His lips were tracing sparks across mine. His hands were moving to my bodice. The cool wind was flowing over us and not cooling our passion. “Yes, kiss me. Take me.” My bedroom door opened.
“Good morning sleepyhead, time to get up, school day.” Mom retreated from my room and went down to make breakfast.
My dream slowly faded. The soft meadow of heather replaced by my covers. The haphazard collection of paintings, sketches, and charcoals that lined my walls replacing the mists on the hills in Scotland. My imaginary lover would have to wait until tonight to finish seducing me. I hopped out of bed, straightened my nightgown, and reached for my robe hanging on my easel. “Just a few more strokes and you’re done,” I decided as I studied the oil mounted in the easel. I needed the paints to settle a bit before adding the last few details. “Maybe tomorrow.”
Just before opening my door I looked at my “Wall of Inspiration.” Sketches that I had at one time thought might be hiding a painting and I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to see it. No sudden inspiration from any of the sketches pinned to the wall. Yet, I decided they would all survive another day before taking the trip to the archive in the back of the closet.
I crossed the hall still wrapping my robe around me. My younger brother and I traded the bathroom and I made some noises. He mumbled something back. It was our private morning ritual and joke. Neither of us is a morning person. Yet, he’d already been out for a run. At least I’d gotten an extra hour of sleep.
In the shower I started a new short story, hearing the dialog in my head, seeing the scene, hearing the characters, and watching it unfold. I’ve learned to not force my dreams. A long, hot shower usually lets them come out in story form. I let the story wash over me as I finished rinsing off. This one was a keeper. I’d capture as much as I could on paper this morning. Kind of funny that it was about being naked in school and the Program would be starting up for the year today.
The Program. It was some silly thing that came from another school system a few years ago. We all got pamphlets about it each year. There were two naked teenagers on the front of it. Kids were “chosen” to go through school for a week naked. Something about discovery and becoming more comfortable with themselves. Blah, blah, blah. I could ignore it. No way I’d ever be in the Program.
After wrapping myself in my robe, towel on head, I headed for my room. Time to apply the camouflage. My wardrobe was mostly ankle length skirts, mostly vintage with some retro. Flowing and not at all revealing. My tops tended towards baggy, almost shapeless. I wanted to keep my body private. I used to dress like everyone else. Then my body started to change and I got boobs before anyone else my age. Girls can be so cruel and boys only want to stare or touch. Or worse.
Besides covering myself from ankle to neck I looked for the right scarf, shawl, hat, or other accessory to continue the illusion. Mixing colors, textures, and lines in a way that stood out yet was ignored. I got away with my eclectic attire by being the artist. My large bag of sketchbooks, pens, pencils, charcoals, journals, cameras, and such just made it obvious. I had perfected hiding in plain sight.
“Thanks for the wake up, Mom.” I kissed her on the cheek as she cooked. I fixed my cereal, juice, and grabbed some toast. My brother was well into his 4 egg omelet as I sat down. We ceremonially grunted at eat other, a slight smile on our lips.
“Neandertal,” I mumbled louder.
“Hippie,” he retorted.
“Morning Daddy,” I said to the Wall Street Journal at the head of the table. Home delivery no less.
“Morning Rebbecca,” the paper said. I pulled out my journal and captured the gist of the new story while I ate.
“Want a ride today?” Jason was finishing his 20,000 calorie, cholesterol laden breakfast and getting ready to go. I don’t have a car. I’m really not a good driver. I spend too much time in my head writing, thinking about my next painting, or just seeing the world my way. Not enough attention on the road, I’m afraid. On my 16th birthday I had traded the offered car for a nice camera, some lenses, a really good easel, and the tools to make my own paints. I had never regretted it. I’m sure the other drivers hadn’t either.
“Sure, Jase, thanks.” I finished up my notes, knowing I had a few more minutes while he gathered his books.
Mom and I did the kissy-cheek thing, the Paper wished us well in school, and Jason and I went out the door to his car.
“You know the Program starts today,” Jason said as we settled into the car and he backed out the drive. “Who do you think they will pick?” The Big Secret we kept from our parents was we actually talked to each other, a lot. We got along really well. Far be it for us to burst their bubble about sibling rivalry and all. As a matter of fact, I considered Jason my best friend.
“Don’t know. I only hope I can get some artistic inspiration from them.” The Program. Damn. Is that going to be the only topic for conversation today? Being naked. Getting fondled under the guise of a request.
“The boy or the girl?”
“Both and maybe together!” I laughed. “It would be too much to think they’d be in my art class.”
“Bec, what if our parents signed us for the Program?”
“No way. They really don’t know we’re around except as tax deductions.” That’s why I was so safe from it. Parents had to sign their kids up for it.
