Chapter 1: I Dream of Jeanie

When I first met Jeannie, I was in the eighth grade, and she was the new girl who had just moved to our school. It was the first day for her, but the middle of the school year for the rest of us.
Our home room teacher Ms. Payne checked her office slip, wrote her name in her attendance book, and asked her if she would like to introduce herself, while standing in-front of the entire class!!!
As a new student, I would have been horrified. I mean it would have been a struggle for me just to remember my name. Ms. Payne had a real knack for putting students on the spot.

My name is Mark Winters and I got in so much trouble sitting next to my two friends, Kevin and Carlos, that Ms. Payne, our home-room teacher moved me to the other side of the room.
Jeannie seemed very comfortable however and introduced herself with a poker face that hid any underlying fear. Plus, she spoke in an organized manner that almost sounded like a speech she had rehearsed.
Jeanie started by telling us where she was from, the name of her old school, how badly she missed her friends, and how happy she was for the opportunity to make some new ones, and finally the reason she moved here: Jeanie’s dad got a promotion, but if he accepted they would have to relocate within 30 days. Her father did not have a choice about the timing, otherwise her parents would have waited until the end of the school year instead.
Then Jeannie concluded by looking over at Ms. Payne to see if she was satisfied. Ms. Payne told Jeanie that we were happy to have her.
And we were.
I know I was because Jeanie, was hotter than hell. I have never seen a more beautiful red-head in my life, and redheads were my favorite.
There was only one other empty desk in the classroom, and that the one in front of me. I sat in the second seat behind her. The student who previously sat their was an authentic Native American named Johnny Wolf. And he lived on a reservation with several other Indian families that composed an actual tribe.
I called him Johnny “Howling Wolf” because of his allergies, as he was constantly itching, sneezing, and coughing. It was non-stop. Nothing against his heritage, but I hated sitting next to him because of it.
One day it got so bad, I waited after class to complain to the teacher.
“Ms. Payne, I want to be moved back to my old seat.”
“No, I’m not going to do that, she said.”
“I don’t care where you move me than, just anywhere away from Johnny, I said.”
“Forget it, Ms. Payne said dismissively.”
“You can move Carlos or Kevin next to Johnny instead, I offered.”
“Thank You for telling me what I can do, she replied.”
Truth be told, I don’t even want to breathe the same air with Johnny let alone sit next to him.
“Johnny sounds sick and I don’t want to catch whatever it is that he has.”
“You’re exaggerating; besides it only sounds like Johnny has a case of hay-fever, Ms. Payne replied offhandedly.”
How did she know, was she a teacher or a doctor?
I never heard of someone who sounded like there were coughing up a lung because of Hay-Fever?
Hell, my grandfather had bronchitis and he didn’t sound that bad, Mark stewed silently.
“Ms. Payne, how do you know that whatever Johnny has isn’t contagious?”
“Then I assume we’d all been coughing, she said.”
Another month passed, and Ms. Payne gave each student in the first row a stack of tests, each student would take one and pass the remaining tests back.
Of course, I was sitting behind Johnny, and suddenly as he turned I guess he suddenly had one of his sneezing fits and coughed right in my face. He didn’t even try to cover his mouth with the tests in his hands.
I was so disgusted that in a fit of rage, I lost it, “Cover that filthy hole, savage !!!”
Ms. Payne had her back turned so she hadn’t why I reacted the way I did.
“Mark Winters, I am appalled, you apologize to Johnny this instant, Ms. Payne demanded.”
I got up and told her that I had to go to the bathroom to wash my face first because Johnny hadn’t covered his before he decided to puke on mine.
After class, I stayed behind again, “Mrs. Payne, I want to be moved, and if you had moved me like I asked you to in the first place, this whole nasty incident could have been avoided.”
Johnny’s condition sounds like it’s getting worse. I think he needs some modern medicine and not whatever their giving him out there on that reservation, because whatever it is, it’s not working.”
“What are you going on about, Ms. Payne said annoyed?”
“I’m talking about you blatantly overlooking your duties as a teacher, by ignoring one of your student’s serious health conditions, I replied.”
“My duties, Ms. Payne repeated?”
“Well, I don’t have him in any of my other classes, Mark answered.”
“It is not the school’s policy to recommend treatment or medication, nor are we authorized to give it. Now if you have a problem with that, maybe you should take it up with Principle White, Ms. Payne answered curtly, in fact I was going to sent you to his office anyway.”
“Well before you do, I just want to make sure that we have our story straight, the school’s position is to just pretend that Johnny’s health problems were never serious, so if anything does happen while he’s still on school property, the District can claim to have no prior knowledge, And if God forbid he actually dies in class, the Board may not get sued for negligence by the Native American Council.”
“I do not make those decisions, Ms. Payne, retorted, turning red, and looking both angry and embarrassed.”
“What about your Hypocritical oath, Mark asked?”
“My Hypocritical what, Ms. Payne replied?”
“What if what Johnny has is terminal, I mean those Native American’s have all the money in the world because of the casino’s, but they still choose to live out there on those reservations, like a bunch of…”
“Savages, Ms. Payne completed?”
“Yea, that’s right, savages, I mean why is it that the Indians are so self-sufficient with everything else, except when it comes to home-schooling their own children, Mark asked?”
“Maybe they want to modernize, and start indoctrinating themselves into society, Ms. Payne replied.”
“That’s fine, let them modernize, I’m not a racist, but I don’t want to suffer from whatever it is that Johnny’s suffering from, just because they don’t believe in the “White Man’s Medicine,” Mark made quotation marks with his fingers, is no reason for the rest of us to suffer.”
“Well, I can’t very well tell Johnny that he can’t come to class, now can I, Ms. Payne said defensively?”
You don’t have the authority, I bet Mr. White doesn’t either.
Why don’t you go find out for yourself young man?
“No, I’m going to call the Army instead, then, tell them it’s an outbreak, let the (CDC), storm in here and quarantine the entire town.
But I’m going to going to you a heads-up first, so I can sneak out first with me, you can drive us to Vegas, because I would hate for you to wind up on the wrong side of the plastic bubble, if you know what I mean, Mark said with a straight face.”
Vegas!!!
Ms. Payne burst out laughing.
Mark stared back at Ms. Payne in total amazement, more like shock. He wasn’t even trying to be funny, but whenever he got really upset about something, he started running off at the mouth, and then he couldn’t stop himself.
Your hilarious, and then she started laughing agin.
He waited for her to finish laughing, and then he said, “You know Ms. Payne, this is the first time, I think I ever heard you laugh, it sounded more like a revelation than a statement the way Mark said it.
“I didn’t know you could laugh, Mark continued.”
This time she smiled but she covered her mouth like she was embarrassed.
“Look, I can’t make any promises, but I’ll talk to Principal White maybe there’s something he can do, but not me, I’m just the teacher.”
Despite her age and profession, Ms. Payne revealed herself to be a warm human being who had a sense of humor. She could even treat a student with respect, instead of just being another condescending adult.
Mark suddenly realized, maybe Ms. Payne was just another person stuck in the same horrible situation that he was in. They shared a common tragedy. It was like a worker from the boiler room of the “Titanic” who was top deck and speaking to a passenger from first class. Or maybe the captain himself, it didn’t matter now that the ship was sinking, they were all in the same boat.
Could it be, that Ms. Payne was just as disgusted about Johnny’s condition as he was?
But unlike Mark, she didn’t have the luxury of complaining about it, because she had a job to protect.
“You hate Johnny being in your class, as much as I do, Mark said out loud.”
Another revelation.
Ms. Payne looked up at him again, but this time she was startled, she studied Mark and he saw a look of panic on her face.
What?
You don’t want Johnny in your class in your class anymore than I do, Mark said shaking his head.
Suddenly Margaret Payne, wondered if maybe she had said too much, and then after a delayed moment, and she panicked, but then her composure returned, and she went back to grading her papers, “Goodbye, Mark.”

