Chapter Two: Proximity is Everything
If you have not read the first chapter yet, you can do so here:

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Please read the first chapter first, so you know what the fuck is going on.

Thank You.

Chapter 2: Proximity is Everything

 

After school Mark was up in his room lying on his bed. He was throwing a rubber ball against the wall, catching it with one 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 he knew that would make him look desperate, so he continuously talked himself out of it.

Mark would periodically keep checking thou, to make sure her signature and number were still on his notebook, and not some 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 in a shoe box on top of his closet shelf.

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. He studied her signature, light, soft, and feminine.

He was still trying to reformulate the images he saw about Jeanie earlier in class, and he desperately wanted to know if any of it was true?

Was Jeanie a witch.

And that’s when he heard 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 said.”

“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 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 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 turned 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.

“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, Mark began…”

His mother coughed again.

“I mean daydreaming like in class… Mom this is Jeanie, he said turning to his mother, and she is a new girl-friend from my homeroom class, he made sure to pause between the word girl and friend, so it sounded like two separate words,” but she still stammered.

Nobody could be cool in front of their mother, not even Mark.

“Yes, I met Jeannie, his mom said, 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, Am I still, he asked her?

Jeanie laughed, “You mean like in class?”

“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.”

“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.”

“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 by myself 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.

“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.”

Mark grabbed his denim jacket 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.

As we were walking Mark started telling Jeannie about the history of their subdivision,  school, some of the major events that happened just recently in town.

“They want to make this sub-division a gated community, Mark told her?

“Why, Jeanie asked?”

“Because of my father, of all people, if you can believe that. Last year he came home early from work, and discovered four or five inner city kids had broken into our yard and were 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 said 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, when he came home early from work one day, and he ran 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 off 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 right-up in the paper, he made the front page of our local rag. And the city even gave him a metal plaque it hangs above the fireplace in our drawing room. Don’t worry he’ll show it to you to.

“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 happened.”

“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 don’t know, I think they thought he would have, Mark replied.”

“Can he have done that, I mean with them being minors and all?”

“Well, you can’t “legally” shoot someone in the back, even if they were armed which they weren’t because their back is to you, not their front 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, but I don’t think my dad could have even 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 for the justice system, 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 in the inner-city -No. You see, the inner-city mentality is anytime you get paid for doing something, its work. Maybe not a legitimate job, but you’re still getting paid, so so, stealing, robbing, pimping, selling drugs, 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.”

“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.”  

“My mom invited you too.”

“Uh-huh, she replied.”

“I guess it would be frustrating to see the same people being prosecuted again and again, the media use phrases like “Parole Violations,” but to the insiders, that just means they are out there committing more crimes until they get arrested again. My father said they might as well put revolving doors in the jails and prisons the way the convicted are in and out of the system. I just a game to them. A way of life.”

“I could never do his job, Jeanie agreed.”

“Every new prison that’s built is only because of the over-crowding conditions and immediately filled the same day. Society cannot afford to house, cloth and feed people who are locked up for pretty much their entire life, only to be released after they are too old to be a danger to society anymore.”

Jeanie signed.

“You want to hear something crazy, Mark asked?”

“I don’t know, Jeanie 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 while they arrested him, they threw a blanket over him instead.”

“Sounds like a lot of drama, Jeanie remarked.”

“Oh yea, but what are the odds, I mean of all houses it had to be ours, 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, 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 underwear, 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 have taking them off, or swam in just in just my underwear for that matter.”

“And your explanation for being there in the first place.”

“I would tell them I’m a sleep-walker, somnambulist, a medical condition, and that I could not be held accountable for my actions, she said.”

“Your good, maybe you should be a lawyer, Mark complimented.”

“Ewwwww, Jeanie said.”

“Somnambulist, Mark laughed, what is that… Latin?”

“I just glad your mom wasn’t there, Jeanie said.”

“My dad would have shot them on sight, but if my mom was home alone she would have baked them all their favorite cookies, even after they 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 a position in front of him and level with his waist, so she looked like she was in position to give him oral sex despite the fact that her head was no where near his sex, nor that her intention. 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 froze like a statue, 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 he gone yet, she asked fearfully?”

The bee flew away and disappeared just like it had suddenly 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, but can still appreciate the manners of a gentleman,

Jeanie replied.”

Jeanie primped 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 song by the old song by the Police, “Every little thing she does is Magic,” that was popular when his parents were teen-angers. The lead singer 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. She just didn’t know it yet.