“Don’t be so hard on them, Bec.” Before I went off on my parents it hit me. Jason is everything they’d wanted. Six feet two, 240 pounds of solid muscle. A star running back as a Junior including All State and All American honorable mention. National Honor Society. Popular.
“Sorry Jase. I’m just not the daughter they wanted. I’m not the social princess, the cheerleader, or even the gymnast. I’m not all that popular. I don’t want to be. I want my writing and my art. That’s all.”
“Oh Bec. Don’t think they don’t love you or really care about you. They really do. They also respect that you have something rare and special, your artistic talents.”
“Yea, like they see that.” I almost spat out these last words.
My dear brother, all big handsome hunk of him, able to find a hole in any defense and get five more yards, looked at me. His eyes were starting to tear. “We all see it, Bec. They just don’t know how to relate to you.”
What could I do. I broke and cried. I leaned on my “little” brother, my rock, my friend and bawled. He put his arm around me and hugged me. “We all see the magic you have with words and painting. We’re all in awe, even a bit jealous. You make something we can’t imagine doing look so easy. But we see it, we respect it. Mom, Dad, and me, we do love you.”
Jason pulled into the parking lot, found a spot, and shut down the car. I was still leaking rivers. Sobbing. Almost heaving. He handed me a towel and helped me start to pull myself back together.
“I’m such an emotional time bomb, aren’t I?”
“I guess it comes with the artistic vision, Sis.” He gave me a gentle punch on the arm. Eventually I did get myself together. My rock helped by just being there and not judging me. I thought, ‘how could someone so physical be so gentle’. I almost lost it again.
Composed again, the perfect picture of the eccentric artist, we walked up to the school together. As we got closer I let him go on. Part of me wanted to just see and feel the early fall changes happening around the school. The other part began the ‘hide in plain sight’ ploy.
I watched as Jason joined the other football players outside the office. In that crowd his size looked average. I’d never noticed that before. I just held back at the edge of the crowd. Happy to observe and not be seen. It took on the flavor of a hanging. Everyone wanting to be a part of it and at the same time not wanting to be the star. Except, this lynching, no one in this crowd knew who the stars were going to be. The rubberneckers and gawkers waiting for the car wreck packed around the door to the main office.
The PA system came to life and the crowd grew silent in anticipation. “Would the following students report to the main office: Rebbecca Davis…”
“Oh, God! Oh, Yes! You’re a God! Harder!” This incredible blond was riding my cock and screaming while I fondled her nipples. Her face twisted with pleasure, her nipples rock hard, her fluids running down my balls. Then the alarm went off.
Shit. I was almost there with my fantasy girl helping me along. I managed to control my hand just before I crushed the stupid little box making all the noise and waking me from THIS.
After finding the snooze button, I pulled my arm back under the sheet and started the process of waking up. Find this cramp. Stretch. Find this pain. Relax. As much as I wanted to stroke that rock hard thing tenting my sheets, I needed to piss and shift gears.
The beginning of the third week of school, a Monday. I was still a little sore and tight from the football game Friday night and was looking forward to getting to school early and using the whirlpool to loosen my muscles. “Another ten minutes and I’d start my morning routine,” I said to the room. My body sank back into the warmth of the bed. “No Good. Get Up!” Yea, it was a Monday, it was in season, it’s transition day.
“The weekend is for recovery, Monday is transition day. Wake up stiff and sore, get out of bed with a focus on the next game. Get past it.” I repeated my Monday Mantra a couple of times. By now, I found myself in my running shoes, jock strap, shorts, and a t-shirt, at the door ready to begin my run. Monday through Friday – rain, shine, snow, or whatever – 5 to 7 miles. My run. By myself. A few stretches and I headed out, Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture on my headphones. Arthur Fiedler conducting the Boston Pops version that I’d ripped from my parent’s vinyl. All the energy of that long ago July the 4th evening channeled through this wonderful composition. I needed it this morning. Start out depressed, build, retreat, build, and then win. Just what I needed.
When I turned back into the driveway of our house and the last cannon had shot, I realized I wasn’t that stiff anymore. I had a new visualization of the carbon cycle within a protostar, and I was beginning to think about our crosstown rivals we’d play Friday night. I went into the basement door of my apartment within my parents house. I stripped off my clothes and began the Short Yang Form of T’ai Ch’i. “Thank you Dad for introducing me to this,” I said to myself before emptying my mind for 15 minutes and focused on moving slow, breathing, and feeling my imaginary opponent. Into the shower, dressed for school in dockers, oxford shirt, loafers, no socks (my rebellion point). Up the stairs from my hideaway to the house and into the kitchen.
“Ah, Luis!” Mama said as I walked into the kitchen.
“Hi Mama, you look good enough to eat!.” I bent down and gave her a kiss on the cheek. Some wonderful 1920′s Jazz playing in the background.