Ms. Payne, the teacher had returned.
Mark slung his backpack over his shoulders and headed out. But before he left the classroom he stopped at the doorway and turned around.
“You know, Ms. Payne, I would like to tell everybody that you have a very contagious laugh. But I don’t think they would believe me, maybe if they heard it from you themselves some time, you could help me convince them, and then Mark left without saying “Good-bye.”
Never in her eighteen years of teaching could she remember a student giving her a compliment. Not on her looks, not on her hair, not on one of her outfits. Nothing. Margaret Payne continued staring at the empty doorway.
***
Mark did learn that Ms. Payne had made good on her word however, because something finally changed regarding Johnny.
His parents admitted him into a regular hospital, where they discovered that much of his illness was due to allergies. But it wasn’t just hay-fever, Johnny had a rare condition because his lungs were super-sensitive.
The allergies from the dust and pollen created a constant state of irritation within the air sacks themselves. So, given enough time, and left untreated, his condition could have become fatal.
His family moved Johnny to another tribe further North of the state, and Johnny lived on another reservation, but one closer to a clinic that specialized in his type of illness.
After Johnny left no one from the school ever heard from him again, Mark never got so much as a Thank You” let alone an acknowledgment, but if Johnny got the help he needed, that’s all that really mattered.
Anyway, Johnny’s exodus was the only reason why there was an empty seat in the classroom to begin with. And now the new girl Jeannie would be sitting next to him, Her name reminded him of that same from TvLand, “I Dream of Jeanie” and if of Mark could not have dreamed up a better replacement.
Jeanie was so beautiful that Mark had to turn away as she walked towards him, and so that he would not stare, but that was almost impossible, her beauty seemed magnetic.
Mark thought Jeanie might have been one of the most beautiful eighth grader in the entire world. And that was also because she matured early; and already had the body of an adult woman.
Mark had read somewhere that girls were maturing much earlier now than any time before in history. There was this theory that it was due to all the hormones, and steroids they put in the cow’s milk. Well if Jeanie ate her Frosted Flakes, she was proof of that.
She might have had the face of a 13-year-old girl, young, fresh, and innocent, but she had the mature body of a curvy, voluptuous vixen.
Her tits were fucking huge!!!
The contrast between her youthful, innocent looks, and her mature well-endowed body, only enhanced each other that much more.
Juxtaposition!!!
Mark couldn’t help but wonder, if Jeanie’s body was as innocent as her face looked. But after she sat down, Mark began to have a hard time concentrating. He saw multi-colored spots, and instantly developed a headache, the pain throbbed until he had to close his eyes. He rubbed his forehead, and then his temples and he try to relieve some of the pressure. If it got any worse Mark thought, he might have cried out.
And then suddenly he started to get flashes of images. They were about Jeanie the new girl. Sometimes Mark got “visions,” for lack of a better definition. It didn’t happen with everyone, he wasn’t psychic in the broad sense.
Usually it was just a female who Mark found extremely attractive. Sexually attractive. Sometimes the pictures were accompanied by a sound, or a feeling, but mostly they were just images.
The last time this happened to him was with a blonde girl named Tiffany who was the first girl who had ever given him oral sex. Aside from kissing a girl or feeling once or two up, since fourth grade, Tiffany the blonde, was Mark’s first sexual experience.
She was one of the most popular, and attractive girls at the school, but she was selfish and ultimately visions of her leaving him broken-hearted always overshadowed any sexual desire he felt for her.
Tiffany was ultimately deemed a selfish woman, and she would punish any man who loved her, even destroy him, it.
Girls had conquests too. It was always the getting and not the having with Tiffany.
Mark didn’t know why Jeanie suddenly “activated” these flashing images the same as Tiffany had done before her.
Was this a warning?
Silently as Jeanie sat down next to Mark the pictures kept exploding off in his head like silent flashbulbs, one after another.
“Mr. Winters, can you give me the answer, Ms. Payne interrupted?
“Mark jumped back in his seat, his “visions” were gone, the story was over. Hearing Ms. Payne’s voice brought Mark back to the present. To the here and now.
“The Answer?” Mark said, clearing his throat.”
“Yes, the answer, weren’t you paying attention, Ms. Payne asked?”
Hell no, I wasn’t paying attention, Mark thought to himself. How could she even ask him that with a straight face, wasn’t that the only reason why she called on him in the first place, because she caught him not paying attention.
Mark wanted to ask Jeanie out after class but if Ms. Payne made him look like a fool, it could ruin his chances and he hadn’t even introduced himself yet.
You never got a second chance to make a first impression. Not a good impression.
“I’m sorry Ms. Payne, I couldn’t hear you, could you repeat the question again, Mark asked?”
Ms. Payne scoffed.
“Who shot our 16th President Abraham Lincoln, Ms. Payne repeated?”
“Uh……That John…. Telephone…… Booth guy, Mark finished quickly.
The entire class erupted in laughter.
“That-is-not-funny, Ms. Payne said, to the class enunciating each word carefully to let the room know she meant business. All of you quiet down this instant, she commanded.”
“When the class quieted down, Ms. Payne returned and picked up exactly where she left off, “You mean John “Wilkes” Booth, Ms. Payne corrected him?”
“Yes, that’s exactly who I meant, Mark answered.
I guess Ms. Payne didn’t want to look like a fool in front of the new girl either, Mark thought to himself.”
“Then why didn’t you say so in the first place, Ms. Payne asked, putting him on the spot again?”
What? Are you fucking kidding me?
I gave you the right answer now move on bitch, Mark thought to himself.
Why was Ms. Payne giving him such a hard time?
Was Ms. Payne deliberately trying to embarrass him in front of the new girl? She had never acted like this before.
“Ms. Payne, you told us last semester that if we couldn’t actually remember the answer; to associate something with it instead, like an image.
So, I took the last name “Booth,” and I tried to link the answer to a picture that I could associate with his last name. And Telephone Booth was all that I could come up with. Telephone Booth and John Wilkes Booth, Mark said, putting his two hands together into one for emphasis.
Ms. Payne was both, amazed and confused, the latter because she had never told the class to link words with pictures. Mark had made that up on the spot.
There was a pause while Ms. Payne stood standing and was trying to remember when she had said that, Mark pre-emptied a comeback before she could respond a second time.
“Look, Ms. Payne, I don’t know why you’re always calling on me, unlike these snobby rich girls, I like your casual shoes, he said pointing at them for effect and giving her the thumbs up for approval. Mark wanted the attention off him and back on her, it was gutsy gamble.
Everyone in class including Ms. Payne herself, with the exception of Jeanie, looked down at her shoes, and then, once she knew that she’d been had, she lifted one of them up to check the underside to see if she had anything stuck on the bottom.
“No, the other one Mark said.”
Now he was pushing it.
The entire class erupted in laughter again.
This time she didn’t yell at the room to quiet down, she waited instead patiently. Maybe Mark had earned that laugh. But before she spoke again, Mark panicked.
Maybe he had gone too far this time, and he should have quit while he was still ahead. He couldn’t help himself, he was still reeling from the images that he’d seen from Jeanie’s past and now his mind was racing into over-drive.
Mark couldn’t have stopped his mouth even if that meant a one-way ticket straight to the principal’s office. Better to die a rebel than branded a fool.
Now that the class was quiet again, a composed Ms. Payne with a Mona-Lisa smile scanned the classroom. Her body language proclaimed: I am the adult here, I will be the bigger person.
Her tone and mood seemed much lighter when she spoke this time as well, “Well, I hope the rest of you will be able to associate pretty pictures with answers because there’s going to be a test, next Monday, and you can bet that question will be on it.
The entire class grumbled as if in protest and then Ms. Payne stood in front of Jeanie’s desk, “I’m sorry, honey, but that includes you as well.”
Jeanie nodded without looking up at her. Suddenly the bell rang, and everybody got up and filtered out of the class, and into the hallway.
Mark straggled behind as most of the class disappeared, some of the girls turned around to size Jeanie up again, before they left.
It was common for Ms. Payne to leave for the teachers’ lounge to refill her coffee during the bell in-between classes. When she left with the rest of the class, Mark took this as a good sign.
Kevin and Carlos, who sat together on the other side of the classroom, were waiting for him by the door, but Mark waved them on impatiently to leave, but trying not to be too obvious.
He didn’t need those two idiots sticking around, he needed to have Jeanie alone when he spoke to her, if they stayed they would only try to make him look bad, and fuck things up for him.
Jeannie didn’t act like she was in a hurry either, so while she was taking her time collecting her things, Mark tried to keep pace; desperately thinking up an excuse to talk to her. Now that he had the opportunity he had drawn a blank.
When he couldn’t think of anything clever, he was just going to say “Hi,” before she got away, but when he turned to face her, she was already looking at him, and caught him off guard, he froze, as then he smiled.
“Hey, he said.”
“You were funny, Jeanie said.”
“How do you mean, Mark asked smiling.”
“Complimenting her shoes, Jeanie returned.”
“Yea, but I wasn’t trying to be funny; Ms. Payne really did catch me daydreaming, and then he checked the doorway to make sure she hadn’t double-backed.”
“So, you were lying when you said you like her shoe’s, Jeanie asked?”
“Oh, there okay, but I’d wish she buy some new ones, she wears the same outfits on the same days, and sometimes the other kids make fun of her because of it, So I was really just trying to help her out.”
Oh, Really, Jeanie said smiling.
Yea, some people can be so… immature, besides, I like your shoes a lot better, Mark smiled back.”
Jeanie laughed again, she hadn’t been this nervous talking to a guy in a long time, but she did have on a cute pair of “shoe-boots” on that were a fashionable style at the time.
“Our Homeroom Teacher “Ms. Payne,” is well named because she loves to try to cause me grief, every chance she gets.”
“You the bad boy, defending her, Jeanie asked?”
“Alright, maybe I’m exaggerating, but this time my distraction was legitimate Mark answered.”
“What distraction was that, Jeanie flirted.”
She didn’t mean to sound flirtatious, but it came out that way and she couldn’t prevent it when it did.
“Well for one thing, Ms. Payne’s voice itself is a distraction. You ever hear the voice of the guy that does the Garfield the cartoon cat in the Movies.”
“Yes, Jeanie said.”
“Ms. Payne’s voice is a little like that, she has no inflection, and for someone who has a “boring” voice she sure loves to hear herself talk.”
“Are you sure you’re not exaggerating again, Jeanie asked?
She’s the reason I daydream Jeanie, did you have a Ms. Payne at your old school, Mark asked?”
Now it was Jeanie who looked at the doorway, “Yea, but her name was Ms. Harp, Jeanie replied.”
Mark nodded.
Jeanie laughed.
And you Jeanie, he said shyly
And me what, she asked?
“And you had me distracted, Mark replied.”
“Why me, she asked?”
Why you! Don’t you own a fucking mirror? It might have something to do with those two-bowling ball titties strapped to your chest, he thought to himself.
“Well, it’s not every day we get to meet a new student from a faraway land, and that’s very exciting for these parts, Mark answered.”
“Exciting, what do you mean by exciting, she asked?”
“You’re a mystery Jeanie, nobody knows anything about you, Mark explained.”
She noticed Mark was using her first name a lot, and he seemed very comfortable doing so, that was amazing considering they had just met.
“Even after I told you, and the entire class my life’s story, Jeanie exclaimed.”
“Yea, I can’t believe Ms. Payne made you do that, I hate standing up front just to give a book report, let alone telling my life’s story to a bunch of strangers, Mark agreed.”
“Oh, my God, Mark, I was so embarrassed, please tell me I didn’t look like a fool, Jeanie begged.”
“No, you were cool, maybe a little shy, but for your first day, you did great, Mark complimented her.”
“I have to admit, out of all my teachers Ms. Payne was the only one who made me do that, Jeanie said.”
Mark moved in to whisper, she smelled of expensive perfume. It was intoxicating. “I should warn you Jeanie, Ms. Payne is a real bitch, so don’t take anything she does personal, I heard she even drinks in-between classes.”
Jeannie laughed. This boy was hilarious.
“Thank you, Mark, Jeanie said, smiling, you’re good at making a new girl feel better.”
“Well, I wasn’t born here either, I was a new student myself at one time, but even then, I had the luxury of starting fresh in September like everybody else, I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to move in the middle of the year, Mark said compassionately.”
“You don’t know the half of it, Jeanie replied.”
Then give me your number and tell me the other half after school, Mark said taking out his pen and waiting for her number.
Wow, Jeanie thought to herself, how could she resist.
My number, she balked, I don’t even know you!!!
Mark handed her his pen and paper, if you give me your number I can call you after school, I wish we had more time to talk and then he turned around again to check the doorway.”
Jeanie stared at him, and behind those emerald-green eyes, Mark could see her trying to decide if this was a good idea or not. He nodded slightly as if silently encouraging her.
“Mark, I don’t even know your last name maybe we shouldn’t rush into anything, Jeanie said.”
“My last name is Winters, he replied offering his hand so that she could shake it.”
She took it, but with the same side, she was left-handed.
“Yes, and I’m the new girl, Mr. Winters, you understand if I don’t, Jeanie said a little defensively.”
Yes, I do, Ms. Winters, but I would like to be your first friend, I mean if you’d let me…
Jeanie flipped over the front cover to write but stopped when she saw notes from a previous class.
“Uh, can I write on the back page instead, she asked?”
“Just write over the notes, Mark replied.”
Jeanie laughed as she quickly found a blank page and scribbled, her number.
“Okay there you go Mark Winters, she said.”
He looked at her handwriting, beautiful handwriting Jeanie Winters.”
“What did you say, Jeanie asked fearfully?”
Mark looked up at her, “I’m sorry I must have thought one thing while saying another, I don’t remember your last name, Mark said disarmingly.
Jeanie looked at him a little suspiciously, as she handed him back his pen.
Grants, she said.
“Thank you, Jeanie Grants, Mark corrected himself speaking her name correctly the second time.
“Jeanie never took her eyes off him while Mark put his notebook away and slung his backpack around his shoulder; then he picked up Jeanie’s pink backpack and handed it to her.”
“We better go, Jeanie, Mark said, as he noticed the other students for the next class pouring in as he walked beside her. He didn’t want to run into Ms. Payne again.
“Do you know where your next class is, Mark asked.”
“Yes, I memorized my schedule, Jeanie said.”
“Jeannie, I was just thinking, can you give me a specific time to call you, just so I don’t wind up talking to your dad, he asked.”
Jeannie laughed, “How about Saturday around noon.”
But that’s five days away, Mark said.
“Right let’s not rush into anything, Jeanie smiled.”
“Saturday then, it’s a date, Mark confirmed.”
No, no, I didn’t agree to a date, I just agreed to accept your call, Jeanie she said panicked, but inside she was lit up like a Christmas tree. She squeezed her arms tighter and closer to her chest.
A date, she thought to herself, she had never been on a date, and then Jeanie started blushing, it brought out her freckles.
Ms. Payne was returning from the teachers’ lounge to her class with a fresh cup of coffee. She had just poured a shot of baileys crème from a disguised container that she hid in the back of the fridge. This would be her third shot of the day.
She reminded lagging student to get to their next class before the second bell rang, but she was distracted, as she sipped her Irish Coffee. And wondered if the Mall was having a sale on shoes this week-end.

