Tina Kurt, dressed in only a pink bikini, sat on the swing set in the small park inside her home subdivision, Morris Lake. It was the last day of summer break and Tina was determined to make it the best of all. She rocked back and forth on the swing set, her hands loosely gripping the plastic-covered chains, her bare feet digging into the warm gravel and her blond pigtails floating in the wind as it breathed a warm August breath.
She tilted her head back and watched the sky as the sun sank slowly into the earth. She was getting a little worried. She expected him to come looking for her by now. She flirted with him all day; didn’t he notice? Though Aaron was the most popular, most athletic, most intelligent guy at Morrisville High School, he seemed also to be the shyest.
Aaron had never had a girlfriend, but that wouldn’t last for long. Tina was going to be his first and he was going to come here today and make her a woman.
She’d been planning this all summer, however, things had been very hectic. There was cheer camp where she accomplished her first goal of becoming the cheer captain this upcoming school year–a very difficult task. She had to do a lot to get there. But this was necessary to accomplish her next goal of becoming Aaron Thompson’s girlfriend.
Aaron, being the best boy in Morrisville High School, deserved the best and she was the best.
She and her fellow cheerleaders had arranged a pool party at her house, and while wearing her favorite, skimpy, pink bikini showing off her goods, she knew she got Aaron all hot. It was hard to tell at first. She flirted with him explicitly, but he seemed to shrug her off. But when she flirted with his best friend Russell, he seemed to get a little jealous. She told her guests to make themselves at home while she went for a walk. Any minute he would be there to take her to ecstasy.
She gasped as she heard the shuffling of gravel behind her. Her face flushed as she thought about Aaron’s strong arms taking her away from the park and back to his car to make her a woman and his girlfriend for his senior year, her freshman year. She would be the most popular and most envied girl at Morrisville… giggle.
She turned around in the swing and said as sensually as she could, “Take me, Aaron. I’m all yours.” But it wasn’t Aaron at all. It was Russell Brown, Aaron’s best friend.
“Sorry babe, I’m not Aaron,” he said as he grabbed her and pulled her off the swing, “But I’m better.”
Tina tried to scream, but Russell covered her mouth with one of his large hands and began to slip the other down the front of her bikini bottom. Tina’s eyes grew wide as she kicked her legs out and squirmed, trying to knock Russell off balance. It worked, but he threw her face down to the ground so hard that he knocked the wind out of her and also ripped off her bikini bottom.
She gasped for breath as she felt the heat of blood rushing to her face, her voice trapped, trying to escape, but she could barely utter a groan.
Russell positioned himself behind her, pinned her arms behind her back and spread her legs.
Tina cried. Instead of starting high school as the youngest cheer captain in history, and Aaron’s girlfriend, she was going to start as a slut. Her eyes cascaded as she whimpered into the gravel, trying to bury herself to drown out the feelings…
“Shut up bitch!” he said, caressing her thighs, “You’ve been getting me so hard all afternoon. All that flirting, you can’t tell me you don’t want this!”
Her sobs got a little louder. “Please get off of me,” she said turning her head to the side, “This is a big misunderstanding! Just get off of me and I won’t say a word!”
“I don’t care if you tell anybody,” he said, “You said it yourself, ‘take me…’ sounds like a slutty thing to say to me.” He smiled and snickered at his own joke as Tina buried her face back in the gravel. She wished she could suffocate right there and die, that way she couldn’t feel it… any of it.
Russell undid his trunks and pulled out his penis. “Don’t worry, baby. This is going to feel great.” He was about to penetrate when something hit him in the back of the head.
He turned his head around to see the palest kid he had ever seen in his life. He was short, couldn’t be older than a middle schooler, with curly red hair, freckles, staring like a hawk, his green eyes narrowed into a serious glare, never blinking; they seemed to glue Russell where he sat.
He had a rock in his hand, that he tossed up and caught. The rhythm mesmerized Russell for a moment, but then he remembered who he was.
“Beat it, kid,” said Russell as he turned back to Tina, “You don’t want any of this. I’d break you in half.”
The next rock flew and hit Russell in the same exact spot. He turned back around, “I said leave kid! You don’t want to fight me!”
“No, I don’t want to fight you,” said the kid, “I have to fight you.”
Russell stood up. He wiped the gravel off his knees and sized up the kid. “What are you 4 foot 10 inches?”
“4 foot 11 inches,” said the kid. “But that is neither here nor there. Girl! Get up and run.”
“Tina,” shouted Russell, turning around, “You stay right there! After I kick his ass, I’m fucking you!”
He turned back to face the kid to see that he was right in front of him. “Hi!” he said, as he jumped up six feet in the air and kicked Russell in the head.
The kick knocked Russell sideways as the kid turned in mid-air and back-sided Russell in the chest before landing back on the ground.
Russell flew back, landing on his side on the ground in front of Tina, who was now watching, eyes widened. She crawled away as the boy wandered over hands in his pockets.
Russell grabbed his chest, trying to breathe, but hurting immensely, he watched as the boy stood over him. “Had enough?” he asked, his eyes blazing.
