tonight. If your boyfriend finds out I slept with you, let alone kissed you…” She felt guilty again. He was gentle; the bruises on her body would never come from him. She was pale and knew that they glowed through the cover-up. He ran a hand through his short dark hair. His white polo contrasted sharply with it. She realized her moment of weakness and dismissed her feelings yet again; she went for the kill.

            “Yeah, yeah, yeah, you’ve given me this whole song and dance, will you stop worrying? Here, I’ll make you a deal. If we get some kind of sign in the next minute, if something happens, I don’t care what it is, something, then you can go home. If not, you come home with me,” she smiled a small smile, lips slightly parted; she was teasing him. She let him go and stepped back, staring into his deep, dark, scared, child eyes. She loved corrupting the younger ones.

            Silence. She smiled triumphantly. Suddenly, a scream pierced the night. “Stop it! Stop!” Her smile faded but it wasn’t in concern for the damsel in distress, it was because she knew that she wouldn’t get any ass from him in the next twenty or so minutes. She pouted her trademark pout again, arms crossed, and walked away. Her black ankle-breakers kicked pebbles that seemed to flee from her disappointment. He breathed a long sigh, he was safe for now, but no one was safe after meeting her. He started to walk out of town when he heard a pair of heavy boots clunking awkwardly against the pavement. With his lips covered in blood red, he knew that his last kiss of the night would be to the curb.

*                                  *                                  *

            “Hey,” she said quietly, arms wrapped tightly around her stomach to hold back the nauseating feeling of rejection. He looked up from his comic book.

            “Hey. You’re boyfriend was looking for you.” He nodded his head and she sat down next to him. “Did you get with that guy?”

            “No. Chicken,” she offered as her only words of explanation. She pinched her lips tightly together to try to stop the ache in the back of her throat.

            “Yeah, he looked like it.” His high was wearing off; he’d gotten to the end of the comic and tossed it. The two of them never had to say much. He looked at her arms and saw the most recent result of his buddy’s temper. His face grew hot, his throat burned and his muscles tensed. He reached out and took her arm into his lap, rubbing the discolored marks softly. His hands were rougher than the sophomores; he used to fight all of the time. She was afraid that he was going to be kicked out of school after his third suspension and told him so. He kept his temper but he stopped fighting. She cleared her throat. 

            “Walk me home?” He nodded and they headed out of town as a lone police siren pierced the silence of the night. Its lights flashed in the girlfriend’s clouded eyes, on the blazer’s hand as he took hers in his. Its lights flashed on the boyfriend’s blood stained shirt, on the sophomore’s blank stare. Its lights flashed through the empty streets of Red Bank; everyone was at the football game.

The Scariest Thing About Memories is Believing You Will Forget Them