End of Chapter One

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Copyrighted by Jason Gabriel Kondrath 2017

Copyrighted by Jason Gabriel Kondrath 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Two: That Reoccuring Preminition

After school Mark was up in his room lying on his bed. He was throwing a rubber ball against the wall, catching it with the other hand, then throwing it back with the other.

Sometimes he did this to help him think and other times he did it to relieve stress. Periodically Mark would pick up his notebook lying next to him, the one that Jeanie had written on earlier, and he studied her handwriting.

Mark wanted to call her right now. But Monday after school was a long time from the Saturday she told him to call, and he continuously talked himself out of it.
Mark would periodically keep checking to make sure her signature and number were still on his notebook thou, and not an illusion that would fade away and disappear like a mirage after so much time in-between glances.
Mark had already rewritten Jeanie’s number on a post-it, and put that on his cork-board, in-case anything happened to his notebook. Then Mark wrote down her name and number a third time and hid that piece of paper and stored that in a shoe box on top of his closet.
Mark constantly needed to prove to himself that everything that happened earlier wasn’t a dream, and that Jeanie was real, and he had her handwriting to prove it. Everything about Jeanie was sexy, even her signature, light, soft, and feminine.
He was still thinking about the images he saw about Jeanie, and he desperately wanted to know if any of it was true?
He closed his eyes and started rubbing them again to try to remember the flood of images that were pouring in. After Mark started to see enough of them, the images like pictures from a camera, or a single video frame from a filmstrip, and would start to formulate a story, like pieces of a puzzle that eventually completed a picture.
Now the images were repeating themselves again. Marks first impression(s) had been that Jeanie had involved herself with something taboo.
She was in a cult. No, she was a student of the occult. Wicca, she practiced witchcraft. Jeanie had belonged to a school, no a coven. She had a natural talent for Wicca. But something had happened. She was a novice, a very gifted student, but inexperienced and undisciplined.
Pain.
Regret.
Reckless.
Jeanie was “expelled” from the coven because as a student she practiced on her own, outside of any supervision, which was both dangerous and forbidden.
Suddenly Mark wondered it this tied in with her move, was this the real reason for her relocation. Was she banished?
No.
Jealousy.
Rivalry.
Suffering.
Wicca was a religion, witchcraft were rituals. Every religion had rules, but the rules of Wicca were stricter than most. And Jeanie had disobeyed theirs.
But why?
Pop, Pop, Pop!!!
More Images went off like flashbulbs in his head.
Sex
Love
Desire
There was an older student in her other school named Joe…John…Josh.
His name was Josh, and Jeanie became instantly infatuated. Josh was her first crush. He was older than Jeanie, but because of her intelligence Jeanie was mentally, if not emotionally, his equal.
The two of them even shared some of the same classes, Jeanie had advanced a grade, actually (two), because of how smart she was. But Josh never seemed to notice her, Jeanie was very attractive, but in a girlish way.
She was cute, not sexy, like a woman. Jeanie did not know why Josh was not interested in her. It was because she still looked “under-developed,” more like a child than a woman. And Josh was a breast-man.
Pop, Pop, Pop!!!
One-day Jeanie overheard Josh talking to one of his friends, he said that he needed to go to the Mall this weekend to buy some new shoes. Jeanie made plans to arrive at the mall first, so that she could “accidentally” run into him.
He didn’t say what time he was going to be there exactly, so Jeanie was going to get there when the Mall opened and wait for him all day if necessary. When she finally saw Josh walk in, Jeanie walked over and made up an excuse to talk to him.
Josh smiled, flirted, complimented her, and even laughed at her jokes, Jeanie was sure that Josh was going to ask her out.
But then just like a heart-breaking scene from a romantic comedy, a very well-endowed female walked past them, and this girl’s timing could not have been worse for Jeanie.
Like an electric magnet that had suddenly switched polarities, Josh’s attention immediately switched from Jeanie to the other girl in an instant.
Jeanie looked to see what suddenly captivated Josh’s attention and that’s when she saw the rival female. She was vaguely aware that she had seen this girl before, her name was Brenda, and she was also in the same class that she and Josh shared.
Suddenly, Josh made up some horrible, transparent excuse to leave so that he could catch up with the other girl before she got away. Jeanie had been outclassed, simple as that. Game, Set, and Match.
Josh’s reaction was so abrupt that it would have been comical under different circumstances, but the shock of his sudden abandonment was devastating, and the humiliation she felt in his absence was monumental.
Jeanie couldn’t even move at first, her body frozen; her mind refusing to accept what had just happened.
He’s gone???
He left me for Brenda?
Brenda!!!
Yes, she was an older, mature, and more endowed, but certainly not prettier???
She looked like a whore with all that make-up on her face!!!
And Josh left her for Brenda right in the middle of the mall where everybody could see her humiliation. She might as well have been the lead actress in a tragedy instead of a comedy because that’s how she felt.
Her face suddenly turned red from embarrassment.
She could not stop it. And when it did, it brought out her freckles. She could even feel the heat coming off her body from her embarrassment.
Suddenly Jeanie wished she could turn invisible so that nobody could see her as she forced one foot in front of the other, feeling like a fool, trying to maintain her dignity, even holding her breath hoping that it might prevent her from bursting into tears, at least not until she made it to the bathroom.
Jeanie was in the stall for almost twenty minutes, just long enough to make sure she got it all out of her system. She wanted to make sure that she made it out of the mall and at home before she started crying again.
Josh was Jeanie’s first crush and he was devastating. She cried herself to sleep that night wondering what she did wrong, and why she wasn’t good enough for Josh.
For the rest of the week Jeanie was inconsolable, she wouldn’t eat, or sleep, or confide in anyone, she was becoming dangerously underweight, until she could no longer deny the truth.
Jeanie was determined to win Josh’s affection and at any cost. It was unfair what had happened to her. She felt like she had been setup. Why did that bitch have to walk past her at the exact moment Josh was about to ask her out?
Now she had heard that they were even dating, but this girl Brenda, had not won Josh, she had stolen him, and with an unfair advantage!!!
Jeanie was going to use a magical incantation that would emulate the body of this other woman, that way Josh would be as interested in Jeanie as he was this Brenda, and then Jeanie would be able to compete against this other woman on a level playing field.

Pop, Pop, Pop!!!

But this incantation was a very dangerous thing to attempt. First, Jeanie did not have the experience necessary to perform it, Second the spell was not a one-person ritual, and third, she did not have permission from the coven to perform it.
None of this mattered to Jeanie, she convinced herself she was doing the right thing. Besides she knew if she asked, that her request would be denied on principle alone. Jeanie didn’t even think she could bring herself to ask for a sexual endowment, it would be too humiliating. Childish, immature, unrealistic, and insane.
Josh was not her husband, and this was not a mating ritual. You could not rush or force nature. And those who tried were doomed. But no warning would deter Jeanie, she was a woman in love!!!
And a woman in love could move mountains, and God help the fool that stood in her way, they would be crushed underneath them.
Jeanie was a brilliant student of the Wiccan arts, a very gifted apprentice, but she was young, and she did not have the power, confidence or experience to complete such a complicated ritual.
Jeanie had performed the magic rite meticulously, and it had been effective, despite her inexperience, partly because Jeanie herself was still in puberty, and so her body quickly began to change, and the results were astonishing.
Her body began to grow into the same form and shape of Brenda, the other woman. But something went wrong. And that is why there is no substitution for experience in any field.
Some variation or deviation. Maybe something unnoticed or forgotten, Jeanie did not know what specifically. But something was left out, or overlooked, and as a result… the other woman died.
Pop, Pop, Pop!!!
When the elders found out what Jeanie had done; the Jane the mother superior, shook her head in both shock and amazement. She told Jeanie that she could not believe that she herself had not been killed during the incantation.
What she attempted, had never been tried before, which was a true testament of her abilities, and her potential. Jeanie was by far the most gifted student Janice had ever seen.
In time Jeanie, herself would have been the one to replace Janice, because of her ability. It was only natural for her to be the next to lead in succession, for Jeanie was the most capable, the most gifted. No one could deny her potential.
But now none of that would ever be possible. Janis was Jeanie’s mentor, and personal teacher, and she was unable to have children of her own. So, she loved Jeanie like her own daughter, and she was the most protective of Jeanie, especially with her being the youngest member of the coven.
But Jeanie had to be held accountable for her actions the same as everyone else. No one was above Wiccan Law.
No One.
Pop, Pop, Pop!!!
During the next full moon all thirteen members of the coven gathered outside the courtyard. Twelve in a circle and Jeanie in the middle. Every woman present was clothed only in a hooded robe, and crying miserable, and that included both Janice and Jeanie.
Another senior member of the council, Teresa, a beautiful blonde, seductive and alluring tried to speak in Jeanie’s defense, “Mother Janis, forgive this child, I beg thee, her intention was not malice.
“Yes, she was reckless. yes, she was foolish, but this folly was first loves sake, and who among us has not been deceived by love, or made a fool of by the same, not once but many times even afterwards.”
It suddenly started raining in large, cold and heavy drops. And every woman except for Jeanie, put the hood of their robes over their heads to keep their hair from getting wet.
Janice could not rule on intention, but on outcome alone. Jeanie could not have preferential treatment.
Janis spoke, “I did not make the laws, sister Teresa, and Jeanie was well aware of them from the onset, the laws are in place to prevent exactly what happened, from happening, now we all have blood on our hands.”
Another woman, Cassandra, now hooded, and her face hidden in the shadow of the moonlight spoke up, “She is but a child, Mother Superior, have mercy on her for she is young, she is young, and her heart is pure, she repeated.”
But Janice shook her head. “She was old enough, old enough to know better, yet she chose against the law, and now she must be held accountable because of it.”
Jeanie took off her robe even thou she was completely naked underneath, and threw herself on the ground, kneeling before Janice grabbing her from behind the knees, begging her for an alternate form of punishment. This was very bad form to beg forgiveness before the verdict was even given.
“I will take the lash until my back bleeds and scars, Jeanie said, Or the fire until it scorches and sears my flesh, they could even scrub her skin with steel wool, and salt water afterwards. That could be fatal.
The wind started to howl, and it carried Jeanie’s appeal to the heavens, but there was would be no latitude given from Janis, she alone would make the decision, and that decision would be final.
Janis spoke: “Jeanie you have caused the death of another, although unintentional, you were selfish, reckless, and dangerous. You knew the law, but ye broke it anyway. Had this other woman lived, another punishment may have been considered, but as it stands, the punishment will fit the crime.
Jeanie was already crying miserable, Janice had to raise her voice, so she could be heard above the wind, “Jeanie, you are now excommunicated from our sisterhood forever, and swear an oath upon your life that you will never practice Wicca again, either now or in the future, with or without assistance, and then Janis looked down on her, that is the judgement upon you,”
The group of women repeated their response in unison, “So mote it be.”
Jeanie looked up at the Janice and pleaded, “Please Mother, you are my only family, do not abandon me, I would rather you kill me, than banish me, death itself would be a kinder fate, but to live without my sisters, that is unbearable, Jeanie cried.”
“Some punishments in life are worse than death, Janis replied, and you more than anyone should know that, and they exchanged a knowing look between them.
“Swear the Oath or suffer the curse Janice warned.”
“Please you are the only mother I have truly ever known, Jeanie begged.”
Janice slapped Jeanie in her face hard, and Jeanie fell on her side and she fell into the mud, that covered one side of her face and body. Janice waited patiently for Jeanie to get up and then repeated her demand, “Swear the Oath or suffer the curse, Janice repeated.”
Jeanie did not see hatred in the eyes of Janis, pity, anger, but most of all disappointment.
“I will suffer…
“I will suffer the curse Jeanie said bravely.
Both woman we’re broken-heated.
And so, the mother superior announced what her fate was to be.
To never be loved!!!