“Fuck you!” groaned Russell, as he reached out for the boy’s ankle. He stepped on Russell’s hand and then kick him in the temple, knocking him unconscious.
Tina’s eyes popped. She sat frozen, shocked by what had just happened that she completely forgot that she was bottomless. Standing up, her eyes never left the boy’s physique. This scrawny, pale, freckle-faced boy, who somehow beat a high school football player, was her rescuer. Why?
They had never even met before. In fact, she was positive he was brand new. She remembered seeing some moving vans coming and going for the past week. Was he from that new family?
She looked down to see Russell, her assailant, on the ground, eyes rolled over and it dawned on her: Russell Brown was unconscious. One of the school’s best players was unconscious. What if he couldn’t play this season? Their team would be screwed! All because of this loser…
“Hey, you!” said Tina, “What the hell are you doing? He’s one of our best… guard guys. What were you thinking?” But as all of this ran through her mind, the boy had walked away.
“Where are you going?” she shouted.
“Home,” he said.
“You’re just going to leave me here alone? What if he wakes up?”
“Well,” said the kid, “If he wakes up, all your problems are solved.”
“Well,” she said chasing after him, “Then how did you just happen to save me? Are you following me? Are you some kind of pervert?”
He stopped and turned around. “I live just around the corner,” he said, pointing in the direction he was walking, “And for the record, you’re of no interest to me.” He turned back around and walked away.
“What do you mean you have no interest in me?” She caught back up to him. “I’m the hottest girl in school, the cheerleader captain!” she said, “You have no interest in me? I have no interest in you!”
“And here I thought you were stalking me,” he said, letting go a small smile.
“I’d never!” she said, “But could you just walk me home? I’m still a little shaken up.” She turned around to see if he was following them.
Byron sighed. “Sure. I guess it’s not that big of a deal. But this is a one-time thing. I can’t come to your rescue all the time.”
“Shut up!” she said.
“And also…” he started, looking downward.
“What?” she asked, looking down to realize she was still naked.
She screamed and slapped the kid in the face.
Tina led the way, a sweatshirt wrapped around her waist (courtesy of the boy), down the street towards her house. The road curved and whipped around, leading to stop signs and crosswalks, cut lawns and oak trees, and many children playing outdoors.
It wasn’t until they heard the thumping of bass from a two-story house did the two slow down a bit.
Tina stopped abruptly, causing the boy to nearly run into her, but he stopped and sidestepped to avoid a collision, ending up in front of her. Startled, she spoke, “So this is where I live. I can make it from here… So… Thanks for stopping that guy from…”
“Don’t worry about it,” said the boy, “…Are you going to tell someone?”
“No. Like I said, I don’t want to cause any trouble for our team. How would it look if our team lost our homecoming game?”
The kid stared at her and shrugged. “As long as your priorities are in order…” He turned around and started to head home.
“I’m Tina,” she called back to him.
“…What’s your name?”
“…It’s… Byron… nice to meet you… I guess.”
“You don’t talk to pretty girls much, huh?” she said blushing.
“Yeah, whatever… I got to go. Gotta get ready for school tomorrow.”
Byron stopped. “No, Morrisville High,” he said, walking away.
On Tina’s front porch stood a tall, young man with dark, brown hair. A cold beer can in his hand, he stood watching from the screen door, wondering who this mysterious boy was. His brows furrowed when he saw Tina call back to him… ‘Morrisville High?’ he thought, ‘So I’ll get to meet him…’
He watched as Tina walked up the drive, turning her head this way and that to see if anyone saw her. Their eyes met, and he forced a smile as it met her joyful face.
“Who was that, Tina?” he asked, playfully.
“Oh,” she said, “He’s just some guy that I met at the park. He was nice enough to walk me home.”
“Oh?” he said, “Where’s Russell?”
“Oh?” she said, “Is he not here? I don’t know, did he leave?”
“He said he was going to follow you,” he said. “I assumed you two would meet up. He must have gotten himself lost.”
“Well, he’ll be alright, Aaron,” she said, “How about we go back to the party. Are you feeling tipsy, at all?”
Byron walked around the block. He and Tina had passed by his house, and it would have been faster to go back the way they came, but he didn’t want her having any idea where he lived.
He liked things quiet. He was happy living alone with his father, little brother and computer. It was his life; high school was an unfortunate, full-time job for now and then… who knew?
It was the last day of summer vacation and Byron wasn’t ready to start school again. It wasn’t going to be any different. Byron would stay away from everyone and they would stay away from him.
His father worried about him because of this. When he, his father, was in school, he and his friends would go out and “paint the town redder than Dracula on a Sunday Night.”
Byron suspected that he was more mature than his father ever was, because his father was painting and getting into trouble. Some weekends Byron wouldn’t see him. There would be a note with money in it and he and his brother would rent a movie and order a pizza.
Tad was Byron’s 8-year-old brother. He was a handful; he had almost as much energy as his dad, but with a tad more responsibility. Byron was Tad’s best friend, and Byron tried to be a good brother.
