Chapter 5: Long Way Home

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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.”

“What are you going to do, Jeanie whispered.”

Mark took out the plastic cup that he took from the Oasis, he had it hidden in the front pocket of his hooded pullover, and not the jacket so Jeanie wouldn’t know. It was filled with sprinkles, he was going to surprise Jeanie at the driveway, but now he wanted to bait the wasp instead.

“I brought a plastic cup with me from the store and filled with sprinkles so that you could have some with the ice-cream in your freezer. But now I’m going to use the candy to bait the wasp with instead, he said.”

“No, Mark please don’t Jeanie said with her eyes closed, but tears were already starting to fall from them.”

I can catch him in the cup, all you have to do is stand still, okay, he whispered?

Okay, she started crying.

While Jeanie was standing like she was frozen, he moved close, very close, he opened the lid and put it right next to her mouth.

Then Mark grabbed her by the waist, pulled her into his arms, and kissed her on the lips, shoving his hips into his. He could feel her large soft breasts smother against his chest, even thru the front of his jacket, her nipples instantly become erect. When Jeanie tried to squeal in fear and protest, Mark shoved his tongue into her mouth, to silence her, and made quick strokes that tickled the roof of her mouth.

He wouldn’t release her from his embrace even as she struggled to get away, or even let her pull away from him. After several difficult moments she finally stopped struggling, he relaxed his hold but still held onto her just tightly enough to let her know that she wasn’t going anywhere.

Once she accepted that she was his, she stopped fighting and become weak in her posture until her knees buckled, and only then did he release his grip on her slightly, so that she would be more comfortable.

Jeanie went limp from his passion, it’s like he was draining all the strength from her, until he actually had to hold her up to help her stand. No one had ever kissed her with as much passion or intensity as Mark had, and for the moment she was spellbound.

He had activated the ritual. The Covalent Bond.

Then Mark gentle released his hold on her to gauge her reaction. Jeanie had a mesmerized look in her eyes, like she was just waking from a trance, or going into one, her nipples were rock hard and her panties soaking wet.

Jeanie gazed at Mark submissively, signaling him with her eyes that she was ready to be taken in the afterglow. Bedroom eyes.

There had never been a second wasp. She had never been in danger from that. But in the heat of the passion he had been forgotten about as Jeanie sensed there was no immediate danger from it. Now her face and body were flushed with passion, as if her body condoned what Mark was doing, even if her head did not.

Mark was erected and he wanted to take Jeanie right there, and he made sure to make Jeanie know it.”

“That’s what I was daydreaming about in class, and in my bed, Mark said, as he slowly pulled away.”

“But what about the wasp, Jeanie said in a dreamy voice, wide-eyed, and in a little girl voice?”

“He left an hour ago, Mark said, and then he smiled.”

“What, she asked blinking, and confused, coming back to her senses?”

“My first kiss was in fourth grade too, Mark answered.”

Suddenly Jeanie realized she had been had, he had made a fool of her, just like Ms. Payne, the Home Room Teacher from earlier, and in an instant her entire sleepy, sexual submission/arousal turned into a heated anger, not just because he tricked her, but because he had also broke his promise by lying.

In fact Jeanie was more than just angry, she broke free from his grasp and she had a rage in her eyes that changed them from an emerald-green to a hue of golden-yellow. Mark jumped back in fear. He had never seen that before.

“Mark Winters, did you just kiss me in front of my parents’ house and in front of the entire neighborhood, after I specifically asked you not to, Jeanie demanded?”

“Yes, I did but, but, but…?”

“But, you tricked me, lied to me, scared me to death, humiliated me, and made a fool of me publically Jeanie said angrily”

“Well, I think you might be overexerting the obvious, when you say it like that…”

“How else would you like me to say it, after you proved yourself, to be a lying, untrustworthy, deceiving, miserable creep, who took advantage of me my first day of school, when you knew I was vulnerable, Jeanie demanded?”

“I didn’t want you to feel awkward during your first kiss, Mark tried to joke, he was stunned.”

“That wasn’t my first kiss, Jeanie screamed angrily?”

Now, Mark froze.

“Well, I thought it was, and if I gave you a kiss by surprise, and made it completely unexpected, you wouldn’t have time to feel awkward or embarrassed.And I was right.

You’re a cad.

What’s a cad?

“Fish lips, she called him.”

And you were the best I ever had baby, Mark said ignoring her insult.

“Don’t call me your baby, Jeanie said in a lowered, but equally intense voice.”

“It’s your fault anyway, Mark said.”

“My fault, Jeanie looked startled, How is it my fault, Jeanie said put her hands on her hips, and in a very sexy, confused, vulnerable, yet defiant posture, awaiting an explanation.”

“It’s your fault for having those thick, pouty, kissable lips, Mark said, shrugging his shoulders.”