And after Janice announced her judgement, she warned Jeanie, “Do not call me your mother, or these other women your sisters, for we are not your family anymore, nor shall we ever be again.
The lightning illuminated the sky as if for effect.
And then Janis walked away from Jeanie as the rain continued to come down, but now even harder. It was as if even Nature itself was washing its hands of Jeanie.
Now she was no longer kneeling, Jeanie fell into the fetal position, and screamed hysterically, “I am alone, I am alone, I am alone, I have no one, I have no one, I have no one, she screamed hysterically over and over.”
And each time she cried out, the lightning flickered, and the thunder sounded above to drown her out. Yet no member of the coven would stay to comfort Jeanie, help her up, cover her with her robe, or even look back to see if she would be okay.
The group silently followed Janis, back into their small concrete fortress that was the courtyard, and shut the iron gate behind them, which locked with a metallic rattle. Mark was back in his bedoom and he was just as startled as he had been earlier, that reoccuring premontion, was it true? Was Jeanie a witch?

 Chapter 3: What in a Name???

Suddenly Mark his mother calling him from downstairs.

“Mark, can you come down here please, you have company.”

Mark was annoyed, he didn’t want to go anywhere.

Mark just thought it was just one of his guy friends, Carlos or Kyle.

“Just send them up Mom, you don’t need to keep me in suspense, Mark yelled back.”

“No, you’re going to have to come down here, his mom answered.”

What the hell was going on, he thought to himself?

Mark only had on his shorts and sandals as he walked down the stairs heavily, then turned the corner that led into the hallway that connected him with the kitchen at the end, and that’s when he saw Jeanie sitting at his kitchen table. He was stunned.
Suddenly he felt like he was in a dream. Surreal. Mark saw things in a strobe-light effect, and when he studied Jeanie from his position, the sun was shining thru the cracks between the blinds, which outlined her body from behind her in an aura of white, and aura that made her look like an angel, except for the wings.
Mark was mesmerized, and continued to stare at Jeanie until even she got uncomfortable, and looked away. His mother Beth was was folding laundry turned around, and when she saw him staring, cleared her throat.
“Is it Saturday, already, Mark asked abruptly, pretending to shake the cobwebs out of his head?”
Jeanie laughed,”No, I’m early, Jeanie said embarrassed, she would not to look at him directly. Mark only had on shorts, and she also blushed from his semi-nakedness.”
Beth thru Mark’s a clean shirt, and it hit him in the head covering his face, and he pulled it down in a slow-motion gesture.
Jeannie laughed again, but still avoided eye contact until he finished dressing.
Here’s a pair of sweats Mark his Mother offered, this time she did not try to hit him in the head.
“I’m sorry Jeannie, I thought it was one of my stupid guy friends, Mark explained.”
“Sorry to disappoint you, Jeanie said smiling.”
“I was just on my bed thinking about you….”
His mother coughed again.
“I mean I was daydreaming about what happened earlier today… Mom this is Jeanie, he said turning to Beth, and Jeanie this is Jeanie this is my mom, she’s a new girl, from another school that sits next to me in my home room class.
He stammered a bit as he spoke, nobody could be cool in front of their parents, not even Mark.
Yes, I met Jeanie and she’s a lovely girl. I’m going downstairs to finish the laundry, why don’t you take her out, and show her around, maybe introduce her to some of your friends, Beth said.”
“Great idea, Mom, Mark agreed.”
“When his mom was out of earshot, Mark told Jeanie that he really was daydreaming about her, and then he asked her, “Am I still?”
“Jeanie laughed, “No, I’m real, she said.”
“You seem to have that effect on me, Mark said?”
“What were you daydreaming this time Jeanie asked?”
“What I was going to say to you on Saturday, he said.”
“Ohhh, Jeanie replied, but she sounded like she didn’t believe him.”
“How did you find me, Mark asked?”
“By accident, I discovered I only live a few houses up from you, I was walking to the store when I saw your last name on the mailbox, I took a chance to see if you were the same “Winters,” from my class, Jeanie said, and here I am.”
“Wow, that was really brave of you, Mark said, impressed.”
“Not brave, desperate, I needed to get out of the house, but I didn’t want to go to the store alone either. So when I saw the name “Winters,” I rolled the dice, Would you like to come with, Jeanie asked a little sultry?”
“Indeed, I would, Mark replied.”
Mark got so caught up in the moment that he was rushing her out the door before Jeanie had a chance to stop him.
“Hey wait Mark, tell your mom were leaving and when you’ll be back, Jeanie said.”
Mark ran back thru the door, and yelled down the stairs to his mom, “Mom, I’m going to the store, do you want anything, he asked?”
“No, but you better not ruin your appetite, dinner will be ready in half-hour and Jeanie can stay if she wants, his mother offered.”
“Okay, I’ll tell her.”
Mark grabbed his X-Large denim jacket with deep pockets, and ran back out to Jeanie.
“What were you going to buy at the store he asked.”
“I don’t know, I have a craving for Ice Cream, Jeanie said.”
“What flavor, Mark asked?”
“Vanilla, Jeanie answered.”
“Good call, Mark said, but I have to have mine dipped in sprinkles, he said.”
“Strawberry, Jeanie asked?”
“Yea, Mark looked at her a little dumbfounded, there my favorite, he said.”
“Mine too, Jeanie agreed, we even have ice-cream in our freezer but I have to sprinkles, otherwise I won’t eat it.”
Wow, Mark thought to himself, that’s how I eat mine.
As we were walking Mark started telling Jeannie some of the more popular gossip that was circulating around town.
“They want to make this sub-division a gated community, Mark told her?
“Why, Jeanie asked?”
“Because of my father, if you can believe that. Last year he came home early from work, to discovered four or five inner city kids had broken into our yard and swimming in the pool, Mark told her.”
“You have a pool, Jeanie asked?”
“Yea, hey, why don’t you come over tomorrow and we can go swimming, Mark asked without missing a beat.”
Jeanie laughed, “Well finish telling me your story first, she said.”
“My dad caught these black kids swimming in our pool, and he came running out the house with his rifle, Mark said.”
“What happened, she asked?”
“He called the cops first then ran outside, while they were still in the pool. They tried to run but he fired his shotgun in the air before they had a chance to jump the fence.”
“So, they got arrested, Jeanie asked?”
“Yea, he and Mayor are actually golfing buddies, Mark said.”
“What does your father do, Jeanie asked?”
“He’s an attorney, a prosecuting attorney, who works for the city, which translates into making sure blacks, and other minorities stay out of New Baltimore Heights.”
“He sounds just like my dad, Jeanie said.”
“I’m not like that thou, Mark added as an after-thought.”
“Were you actually there, when it happened, Jeanie asked.”
“No, I was at school Thank God, but I heard all about it over dinner. There was even a write-up about it in the paper, he made the front page of our local rag. And the city even gave him a metal plaque and it hangs above the fireplace in our drawing room. Don’t worry he’ll show it to you to personally.
“Very impressive, she said.”
He bought several copies of the newspaper with him on the front page, and had it professionally reprinted, matted, and framed. One he has in his office, and the other hangs above the plaque.
“So, your family is famous, she asked?”
“Infamous, Mark corrected, the next day everybody in school asked me what happened, but I told them I didn’t know any more than they did, because I was at school with them when it all went down.”
“What happened after that, Jeanie asked?”
“I think he got a promotion, Mark said.”
Jeanie rolled her eyes, “No I mean to the kids after they were arrested.”
“I have no idea, I never heard about them again, my dad wanted to prosecute them himself, but the city wouldn’t allow it.”
“So, they never came back for another swim?”
“No, they were just a bunch of high-school kids, skipping class, and looking for something to do. When rich kids go to poor neighborhoods they call it “slumming,” I don’t know what they call it when poor kids go to rich neighborhoods, Mark said.”
“Trouble, Jeanie replied.”
“Exactly, Mark agreed.”
“Do you think your dad would have actually shot at them if they kept running, Jeanie asked?”
“I doubt it, but I think they thought he would have, Mark replied.”
“Can he have done that, I mean with them being minors and all?”
“No, you can’t “legally” shoot someone in the back, even if they were armed which they weren’t because their back is to you, so their intent was to flee, not attack, I mean don’t quote me on that, but I think that’s the standard for “Justifiable Homicide,” I’m not a lawyer, so I don’t know for certain, but I don’t even think my dad could have got away with doing that.”
“Maybe your dad was more scared of them, then they were of him, Jeanie suggested?”
“Yea, I mean they may have been kids, but they were big kids, they were all as tall or taller than my dad, and he’s over six-foot, Mark explained.”
“Did they do any actual damage, Jeanie asked?”
“Not really, they might have trashed our yard a little by tearing out a few of my mom’s rosebuds, and we did find a broken window in the pool house, but I don’t think they tried to get into our actual home, otherwise the silent alarm would have gone off.”
“And your mom wasn’t home, Jeanie asked?”
“No, then then he would have shot them, you see my dads really hardened because of his job, Mark explained.
“What do you mean, Jeanie asked?”
“Well he works as a prosecutor, so like any other profession, he knows what’s wrong with it. He doesn’t believe that prison, or jail is a punishment anymore, there is no rehabilitation, he sees the same people going thru the system over and over again. He is a staunch supporter for the Death Penalty, in fact, he’s trying to petition the state to bring it back.”
“Isn’t that extreme, Jeanie asked?”
“For the average law-abiding citizens, Yes. But for most people who work within the system, No. You see, the criminal mentality is anytime you get paid for doing something, its work.
Maybe not a legitimate job, but work, so, stealing, robbing, pimping, drug dealing, and even killing are all legitimate professionals, even if their illegal.
That’s horrible, she said, on both accounts.
Ghetto violence is just a way of life, do you remember that Gangsta rap, bullshit from the nineties, Mark asked?”
“Yes, Jeanie nodded.”
“It did nothing but glorify killing, drinking 40’s and getting high, for damn near that entire decade. In fact, no legitimate artist from the hood, had any street credibility until they went to prison first. That’s how earned their “stripes,” whatever the hell that means.”
“Does your dad know who killed Tupac, Jeanie asked?”
I think he did, Mark joked.
“You’ll understand why I won’t be staying for dinner, she replied.”
“And my mom invited you too.”
“Uh-huh, she replied.”
“See, prison is like a finish school for thugs, not punishment, so the Death Penalty is the only real punishment, but there is no rehabilitation, not in prison or when they get out.
“I guess it would be frustrating to see the same people being prosecuted again and again, Jeanie considered.
“You want to hear something crazy, Mark asked?
“I don’t know, she replied.”
“One of the kids even left his undergarments in our pool, Mark said.”
“Ewwwww, Jeanie replied.”
“Yea, the idiot was naked the entire time he was in the pool and my father wouldn’t let him get dressed until the police came, and then the police wouldn’t let him get dressed until the police arrived and when they did they threw a blanket over him instead.”

