* All characters in this story are of legal age. *
*FORTY ONE DAYS LATER*
“What’re you doing here?”
My head was throbbing as I lay in a hospital bed overcoming a concussion. I was in bad shape after running afoul of Jay Stello for all of the thirty seconds it took for him to knock me completely out cold. Besides the class A shiner, I needed a few stitches in the back of my head where my skull collided with the sidewalk upon thunderous impact. Unfortunately after being knocked unconscious, my head drifted to the side alarming Mr. Stello who decided to kick me in the face for good measure before some of his teammates tackled him onto the grass.
“Making sure you stay out of trouble.”
Faith was there at my hospital bedside with her laptop across her lap, typing away. She seemed to be there every other time I opened my eyes. After the first couple of times, my mother didn’t seem to mind.
“I’m your advocate; tomorrow you’re getting discharged and thanks to me, you have zero time catching up at school.”
“Do they even want me back there?”
“Who cares, it’s their own fault for creating a hostile environment through benign neglect. I’ve submitted a paper on the matter to an ivy league I’m scouting.
Perhaps you might wanna do the same, Jaleel.”
“Have you seen Ricky?” Faith didn’t answer, looking away pushing the thick, big box butterfly glasses she favored up on her button nose. After I’d been knocked out, Faith alerted the police using my discarded phone.
“Guess that’s a no, huh?”
In the aftermath of my epic assault, when informed of the attempted sexual battery on her brother, Hope Arias rushed home to his bedside confessing everything. She’d mistakenly believed Kimberly Bivens figured out her identity believing herself responsible for everything. Of course she was wrong but the damage to our friendship was done.
I’m told Ricky came to the hospital but declined entry into my room. I was out due to medication at the time but informed by Faith upon my waking hour. She’d volunteered to pick up my schoolwork after gaining my mother’s trust. That was no small effort on her part because my mother was old school raised in the south by severely conservative parents. Her parenting followed suite much to my detriment.
“Your mom asked me to give you something.” Faith placed a small baggie in my lap; it was stapled shut piquing my curiosity.
“What is this?”
“I don’t know, it was like that when she gave it to me.” Her back was turned as she put away her laptop affording me the opportunity to avoid some embarrassment. I opened the baggie as quietly as possible.
“EH?!!” A packet of Magnum condoms was staring me in the face along with various mints and chocolates. There was a tiny folded up note on some pink stationary looked like it was taken from the nurse’s station.
“What is it, something crazy?” Faith glanced back over her shoulder at me.
“Nah, it’s just some candy and mints.” I lied folding the note into my palm, covertly as she slung a satchel bag over her shoulder. I noticed some folded clothing on the hospital room bureau.
“Uhm, guess I’ll wait outside while you get dressed.”
“Don’t leave on my account.” Faith walked around the edge of my bed, casually slapping my foot as she left. I waited until she pulled the heavy door closed before unfolding the letter.
Note: THIS IS A GOOD ONE; DON’T SCREW UP!!-Mom
Matriarchal endorsement aside, I’d already figured that out. Somehow after the time I’d come home in the middle of the night after being with Charity Gilbert, my mother silently decided I had become somewhat of an adult. We never talked about that night, but she was a little less abrasive than usual following the deed. A day or so later, I was hospitalized, so until this moment it was just an assumption.
“Hey?” Twenty minutes later I was sitting beside Faith in her Toyota Yaris tooling along the freeway presumably to my home. I was plagued by a prevailing thought as Faith drove in silence.
“What is it, Jaleel?”
“Do you mind driving me by Ricky’s place?”
“I don’t think that would be a good idea; he’s probably still angry at you for sleeping with his sister.” Faith’s mildly monotone delivery lent itself to her new position in my life as devil’s advocate.
“You make it sound like I initiated it; Hope uh, said it would help me get over-some stuff with an ex.” The explanation wilted in my mouth, drying up in inflection.
“Do you know how that sounds? You had SEX with your BEST FRIEND’S older sister; imagine how your friend feels for a second and admit you just want to make yourself feel better. Besides, you’re still getting over a concussion, Jaleel.”
“I feel like shit.”
“You’re getting over a concussion.”
“You know what I mean.”
