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READY OR NOT, HERE HE COMES: Boys, Mosquitos, and A Big, Puffy Couch

Updated: Oct 31

As it turns out, my classmates did not get bored with the game of hunting me through the hallways, no matter how much I tried to ignore them and keep my head down. It remained that way for the rest of the school year.


I had one consolation: Jake made good on his promise. He drove out to see me at the earliest opportunity.

Spring 1987

Eighth Grade


At last! It’s Friday night. I get to escape Hell for two days. But first, it’s open swim, and I cannot wait to see the green faces of those twits when I walk in on the arm of Jake Prentiss. I've talked to him on the phone for hours every night since we met, and we can talk about everything under the sun, just like I could with Jonathan.


Well, almost like with Jonathan. I’m back to sneaking the roam-phone into my bedroom, because Jake also likes to talk about things I wouldn’t be able to say in front of my parents.


When he pulls into the school parking lot, my heart sings. He is even more gorgeous than I remembered, now dressed in shorts and a sweatshirt instead of the jeans and button-up he wore at the Future Problem Solvers Bowl. Like me, he’s not just a brain. He's also a jock, and this outfit shows it off way better--almost as good as that first time I met him in the hotel pool. I can’t wait to see him in nothing but swim trunks again.


We hang out for a bit on the stairs in front of the school before the doors open, and my vengeance is as sweet as I’ve dreamed all week. The sniping snakes hiss and glare; the leering jerks glower in silence, back to giving me a wide birth the moment they spy me with another tall, strapping, confident junior from a bigger school.


That’s right, boys and girls. Keep your hands off and your mouths shut.


Because Jake won’t have to take it to a fight in order to get them to leave us alone. His existence as Jake Prentiss is enough.

Speaking of alone, we decide that we’re not in the mood for swimming after all. “So…” he says, with his face turned aside and a grin spreading across his mouth. “Where do you go around here to…”

To do what he and I have been waiting to do since lunchtime at the conference when we had to pry our hands and lips off each other with a crowbar.

Unfortunately, I’ve only taken a boy off alone around here once, and we all know how that turned out. Not like the playground is an option this time anyway. It’s way too light out, and it’s way too crowded here on swimming night. I rack my brains. “Um…I…I don't really--I’ve never…”

His grin sprawls wider. “Never…?”


My cheeks flare as I answer him with my eyes.


He hugs me tighter and kisses my temple.


I wish I could have asked the experienced girls in my class where to take a hot, older guy to make out, but I wouldn’t be caught dead uttering a word to any of them now. My friends certainly don’t know. I’m the forerunner when it comes to boys, so the best I can think is to take Jake’s hand and lead him toward the woods at the side of the school. The rebels all come out here during lunch to smoke, so it must afford them some privacy.


After taking a romantic spring walk, we find a grassy little nook at the edge of the trees and lay our towels down side by side. Within seconds, our lips are locked, our hands are all over each other, and his bulge has returned, now a million times more obvious in his loose shorts. I grip it, squeeze and rub it--oh, my God! He's so hard! So deliciously hot. He grasps my ass, pulling me against him as we remind ourselves what each other's tonsils taste like. By his groans and the way he moves at my touch, I suspect it won't take long before he's back to where I had him before.


Christ, girl, you're gonna make me cream my—


“Fuck!” he cries, and swats at his leg. “Sorry. Mosquito.”

Our lips lock again. One of his hands latches into my hair while the other snakes under my shirt. He tastes so good! He feels incredible. He is all muscle and heat and a miniature needle pierces my neck. “Agh!” I slap my hand down on the liquid goo of bug guts and my own blood.


Jake tries to go back to kissing me, but has to swipe another interloper off his cheek. Another bites his arm while somebody tags my thigh. We both slap again


“Dammit!” He sits up and glances around. The ache of desire and frustration in his face mirrors what I feel in my body. “Isn’t there anywhere else we can go?”


“I—well—” At the high-pitched buzzing in my ear, I flinch and flap.


He claps death onto another villain attacking his calf. “I have my car. Where does everyone usually go to… you know…”


“I—I really don’t. It’s a super small town." Swat! I cast a helpless shrug and an apologetic smile. "If there are places to go, I don't…”


I don't have any clue where they are.


My gaze flickers in the direction of the parking lot. I wonder what we might find if we drove around in search. "I guess we could..."

My hand smacks down on my forearm, and my age finally smacks Jake in the face. The realization is obvious in his eyes--that despite my maturity in many areas, I am still a very innocent fourteen. His head lowers. A silent sigh slips through his mouth, and the bottom drops out of my stomach.


Oh, no-no-no…I'm not just a little kid. I swear, I’m not a prude or a tease or--


He sets his mouth. After pulling himself to his feet, he reaches down to help me up, and then shoves his towel in his bag, no doubt resigned to another case of blue-balls.