Jeanie was bewildered.

“Do you have any idea what you did, Jeanie asked???

“Kissed you on the lips, Mark said innocently?”

Jeanie shook her head in frustration, “No you have no idea.”

“You really didn’t like the way I kissed you, he asked staring at her chest, her nipples were still erected, and clearly visible underneath her shirt.

She didn’t answer, he didn’t understand, he wasn’t one of them.

Your right…. its not your fault, this is my fault.

I checked the window before I kissed you, if anyone was inside they didn’t see us and I don’t see any cars in the driveway…”

“It is my fault because I trust you when I knew better, Jeanie said, wiping her tears.”

“I didn’t mean any harm, Mark said honestly, he was starting to feel bad, maybe he had gone too far.”

Jeanie looked scared to death, “Maybe not, but you didn’t respect my wishes.”

“It was just a kiss, Jeanie Grants, he said.”

“Jeanie Winters, she responded.”

“What, Mark asked confused?”

“In school, you mispronounced my name on purpose and called me “Jeanie Winters, she said.”

“You remembered that, Mark asked?”

“Of course, I remembered… but why?”

“The same reason you came to my house tonight, Mark replied.”

The two of them stared at each other, and to an onlooker it seemed like they were trying to communicate a message with each other telepathically, a message of thought or emotion, something that could only be transferred mentally, because to express it verbally, would be impossible.

“Mark, no matter what you believe, I was not joking about my parents, if this gets back to them, even thru a neighbor, I’ll be grounded for the next two months, and you will never be allowed to come over to my house. And I just met you, Jeanie said unbelieving.”

Mark just stood there and for the first time, maybe in his life, he was at a loss for words.

“Are you trying to ruin my life on purpose, a girl who did nothing but try to show you a little kindness, Jeanie asked seriously?”

“No, why would I do that, we have a date on Saturday, Mark said with a straight face.”

“Oh no, we don’t, Mr. Winters, I’m not going anywhere with you, not to the mall, not to the store, not to your Pool, not to the beach, not at our school, Jeanie pointed to each location as she mentioned them, one at a time, respectively.

I telling Ms. Payne that I want to have my seat moved, I don’t want to sit next to you, hear your smart-ass comments, or see that goofy, smirky look on your face, not tomorrow, Wednesday, on Saturday, Sunday or any other day of the week. Do you understand me?

Mark tried not to smile. He just stood there with his eyes partially closed, taking the brunt of her verbal assault, like he was weathering a storm, and he waited patiently until she was finished, and then he offered her the sprinkles her the cup of sprinkles that he had in his hand the whole time, as a peace-offering. The sprinkles were still in the plastic cup with the lid fastened on it.

“Sprinkles, I’ll show you sprinkles… fish lips, as then she grabbed the cup from his hands ripped off the lid and threw them in his face. Jeanie never ate strawberry sprinkles on her ice cream again after that day.

Then she dropped the cup, and put both hands to her mouth to cover it, she was shocked at her own behavior. He had her shaking.

Mark just stood there

“Well, well, I didn’t want to believe the stereotypes about Ginger’s and their fiery tempers, Mark said spitting out a few sprinkles from his mouth while others were still  stuck to his face, but I guess its true.

You remind me of a home room teacher I have, she has a bad temper too…”

“Oh, no child, you haven’t seen my temper, Jeanie warned, stepping towards him but unlike Mark she was not joking.”

“Well it’s a good thing I can handle red-heads then, he said with a cocky tone and ready to kiss her again.”

He had Made some real progress today.

Jeanie softly brushed the reaming sprinkles from his cheeks.

“A real bitch, he smiled.”

“I knew that you were a lying miserable, creep the first time I laid my eyes on you, Mark Winters, but I didn’t want to believe it. I wanted to give you the chance, the chance to prove me wrong. To show me you were different.

Better.

Special.

Worthy.

But I was such a fool, I should have never given you my number.”

“You got off light with me just kissing you, I was also going to grab that luscious ass of yours, Mark said dismissively.”

He thinks my ass is luscious!!!

Your disgusting, she spat glaring at him and daring him to open his smart mouth again.

Our first fight, he teased her, How romantic.

And our last she returned, throwing her cup down that she was still holding, and double-timed it up her driveway, hoping that she made it to the door, before she started crying again.

“I’ll call you at one, Mark said as she left, on Saturday he reminded her, not worried about her being angry anymore.”

He knew that she would be waiting by the phone.

Jeanie knew it too.

Then he stooped to pick up the plastic cup and lid, and even a few clumps of the larger sprinkles, he did not want to leave a bad impression.

“So you wait by that phone until I do, he said.”

“I won’t be home, Jeanie yelled back; and then lifted her head towards the heavens and screamed.”

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