“I’m of the belief things work out how they’re supposed to. It’s all about maintaining balance and control of one’s self, Jaleel. For me, it’s standard operating procedure bursa escort and how I keep focus. I know what I want out of life, don’t you?” I scoffed at familiar words.
“Sometimes, you sound just like Charity.” Faith suddenly skidded to a halt at an intersection. I was wearing a seatbelt which helped keep me in my seat, but I had to press my palms against the dashboard.
“I am nothing like Charity Gilbert; don’t you ever say that to me again Jaleel.” There was a dead tone in her voice that carried a metric ton of weight.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean anything by it Faith; I’m really sorry for that, okay?” Her knuckles were tightened on her steering wheel as another car pulled up behind us, honking.
Faith pulled over to the curb worrying me that she would toss me outside. There was a housing project adjacent to the car separated by a rough unfinished parking area of un-sectioned off blackened asphalt. In our short association, I’d never seen Faith angry or even mildly irritated. This was something different, a bit jarring.
“I shouldn’t be angry that you find it trivial comparing me to the same irredeemable narcissist who is responsible for you occupying a hospital bed for the last forty one days? Is that what you’re trying to tell me, Jaleel?”
“I’ll do anything to make it up to you.” I was crestfallen at her explanation. Faith wasn’t wrong about anything, but her reaction left me shook.
“If I accept that, I’d be no better than Charity Gilbert; but if you’re open, I’d like us to do something together.” Her tone softened.
“Alright, but first we have to do something about that shirt; it’s ugly.” I was wearing this white collared, short sleeve Polo knockoff with the colors of the rainbow across the chest. My mother was completely tone deaf fashion wise.
“It matches your pants.”
I poked fun at the yellow and black checked pants covering her legs that stopped short just above her ankles. Faith was wearing a Boho peasant styled blouse that was a mess of irregular colors and patterns. She seemed to have this weird off kilter style of dressing that made it hard to place where she belonged in our high school social circles. Looking at her now, made it clear this was intentional.
“The UNIF clothing line is very profitable; you don’t like it?”
“Did you get that retarded looking blouse from there, too?” I countered wryly.
“Maybe I should hit a U-turn and take you back to the hospital; they probably let you go too early. Concussion is acting up.” Despite her words, Faith pulled out into the lane tooling towards the nearby downtown area.
“Who writes your material?” She smiled genuinely flashing her pearly whites for a minute.
Facially speaking, Faith had pretty symmetrical features; green eyes, ethnic button nose and noticeably full lips. Her skin tone was called red bone in our community, Faith being smack dab in the middle of that scale with a smattering of light freckles spread evenly across the upper portion of her face. Faith was also blessed or cursed however she looked at it, with an additional beauty mark on the left side of her face. Her eyes were always covered by these big, nerdy butterfly glasses.
“Hey, do you think about them?”
She asked out of the blue as we entered this area near downtown known as a merchant ghetto and food hub. It was a part of the long history of our city reborn in the construction of a fire that devastated it in the early nineteenth century.
“Think about who?”
“Kimberly Bivens, and Charity Gilbert specifically; do you think about them often?”
“Nope, maybe Jay Stello gave me partial amnesia when he caved in my face. The only reason I bought up Charity was because she gave me this line of bullshit about how she was had it together and everything. But really, the only reason they were living high on the hog was because of sacrifices made by her dad. They dumped him for that; real class act, huh?”
“My father was a marine; he taught me military discipline and how to play chess, not checkers.”
“All damn man.” I facepalmed.
“What is it, Jaleel?”
“Bitch stole your line; Charity told me that the day we hooked up, right in her car in front of her house.”
“You had sex with her in a car?” Faith raised an eyebrow, scowling like we rutted in a dumpster or something.
“No, she was giving me her self-congratulatory mantra in the car, stroking her own ego before we went inside where she fucked my brains out.” Faith pondered my words for a few moments.
“Too much information.”
Outside the car the streets were becoming narrower due to a proliferation of vendors pushing their myriad ware and garbage products. I’d visited the area on sparse occasion picking up a few clothing items that dissolved after a few turns in my washer.
“Fucked your brains out?” Faith asked again as she negotiated a tight fit for her car between a utility vehicle and a family van.
“Curious much?” She smirked at my bursa escort bayan retort.
