Am I ready for class? Am I ready to be at school? Can I possibly know the answer? That’s the better question.
Let me see… Basket case this morning. So much so that my brother practically had to carry me to school. Comfort in My Mountain’s cave for too short a period of time. Then the confusion of Biology class. Then, then, then…
It was so much easier to be hidden.
‘Hi!’ My Muse said.
‘What are you doing here?’
‘Getting ready to slap you upside the head you, because girl, you need it.’
‘Because you’re being stupid.’
‘Think about all the good things that have happened because you weren’t hidden.’
‘Like what?’ I demanded of my Muse.
‘Luis. Reconnecting with your parents. Your art – that painting of Luis was the best you’ve done. All because you’re fully alive now.’
‘To be cliché, bad things happen to good people. And, you’re learning to be scared and handle it. It’s all about how you use the experience.’
I looked up from the floor and my hands, letting my arms relax, and found the sweet eyes of My Mountain. I didn’t have to fake the smile that appeared on my face. “Let’s go get ‘em!” I grabbed his hand and pulled him towards the door.
“That’s the girl I love.”
We both looked at the clock, as did Mrs. Grant. “Only fifteen minutes left in class. Why don’t you two go to lunch early? I’ve taken care of letting your morning teachers know. They’ve all communicated that there were no homework assignments tonight.”
“Thanks, Mrs. Grant.” We said in unison. That gave all three of us a case of the giggles. Okay, she and I did. Luis rumbled.
“Go on, you two lovebirds. I’ve got work to do.” She made a motherly, shooing motion towards the door.
We strolled towards the cafeteria, hand-in-hand. I didn’t feel the need to talk. With the hallways empty, no requests. I felt good, despite this morning. And, yes, I was still bloody naked in school! I just didn’t feel weird about it. But, I did need to use the restroom.
I gave Luis a quick kiss and went into the boys’ room, as per The Program. That felt really weird and made me feel how vulnerable I was. It was empty, thankfully. Dirty, but empty. A different dirty than the girls’ room. Luckily, I had shoes on.
I splashed some water on my face and examined myself in the mirror. Who was this girl—no, woman—looking back at me? I suddenly felt tired. I dragged myself to the door and managed to open it. I actually looked up from the floor for a second. Okay, more than a second.
‘My God, he’s huge!’
‘But, gentle,’ my Muse said.
‘Because…’ Yeah. Because… what? A column of cold, hard marble melted within me. I saw a new canvas that was destined to be me. Now was the time to own the brush strokes on it. I’ve emerged, now it was up to me to determine what I became.
A new warmth spread through me. I wasn’t alone anymore. And this was a good thing. I felt my body move towards Luis, without the need to command it this time. It just followed my desire. Strong. A new resolution. A new self.
His eyes showed concern for a brief second. Then they shown with the infinite possibilities of love. Together. Each being us, while us was each.
I touched his face and gave him a quick peck between those muscular breasts he had. I felt his heat. I heard and felt his heart through my lips. I lifted my head towards the peak of My Mountain.
“I love you.”
He placed his hands lightly on my face. Yet, the power behind them… all directed towards my heart.
I think he said he loved me. I was too out of it to hear. The touch was enough. Two heartbeats passed, a thousand years—Luis calls it relativity—I said, “Let’s go to lunch.”
“You sure you’re okay?”
“More than!” I gave him a light pat on the chest and pulled him along.
The cafeteria was still crowded from first lunch. No one was in line, so that went faster than normal. Service was its usual surly self. When we emerged into the main room, it was just like in the movies. A sudden hush spread outward from where we were.
Tim Carter stood up. “Hey, Naked Table over here!”
A wave of laughter preceded the conversations starting again. Speculation? Rumor? Truth? The Letter by the Box Tops was playing at one table. Some Shag could be heard from the corner where kids would dance in sock feet, just like their parents did. As I looked around, I could feel myself getting red, embarrassed at the center of attention. More so after that incredibly intimate moment we had just shared. On display again. Naked.