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

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

“No, 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, please, I would but I just met you, and I don’t know anything about you, it could get really uncomfortable…”

“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, 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 remain where it was, and the white community 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 then the newest edition was hand dipped ice-cream. He finally qualified as an agent for Michigan Lottery Ticket Sales.

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 white residential neighborhood, and neither did an Arab, like Assad.

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. 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. Just another undesirable with money.

Some regarded him 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, the attorney, 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, spend money, shook hands, and were all smiles to his face, 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 wouldn’t even go to his store and he didn’t want Mark hanging around him, either, except 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, labor class mentality.

Arabic business owners who were exempt from paying taxes (unlike every other hard-working, natural born citizen), since the Jimmy Carter Administration, secretly made them exempt (thou denied), from paying business taxes for seven years. But worse than that, after seven years he could legally pass it on, to a blood relative 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.

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 the least friendly and hospitable. 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 other failed. And nobody could connect the dots.

But Assad had the second generational disposition, and he wanted to be like 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.

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

For example, Assad would openly curse in front of Mark, and they would watch wrestling or the baseball game on TV, and Assad would even explain the finer points of the game, so Mark would know what was going on. Assad even promised to take him to a game during the season’s opener at America Park, if his dad would let him. He never did.

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 teh current President), and they both smoked 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 their expensive S UV’s.

They were also passing around a fifth of Jack Daniels, and talking gibberish behind the dumpster as Mark approached his store. Mark, who was riding his bike on his way home after a softball game that ran very late, because the other teams bus broke down, surprised them all by suddenly popping out from the other side.

When who saw him froze, except Assad who had his back to him, did not see Mark coming up from behind him. As Assad turned around to see who it was, Mark looked at Assad and then his identical relatives and with a confused look asked the group, “Assad where did you go?”

Assad instantly translated what Mark had said into Arabic and everybody started laughing hysterically. Mark thought Assad had translated what he had said directly into Arabic, but

Assad had giving his own interpretation and it was more like, “Oh yea, and 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.”

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 family greeted each other in their culture. The group and introduced themselves in Arabic, while Assad roughly translated what for them. Assad had made Mark feel like family. 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 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 to pass up. Driving a brand new SUV, at thirteen, that was worth a beating.

Assad was drunk off his ass, Mark had to drive for him, besides he loved that SUV, and when Assad threw him the keys. He put his bike in the back of Assad’s SUV, and jumped in the driver’s seat, and once inside he 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, his dad let him drive in a 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 back road 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 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, and 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 responsible 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.

When Mark got home that night he snuck upstairs by climbing up to his second story bedroom from the outside without waking his parents, which was a miracle considering he even stumbled on 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 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.”

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 woman, especially white girls 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; Jeanie this is Assad; coolest Arab this side of Mecca.”

“Hi, Assad, Jeanie said shyly, and when she raised her hand to wave, the sleeve which was too long flapped and dogeared.”

“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 slightly 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 into our school just last week, 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 been married by now, Mark countered.”

Now Assad, and Jeanie both laughed.

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

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 looking away. Assad noticed that when she was embarrassed her face turned red and the hidden freckles displayed like cinnamon specs on her flawless white skin.

Speckled.

“We would like two double scoops of finest vanilla ice-cream, Mark said.”

“Soft cone or Sugar, Assad asked?”

“Sugar, Mark said.”

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

“Oh yea, and dip those in Strawberry Sprinkles, 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.”

Mark and Jeanie both laughed and Jeanie promised him 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 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, she asked?”

“Yea, it’s like two alternate or parallel universes that rarely if ever cross over. They each have their own characters too. 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 said he was impressed instead. I guess Assad like the way I organized his stuff, so he offered me a job, Mark imitated Assad,

“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 make us 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 it all started, Mark said.”

“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 singing happy as a lark when suddenly he saw that spoiled ice cream melting all over his freshly mopped floor and he went Ape-shit, 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 we had ice creme 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 by 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 then Mark imitated Assad: “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 shit, 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, I mean it.”

“Why, she asked?”

“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 said curse-word 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.”

“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 she didn’t understand.

“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 her.

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

“Oh you were, and it felt so natural, Mark replied.”

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 cone, that in this state, when a guy buys a girl an ice-cream cone they automatically become an item, he said.”

“Item, what you mean item, like strawberry sprinkles as a topping on my vanilla ice cream type item?”