Faith took my arm looping hers inside after paying the lot attendant. She was about five seven in height matching up pretty well with my exact six feet as we walked the bustling urban bazar fending off various aggressive vendors, some of ill-repute. I had sort of a queasy energy about my person taking stock of the situation. Before being literally knocked into next Tuesday, I had been doing my best to heard her behind my person in a futile attempt to shield Faith from a lynch mob intent on destroying me.
I hadn’t given a thought to my own defense or safety in those fleeting moments before a mitt-sized fist robbed me of consciousness and forty one days of human activity. Some of my doctors likened it to being hit by a baseball bat instead of a roided out jock hyped up on jealous emotion.
Two weeks later Faith filled in some blanks which I’d already gleaned from sheer common sense after the fact. Charity Gilbert’s acknowledged ego was the factor in my near murder at the hands of Jay Stello. The two were a couple on the “down low” at her insistence two years out from graduation because of his equally entitled habit of fucking other girls.
This was a sort of “Sid and Nancy” affair with the duo trading copious amounts of emotional abuse like handfuls of Skittles. After a particularly trying junior year, Charity and Jay reached an unacknowledged truce, sort of an open relationship with the one caveat being that he was kept ignorant of her “entanglements.”
Jay Stello broke this truce in dramatic fashion by openly declaring Kimberly Bivens his girlfriend while being interviewed on the local news. Of course being the irredeemable sociopath she was, Charity Gilbert was set aflame in the unquenchable flames of revenge fueled by well over three years of unaddressed, smoldering scorn.
Her arena being purely intellectual for the most part outside of Jay Stello, she sought to inflict a killing blow to his ego and reestablish the pecking order amongst his myriad lovers across campus. Ironically, she’d learned of my presence through a third party affiliated from a member of Kimberly’s own social circle, likely Treena the living jackal.
I doubted she even saw my face as she wantonly fucked me to distraction and then some. The last bit of our tryst and the use of her awesome sloping breasts in mutual shower, was the knockout blow designed to purge all rational thought from the pea brain of one Jayson Stello. This guy believed he was the only man she’d ever known because they were one another’s firsts. Whether this was true or not, who knows? I’d seriously bet against that line of thought from the masterful way in which she took control of the situation, almost a flip of known gender based sexual mores.
I got FUCKED.
CHARITY GILBERT-FUCKED ME!
The awkward nude I’d allowed Charity to take with her expensive iPhone was the second sent to Jay Stello following the first depicting her flawless, gym honed figure au natural. I’m told that Jay showed up within thirty minutes beating on her front door with his big, ham sized fists, eager to pull an OJ on his estranged girlfriend.
Undaunted, Charity buzzed him into her home only for this perfect physical specimen himself, a man built like Dwayne Johnson, to face plant at her feet sobbing uncontrollably. This urban siren, a true femme fatale in every sense of the word, regaled Mr. Stello with the unfettered details of our coupling. No quarter was given verbally as she informed him that I’d been inside her raw.
Big man on campus, heartthrob to many teenage women and local celebrity was a slobbering, incoherent mess by the time she’s hit the coup de grace. Charity informed him that she allowed me to squeeze my cock between her huge, precious breasts and climax all over them and her beautiful face. This was an act she denied him throughout their relationship for reasons of her own, but the starter flame that ignited a burning hatred of me in his barrel chest. Mentally defeated, Charity further debased her wayward lover by making him go down on her right there on the spot lying that I’d only just made good my escape.
The literal rutting between the two that followed, was something for the ages and the entertainment of the gods as two radioactive narcissists fucked the ever-loving shit out of one another until the early hours of the morn and half into the day as Jay reaffirmed his undying love for his queen and resolved to make amends for his egregious behavior. He had likely gone down on her more than anytime during their relationship as she continued twisting him so tight around her finger, the man didn’t know up from down. Charity decided at this time their relationship would become public again, but only through the immediate disownment of one Kimberly Bivens.
“It’s beyond my control.”
Jay Stello repeated the words perfectly as rehearsed throughout his epic night of passion in between frenzied bouts of frenetic escort bursa rutting that left both hardly able to normally walk the following morning.
“It’s beyond my control.”
