Patrick and I had been friends, if you could call it that, forever. For as long as I could remember. Patrick had been there, living just a couple of houses down. The strange thing about our friendship was that a lot of it was fighting. The second I let down my guard his fist would suddenly come crashing into my shoulder or face. And it was the same the other way around. If he wasn't looking I would just crush him. Then we'd go to it, punching, wrestling, kicking. It was harmless enough when we were little kids but as we got bigger we began to do some damage. Now, we didn't fight because we were mad at each other. On the contrary, I never felt better about my buddy Patrick than when we were both sprawled on the ground, lips bleeding, eyes puffed up, laughing our asses off. For most of our childhood we looked like shit and our parents were always embarrassed when Miss Patterson, our school principal called them in. Patrick and Bobby were at it again. When we got a little bigger we began making some real scars, breaking both our noses and generally whacking the shit out of each other, while, believe it or not, grinning like total assholes. Take my word for it, you can hit each other damn hard in fun.
Now this wasn't the only thing we did. We were like other kids and played baseball, basketball and stuff. But this fighting was what we really liked. We grew up in the old derelict town of H__ with everything around us falling apart. It would have blown away completely if it weren't for the college that someone had founded there in better days. I guess it just couldn't move away. Anyway the money these college kids spent was all that was keeping H__ afloat in those days. Patrick and I were both working class and our parents slaved away at shittier and shittier jobs to try to keep the families afloat. Other kids in our neighborhood were pretty much in the same boat and we never thought of ourselves as deprived or anything like that. If it wasn't for my sister, Julia, a royal pain in the ass, life, I believed, would have been perfect. She was always going on about Patrick and me and how we embarrassed her. But that was minor shit.
Of course we didn't just fight each other. Patrick, especially would just haul off and whale on just about any guy who rubbed him the wrong way. Or the right way for that matter. Then I'd have to help him out. There was nothing he loved more than trouble, and I was pretty much the same way. When any other guy was involved it was always Patrick and me against the world. We had other friends, and all together we used to fight with “the Danny kids,” Danny Hamilton's gang that included Danny's little brother and the scary John Thompson a kid two years older than us who used to hang out with Danny and his brother and the other kids who hung around with them. We had a couple of guys on our side, too, McShane, Becker, and a couple of others, but they came and went and it was usually just Patrick and me. We really couldn't count on anybody else.
Then one day I was alone for some reason and the Danny kids jumped me. There wasn't much I could do and pretty soon they were holding me down. Now, you might think that I was going to get the shit kicked out of me, but the Danny kids weren't like that. Nobody just ganged up on some outnumbered guy. Instead they put me to the test of courage. Danny had set up this whole test of bravery for his gang. We ran around all over town jumping off rooves, running the gauntlet, swinging on vines between cliffs, diving into the river. It was a Danny kids thing. When I had done all that they let me go. Well, after that the war between us and the Danny kids just wasn't the same and it kind of petered out.
As you can imagine, Patrick and I weren't the best looking kids on the block. That kind of fighting doesn't leave you unmarked and we both had faces that showed it. I guess it made us scarier that it didn't matter much if our noses got broken. Most of the other kids in school gave us a pretty wide berth, though in our neighborhood fighting wasn't all that unusual.
As I said, we did do other things, and when Pollack, the guy who ran the Y, got up a Pony baseball league, Patrick and I went out. We had just turned fourteen so we were the right age. We played our games at old Briarly field that, like the rest of H__ had seen better days. It actually had a few stands on the baselines and a backstop, but no one had taken care of the infield for forever and it was more like patches of dirt around the bases then the nice circular space you find on a real field. Somehow Pollack had gotten the city to mow the outfield once, but they didn't go all that far out and there was tall unmown grass not that far behind third base. If you hit it over the outfielders head there was a hell of a good chance he would lose the ball and maybe that would be the end of the game. For Pollack only brought one ball to every game. A pop foul usually ended up in the creek behind the first base line and the ball got soggier and soggier as the game went on. But we knew no better and just thought that was the way things were.
Clinton Street ran along the back of left field and on the other side of it was Shay's Tavern. Now when I say we lived in a working class neighborhood, it wasn't one of those old tidy working class neighborhoods. It was a falling apart desperate more unemployed than working class neighborhood. Shay's, like everything else around there, had seen better days. You could tell it had once been, not classy, but respectable. And judging from the size, which was pretty big, had been popular.