“Sounds like a lot of drama, Jeanie shook her head.”
“But what are the odds, I mean of all houses it had to the one owned by the prosecuting attorneys, Mark shook his head.
“Why didn’t they just swim in the lake isn’t it right down the road, she asked.”
“I guess they preferred our pool, Mark answered.”
“Whatever happened to the undergarments, Jeanie asked?”
“I’m wearing them right now Mark said, you wanna see, he said pulling up his shorts so she could see his Joe-Boxers.”
“Ewwwww, Jeanie replied.”
“Well my mom wanted to mail them back to the owner, after she washed them of course, but it’s not like he wrote his name and address on the inside tag.”
“Jeannie laughed, and when she did, her entire face lit up. Her beauty was stunning. Mark was glad that he could make her laugh.”
“That’s was so nice of your mom to think of them, I mean considering the circumstances, Jeanie said.”
“Yea, but in the end, the under-garments were confiscated by the police, so they could be used as evidence to prosecute him.”
“I would have been horrified, if they had been my undergarments, Jeanie said.”
“You don’t like Joe-Boxers, Mark asked?”
“I would have denied they were mine, no matter what brand they were, she said.”
“What about the police catching you on the premises?”
“I never would never have taking them off in the first place, or swam in a pool that I wasn’t invited too.”
Wow, what a goody two-shoes, maybe you should be a lawyer, Mark complimented.”
“Ewwwww, Jeanie said.”
Mark laughed.
“I’m just glad your mom wasn’t there, Jeanie said.”
“Yea, me too, my dad would have shot them on the spot, , but my mom alone would have baked them all cookies, even if they had raped her, Mark joked inappropriately.”
“Mark that’s not funny, Jeanie said, and then she shivered, her nipples became erect from the cold breeze, and she crossed her arms for warmth, and then she sneezed.”
You have allergies, he asked.
Yea, there horrible this time of year.
“Here Mark took off his jacket and held it open for her.”
“Thank You, Mark, Jeanie said smiling, as she put her arms through the sleeves.”
Mark inspected her massive cleavage over her shoulders.
No, thank you Jeanie, Mark thought to himself.
Suddenly a large wasp appeared out of nowhere and it circled Jeanie twice but avoid Mark who was waving it away. Jeanie dropped down right in front of him and put her hands over her head, for protection.
She was kneeling in front of him and she looked like she was in position to give him oral, despite the fact that her head was no where near his sex, nor was that her intention. But her posture made Mark hard.
It was a little-known fact that flying insects are more attracted to redheads more so than any other hair color.
“Seems like you made a new friend, Mark said.”
Jeanie would not get up, she was terrified of bees and wasps.
Mark noticed her distress, are you allergic to bees, he asked?
“I don’t know Jeanie said fearfully, I’ve never been stung before.
Is it gone, she asked fearfully?”
The bee flew away and disappeared just as suddenly as it had appeared.
“Yes, he’s gone, Mark said, offering his hand to help her up.”
“Thank-You Sir, she said, accepting his hand.
“I’m just an old-fashioned guy who knows how to treat a woman, like a lady, Mark returned.”
“Well I’m a modern woman, who can still appreciate the manners of a gentleman, Jeanie replied.”
Jeanie primed and adjusted her long red hair, which cascaded over her shoulders and flowed down the back of Marks Levi jacket. Mark was reminded of that old song by the “The Police, “Every little thing she does is Magic,” that song was popular when his parents were teen-angers, but he still heard it on the radio every once and awhile. The lead singer Sting, could have written that song for Jeanie.
Mark was glad that Jeanie decided to wear his jean jacket that was too big for her everywhere except in her chest.
There might be other guys at the party store, it was a popular place, and Mark didn’t want them staring at her endowment or making rude comments. He could be very jealous and possessive, even know he had just met her, he already considered her his girl. Jeanie just didn’t know it yet.

Chapter 4: The Oasis

“Jeanie, I know this is going to sound weird but I need your help.”

“Oh don’t worry, I have money, she said.”

“No, Mark laughed, when we walk in the store, I have a friend who I’m trying to impress, would you pretend to be my girlfriend, Mark asked?”

“What, Jeanie replied?”

“The owner of the store, is a friend of mine, and I want to impress him, Mark begged.”

“Oh Mark, No, that would not be appropriate, I mean I just met you, and I don’t know anything about you, it could get really uncomfortable…”

“It’s just a joke, and if you play along, I’ll buy you a double scoop of vanilla ice-cream, he interrupted.”

“Jeanie wasn’t going to take his first offer, …with strawberry sprinkles, she countered?”

“Done, Mark settled, he offered his hand to shake, Jeanie reluctantly shook it.”

The Oasis, was a party store owned by Assad, a second generation, American citizen of Arabian descent. He inherited the store from his father, who bought it back in the seventies.

Assad was a short, balding, overweight, middle-aged man, who wore several thick gold chains, and a Hawaiian-styled shirt. Mark thought Assad resembled a modern-day version of a disco-dressing pimp. A real throwback from the 70’s, a look that only Assad could pull off.

The Oasis was a party store that primary sold liquor, but over the years Assad, had built it up to a first-class establishment. It was a commercial building in a residential neighborhood, and within a residential sub-division that, was legal at that time, so his store was grandfathered in.

Assad would not be granted a permit to rebuild his store at another location or even expand it expand it outside of his legal restrictions. But it could stay where it was, and the white community, who hated it there, could do nothing about it.

Assad had expanded it by adding additional freezers in the back, pizza ovens up front, remodeled the deli counter, put in flavored coffee machines, expanded the existing soda fountains to include Frozen Slurpee’s, and now the newest edition was hand dipped ice-cream. He finally qualified as an agent for State Treasury, so he sold lottery tickets as well.

But a party story in an upscale sub-division was considered as tacky as it was convenient, no-matter how first-rate. Some believed that a commercial building had no business in a predominately upper middle class white residential neighborhood, and neither did its Arab owner.

The white community that surrounded Assad were always overly polite to his face, and they all went to his store because it was very convenient, as opposed to the nearest super-market that was easily fifteen miles away.

But Assad was no fool, and he knew he would never be accepted as one of “them,” the white establishment, who bought his goods but made fun of him behind his back. He would always be just another undesirable with money.

Some regarded Assad no better than a low-life pimp, who could afford to golf at the most expensive resorts in the world, but every member would avoid him like the black-plague because his money was just as illegitimate as he was.

The other members of the subdivision would ask John, Mark’s father, if there was anything that could be done about the store. Legally the home-owner’s association, which John was a member of, could do nothing to overturn a federal law, but being a big shot attorney downtown who had political connections, still made him look bad.

So, the same people who went to Assad’s store, spent money, shook hands, and were all smiles to his face, but were the same ones who tried to change the zoning laws to have Assad ousted behind his back, which of course was impossible.

Mark’s father himself wouldn’t even go to his store and he didn’t like Mark hanging around Assad either with the exception, that Assad gave him a job during the summers. He liked the fact that his son was willing to work, and he thought a job would be a good experience for him.

But Michigan was not California, it might have been known as a blue state, but not for its liberal views. Despite the inner-city the state as a whole, still had a nonsense, work hard; play hard, working class mentality. Those who still had a job.

Arabic business owners who were exempt from paying taxes (unlike every other hard-working, natural-born citizen), since the Jimmy Carter Administration, and this secretly made them exempt to this day.

This was all done thru the Trilateral Commission though no one knows (to this day) who they are or why they can decide racial, economic policy for the United States. This exemption was supposed to be temporary in nature, and for seven years. But the owner could legally pass it that exemption on to a blood relative there after, which extended this loophole forever.

And that was the real reason, Dearborn, Michigan had acquired the second largest concentration of Arabs in the World, second only to the actual middle-eastern countries they were native too, like Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and even Pakistan, and Afghanistan, who were still secretly at War With.

Many cultures came to the United States, but not all of them owned their own businesses, and the Arabic population, was the most alien to America culture, and not the most friendly or hospitable by comparison. They were very guarded and suspicious. Not the ideal trait(s) when dealing with the Public. Yet despite all the racism, cultural differences, and language barriers, they thrived where every other failed. And nobody could connect the dots.

Assad had the second generational disposition, and he wanted to be liked, despite the fact that he would never be accepted. So he played the game. Assad was good at remembering names, and if it was your birthday he would give you a pack of cigarettes or a six-pack on the house. Servicemen always got discounts, and he even refused to take their money if they were in uniform. He helped the elderly by carrying the heavier groceries to their cars.

Assad had a real knack for making you like him when he wanted to.

As far as Assad was concerned, no matter what they thought of him behind his back, as long as bought his shit, that was the only thing that really mattered. Assad didn’t really care anymore for Mark’s father John, then John cared for him. But he loved Mark.

And Mark thought Assad was cool as ice, God only knows why but the two of them became the best of friends, despite their age, race, culture, and background differences.

For one thing, no-matter how old Mark was, Assad never treated him like a child, Assad always treated Mark as if he was actually more mature than his actual age.