He finished the loop around the neighborhood and ended up at his house. The red Jaguar sat in the open garage, letting Byron know his father was home and, with any luck, had prepared a simple dinner.
His dad couldn’t cook but thought he could, and he loved to try new recipes, they never turned out like they did in the magazines. Usually, they would be burnt. Once it was under-cooked, but yet another occasion the house nearly burned down…
Byron stood gazing at the new house for a minute. It was nice. Brick base with vinyl, two stories tall and four bedrooms… He looked down at the white, wooden posts that encircled his yard. He sighed. ‘Almost picturesque,’ he thought, opening the gate that led to a slabbed path to the front door.
As he stepped onto the cement, a presence crept up from behind him. Byron always knew when someone was around. He didn’t know why, but he could always feel the eyes of people staring at him, as well as there intent. And this one behind him was expressing violence.
“Hey, kid,” said a familiar voice, “I’m going to break your face.”
Byron turned around, a smirk rested on his mouth, his eyes pressing an intent of calm. Russell stood on the other side of the fence, fists up and ready to swing.
“Don’t you have a party to get to?” said Byron.
“It won’t take long,” said Russell smirking, “Now that I know you know that karate crap, I can take you down easy.”
Byron smiled. “I guess I should enjoy this. I don’t get very many visitors.” He put his hand on the gate to open it, when he heard a clatter from the front door. ‘Oh no…’ he thought as he turned around. It was his father.
“Byron, you didn’t tell me you were inviting a friend over tonight.” Byron’s dad sprinted towards them, wearing a pink apron and rubber cleaning gloves. Russell looked a bit dishevelled from the sight of a grown man wearing an apron but seemed to regain his composure promptly when Byron’s dad stretched out his hand.
“What’s your name, sport?” said Byron’s dad, “I’m Matt, Byron’s dad, and I’m so happy to meet you.” Then turning to Byron, “I knew you would make friends here! Morrisville is full of so many awesome people. I should know, I grew up here.”
Russell laughed. “Your dad is such a dork!” he said.
“Oh?” said Byron’s dad turning towards him… “I’m gonna kick your ass, you little snot!” Byron rolled his eyes and, half-heartedly, pressed on his dad’s chest.
“Hold me back, Byron,” he yelled “Hold me back! I don’t want to go to jail for assaulting a minor! Hold me back!”
Russell’s face went white in an instant. The sudden outburst was more than he expected, given his aggressor’s attire, and with less than a whimper he turned tail and ran away.
Byron shook his head. ‘Maybe later,’ he thought.
Matt shook his fists in Russell’s direction, “Yeah, you better run! You punk ass! I hope that wasn’t a friend of yours. He’s a jerk. You can do so much better!”
“No dad,” said Byron, smiling, “You know I don’t have any friends.”
The two walked into the house. “I really wish you would give the other kids a chance, Byron,” his father continued, “I had so much fun when I was your age.”
“Yeah, yeah,” said Byron, “You raised hell around your neighborhood. Dad most of the stuff you did was illegal.”
“Is illegal,” said his father, chuckling, “Not that I’m promoting criminal activity, but that’s what makes it so much fun!”
“Dad!” said Byron, “Jeeze! You’re not being a very good example for us kids.”
“Byron!” said a little brown-haired boy running down the hallway,“How was your walk?”
“It was adequate,” said Byron, as he rubbed Tad’s head, “How was Tetramon 4?”
“It’s ad-equate,” he said smiling, then going back to his game-man 3D he held in his little hands.
“That’s what I like to hear,” said Byron smiling.
“Alright you two,” said their father, “I hope you’re ready for a most delicious experience. Tonight, I’m making Philly cheesesteak lasagna!”
“Dad!” said Byron, worried, “When are you going to figure out you can’t use an oven?”
Byron’s father stared at him. “When I’ve given up on life, my boy! When I’ve given up on life!”
“I’ll be upstairs, drama queen,” said Byron, “Queue me for my next big scene, ok?”
Byron went upstairs to his room and closed the door. It was dark, except for the setting sun peering through the window. He took a deep sigh as he stared at his tidy room. Nothing out of place; everything had a place. He saw his backpack hanging from his desk chair and remembered his first day of school. ‘Only four more years of this,’ he thought, ‘…And then what?’
He crossed the room to his window and looked into the dimming light. The stars were peaking out of the bluish, black sky and the concrete and asphalt looked so pleasant in the budding darkness. The street lights were on and the lightning bugs flashed their green bottoms below.
He couldn’t help but laugh. ‘That Tina girl… lost her bottom…’
He started thinking about his old hometown. His old dojang back in Blainesburg. And his old rival, Alisa. She was the best at their school, and she kicked his butt every day. It was true that Byron didn’t have any friends; nobody cared when he moved, but her. He remembered that last class he had. She beat him extra hard that day, not that he didn’t get some good shots in himself…
He remembered her last words to him when he left with his dad that night: “Hey, bonehead! Here’s my screen name, you better keep in touch with me. I’m online nearly every Friday night.”
Byron smiled. Maybe she was on right now. He walked over to his computer and turned it on, hoping to catch her online.