Pollack was a busy man and so the games didn't start until late afternoon when he could get off from his day job at the Y. Even though they only went seven innings it was often pretty dark before the games ended. In the strange light and long shadows of summer dusk, Shay's was already jumping, and everybody knew why. To stay alive Shay's bouncers just winked at carding customers. Almost anybody could get in there and it had become the place to go for the underage college kids. I bet they liked the raunchy atmosphere too. Slumming I guess is the word. Anyway, when we turned away from the dusty field we saw all kinds of fancy convertible cars with girls riding in them pulling into and out of Shay's parking lot. At fourteen years old this looked like heaven and completely out of reach.
Now, like most normal kids, Patrick and I had discovered girls, whom we experienced as completely incomprehensible. For as high handed as we were with any guy, girls terrified us. Neither one of us had any clue how to talk to them. Julia was absolutely no help. If we followed her advice we should both give up and commit suicide. “No girl is going to look twice at those ugly mugs,” she said with scorn. This didn't give us any extra confidence and we were already as shy as deer. Shy is hardly the word for us. I would blush beet red if Dabby, a girl my fancy had somehow attached itself to, even glanced my way. I would rather have fought all the Danny kids at once than walk past Dabby and Karen as they whispered, giggled, looked back at me, and giggled again.
It became so bad that Patrick and I would sit around for long hours trying to figure out how to talk to girls. We had almost forgotten to fight with each other. I was pretty sure we had fucked up our lives with all this fighting. Let's face it, we were ugly, even if we were the toughest guys in the school.
We spent a lot of time just staring at our droopy, miserable, ugly pusses in the mirror. Meanwhile Dabby was going out with this guy named Kenny who walked like Richard Nixon and scurried away whenever I got close. Patrick claimed he had read somewhere that girls didn't care about ugly. They were looking for something else. But what that was he didn't know. I knew he was full of shit because Patrick never read anything unless his mother made him.
At about this time a number of things happened. First of all it became pretty clear that Patrick could hit a lot harder than I could. It was like a fucking sledgehammer, and my ability to roll with the punches had to take a quantum leap forward. I had always been a bit faster than him and I got even better at that. But getting hit by him wasn't as much fun as it used to be. So I did a strange thing. I went out for a play. Patrick and I had pretty much faced the fact that girls were beyond us and I thought that maybe hanging around them in the theater would give me some ideas. We knew Patrick would have no chance at this because no matter what he did, whenever something came out of his mouth it sounded like a threat. But I discovered that I had a knack for it. I got the part of Richard III in Shakespeare.
Well, what could be better? There was old ugly humpbacked Richard wooing Anne after just killing her husband. He was no pretty boy either. And he was a monster, like us. When I told Patrick about it he nearly went ape. He immediately started thinking he was an actor, but since he had no part in a play he just did it in real life. He would just walk up to some guy and say something like, “hey, did you make the drop?” as if they were crooks in cahoots or something. When other people were around it sometimes got quite a stir. Patrick was a whole lot better actor in real life than on the stage for some reason.
Unfortunately, the stuff Richard III used on Anne didn't seem applicable in our situation and we still didn't know what to say to girls. Playing little games with people in the street got old fast. The better we got at it the less interesting it seemed. Our last baseball game with Pollack came and we lost ending our chance to go to P__ for some playoff game. Turning towards home we looked at Shay's lively parking lot.
“Let's go there tonight,” Patrick said, a gleam I knew all too well in his eye.
”I hate to break it to you but we're only fourteen.”
“They'll never guess.”
At one point we had bought shades to make ourselves cooler. It hadn't done much good since we were all tongue tied. But now Patrick was sure that wearing them would get us into Shay's. We went home and cleaned up. We both had hoped that cool clothes would help so we had something to dress up with. I had these tight grey pants, snazzy boots, and a billowy white silk shirt. My taste wasn't terrible even then. Patrick looked like a fucking fourteen year old pimp. We had been playing these games for awhile now so we were both pretty much ready to try anything, however crazy. That night we tried to get into Shay's by sidling in with a bunch of older guys. We didn't even have fake ID, but they door guy took one look at our fucked up faces and our cool clothes and let us pass. Or else he didn't give a shit. Actually, we didn't really look as bad as I thought then. Broken noses and a couple of scars are not the end of the world. But they do put some years on. We were also both pretty big for our age with all the physical stuff we were doing.