I traipse along behind him to the parking lot with my heart hammering in my throat. My fingers fumble the process of stuffing my own towel away. When I finally manage the zipper, I grin up at him. "We--we could drive around a bit. See if we can find somewhere…”

“Naw, that’s okay. Don’t worry about it.”


“Are you sure?" Because I really want to. "There’s still plenty of time left to…”


The sunset is golden behind him, casting his face in shadow. Even so, his expression is as easy for me to decipher as an algebra problem. He pulls me close and kisses my cheek. “It’s been fun,” he says, and he’s not only lying.


As he drives away, I hug my red nylon swim bag to my chest, terribly afraid that he’ll never call me again.


He doesn’t.


I do not blame him.



Ah yes. The theme song of my fourteenth year. Can I tell you how many times I belted out this song when I had the house to myself? Every time I sang those words, it was always and forever about Jonathan Marshall, and every failed romance, every fizzled flirtation just ripped the lid off that coffin, forcing me to pound it back shut with ever-increasing nails.


Jon had awakened this thing inside me, and I burned to explore it. But there was nobody like him. Few could open me up the way he had, and those who could did not possess his patience and an interest in ME that overrode their interest in getting some.

So in spite of being branded as the Super-Slut, my earliest forays left behind a string of blue-balled boys disappointed and frustrated by my lack of sexual prowess.

Next was Nick Berenger.

I wasn’t the only girl in my class who took it in the teeth that spring. Something major had come down in the pecking order of the Court, and Princess Suze had been ousted once more. I knew this, because she called me to ask if I wanted to come over.


During the school year.


That never happened unless things were afoot with her own friends.


Turns out our rival school five miles away was hosting their final dance of the year, and she had no one to go with. “Oh, come on,” she said, “it’ll be fun. I’ll give you a makeover before we go.”


“I don’t know…what if they think I’m a nerd?”


“Of course they won’t. They’re super cool. Way cooler than our school.”


I cringed away from the phone. That’s what I’m afraid of.


“Just come with me. You need something to take your mind off Jonathan. You need new cute boys to flirt with. What do you say?”


I said yes. After all, cute boys had already proven good cures for taking my mind off the eternally elusive Mr. J. Could've Been Marshall. What’s the worst that could happen? I convince a whole new school that I'm a loser?


Suzy loaned me her cute little white blouse and white flats to go with my jean skirt. Then she did my hair and makeup in the latest fashion--puffy bangs and dramatic eye shadow, blue on the lids and pink on top. My brown eyes didn’t look nearly as wondrous in that style as her big blue ones did. But we went.


Surprise, surprise, she was right. We had a wonderful time, danced the night away, I made new friends, and even ended up flirting with Nick. He was black-haired, dark-eyed, gorgeous with a disarming smile and an easy way about him. Great smelling. During the last song of the night, he slipped his hands into my back pockets, held me close, and beamed down his mesmerizing gaze. In a slow, sensuous kiss under the streamers and Hawaiian decorations, with the lights from the disco ball swirling around us, we became the newest item.

For a month, he rode out to my house on his bike. Since it was summer and my parents worked during the day, that left the cool of the house and my bed to two horny, handsy teenagers. To my delight, Nick was only a year older than I was.


To my shock, he’d been having sex for...well...awhile, so our explorations were hot, heavy, fast-paced. I kept having to slow his motor down, and when we reached the end of my limit--I just wasn’t ready to do the Heavy Hitters yet--he dumped me for a girl who was.


At least he was honest with me, and thus I only hated him for a year.

That summer, there were many more trips with Suzy to meet more kids from other schools, and some of my flirtations even came out for swim night, but nothing ever panned out. Still, I had begun to develop my Scientific Hypothesis of Dating: that my best chances lay outside the realm of my own school, beyond reach of The Pack.


The final evidence was presented at the end of summer when I gave our hometown boys one last chance. A cute guy from the grade ahead of mine surprised me with an invitation to his house. I hardly knew Ray Washington, and had never thought he'd look twice at me, so I was curious why he would invite me over out of the blue.

It did not take long to find out.

August 1987

Fourteen years old


Ray and I watch TV on his leather couch. His whole family is gone, so we’re alone. After a little bit, he grasps my hand, and my heart soars. Whoa. Ray Washington wants to be with ME? Maybe my perm and contacts did more for my status than I realized.


I squash my huge grin and chance a glance at him. He doesn’t quite meet my gaze, just goes back to staring at the mindless show on the screen before us. But he laces his fingers between mine. As my cheeks burst into flames, I can't help beaming. Is this worshipped jock-hero actually shy?


He’s never seemed shy, but what do I know? He has barely spoken two words to me in all our years of attending the same school. Maybe he's even shier than I am, so I squeeze his hand, trace my thumb across his finger, settle in closer to him.


But do I want to date him?