“Chin up, sweetie. Be proud of your beautiful self. Be proud of making it past this morning.”
“Yeah, right,” I said to the floor. Then I rejected that. “Sorry, let’s go for it!”
We paraded to the table and put down our trays. Luis stood on his chair, like he needed that to get attention!
“Folks!” He waited for things to die down. I had no idea what he was doing, so I just stood there. I’m sure I was catching flies with my mouth. At least I wasn’t getting any redder. “Yo! People!” His voice was not shrill or angry. It was loud, deep, and… commanding? Yeah, commanding.
“I’m sure there are a ton of questions about this morning. Probably as many as the number of rumors.” His pauses seemed natural. A few voices agreed with him. “I figured.” That got a few chuckles. “Here’s everything in a nutshell, the real story.” He had every eye in the place. Amazing, add orator to the long list of his good points.
“You all know Will Allen of the senior class?”
“Creep!” A few dozen voices volunteered.
“Weird!” Another contingent weighed in.
“Sick!” A small minority, but not silent.
Luis raised his hands and got quiet. I watched as he moved them slowly to his sides, palms towards the crowd, and he began speaking again.
“Yes, we called Will many names. Did any of us know him well enough to justify them?” He paused and let the crowd reflect. They stayed glued to him. “Did we even try to get to know him? Get past our own judgments, fears, and doubts?” Again, a pause. Just when tensions started to build into the silence, “I know I didn’t try to get to know him. As a result, I didn’t know about his problems. None of us did. His problems ran deep. They all came out today, trying to get the attention they needed.” He let that sink in.
“Rebbecca, this beautiful lady… My girlfriend!” That got a few hoots. He let them settle down. “She was the random target of his appeal for help. He didn’t physically hurt her.” All eyes shifted to me. He reached a hand down and I automatically took his. As soon as my fingers were in his, I calmed. I stood tall and showed my forearms.
“No bruises,” I said confidently, albeit quietly. Yet, it carried through the room.
“He’s getting help now.” He subtly dropped my hand. His arms, still at his side, palms out, rose slightly. He made eye contact randomly around the room. “Everything from that point to now has been addressed by all the parties involved, including Dr. C and the police. All the players, families, and authorities are okay with the outcome. So…” Again, he let the pot stew a bit. “So, that conversation is over. Period.” He didn’t raise his voice; it just seemed to project through and around everything. His hands had slightly risen during all this.
“Now,” his hands came above his waist, “we’d like to go back to being just naked in school.” That actually got a few chuckles. “I would also hope you find it in yourself to offer thoughts and prayers for Will.” A few murmurs as he lowered his hands a bit. “I know I didn’t feel compassion for him before this. I don’t think anyone did. Instead of friends he could turn to for help, all he had were people that didn’t care, people he couldn’t turn to, talk to, seek help from.” Every eye was on him. Some were nodding. Everyone was looking serious. Everyone! Even a few tears! Damn, he’s good.
“I’m a football player. A jock. I’m also a budding physicist and a lover of music.” He took my hand again. “Rebbecca, who until yesterday was damned good at hiding, is a brilliant artist, a serious student, and my girlfriend.” He was beaming more than me, I think. “We’re both naked, so we’re unable to hide our bodies, yet no one in the past two days has bothered to look into our minds or souls. Just touch and feel our bodies.”
He looked around the room. Catching eyes and holding them until some connection was made, then moving to the next. “I want to offer a challenge to you.” I’m beginning to learn the power of a pause. “Find out something new and nice about everyone you interact with today. For the rest of the week, even. Do that, and I’ll make sure we beat East.”
“Luis, that’s no challenge. You’re going to beat them anyway!” The crowd laughed with the lone male voice.
“Okay. What then? What would you want to be nice for a week? Connect with each other for a week? Be a better school for a week?”
“You naked for the rest of the year!” That voice was definitely female.