Anyway, we're in and now what do we do. The pool table was in a back room and there was a row of booths along both walls. We slid into one of the booths and tried to look nonchalant. Anyone who had bothered to look would have spotted Patrick's ridiculously cool pose as fake in a second, but nobody did. Or again, it was a who-gives-a-shit moment. The waiter came over and we ordered beers, a first for both of us.
It was all very exciting. People came, people went, and it became less exciting. We finally noticed a couple of guys and girls who had been in a booth on the other side of the table for some time. The guys had gotten up to play pool.
“Look at those two assholes,” Patrick said, turning around and jerking his thumb. A gawky guy with long stringy hair and a beard that looked like it hid a lack of chin was playing pool with a slovenly pudgy guy. You could tell they were college kids, geeks no doubt. They were sloppy but thought they could get away with sloppy. The two girls sitting in a booth on the other side of the table were theirs. Girls? Did I say girls. They were probably about 21 years old which meant to us they were not girls but teachers. In fact one of them looked a lot like Miss Cross my ninth grade English teacher, who had just come that year and was probably not much older than that girl. She was a terror and I thought this woman probably was too. It did surprise me that they were dressed the way they were. Teachers didn't wear tight little leather skirts that didn't come halfway down to their knees. The other was in jeans that were awfully tight. But they were way too old to be “girls.”
“Hey, how about a game, guys,” Patrick said, all smiles as he approached the table. What the hell was he doing? He looked like a complete asshole.
“Nah, we were going to go after this one,” the gawky guy said.
“Just one game,” Patrick said, a stagy pleading masking his menace. Could they see it? Could they? “We’ve got to go after one, anyway. You guys are pretty good. You’ll kick our ass fast.”
“Come on, we’re not that good,” the pudgy guy chimed in.
“Compared to us you are,” Patrick said. “We stink, don’t we Mike?” he said, turning to me. “I tell you what. I’ll make it worth your while. Let’s play for ten bucks. Make it interesting.” I got up and drifted over to the table. This was going to be fun.
“Oh, here it comes,” the pudgy guy continued. “The hustlers looking for an easy mark.”
“Us, hustlers? What a joke. You guys will slaughter us. I’m practically handing you the money. I just want to make it interesting. But look, it’s only ten bucks. How much are you playing for now?”
“We’re just playing for fun.”
“Fun! You mean you’re playing for nothing? Than which there can be no worse habit. You have to stop that right now. Come on. Ten bucks. What’s ten bucks?” He looked at each of them in turn, clumsy old Patrick, nodding and looking benign and charming. The two guys couldn’t help smiling as he took out a ten and smoothed it out on the rail as if it were some special valuable thing. Then, without haste, he grabbed the balls left in their unfinished game off the table and reached for the rack.
“Hey, we were next,” an older dude in another booth chimed in. Patrick stared him down.
“Just one game, it won’t take long,” Patrick said as he picked the remaining balls out of the slot and threw them into the rack while he dangled a cigarette from his mouth, squinting from the smoke like a thug. I don't think he had ever had a cigarette before. “My name is Jeff, and this is Mike” he said nodding at me as he carefully racked the balls. “What about you guys?”
“Steve and John,” the gangly one said.
“Steve, John, cool. Oh, hey, where’s your ten?”
“Let’s just play for fun,” John, the pudgy one, pleaded.
“No, no,” Patrick said, howling at the ceiling. “You can’t play for nothing. How about we let this charming young lady hold the stakes? What is your name, gorgeous?” he said, leaning towards the woman in the leather mini-dress. “Give me your ten, Steve, and I’ll stick them both down her blouse. What do you say, beautiful? No. Okay, I was only asking.”
It's a strange thing how a guy so completely tongue tied with girls can suddenly become a Don Juan as soon as he's pretending to be someone else. Later I found out that this is not that unusual, but then it amazed me. And, more importantly, got me excited about the game.
“Leave the ladies out of this,” Steve said.
“”Hey, I don’t want any trouble. I just thought, you know, it might make it exciting. By the way, what is your name, beautiful. My name is Jeff and nobody has had the courtesy to introduce us.”