“No, no it’s more serious than that,  more like a boyfriend and girlfriend 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 and nodded.”

“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 get any idea’s Jeanie defended.”

“I think there’s even a statute in Michigan, Mark said.”

“Yea, I’ll believe that when I see it, she challenged.”

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

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

“You know him, Marked teased?”

“Only by reputation.”

“I bet he’ll know the statute from memory, Mark promised.”

“Yea well I’m new in town, Jeanie said.”

“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 great swimmer I bet, Jeanie said.”

“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.”

“Really, why are you allergic, he asked?”

“No, I don’t think so, she said.”

“What then, he asked?”

“No, you’ll laugh at me, Jeanie replied.”

“I promise I won’t, Mark said.”

“Pinky Swear Jeanie offered her pinky.”

“Pinky Swear, and he wrapped his pinky around hers.”

She still looked unconvinced.

“On my heart, Mark said crossing it.”

“They remind me of those flying monkeys from the “Wizard of Oz, Jeanie asked.”

“That’s another really common fear with girls, Mark replied.”

“Flying bugs, she asked.”

“No, the flying monkey’s, he replied.”

“But why Mark asked?”

“Because I thought they would try to steal me while I sleep at night Jeanie said.”

“How much do you weigh, he joked.”

“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.”

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

“Okay, but I want to go back to something you mentioned earlier, the pool thing. I never really thought about it before, but maybe it is a little flashy having a swimming pool in our backyard when we live so close to the lake. 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?”

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

“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?”

“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.

“Well, I guess we’ll just see on Saturday than won’t we, Mark smiled?”

Jeanie licked her ice-cream cone from top bottom to top, it was a little warm inside and the ice cream was melting, a few drops were running down her pointed cone. Jeanie collected them with her tongue. She was just suggestive enough to let Mark know that she was not bluffing, he had never seen a woman look so sensual in his life, she pretended not to notice his reaction, but she knew exactly the effect she was having on him. If he wanted to play games, Jeanie just upped the ante.

And then as easily as she turned it on, she turned it off, glancing out the window and making some nonchalant comment about the weather.

Mark was stunned at how sensual Jeanie could take something so trivial like eating an ice cream cone and turn it into something that instantly gave him a rock-hard erection.

His jaw must have hit the floor because when Jeanie glanced back she pointed at the table. When Mark looked at what Jeanie was pointing at, he saw the small puddle of white creme that had melted from his cone.

The truth was, despite the fact that Assad had air-conditioning, it always seemed warm inside his store, and you had to eat the ice cream fast before it melted from the heat.

How ironic that it looked like he had just “shot a load” after Jeanie’s very subtle but potent performance.

Jeannie handed him some napkins from the dispenser on the table, but instead of absorbing the mess, they just smeared the drippings around making an even bigger one.”

“Jeanie, now look what you made me do, Mark said?”

“What I did, Jeanie shook her head disgusted, like she had no idea what he was talking about.

“I’m going in the back to get a towel, Mark said.

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

“No, you’ve done enough, Mark replied.”

Jeanie tried not to laugh.

“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 30 seconds, than you could otherwise over thirty years.

Jeanie had given up trying to clean the mess with the napkins and now she was patiently waiting. 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, did it completely caught him 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, 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 looking 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, I think we should start heading back, Jeanie said.”

“Yea, your right, 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 real soon thou.”

Assad commented to the customer that they did make a very handsome couple.

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, by the way my mom invited you for dinner, why don’t you stay, he asked.”

“I can’t, Jeanie replied.”

“If it was because I asked you how much weigh, I was only joking?”

“No it my parents, she said.”

“What’s the big deal?”

“They are, their strict Mark, that’s all.”

“In fact, if they saw me holding hands with you right now, I would be grounded this weekend, she said.”

“For holding hands, he asked?”

“There old fashioned like that, she replied.”  

“This is the 21’st Century Jeanie.”

“We have to take things slow, honey, Jeanie said, releasing his hand.”

Honey!!!

Jeanie was putting him off and turning him on at the same time.

But my heart that’s beating fast, Mark said, trying to be clever.”

Jeanie laughed.

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

“Uh, well I can ask them, it’s just that you’re a guy, and they don’t want me dating, Jeanie said embarrassed, there over-protective.

“I’m only talking about studying together; 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.”

“Okay, I understand, Mark conceded, 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 maybe 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.

“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, maybe she was just being a bitch, like you told me in class today, you know us red-heads, Jeanie said, making a crazy face.”