Ray is smart and funny and super cute with black, curly hair and brown eyes. He's taller, darker, and more muscular than Nick. He’s more serious than Nick, too, especially about school, which I really like. He's a rising-star athlete from a family of popular-but-nice kids. His big brother would never let people pick on me when he still lived here. His big sister was the one who had loved my cheer choreographies the most. Ray has always been nice to me, if aloof. He’s certainly never been mean, and I've never seen him pick on other kids, so I decide that, yes, I could see myself dating him.


I’m so caught up in trying to figure out what I'm doing here that it takes me a moment to realize he’s put my hand on his thigh and is inching it northward.


A lump lodges in my throat.


He’s wearing nothing but silky biker shorts that cling to every muscle in his runner’s legs--and to the bulge that’s formed between them. My eyes go wide. My heart hammers. I don’t know what to do. If I pull away, will he cut all this off like always happens when things start moving too fast for me?


If I pull away, will I be a tease? There’s no way I can outrun our track star if he gets mad like Trent did. At best, I’ll go back to being Prudey or The Lesbo. If I do this, I’m the Super-Slut. Either way, everybody hates me, but if Ray likes me...


He molds my hand to his hard-on. The silky shorts amplify the heat of him--my palm more so. I glance up at him again. His gaze stays riveted onto the TV.


I've heard that boys are wired differently from girls--that they like to get close through sexy stuff first before they can really know if they like somebody. For me, sure, they have to be cute, but I only start wanting to be sexy once we've started talking--not just flirting, but about important stuff, cool stuff, sharing our ideas and our dreams and our hopes, and when we find all the things we have in common, and do fun stuff together. But I'm starting to see that boys mostly like to touch and talk dirty first.


(Except Jonathan.)


(But Jon is Jon.)


And Ray is here. He's the one who wants to be cozy on the couch with me. He's the one who wants to hold hands and more, so I let him pull down his shorts and show me how he likes to be touched. When it finally happens, my eyebrows shoot up. All I can do is sit there, watching the white mess spurt up against his belly and then ooze.

Huh.


I’d had grander expectations about this phenomenon. He just sort of…pressed his head back against the couch, stared harder at the ceiling than he’d focused on the TV, let out a few loud breaths, one little grunt and then... For all the buzz about it, it’s really kind of a letdown.

As it turns out, so is Ray Washington.


He leans over to grab a tissue off the end table, cleans himself with it, and gets up to throw it in the trash. When he returns, I curl my legs up on the couch, facing him with a smile. Now that things have been established, I’m sure he’ll feel more comfortable talking to me.


He doesn’t so much as glance at me.


The couch gives off a loud poof as his butt lands on it. It bounces me in the air. He grabs the remote from the coffee table and starts clicking through programs.


There are no kisses. No conversations. Not so much as a, “Thanks for gettin’ me off.”


Nothing.


I sit on that puffy couch, staring through the TV screen like it’s not there as the full realization hits me.


I have no idea how much time passes before I finally stand up, put on my shoes, and walk out his door. I want to get my own tissue for my hands. Better yet, a steel-wool scrub and some Ajax. I don’t remember if I even said goodbye.


I shuffle home like a zombie, humiliated and ashamed at--once again--how stupid I am. I have gotten the best grades in our class since the first day of kindergarten. I excel at everything I do. Sports, academics, writing, dance.


Apparently I also excel at being an idiot.


Of course he invited me over to his house out of the blue. I’m the Super-Slut, and I’ve just confirmed everything he’s been told about me.


--


When school starts a few weeks later, Ray acts like it never happened. In the hallways, he always makes sure to be looking anywhere but at me. He never speaks to me again, and my hypothesis is proven into Law.


I vow on my life’s breath and blood: I am done with boys from my hometown. I will never, EVER have anything to do with one again.


And I don’t.




There you have it. My adventures from elementary and junior high.


Now you know all the tales that inspired this first piece of my AGDs--the Angry Girl Dances I filmed in 2009 while I was going through my first divorce, taking karate, and beginning to realize how badly I burned to dance what was in my heart--all of what was in it--and not merely in a subtle, undercurrent way while shimmering my beaded fringe or emoting beneath a sword.


No, I wanted to dance it overtly. Like this:



CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE:

--UP NEXT: A LOVE LETTER TO A FEW OF MY BULLIES - As We Approach Fifty --OR if you're following my adventures and don't know these references to Trent, Jonathan, or the boys in my school, they start HERE.

--If you don't know who "the pretty girls are, those demigods" or who said I was "really an ugly girl", you can find that HERE.

--This is my old IzzyDancer YouTube channel from my belly dancing days, with a few more of my fledgling attempts to break out of that mold.

--THE NAVIGATION TABLE OF CONTENTS

Dig what I do?

I rarely travel to teach anymore and I perform mostly on YouTube

(cuz...Dain Bramage)

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And those memoirs I always said I'd publish? They're here on my blog.

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