“Caroline. What a beautiful name. Caroline. It just rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it. I beg your pardon, Caroline. I hope you don’t mind staying a few minutes longer to allow your boyfriend, Steve and his buddy John, to beat the, excuse my French, crap out of us in pool.”
“Leave her out of it,” Steve said forcefully.
“OK, Steve, OK,” Patrick said, holding up his hands in mock surrender. “Then we’ll let this other charming young lady hold the stakes.” Patrick held out the ten in his cupped hands as if it were a delicate and precious tiny chick. He even bowed slightly, if ironically, as he offered the money to the other girl. Where had this come from? We had done routines like this one a couple of times before. Sketchy little bits on the street, just picking fights, but I had done most of the stuff Patrick was doing, and there had been no girls involved. Now he had become wonderfully skilled at it, apparently overnight. He was doing things we had never thought of before. All the chivalry stuff. Patrick was almost too good. He had cut loose from something. How a kid could be so believable amazed me. At the same time I could see that the “teachers” were far more interested in what was happening than they had been. They were as mesmerized by Patrick’s show as their guys were.
“Let’s just keep this between us, shall we,” John said as the temperature rose.
“Whatever you guys say. I don’t want any trouble. I’m just here to play a game of pool. I’m sorry young lady, I’m going to have to ask you for that money back.” His hands closed in prayer and she laughed.. “Your young man here doesn’t want you to have it. By the way, my name is Jeff…?”
“Marlene.” She held her hand out and Patrick leaned over and kissed it. “Your friend doesn’t say much.” She said nodding at me.
“Mike? Oh he can’t talk. He’s so funny that they’ve outlawed his voice. Call it a lethal weapon. Needs a license to laugh and his is expired.” The girls laughed lightly.
“How you doing, Marlene,” I said, tipping my non-existent hat.
“Let’s get on with it,” John said.
Patrick paid him no attention. “Marlene. You don’t run into many Marlenes these days. You are a very fine looking girl Marlene if I can be so bold as to say so.” Delicately, he removed the ten from her hand with two fingers and turned to John. “We’ll just put the stake on the table in the ordinary way. How’s that?” He held out his hand and John gave him a ten.
“I’ll break,” Steve announced, taking up a stance at the far end of the table, blasting the cue ball into the triangle of object balls, and scattering them all over the place. One dropped, then another, then a third.
“Wow,” Patrick said. “Wow! These guys are good, Mike. Real good.”
Steve walked around the table confidently, sank the five and then missed the three. He stood up and looked at the table in incomprehension.
It was Patrick’s turn. He walked around the table, bending, eyeing, leaning over. “What do you think, Mike?” he said to me.
“I don’t know what you’re looking at, but you’re not going to make it.” I said.
“What, no confidence? Come on.”
“You forget one thing. I know how you shoot pool.”
“Hey, I’ve gotten a lot better.”
Suddenly, Patrick reached out, grabbed the four ball, and slammed it into the corner pocket. He made no attempt to hide his move.
“Hey,” Steve complained.
“I saw that.”
“What’s he talking about, Mike?”
“Beats the hell out of me.”
“You put that ball in! I saw it.”
“What ball? What are you talking about?”
“Oh, come on. The hell with it. Let’s get out of here, John.”
Patrick grabbed his arm. “Just what are you trying to say, Steve?” A coldness had crept into his voice.
“You know what I’m talking about,” Steve shot back.
“No, no, I don’t Steve.”
“Look,” Steve said, apparently sensing something of Patrick’s nature but still letting contempt slip into his voice, “let’s just call it even right here, OK? We’ve got to go now anyway. Let’s go Caroline. I want to do a little studying tonight yet.”
“Just what are you trying to say, Steve?”
“Nothing. I’m not saying anything, all right. I just want to go. Here, you can have the money, all right?”
“What do you think he’s trying to say, Mike?”
“I think he’s calling you a cheater, Jeff.”
“Are you calling me a cheater, Steve?”
“I didn’t say that. Let’s not make a big deal out of it all right. Take the money, OK. There, it’s yours, you won it, all right?”
“But I didn’t win it, Steve. We just started to play.”
“I know but I’ve got to go now.”