“I’m sorry Jeanie, but redheads are known for being…feisty, and Mr. Payne is most certainly that. Fickle at the very least.

“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 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, so she was trying to sabotage your attempt by embarrassing you in front of me before you even had a chance, Jeanie asked?”

“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. I have pulled a lot of shit but that was a first, and this was 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 like you did instead of going to the teacher’s lounge?”

“I told you, she likes to drink, Mark said, and secretly she like to drink 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 embarrassing, 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, she thought to herself.

Mark had not forgotten about the way Jeanie licked the ice cream cone, but he was trying to throw her off-balance, so he had 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, making 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 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 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 not valid in this state, any more than it would be in the previous state I lived in, Jeanie said starting to lose her cool.”

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?”

“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, like a girl-friend, 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, 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 embarrassing her in front of the entire subdivision.

God, he was adorable, no guy had ever been willing to do this for her before. She was so impressed and embarrassed at his attempt to win her over that she fell for him right there on the spot.

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

“I don’t care, I want you to let me walk you home, and 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. Now she even sounded like his girlfriend, or his mother.”

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

After they walked another block, 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, Jeanie 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 wouldn’t even let him walk 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 so he could shake it goodbye.”

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

“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 her hand impatiently so he would shake it and leave.”

Mark looked up at her and immediately dropped his smile then stared at her chin for a moment.

“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.”

“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. 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, tears were already starting to fall from them.”

While Jeanie was standing like she was frozen and waiting for him to tell her when it was safe, Mark grabbed her by the waist, pulled her into his arms, then 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 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 when 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 after she accepted that there would be no escape, and she stopped fighting and become weak in the knees did he release his grip on her slightly. 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 stand.

No one had ever kissed her with as much passion or intensity as Mark had, and for the moment she was spellbound. 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.

Bedroom eyes.

The wasp had been completely 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

Jeanie felt him,”

“I’ve wanted to do that all day, Mark said, as he slowly pulled away.”

“But what about the wasp, Jeanie said in a dreamy voice?”

“He left an hour ago, Mark said smiling.”

“What, she asked blinking, and confused?”

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

Suddenly Jeanie came to her senses, and in an instant her entire sleepy, sexual submission/arousal now turned to anger, not just because he tricked her, but because he also broke his promise by lying.

Not angry, furious might be a better word. 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 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, you tricked me, lied to me, scared me to death, humiliated me and made a fool of me pubically Jeanie said angrily”

“Well… don’t say it like that…”

“How else would you like me to say it, that you’re an untrustworthy, lying, 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 he 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 you were the best I ever had baby, Mark said, as an afterthought.”

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

“It’s your fault anyway, Mark said.”

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

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

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 don’t like the way I kiss, Mark asked?

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

“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… why?”

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

The two of them just 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, that could only be transferred mentally, because to express it verbally, would be impossible.

Mark aside from everything else, I was not joking about my parents, if they saw us, I’ll be grounded for the next two months, she said pointing to her living room window. And you will never be allowed to come to my house again. 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 the rest of my life on purpose, Jeanie asked seriously?”

“No, we have a date on Saturday, Mark said smiling, trying to recover.”

“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, not on Saturday, Sunday or any other day of the week.”

Mark tried not to smile. He just stood there with his eyes partially closed, taking the brunt of her verbal assault, until she finished, and then offered her the sprinkles as a peace offering. The sprinkles were still in the plastic cup with the lid fastened on it.

Peace offering he said smiling.

God he was adorable.

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 again after that day.

“Well, well, I guess it is true what they say about Ginger’s and their fiery tempers, Mark said spitting a few sprinkles out of his mouth while others stuck to his face, he had made real progress today, I didn’t want to stereotype but…”

“Oh, no child, you haven’t seen my temper yet, Jeanie warned, stepping towards him and raising a finger to his face.”

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

“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, 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, Jeanie thought to herself?

Your disgusting, she spat glaring at him and daring him to open his smart mouth again so she rip off the lip and throw the sprinkles in it.

Our first fight, he teased her.

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 reminded her, not worried about her being angry anymore.”

He knew that she would be waiting by the phone.

Jeanie knew it too.

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

To be continued…

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Copyright 2016 Jason Kondrath

Copyrighted by Jason Gabriel Kondrath 2017

Copyrighted by Jason Gabriel Kondrath 2017

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Next Chapters 3-6:

Chapter VI: Cyst