Charity Gilbert was repeating this identical mantra to me downstairs in the student cafeteria while her better half was busying himself ripping his letterman jacket from Kimberly’s torso in front of a packed second floor corridor. Many of the shell shocked spectators were of the opinion that my faux ex-girlfriend cheated. Treena certainly wasn’t helping matters any seeing a path towards leveling one social step upward.
“It’s beyond my control.”
Jay Stello draped his letterman jacket about Charity’s shoulders before assorted teammates, cheerleaders and random teachers and spectators in the minute portion of time I’d been walking soberly to the front double doors of our school solidifying the narrative of Kimberly’s alleged wrongdoing overwriting the new story of his return to a childhood love. This continued off campus onto social media culminating in Jay Stello’s solemn vow to mete out divine retribution to myself for defiling the gloried walls of his lady love’s vaunted vag.
The morning preceding my assault was a carnival affair of sorts for the assorted villains in my life and by proxy, Ricky Arias as we were both ignorant of the fact. Charmaine’s brief “face turn” explained in exquisite detail along with Kimberly Bivens haggard appearance. She’d offered sex out of overwhelming embarrassment and nothing more. Her crown had been usurped in tragic unceremonious fashion. This eighteen year old drama queen had literally nothing left but cake to eat.
“Which one are you thinking about?”
Faith asked as I stood in front of a full sized mirror staring at my reflection. We slipped into one of the overstuffed alleys full of dueling gypsy vendors settling on a discount men’s clothing store.
“Who says I’m thinking about anybody?”
“Your face; don’t ever play poker Jaleel.” Faith lightly rubbed my back with a smile as I scoffed in exaggerated fashion.
“Well at the risk of accidentally offending you, I was thinking about the whole shit show that popped up around me. It just feels like everybody was using me, Faith.”
“Do you think I’m using you?”
“No, but I don’t understand why you’ve been here with me since I got my brains scrambled.”
“Are we talking about your assault, or Charity Gilbert, again?”
“No, getting my ass whipped by Jay Stello.”
“Oh yeah; well, you were so concerned about my safety even though all those people were about to kill you. You were trying to shield me even as Jay punched you in the face. Jaleel, I don’t know if you remember this, but you fell on top of me after he hit you. I was pinned to the ground under you when Jay kicked you in the face; that’s why his teammates stopped him. Those animals probably would’ve let him keep stomping on you if I wasn’t there.”
Another fragment fell into place leaving me silent for a minute as her face appeared over my shoulder reflectively. Faith had been attempting to warn me that day and I’d almost doomed myself if not for her intervention. I felt guilty for thinking of her as one of Charity’s henchwomen upon encountering her in that corridor.
Faith explained in hindsight that she’d been serving as a substitute teacher on the second floor with every intention of telling me about the ambush when she was swamped with students at the conclusion of her Algebra class. Unknowingly I thought Charity was trying to clandestinely contact me to gloat about her turn of fortune much like Kimberly Bivens prior. It was a fateful decision on my part.
“I still see that fist coming at my face like a missile when I close my eyes.”
“Me too, Jaleel.”
“Try this on for me, okay.” She pressed some clothing on hangers into my hands. It was a collared shirt and a pair of slacks.
“I don’t know about this; how much is this stuff and how much do I owe you for it, Faith?”
“I’ve got a credit account from my sponsor company that I haven’t used since we were juniors.”
She’d told me of her membership in the flagging Junior Achievement program which paired her up with this corporate sponsor MTH Corp. There youthful charges were gifted with cash cards and a stipend which Faith frugally used during her time in the program.
“I gotta put these pants on too?” I stared at the expensive slacks included with the shirt.
“Thanks for reminding me, Jaleel; what size are these boats you call feet?” Faith stuck one of her feet between my legs, still standing directly behind in the narrow space cordoned off by highs walls of men’s wear.
“Are you serious?”
“Those white sock are going too.”
“No they’re not.”
“Yes, they are; I’m not judging, what’s your shoe size Jaleel?” My foot was a third longer than the one she currently had between my legs. It felt like we were the only two people in the narrow patchwork shop despite bustling crowds of bargain hunters all around us.
“Twelve and a half, wide.” I thought my answer might shock her for some reason, but Faith turned to the Chinese gentleman standing adjacent manning an elevated platform containing his cash register.