“I’m afraid I can’t let you do that, Steve.” Menace, like radiation, spread out into the room from Patrick. People were beginning to gather around. Word was spreading, and it spread to the bartender, a very big guy who made his appearance.
“All right what the fuck is going on?” the burly bartender said as he waddled over. “I want all of you out of here, now.” Patrick made a few fake attempts at resistance before all six of us found ourselves hustled out into the parking lot along with a large number of other patrons whose sharp senses told them there was going to be a fight.
“Now look,” Steve said desperately, ”nothing needs to happen. All right? All right? I didn’t call you anything. Did I, John?”
“He really didn’t call you anything, mister. (Mister?) Really,” John said pathetically. The girls took it all in from their ringside seats. Their eyes glowed.
“We really have to go,” Steve said, shrugging helplessly.
“They have to go, Mike. I guess they have a pressing engagement.”
“I don’t see how we can let them do that, Jeff.”
“I don’t either, Mike.”
“I’m sorry, my friend doesn’t see how we can do that.”
“Look, I didn’t call you a cheater, but if you want, I’m sorry, all right? What the hell else do you want!?”
“We have to talk to Caroline and Marlene,” I said with a perfectly straight face. “In private.” Why did I say this? Where did I get the idea? I don't know.
For what seemed like a very long time everyone stood in silence, astounded.
“I think it would be best if you let him just talk to the girls.” Patrick suggested. As close as I had felt to Patrick all our lives, I felt closer then than ever.
“All I want to do is talk. You don’t own them do you?” I said, reasonably.
“Fuck you!” Steve shouted and shoved forward.
“Easy, easy. All he wants to do is talk. Just talk.” Patrick continued, still the voice of reason, but stepping between us. “It’s a free country, isn’t it?”
“It’s all right, Steve,” Caroline said.
“Really, when he gets an idea it's much better to just let him,” Patrick said, making an attempt at reason and at the same time rolling his eyes at the two guys to indicate that I might go crazy and he couldn't be responsible.
“Fuck you!” Steve shouted and shoved forward.
I was ready.
“Easy, easy. All he wants to do is talk. Just talk to them.” Patrick soothed him while holding me back, to my utter astonishment. Was I seeing what my eyes seemed to be seeing? Patrick holding me back? “It’s a free country, isn’t it?” he added, mediating away like mad.
“It’s all right, Steve,” Caroline said. “They just want to talk.”
“Are you sure?” John said.
That was it. I was itching to hit him. That asshole was going to let this girl get him out of a fight. What a complete pussy! Instead, we went over to the side with Caroline and Marlene.
“Your boyfriends are a couple of assholes,” I said.
“Could you just leave us alone,” Caroline said, interrupting Marlene who was about to agree with me.
“You and him are not an us,” Patrick said, blowing me away. “You and me are an us.” Caroline didn't disagree.
“Tell them to go away,” I said to Marlene. “You know it will never work out between you after what you saw tonight. They're wimping out, look at them. They will never be able to face you again.”
I could see Caroline was having a hard time believing this, but when her eyes met Marlene's she knew what I had said was true.
“Steve, John. These two guys just need to talk to somebody. We're just going to stay and talk to them a little while. Just wait a couple of minutes.”
“What are you talking about!” Steve said.
“Look, that's all they really wanted.”
“Tell them I'll give him back his ten bucks,” I said.
“He says he'll give you back your ten bucks,” Marlene relayed to Steve. She had a little edge in her voice. Her face was glowing with life.
“Tell him I don't want the money back!” he yelled as if he thought he had to somehow convey his challenge through Marlene.
“They just want to talk,” Caroline said. “Then we can go.”
“We're just going to talk for a little while,” Patrick said, all reasonable and stuff. “You don't have to wait. But of course it's up to you,” he added with a little shrug.
“We'll be all right. Don't worry,” Marlene said to Steve.
“Fuck, fuck, fuck,” Steve cried. Both guys whirled towards the car, got in, and peeled out of the parking lot.
The patrons of Shay's grumbled at the anticlimax and drifted, disappointed, back into the bar. Soon we were left in the parking lot alone, just the four of us. Somehow it had gotten pretty late, and spaces were showing up in the lot.