For example, Assad would openly curse in front of Mark, when they would watch wrestling or the baseball game on TV, usually when he was losing money on a bet.

He started out only cursing in Arabic: Muqit al’um, but then as he got older, he would openly curse in English as well. Baseball could be complicated, so Assad would explain the finer points of the game, so Mark understood what was going on.

Assad even promised to take him to a game during the season’s opener at “Comerica Park,” if his dad let him. As Mark got older Assad would tell him dirty jokes, make fun of the obnoxious white customers, and even let Mark flip thru all the girlie magazines he sold on the rack. One time he even let Mark try one of his illegal Cuban cigars (yes illegal, Cuba had pissed off the current President again), so he placed another embargo on them, and they both smoked one together in the back.

But the absolute best was when Mark spotted Assad and four of his identical looking brothers-in-laws, drunk off their asses, celebrating a wedding, and loading four kegs of beer into the back of their expensive SUV’s.

They were also passing around a fifth of Jack Daniels, and talking gibberish behind the dumpster as Mark approached them from behind. Mark, who was riding his bike on his way home after a hockey game that had run very late, because the

 

He walked up behind Assad who had his back towards him, and surprised them all by standing next to Assad and wrapping his arm around him. Mark said something smart-ass, like, “I hope I got my arm around the right guy.”

Assad instantly translated what Mark had said into Arabic and everybody started laughing hysterically. Mark thought Assad had translated what he had said directly but Assad had giving his own interpretation and it was more like, “Oh yea, this is that crazy white mother-fucker I was telling you about earlier, and then he handed Mark the bottle and put his arm around him in return.”

Everyone was drunk off their ass, and Mark had to even help Assad keep his balance as everyone came up to kiss Mark on the cheek, which is how his family greeted each other in their culture.

The group then introduced themselves in Arabic, while Assad roughly translated what they said, Assad had made Mark feel like family. Mark even helped them load the two remaining kegs into each of their new SUV, and Assad invited Mark to come with them to the reception, Mark said he was coming home late from a game and he only stopped to check on the store because he thought someone might be breaking into the back. Besides he was probably in trouble as it was and if his dad caught him coming in any later, he’d get a beating.

“Fifteen minutes, Assad said.”

“I can’t, Mark replied.”

“I’ll let you drive, Assad shrugged.”

That was too good a deal to pass up. Driving a brand new SUV, at thirteen, was worth a beating.

Assad was so drunk that Mark was glad to be driving, so after he out his bike in the back he threw him the keys and they were off. Mark slowly followed the other two Mercedes SUV in front of him.

Assad was impressed at what a good driver Mark was and Mark told him that his parents had a cabin up-north and a jeep with four-wheel drive, and his dad let him drive in a large circle around their property.

Once they were at the hall where the reception was being held in, Mark followed Assad to his table then he was introduced to the bride and groom, which was a huge honor, and then they made their way to the buffet line. They ate together and Mark was even served wine, Assad was filling Mark in on the background of some of the more important people at the wedding.

After he ate, the band began to play and Mark had drunk enough to walk to the center of the floor, and dance with two extremely attractive Mediterranean girls who were both several years older than himself. They were already on the dance floor but that did stop him from getting in between the two of them.

Well before long, fifteen minutes turned into two hours and It was way past midnight, Assad and his crew where playing cards in the back, and Mark was sobered up enough to hug Assad from behind and told him he had to get home.

Assad looked at the clock and told him to stay and play poker with them, since he was already in trouble anyway. Assad said that he would even stake him, and handed Mark a fist full of hundred-dollar bills. Mark had never seen so much money on one table in his life.

But Mark refused, shaking his head, “Obviously you forgot about our gun trigger city prosecutor with a bad temper who would love to beat my underage ass for coming home drunk for embarrassing him publicly.

“Okay, just let me finish this hand and then I’ll drive you home, Assad said.”

Unlike Mark, Assad had never stopped drinking,

“Assad your drunker than I am, Mark said, you can’t drive, you shouldn’t even be walking.”

Assad nodded his head like, you know you might have something there, most times Mark acted more like an adult that he did, “The car’s open.”

Mark kissed Assad on the cheek and said, “Hey, thank these guy for me, you throw a great party.”

Assad laughed, waved him off and spoke Arabic, everybody at the table cheered and waved goodbye as he left.

Never had Mark felt so adult in his entire life, all thirteen years of it. After that, at least in Mark’s eyes, Assad could do no wrong.

Mark called his parents and told them what happened and that he was going to be late, and then he tried to sneak thru the back door unnoticed but his mom was waiting up.

He had used mouth wash multiple times earlier before he left, but if either parent smelled alcohol even on his clothes there would be hell to pay. His mom was at the table but she was talking on the phone, so Mark waved from a distance, and told her that he was going to put his clothes in the washer, to avoid her.

Are you hungry Mark she asked while she put her sister on hold?

No, I’m fine Mom thanks.

Are you sure?

Yea.

Okay, well pull out the knob.

Then he snuck past her and scurried upstairs almost tripping, as he stumbled his way to his bed. He didn’t wake up until almost noon the next morning.

It was no secret that Assad sold some of the best all-natural hand dipped ice-cream in the county. So, Jeanie’s instinct about ice-cream were spot-on.

“What up Assad, Mark said giving him the peace sign sideways like some flaky hipster.”

“Hey, what’s up Mark, Assad said, briefly looking up, from his newspaper, and then he did a double take when he saw Jeanie with him.”

Assad had never seen Mark come into his store with a girl before. No, this was a woman.

“Hey, who’s the princess, Assad asked, as he stood up and walked towards them.”

Then he eyed Jeanie up and down as if appraising a slave-girl before a purchase. It was no secret that Assad loved white girls, especially white women with big tits and big asses, not unlike black men. And Assad’s appraisal was not distracted by Mark’s friendship or Jeanie’s age.

“This is my girlfriend Jeanie, Mark said, and Jeanie this is Assad; coolest Arab this side of Mecca.”

“Hi, Assad, Jeanie said shyly, and when she raised her hand to wave, when she did, the sleeve of his Jacket which was too long, overlapped and dog-eared over the length of her hand.”

“Girlfriend, Assad, said doubtfully, I don’t believe it!”

But it’s true, Mark said, and then nudged Jeanie for validation,”

Jeanie, as if on cue, immediately hugged Mark dramatically, and even raised one leg off the floor, bending it at the knee.”

Assad laughed, “Whoa, whoa, when did all this happen, he asked?”

“Today, Mark said, Jeanie is a new student who just moved to our school she lives next door so I thought I would do the neighborly thing and show her around, Mark said.”

“And that’s makes her your girlfriend, Assad asked?”

“Hey In your country, we would have to get married by now, Mark countered.”

Assad, and Jeanie both laughed.

Assad looked at Jeanie with a straight face said, “Ms. if your being held against your will, just blink with one eye, and then Assad started blinking to show her how. He looked like a mad Arab, or a mad pirate.

Now Mark and Jeanie laughed.

“How can you not love this guy, Mark said facing her?”

“Well if this girl will have you, then you have my blessing, Assad conceded gracefully.”

Jeanie could feel her face turning red, and she tried to hide her embarrassment by whispering in Marks ear.When she finished Mark said, “We would like two double scoops of your finest vanilla ice-cream, my man.”

“Soft cone or Sugar, Assad asked?”

“Sugar, Mark said.”

As Assad was leaving Jeanie whispered in Mark’s ear again,

“Oh yea, and dip those in Strawberry Sprinkles please, Mark said as an after-thought.”

Assad gave him the okay sign as Mark got out his wallet.

After Assad handed him the cones; Mark handed Jeanie hers, and asked him how much?”

“On the house, Assad said graciously.”

“I don’t what to say, Mark replied.”

“Say Yes, Assad said.”

“And let me add a thank you as well, Mark replied.”

“Even better, Assad said.”

“Can we go in the back, Mark asked?”

“Yea, sure, and then Assad addressed Jeanie specifically, “Honey don’t let Mark, make himself too comfortable back there, and then he started blinking again.”

Mark and Jeanie both laughed and Jeanie promised Assad she wouldn’t.

Assad walked back to his stool, behind the register, where his newspaper and a.m. radio was broadcasting a news station in Arabic. It was low but discernible.

Mark took Jeanie by the hand and led her in the back where the tables were.

This section was the store was normally closed off, but he always let Mark and some of the other regulars sit there whenever they wanted. Assad removed most of the tables because he was running out of room due to the improvements.

Sitting down gave Mark and Jeanie a chance to relax.

“How long have you known Assad? Jeanie asked.”

“Well he was here before my parents moved here, so ever since I was old enough to walk to the store by myself, Mark said.

“He’s colorful, how did you two become friends, Jeanie asked.”

“When I first moved here, I didn’t know anybody so I would just hang around the store. I bought comic-books but I didn’t like the way Assad just crammed them in, so I started re-organizing them in the rack by popularity.”

“Popularity, she asked?”

“Who I liked the best, he said.”

“Plus, he had the Marvel and D.C mixed together and that was just crazy, I had to separate them because they live in two separate universes.”

“Two separate universes, Jeanie asked?”

“Comic book universes, Where only certain characters exist in one but not both. Spider-man live in Marvel Universe, and Batman lives in the D.C Universe.

Anyway, one-day Assad saw me separating them and I thought he was going to be mad, but when I explained what he was doing, he stopped me and said, “Hey kid, if you wanted a job here, all you had to do was ask.”

“Wow, Jeanie commented.”

Yea, so I started work for him on week-ends and after school. During the summertime he would have pizza for lunch and we would watch “Batman, the cartoon series together.

“Really, Jeanie sounded amazed.”

At the time he had a small color television behind the counter. The series came on every day, at the same time, we both loved Batman, so I guess that’s how we became friends, we had a lot of things in common.”

“A grown man watching cartoons, Jeanie asked?”

“Not just a cartoon, Batman.”

Jeanie rolled her eyes.

“One day a customer came in the store; went in the back of one of the coolers and took something out but decided they didn’t want it. But instead of putting it back, they set it down and left it in the isle.

About an hour later Assad was cleaning up, and singing happy as a lark when suddenly he saw that spoiled ice cream melting all over his freshly mopped floor and he lost it, even from the back of the store I could hear him cursing alternately in two languages.

“What did he say, Jeanie asked?”

“It wasn’t what he said but how he said it, He was like an Arabian “Yosemite Sam,”

Blah Blah Blah, I hate you, you dirty bastard.

I never laughed so hard in my life.

“So, one time after we had ice crème for desert, Assad had to go wait on a customer, but instead of finishing mine, I pretended that I forgot to throw it away, and left it out for him to find. Then I hid just out of sight behind the back door.”

“Why, Jeanie asked.”

“Because clean-ups and messes are Assad’s pet peeve, and I knew when he saw that melted ice cream all over the floor again, he was going to lose it. I just wanted to hear him do that voice again, and he did.