“Oh, you guys and your sweet tongues. You say sweet things and all you want is our sweet things! Good morning, sweetie. You sound chipper.” She returned to cooking eggs and bacon. She wore a long robe that accented her trim body. Over it she was wearing a chef’s apron. Fitting, as she owns and is the head chef of the best restaurant in town. Italian food, imagine that.
“I had a good run this morning and feel recovered from Friday.” I headed to the fridge and fixed a large glass of orange juice and another of milk. As I was settling in at the kitchen table Dad came into the kitchen from the garage carrying the morning paper. “Morning, Papa.”
“Well, Luis, you seem to be in better shape than this weekend.” He tossed the paper on the table by me as he went to kiss Mom and get a cup of coffee. When he came back he took my hand in a shake. He always tried to out squeeze me. In the last few years I had let him win. Ever since the first time I saw real pain on his face.
“Fully recovered and getting ready for East on Friday.”
Mama brought plates of food to the table and we all dove into breakfast and the paper. We chatted about news, plans, and just general stuff. About halfway through breakfast a tornado whipped through kitchen.
“Hi, Sis.” She grabbed a bottle of juice from the fridge.
“Hi, Honey.” She grabbed some toast from the table.
“Good morning, Margaret.” She blew kisses to each of us.
“Hi. Late. Gotta run. Love ya. Bye!” Peace returned slowly as the wind died down. The three of us just went back reading and chatting.
Just another morning in the Contadino household. Margie was off to some meeting before school. As a sophomore she seemed to be involved in everything. A gifted planner and organizer, as well as a great person, she was in constant demand. Even the seniors deferred to her when they needed to get something organized and done.
Half a dozen eggs, half a pound of breakfast meats, four different fresh fruits, and a liter of fluids later, I bade my parents goodbye and headed out the door. Bending, folding, and cramming my body into my car I took off to school. The stereo cranking One Way Out by the Allman Brothers, the live version. Duane’s guitar rifts powering the car to school.
I got to the gym early enough that all the whirlpools were open. I cranked up the full body tub, went to my locker and stripped, grabbed a towel, and settled in to the magic of hot water and bubbles up to my neck. I’d slipped in some old Motown into the resident boom box and was drifting into space on My Girl when it started to get crowded.
“Yo, look at the wimp defensive lineman pampering himself.” Spoken by the only person on the team that out weighed me, our center, Mike Holloway. He only had me by five freaking pounds.
“Yo, Hollow Dick, what’s your complaint? That I got here first and got the good tub? Did you remember your rubber duckie?”
“Better than that rubber dickie of yours, wimp.” He settled into the tub next to me. Both of us were serious students of the game of football and immediately dropped into a critique of Friday’s game. We compared what we’d felt and seen on our side of the field and gave our observations when we were off the field. It worked out well since we were rarely on the field together and respected each others ability and observations. As other starters wandered in they joined in the critique. Better us to talk about our strengths and weaknesses than our coaches! Not that we wouldn’t hear from them later in the day. Yet, they knew us well enough to know that we were tough enough on ourselves. Always striving for that unobtainable, perfect game. They’d taught us well.
Most of us had played together since 5th grade and the youth leagues. Last year we’d missed the State Championship by one field goal. I blamed myself for letting their offense get an extra field goal. Mike blamed himself for not letting our offense get an extra score.
I started to climb out of the deep tub, feeling a bit like rubber. “Mike, what do you think of Jason Davis? How’s he coming along?”
“Man, I’m impressed. I don’t even have to open a hole for him, he makes them. I spend half my time following him down the field!”
“Can he catch?”
“What ya’ thinking, WOP?” Yea, I’m Italian. And I like the words. I’m proud of where my family came from. Just don’t call me worthless!
“By now, all the scouting reports are gonna focus on his running. We haven’t used him as a receiver. He comes out of the backfield without the ball, everybody’s ignoring him. We should work with him as a receiver and save it for when we need it.”
“Gotcha. Done deal.” Our starting QB, Paul Rogers, said stepping up, “I’ll work with him. I’ll let you two pieces of beef tell us when to use it.”
“Yo, Hollow Dick, when did we let management into the labor talks?” I shouted as I left the wet room. “Next thing you know, they’re gonna think they run the place.” I couldn’t hear Mike’s response over the laughter and objections. Yea, we’re in the mood to get ready for East. Relaxed enough, still working as a team, and good energy.
A quick workout in the weight room focused on my legs, into the showers, dress, and to the hallway outside the offices. Like everyone else. It was Monday. The start of the Program. We all wanted to see who was going Naked this week. The football players tended to group together. Mike and Paul joined me, as did others from the team. Jason had just come up to us when the PA system started up. They announced in descending class order starting with the Seniors.
“Would the following students report to the main office: Rebbecca Davis,” I was trying to place her and almost missed the next name, “Luis Contadino…”