“Well,” Patrick said, as you do when you have turned back into a pumpkin. I could see him crumbling out of character. I myself was having a hard time maintaining my suave demeanor now that it was just us and the girls. I could see Marlene looking around the parking lot in one direction while Caroline looked in the other. They were wondering which car was ours. It was all well and good when it was a question of a fight. We could play out this game forever with only the fists and faces of some other guys were involved. But talking to these two girls, women, teachers, was impossible. The game seemed to be up. Any second we were going to reveal ourselves as the little kids we were.
Perhaps it was because our faces were a bit banged up, and maybe the sunglasses helped, but they still thought we were about their age. They probably hadn't been around too many working class kids and thought we were from another planet. Who knows? Although I couldn't have described it in that way, and had never experienced it before, I knew, and I am sure Patrick knew, that things were happening between us and them. Of course it was not really us and them, but who they thought we were and them. They weren't even girls to us, but to who we were pretending to be... What the hell were we going to do? Both Patrick and I were virgins. Virgins, hell, neither of us had even touched a girl. Like all virgins, I suppose, I started worrying about what you were supposed to do and how you were supposed to do it. Not that I actually thought it was possible to fuck these teachers or even thought in those terms. I was more likely to hand in my homework, though I didn't do that very often. I guess I don't know what I was thinking. Without the fight jive they would know we were kids as soon as we opened our mouths and they would both storm off with one of those withering looks or more likely some ingenious new method girls effortlessly invent for showing contempt.
“You didn't belong with that guy,” Patrick said. I could see he had gone ga-ga in white knight mode. But that was good. For Patrick could be himself in white knight mode. He had, so to speak, crumbled out of character into his until now purely theoretical but completely sincere Patrick-to-the- rescue self. Recently he had decided that girls liked eagle scouts and that was what he was trying to be. Ha, Patrick! One thing I had to agree with him about. These two women were much too good for those guys and so we had done a good deed for the night. We could console ourselves with that when they were gone and we were back on Briarly Field, looking up at the eternal stars, all alone, just Patrick and me.
Had it happened that way we would have been happy. How strange it was. Just a few minutes ago they were girls and I, or actually Mike, could think of them as girls. They were getting me, or Mike, hard. But, seemingly in an instant, they had become women again before whom we had to shamefacedly confess the truth--that we were just boys. How had it happened? I think that moment life hit me full force and I looked at my companions with awe. And they returned the look, a shared feeling of life happening that was even then bizarre because I knew each of our private thoughts was utterly different from those of the others.
I looked up at the stars for a minute. Then I sighed. But before I could blurt out the truth we heard sirens, and they were coming our way. We all had the same idea: the boyfriends had flagged down some cops. Without really thinking we each grabbed one of the girls and crossed into Briarly Field. Leaping through the tall grass, Patrick and I, each hand in hand with a leaping running girl who really had nothing to run from but chose to be with us, raced further into the dark meadow. My heart was pounding, my cock hard. My heart melted. I could feel Marlene's excitement. I, or rather Mike, was in love. Way back in the tall grass I pushed Marlene down just as the police cars screamed into Shay's lot. There were two of them. They turned off the sirens but left the lights spinning. We had split off from Patrick and Caroline so we had no idea where they were. Somewhere out there in the tall grass was all we knew.
Marlene lay on her stomach and I was right next to her. The bright lights from the police cars whirled and flashed and crisscrossed over us, illuminating us and then releasing us into darkness again. For a long time we just lay there in the grass where we had flattened it in our own shapes. But then Marlene wanted to see what was going on. She lifted her head up slowly, and I did the same. Through the grainy grass heads I could see Steve and John and four cops in the parking lot. Steve seemed to be describing what happened. I tried to see who the cops were, but I was too far away. With all our fighting Patrick and I had already gotten acquainted with some of them who might think of us if Steve's description was good enough. Most of H--'s cops liked us well enough except for one guy, Carey, whose son we had messed up one day. But his fat butt wasn't there.
Marlene seemed excited by what was going on out there, but I was more excited by what was going on right next to me. At the end of the run I had put my arm around her to pull her down, and had kept it there afterwards. When we had ducked down in the grass I had buried my nose in her hair. The smell of it nearly knocked me out. With Marlene preoccupied with the action in the parking lot I had the outrageous thought that I wanted to do that again. I wanted to. That was all I knew.