Mark imitated Assad: “Blah, blah, blah, white piece of shit, blah, blah, that motherfucker didn’t look retarded, blah blah, and that’s why I never had kids, Mark’s imitation of Assad was spot-on, and even Jeanie couldn’t help laughing.

“What’s his native language, Jeanie asked?”

“I don’t think anybody knows, half the time I think Assad just makes up his own words, Mark said.”

“After all this time, you don’t even know what country Assad is from, Jeanie asked?”

“I think where at war with them, Mark whispered, so it’s safer if we don’t know, and then he winked at her.

Jeanie laughed.

“Anyway, as I got older Assad started to curse more in English and less in Arabic, Mark continued”

“Your joking.”

“No, seriously,”

“Why?”

“I guess he wanted to become more “Americanized,” Mark said.

“I don’t think Assad was setting a very good example for you, Jeanie replied.”

“Whose talking about me, I was the one assimilating him, Mark said.”

“What do you mean assimilating, Jeanie asked?”

“Sometimes when Assad cursed in English he would mispronounce a curse-word, so I would help him pronounce it correctly.”

“You helped Assad curse, Jeanie asked unbelieving?”

“Well, I didn’t want Assad making a fool of himself, I mean he was going to curse anyway, so I felt he should at least pronounce it correctly, Mark explained.”

“I don’t know Mark, your relationship with Assad sounds slightly dysfunctional to me, Jeanie said.”

“Slightly, Mark repeated, you don’t know the half of it.”

“Well I was trying to be polite, Jeanie laughed.”

“I would prefer to think of our relationship as being more “cathartic,” Mark explained.”

“How so, Jeanie asked?”

Mark paused to think, suddenly he couldn’t come up with an answer.

“Maybe your right, Mark considered, Assad still mispronounces his curse words, and I never feel better correcting him afterwards.”

Then Mark stated laughing.

Jeanie just licked her ice-cream cone in a comical expression pretending to be preoccupied.

“Thank You for playing along with Assad by the way, Mark said.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean the way I introduced you as my girlfriend, Mark said.”

Mark didn’t want to say anything bad about Assad but sometimes he could come off as creepy, so he was actually trying to protect Jeanie from him.

“Well I hope I was convincing, Jeanie said.”

“Oh you were, and it was very natural, wouldn’t you agree, he asked her?”

Jeanie suddenly took another bite of her ice-cream and looked away embarrassed.

“Maybe I should have warned before I bought you that ice cream, that we have a dating statute in Michigan, when an couple have ice-cream on a date, they become an item.”

“Item, what you mean item? Like sharing strawberry sprinkles as an item on their ice cream?”

“No, it’s more like they become know as an item, and this would be considered our first date, Mark corrected.”

“Boyfriend and girlfriend, Jeanie looked confused, you never asked me out, so this is not a date!!!

“We agreed on a common place to meet, money was exchanged, you’re even wearing my jacket now, Mark smiled.”

“Well here you can have it back, she started to take it off.”

“It’s too late, the ice-creams be eaten, the deed is done.”

“Deed, what deed, I didn’t kiss you, and don’t you get any idea’s Jeanie warned him, if that’s what you’re getting at?”

“I’ll ask my dad for clarification, he’s an attorney you know.”

“Yea, a prosecutor with the city, Jeanie said.”

 

“You know him, Marked teased?”

“Only by reputation.”

“What state did you move from again, Mark asked?”

“Nebraska.”

“Wow, that’s the only state that shares Michigan’s reciprocity for this ice-cream-item thingy, Mark said.”

“What a happy coincidence Jeanie said in a flat voice.”

“Serendipity, he exclaimed!!!”

“Easy boy, I think you’re been hanging around your friend Assad, too long, Jeanie replied.”

“Mark laughed, have you been to the beach yet, he asked changing the subject?”

“No, not yet, Jeanie said.”

“Can you swim, Mark asked?”

“I’m okay until I can’t feel the sand on the bottom, when I know the water is over my head, I start to panic, Jeanie said.”

“That’s real common with girls, Mark replied.”

“Really, Jeanie asked?”

“Oh yea, my mom’s like that too, Mark said.”

“But you have a pool, she asked?”

“But she never goes in the deep end, Mark affirmed.”

“How deep is it, Jeanie asked?”

“I think nine feet, Mark answered.”

“Yikes, you won’t catch me down there, Jeanie said.”

“I know your scared of the water, but it’s only psychological. If you can swim in three feet of water, then you can swim in three hundred feet, or three thousand feet, it all in your head, Mark explained.”

“I know, I know, Jeanie agreed hurriedly, she didn’t want to argue about it, I just didn’t want you to think I was being silly, Jeanie sounded vulnerable.”

“Nothing silly about drowning, he said.”

“You’re a good swimmer, Jeanie asked?”

“I’m okay, but I don’t like heights, not even those diving boards that the Olympians use.

“I’m not scared of heights, she said.”

“Oh, no, any other fears?”

“No, Jeanie looked away to avoid his eyes.”

“C’mon, I know you hiding something, Mark said.”

“Wasps, and Bee’s, she said.”

“Oh yea, I forgot.”

Well I don’t like elevators either, I’ll walk if I can avoid them, how about you?

Elevators don’t bother me.

Nothing else?

“No… I mean, I’ll tell you, but I don’t want you to laugh at me, Jeanie replied.”

“I promise I won’t, Mark said.”

She still looked unconvinced.

“On my heart, Mark said crossing it.”

Flying monkey’s, she said.

Flying monkey’s from the Wizard of Oz, he asked?

Jeanie nodded.

But there not even real?

I know, but sometimes I have nightmares ever since I saw the movie on TV.

So does my mom, he said.

Mark, your teasing me Jeanie looked upset.

No, my mom told me once that she was afraid that they would try to steal her out of her bed at night while she was sleeping.

Jeanie put her hand to her mouth, she eyes wide, and she looked like she was about to cry.

“How much do you weigh?”

“What?”

Now he was teasing her. And then he smiled.

“Never you mind, she shot back quickly, she was going to take another lick of her cone but after his joke about her weight, decided against it.”

“Speaking of your mom she said a half hour, we’d better go, she reminded him.”

The air-condition was on but it was still hot, and despite being a fast eater, Mark’s cone began to melt and it dripped on the table, Jeanie I’m going to grab a cloth real quick and wipe the table.

“Do you want me to help, Jeanie asked?”

“No, I’ll be right back, Mark replied.”

“Mark went in the back, and found two hand towels hanging over the sink. He grabbed one of them but stopped at the swinging doors. He remembered Assad had a slot for a two-way mirror that he installed to spy on people he suspected of shoplifting, mainly high-school students.

Today he had security cameras, but he never removed the two-way mirrors. Mark moved some of the cardboard boxes that were stacked on top of each other. They were blocking the tinted glass on one side, and mirrored on the other. Now, he could study Jeanie without her knowing.

He read that you could learn more about a woman by observing her unnoticed for 60 seconds, than you could otherwise over three years.

Jeanie had given up trying to clean the mess with the napkins and now she was waiting patiently. She looked behind her to see if anyone else was coming. Mark took her in, he couldn’t believe how beautiful Jeanie was.

Suddenly Jeanie turned from the neon window, and looked at Mark from behind the two-way mirrors that Mark was watching her from, he almost jumped out of his skin when her she, it caught him completely off guard.

Then Jeanie smiled, before she looked away again.

She knew that he was watching her.

No, that was impossible. How could she have known about the two-way mirrors?

But why would she have looked directly at him otherwise?

Had she been able to see Mark thru the glass?

No, that was Impossible, and yet Mark still had that same unsettling feeling, that somehow she knew!!!

After Mark restocked the boxes he came out with the towel, and looked at the small mirrored window behind him as he walked past to make sure that he could not see anything behind it.

Jeanie turned from Assad’s Neon store window as if she had been day-dreaming thru it the entire time.

“What took you so long, she asked?”

“I had to find these, he said holding up the towels.

After Mark cleaned up the mess, he went back to throw the towel in the sink, and washed his hands.

Mark noticed a stack of empty transparent cups in a box nearby on top of a stack of other supplies, and then he looked for the matching lids. Suddenly he had an idea. When he came out a second time, Jeanie reminded him of the time again.

“Mark it’s getting late, we have to go, Jeanie said.”

“I know, Mark said, looking at the digital clock, on the wall, and then he offered Jeanie his hand to escort her out.”

Before they left the store, they both waved and said their goodbyes to Assad. He was busy with customers, but he stopped long enough to wave back.

“Okay, thank you for coming in, I want to see you two again and real soon.”

Assad commented to the customer he was waiting on that he had never seen a more handsome couple.

Chapter 5: Long Way Home

Mark held on to Jeanie’s hand almost the entire way back to his house, he loved the way she felt and if she would have let him, he would never have let her go.

“Did the ice cream spoil your appetite, Jeanie asked?”

“No, hey, Jeanie, my mom really did invite you for dinner, why don’t you stay, he asked.”

“I can’t, Jeanie replied.”

“Look, I’m sorry about make asking you how much you weigh, please, I was only joking?”

“It’s my parents Mark, she said.”

“What’s the big deal?”

“They are, their strict, old-fashioned, that’s all.”

Mark paused, “Jeanie, I want to go back to something you mentioned earlier, I never really thought about it before, but maybe having a pool when we live so close to the beach is a little flashy, I wonder how many other people in the neighborhood have swimming pools, Mark said.”

“We don’t, Jeanie answered.”

“Maybe I mentioned it because I was trying to impress you, Mark winked at her.”

“The best way to impress me is just to be yourself, Jeanie said.”

“No, believe me that wouldn’t impress you, Mark replied.”

“You’re doing okay so far, Jeanie said.”

“Really, Mark asked?”

“You’re just a little cocky, Jeanie replied.”

“Maybe I just need the right girl to help straighten me out, Mark hinted.”

“Any prospects yet, Jeanie teased?”

“Well, there’s is this new girl at school, and she is drop-dead gorgeous, maybe the best-looking girl I’ve ever seen, I even got her phone number, Mark boasted.”

“How did you pull that off, Jeanie asked?”

Mark started laughing. He was having such a good time with Jeanie, and it was so effortless, even he was amazed.”

“Well, I could tell that she was upset when the home room teacher made her stand up in front of the entire class to introduce herself, so I hung back a little to check and make sure she was okay.”

“That was very observant of you, Jeanie said, and kind.”

“Well, sometimes I can see what other people miss, Mark said.”

“Only a person with a very high level of sensitivity could understand that, Jeanie complemented.”

Mark shrugged, he was trying to be casual.

“So, what are you going to do next, Jeanie asked?”

“I’m supposed to call her this Saturday around noonish, but maybe I’ll play it cool, and call her around one instead, that way she won’t think I’m too eager, Mark smiled.

“No-no, don’t ever play with a women’s heart, play it safe, not cool, or otherwise she might think you’re a jerk, and be tempted to go out with another guy who asked her out instead.”

“What other guy, Mark asked?”

“Another guy from another class, Jeanie replied.”

Mark figured she was just bluffing, but she was damn good at it.

“Hey, I just thought of something, we have a test on next Monday, so why don’t we study together.”

Oh, Mark I don’t know…

“I’m only talking about studying together Jeanie not running you off to Vegas.”

“I know but if I came home with some guy after the first day of school, they would lose it, Jeanie said.”

“I just thought it might be easier for you to pass the test studying with a partner instead of by yourself, especially with you having to take it on Monday with the rest of us.”

“Mark, I don’t want you to think it’s you, because it’s not, and my family life is something that’s very hard for me to talk about, Jeanie looked like maybe she was ready to cry.”

“No, no, I get it, I am no stranger to weird parents, remember my dad with the gun, but now that I think about it, Ms. Payne was acting a little strange herself, Mark said.”

“What do you mean, Jeanie asked.”

“Do you remember earlier in class today when Ms. Payne asked me if I was paying attention, when she knew I wasn’t?”

“Yes, I remember Jeanie answered.”

“Usually when I bluff myself out of a bad situation, Ms. Payne lets me off the hook, but today for some reason, she was really giving me a hard time, it was almost as if she wanted to embarrass me on purpose, Mark said.”

“Why, Jeanie asked?”

“Maybe, you, Mark said.”

“Me, why me, Jeanie asked?”

“Maybe she sensed that I liked you, and that I wanted to talk to you after class, maybe even ask you out,it was like she wanted to ruin my opportunity with you… by making me look bad before I had a chance to ask you out?”

“Why would she care, she’s a teacher, Jeanie asked?”

“I don’t know, maybe because she’s a red-head like you, jealous of the new girl, for all I know she might have a crush on me, Mark said.

“A crush on you? Mark, she’s like forty years old, Jeanie replied.”

“Students develop crushes on teachers, maybe teachers develop crushes on students too.”

“That’s really grasping Mark, it seemed to me like she was just trying to get control of her classroom, not being a bitch, but you know us red-heads, Jeanie said, making a crazy face.”

“I’m sorry Jeanie, I didn’t mean anything by that, you don’t know her, she was really out of character today, even for being a redhead, I mean I know all redheads are a little feisty, or fickle…. and Ms. Payne is certainly that, but she was flaking out even more than usual.

“Maybe Redheads aren’t for you then, Jeanie replied.

“No, I can handle redheads, he said looking at Jeanie, it was just strange how she tried to put me on the spot a second time. That was really out of character, even for her.

Which time, Jeanie asked?

“I just came up with that whole linking-pictures-with-names thing on the spot; she never told us that, but she got confused trying to remember if she had, and that’s when I made the crack about her shoes, because even then, I could sense that she wasn’t going to let it go, he said.”

“So, you think she thought you were going to ask me out, the new girl who you didn’t even know, and was trying to sabotage your attempt by embarrassing you in front of me before you even had a chance, for absolutely no reason Jeanie asked?”

Exactly.

Jeanie laughed.

“You don’t understand because you don’t know Ms. Payne, even after I gave her the right answer about Lincoln, while not paying attention she still insisted on putting me on the spot, she has never, never done that to me in my life. And that’s why it stood out. Because it was so out of character, even for her.”

And I was the cause?

You were the only variable, he said.

Variable?

I have pulled a lot of shit but I always knew where the line was drawn, one time she called me to her desk after class, and told me she was moving me away from my two friends Carlos and Kevin.

Why?

Because, she said that I have real potential, and that they were holding me back, I was getting distracted from my studies because of them, and getting into trouble, and that I had a chance to shine but needed the opportunity it.

I told her that I didn’t understand what she was talking about, so she said the next time

I got in trouble because of them, she would show me.

And that’s when she moved to the other side of the room, this is our third year together.”

“Maybe she was planning to give the test on Monday, and your timing was just a coincidence, Jeanie shrugged.”

“Okay fine, but no teacher, not even Ms. Payne, would make a new student study for a test the same week she just moved here, Mark said.”

“If she really so jealous why didn’t she stay behind, instead of going to the teacher’s lounge?”

“I told you, she likes to drink, Mark said, and secretly she even does it between classes, that’s why.”

Jeanie shook her head, “I think you’re just making too much out of nothing, Jeanie said.”

“Like I said before, sometimes I can see things that other people miss.”

Mark got so involved in the conversation that he didn’t realize they were almost back at his house.

“Okay Mark, thank you for the ice cream, but we better say goodbye here, Jeanie looked panicked, I don’t mean to be rude but…

“I don’t understand, I can’t even walk you to your house, Mark interrupted?”

“Right, like I said, my parents are weird and I don’t want them embarrassing me, so I don’t want them to see me with a strange boy my first day after school, Jeanie said.”

“Strange, Mark repeated, pretending to be offended, whose strange?”

“I’m sorry, I meant unknown, as in strange to them, Jeanie corrected.”

“Look Jeanie, I won’t try to kiss you okay, Mark said?”

“Kiss me, Jeanie asked, what are you talking about?”

“The real reason you don’t want me to walk you home is because you’re afraid I’ll try to kiss you, and your too embarrassed to admit that you don’t know how to kiss, because you never kissed a guy before, Mark said.”

“What, Jeanie asked?”

Had this fool lost his mind?

Mark had not forgotten about her comment, the threat of another guy asking her out, but he was trying to throw her off-balance as an opportunity to try to give him a chance to change her mind about walking her home.

“You never kissed a guy before, you don’t know how, and that’s what you’re really embarrassed about, Mark said, and then he made fish lips, and puckering sounds.

When Jeanie saw his fish lips, he was both cute and hilarious, but she pretended to be disgusted.”

“Ewwwww, Jeanie said, No, that’s not why; I have so kissed before, my fist kiss was in fourth grade, and I had a boyfriend was in the sixth, and he was a very good teacher.”

“Prove it, Mark said, wiping his mouth and moving in.”

“No, I’m not going to kiss some creepy boy I just met. Especially one with “fish-lips,” Jeanie said, making a face like she was going to gag.”

“Fish-lips are the ones who need to be kissed the most, Mark said, and then he puckered again.”

“Sorry Charlie, Jeanie replied, but if my parents saw me kissing you today, after my first day at this school, they would have me enrolled back in my old one tomorrow.

“Back in Oklahoma, Mark said?”

“No, Nebraska, Jeanie corrected.”

“What’s the difference, Mark said.”

“Nothing as far as your concerned because you’re not getting me moved back to either, Jeanie replied.”

“How about if I just walk you to your driveway, but stay out of sight, Mark asked?”

“No, Jeanie said taking off his jacket and handing it to him.”

“Just so I know you got home safe, otherwise I won’t be able to sleep later, Mark said, and tonight’s a school night.”

“You’ll be fine, Jeanie replied,”

“But I bought you an ice-cream, Mark said.”

“So what? Jeanie said, crossing her arms defensively, suddenly feeling guilty.”

“Don’t you remember the statute, Mark asked?”

“What statute, Jeanie replied?”

“The Common Law Ice-Cream Statute,” Mark said.”

“Are you going to start with that bullshit again, Jeanie asked?”

“Kiss your mother with that mouth, Mark asked?”

Jeanie put her hand to her mouth as if embarrassed, “I’m sorry, it’s just that you’re getting me all whipped up with that bogus ice cream talk.”

“With sprinkles, Mark said.

“Whatever, Jeanie replied exacerbated.”

“You’re not going to break the law, are you, Mark asked?”

“I don’t know what “law” you’re talking about, but whatever it is, I sure it’s just as invalid in this state, as in the previous state I lived in, Jeanie said starting to get flustered.”

Oklahoma?

No, Nebraska, dummy.

“Well until you know or certain, I demand you honor my eminent domain, Mark said walking past her to her house.”

“Eminent Domain, what the hell are you talking about now, Jeanie said running after him confused?”

“Mark didn’t bother to answer her this time, he just started walking in the direction of her house, even thou he didn’t exactly know where she lived.”

“Mark, please don’t do this, Jeanie begged.”

The tone of her pleading was unintentionally sexy.

“I can’t let you walk thru this sub-division alone, didn’t I tell you before how dangerous it’s become, and how they wanted to make it a gated community, Mark said?”

And I told you I don’t have a swimming pool.

“Believe me, I’m a lot safer without you than I am with you, Jeanie replied”

“All you girls use the same lines, Mark said.”

“What other girls, Jeanie asked curiously?”

“Remember the jacket, he said, I’m old-fashioned, we shared an ice cream, I shared my jacket, and now I feel responsible for you, he insisted.”

“Well don’t, Jeanie snapped.”

“Just to your drive way, Mark said casually.”

“I said No, Mark.”

Mark stopped walking and dropped to his knees, then he begged her right there in the street, Jeanie could not believe how childish he was acting. He would stop at nothing to get his own way, even if it meant humiliating himself in front of the entire subdivision.

He was adorable!!!

She had only seen this in the movies, She was so impressed and embarrassed at his attempt to win her over that she fell for him right there on the spot. It was so romantic, she couldn’t find the words.

“Get up you damn fool, your embarrassing the shit out of me, Jeanie screamed down at him, stamping her feet.”

“I don’t care, let me walk you home, or I’ll stay here all day if I have to, Mark insisted still on his knees.”

“Yes, you can, now please get up, she repeated over and over until he did.” He dusted off his jeans at the knees.

“Just to my drive-way, and no tricks, I want you to promise me Mark Winters, she said pointer her finger at him.

“Yea, yea, whatever, Mark said, blowing her off, and taking her hand, Jeanie was infuriated how he just blew her off.

Stop walking so fast, “Now she even sounded like his girlfriend, or his mother.”

After they walked another block, or two, and then Jeanie stopped short of their driveway and tried to get him to leave before they were even in view of her house, but Mark wasn’t having it.

“Hold-On their Cherry Bomb, the agreement was the drive-way, he reminded her.”

“Don’t you call me Cherry Bomb, she exploded, trying desperately trying not laugh by being angry.”

Mark encroached as much as he could, but Jeanie stopped him short of her driveway, she ran in front of him to prevent him from even walking on the concrete.

Her house was smaller than Mark’s but just as nice.

“Okay, Mark thank you, you can go now, and Jeanie put out her hand out, so he could shake it goodbye.”

Mark stared at her hand like he was unfamiliar with the custom.

What’s this, he asked?

This is Goodbye, she responded?

He shook her hand.

“Thank You for walking me home, that was really nice or you, and I’ll see you at school tomorrow, Jeanie said, checking for her parents, and waving him off, so he would take the hint and leave.”

Then Mark immediately dropped his smile and stared at her chin.

“What are you looking at, Jeanie asked?”

“Don’t move Jeanie, Mark whispered.”

“Why, Jeanie whispered back.”

“Did you say you were allergic to Wasp’s, Mark asked?”

“I don’t know, Jeanie said frightened.”

“Shhh, don’t talk, just close you’re your eyes, Mark said.”

“Why?”

“I think our friends back.”

To be continued…

This is the end of Part One

If you don’t want  to wait you can buy the entire book here:

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