I wasn't oblivious to the danger. I knew that if one of those cop lights framed us and somebody in the parking lot saw it, we were fucked. I knew enough to keep my head down. When the light skimmed over the grass and everything was suddenly brightly lit I was sure they could see us. I was not convinced that the grass offered us any protection at all. The lights were like machine gun fire skimming over our heads. If they hit us we were dead. The only thing that reassured me somewhat was that I couldn't see Patrick and Caroline anywhere. If they were hidden I guessed we were too.
Marlene was lifting up her head, trying to get a better view. I probably should have forced her head down, but I had again become my awkward self, almost afraid to touch her, and certainly in no position to tell her what to do. But I did want to bury my nose in her hair again and breath that rich clean smell. So I did it.
We were both holding ourselves up on our elbows, and our hands were close together on the ground. So preoccupied was she with the police and all that that I thought she wouldn't notice me inhaling the scent of her hair. But as soon as my face was buried in her hair, her hand slipped into mine and she gave me a little excited squeeze. I froze, trying to hold on to and preserve that moment forever. I could feel in the squeezes of her little hand just what was happening in the parking lot. Now she was scared, then relieved, then almost panicky, holding my hand, or really, Mike's hand for strength, or comfort, or to share excitement. She was so excited she was practically bouncing up and down. Her eyes were blazing. I could smell her gorgeous hair. My cock was so hard it was uncomfortable in my pants. Was it my cock or Mike's? I knew that if I was out of character she just wouldn't be a girl any more. But I could be Mike now. I was into it. I could do it. I just had to not think.
The position I was in, leaning over her without touching her, was so difficult that I soon knew I could not continue to maintain it. I had to take my nose out of her hair and get my weight off my arms. How annoying human limitations are!
I managed to both turn myself over and keep my hand in hers. I saw that her short leather dress was way up around her waste and her moon-bright white panties were all exposed. What was worse, her back was arched and her behind was up in the air, and when the action got too intense she wiggled it in excitement and fear. We were going to be spotted for sure. I pushed her ass down and she let me. She seemed completely comfortable with my hand on it. Perhaps she didn't even notice, her attention was so taken up with the police.
I had this crazy idea. I wanted to pull her panties down. Unbelievable, impossible. But there they were. Why not? Would she jump up and scream? What would the cops do then! I slowly pealed her panties off her ass.
“Cold,” she said and turned her attention back to where it had been.
Suddenly, Marlene gave my hand a hard squeeze. I turned my head to see that the cops and the boyfriends were finished measuring things off in the parking lot and were now all standing on the curb scanning Briarly Field for our vulnerable human presence. Were they going to cross the street and search the field? Would they actually come into the dark field?
Instinctively I reached out and pushed Marlene's ass down because the whirling lights were flashing her buns. My heart started pounding. Her cheeks tightened, but she kept peeking at the cops. Then she turned to me. With our faces together in the wet grass we looked into each other's eyes (somewhere, I had lost the shades) in the periodic flashes from the police lights. Light in her eyes, then darkness again, over and over. How long were the boyfriends and the police going to poke around in that damned parking lot?
As we lay there I could feel her move against me. She seemed to feel safer tight against me. She snuggled in and I wrapped my arms around her. I no longer really knew what I was doing. I could feel her pushing up against me, wriggling a little. She seemed somehow impatient. With some kind of natural telepathy, I understood it all. I stroked the curve of her round behind, and she rubbed her cheek and then her nose against the hand that she held. Then she kissed my hand and ran her tongue between my fingers. I peeled her panties off her legs, noticing that she helped by raising them off the ground.
“Cold,” she whispered again, then kissed my hand. For a short time I could do nothing but look at her ass appearing and disappearing in the police lights. My head was spinning around. When I was myself I was embarrassed, and when I was “Mike” I wanted to take a big bite out of her ass. Then I did it. I reached between her legs and felt her. The first time I had ever done that. “Ohhh,” she groaned, and pushed herself up against my hand. She was all wet and squishy. Just incredible. Before I knew it she was pushing into my hand and her ass was tightening and relaxing until she let out a little whimper, a little cry. I turned her on her back and her legs spread and opened as if they just moved by themselves.
I managed to get my cock out. I got on top of her and entered her. Nothing could have stopped me, or rather Mike, at that moment except my own death. The cop lights were still spinning around, and I knew somewhere in the back of my head that she thought I was someone else, but I didn't care. I entered her. Her feet, up in the air, were higher than the grass except when I thrust into her. That opened her legs wider and flattened them on the ground. Crazily, I timed my thrusts with the lights so the cops couldn't see anything. It was my first time, but I did OK. “Mike, oh Mike,” she whimpered. At one point the lights stopped almost right over us and I had to push into her hard and just stay there for a long time, my head pressed against her breasts. I had to cover her mouth to keep her from moaning. Every now and then I lifted my head and saw the boyfriends and the cops peered into the darkness. I was sure they were going to see us or hear her noises, for she whimpered and moaned and emitted little questioning “Oh?”s when I pushed deep into her. I exploded.
Time passed and I just lay on top of her. Then, suddenly, I hadn't even noticed when, the lights were gone. I lifted up my head to see. The cops and boyfriends were gone and the parking lot was nearly empty. I could see that Shay's was closed. Who knows, maybe the cops had closed it for the night. It was so quiet I could hear the buzzing of the neon sign.
“Are they gone,” she said.
“Yeah,” I said.
“Wait a minute,” she said. She began rearranging herself and I slid out of her. She let go of my hand and turned over. She lifted behind up and arched her back beautifully, a sweet invitation. “Now,” she said, “now.” I went in from the back and looked up. The stars were clear and bright. The breeze was so refreshing. The moon was coming up. There seemed to be nobody else in the universe. With the cop lights gone the moon took over and I could see her enraptured face pushed into the trampled grass. When I slowly began to move in her I felt I was just riding her, riding her down through time. Through the stars, through the universe, riding, riding forever to the music of her sweet moans and groans. Why not? Why not forever?
“Mike, oh Mike,” she moaned.
And with that, suddenly, orgasm. It wasn't that violent this time, more like an enormous warmth that spilled out of me and seemed to fill up all of space. Whatever I know of love I experienced in that moment. God I loved her, but soon an irresistible lassitude came over me and I slumped over, then slid off at her side and lost consciousness in a blissful sleep.
“Come on, Mike.” I heard her say. I opened my eyes to find myself on my back and Marlene, lying sweetly on my chest, shaking me. She raised her head. When she saw my eyes flicker open she added, “ Come on, it's late. Jeff and Caroline are waiting for us in the parking lot. We have to get back to campus now.” She gave me a loving kiss.
When I had struggled up from my blissful nap I saw Patrick and Caroline in Shay's parking lot looking kind of lost. After Marlene and I had readjusted out clothing as well as we could we trudged out of the grass, now drenched in dew, crossed the street, and met our friends.
“Guess what?” Caroline said. “they're only fourteen years old.” Patrick had spilled the beans. Caroline was furious and Patrick was sheepish. She started giving him a tongue lashing. Yes, he was Patrick again, tongue-tied and foolish and embarrassed in front of a woman. But I could tell from his eyes that it had gone pretty much the same way for him.
“What?” Marlene almost yelled. “You mean we're cradle robbers.”
“Yup,” said Caroline crossing her arms. I could feel that stern teacherly look bearing down on me. I was shrinking fast.
A quick look at me and the scales fell from Marlene's eyes. Now that we were exposed all our acting ability had vanished. Both Patrick and I just stood there looking shamefaced. I felt like I was being sent to the principal.
“Then that is not your car.” Marlene said, pointing to the last car in the parking lot. Who knew who the car belonged to? Maybe the janitor or maybe nobody. Maybe it was abandoned. But of course it wasn't ours. We shook our heads and shrugged. I expected one of those endless teacher rants they rain down on you when they're mad and can't do anything else. Let it come, I thought.
“How are we going to get home?” Marlene said and began to laugh. Then we all began to laugh. “Stop it,” she said, “this is serious. You boys are very very bad.” She tried to stop laughing but couldn't. So we all started up a new round. “How are we going to get home?” Marlene demanded again, tapping her foot on the ground. But the question sounded comic and we all burst into another round of uncontrollable laughter.
Finally, Caroline took out her phone and called a cab. “Can you boys pay for this? We don't have any money.”
“Here,” I said. “It's your boyfriends' ten.” After a few minutes that threatened to get uncomfortable the cab came. With a sweet kiss I can still taste, Marlene was gone. Patrick and I punched and weaved and jabbed our way home. So did I get laid or didn't I?