“And Rebbecca!” A male voice. Whoa! WHAT! Yet… Yet… I looked up at My Mountain. I took his hand and we talked with our eyes. I gave him my trust and permission. He gave me his power and love. Support, too! Definitely agreement! I nodded my head slightly. What have I just done?
‘The right thing,’ my Muse said.
“You’re on!” Whoops and cheers until My Mountain raised his hands over his head. The room slowly quieted. There is some kind of magic with his hands.
“Here’s the deal. Becca and I will stay naked after this week until one of us sees people being ignored, disrespected because they’re different, or abused. We stay this way until… Hell, I’m not sure. Let me think about this, talk to Dr. C and others, and we’ll work out the bet. Plus, he’ll choose how to oversee this and monitor it. Is that sufficient?” The volume of suggestions and debate was overwhelming. The agreement on the concept was universal. This was going to happen. Part of me wanted to close up and run away. Luis looked me in the eyes. He could see that I was scared shitless and, at the same time, open to the adventure. He took my hand, that was all the support I needed. His eyes let me know that it would be okay. I told him that I was proud of him and wanted to make a worthwhile change to things.
When we finally sat at the Naked table, everyone joined in and volunteered to be part of forming the bet and taking part in it.
“Why don’t all of us Nakeds this week talk with Dr. C and see what we can arrange. Ms. Carlisle should be part of it, since she is the Program Sponsor. I’ll have Mrs. Grant ask the Nakeds to come to the office when it is set up. Does that work?”
Everyone agreed. Damn, my man is good. He’s found a way to make this whole mess a positive. I looked up at him and my eyes began to water. When he felt me and looked down, my eyes were running rivers. His first look was alarm, then joy. Then, he looked deep into me. I definitely felt it.
“I just realized how much I love you and how proud I am of you, My Mountain.” As our look deepened, I could feel his heart through my eyes. His eyes misted with tears of joy as well. Less than two days, yet a lifetime. Maybe there was something to not wearing clothes! Well, not hiding either. I realized in that moment I had known him all my school life. He was not one of my tormentors when my boobs started growing. I suddenly knew that he had been distant with me in fifth grade because he had a crush on me and didn’t know how to approach me. I could see in his eyes and soul he knew that I knew. His smile got bigger.
“Okay, guys. Get a fucking room, would ya’?” We all broke up on Margie’s comment. She turned to her brother, “something honest and personal about you, then, My Really Big Brother. When did you first fall in love with Rebbecca?”
That got everyone’s attention. I’d just discovered the answer, let’s see what he says. Damn, am I testing his integrity? Well, he is male. Of course I am!
“Margie, I don’t have a simple answer to that.” Luis turned to his sister and got a very thoughtful look on his face. “We met in first grade. Somehow, I knew she was different and special. When I got to the point of ‘liking’ girls around the fifth grade, I was really interested. But, I didn’t know what to do. How to approach a girl. Anything like that. Then something happened to her and she… Disappeared is the best way I can describe it. Yesterday, it all came back and blossomed into something more than I ever imagined. We’re still discovering what it is…” He looked at me with a big smile. I felt warm and loved. I think I smiled back. We melded. Spoke without speaking. Kissed without touching.
Margie cleared her throat, pulling us back to the moment.
I turned to her, “I’d like to talk about the other side of the story. What happened in fifth grade was I grew boobs. Obviously!” I cupped my hands under them and hefted the twins. “The comments and abuse I got I didn’t know how to handle. So, I chose to disappear. Did a damn good job. Yesterday, when we stripped…” I looked him in the eyes and they said to go on. “He hesitated before pulling down his boxers. I think we reconnected then. I knew he was worried. The story in my head was he felt he was too small…” I hadn’t realized my hand was on Junior, which made me laugh when I looked down and notice. The laughter of the group just made me laugh harder.
“When he finally flashed it—Okay, I was—shocked? Surprised? Scared! Oh. My. God! Could that thing fit in me? Me, technically a virgin?”
Shirley asked, “Technically?”
“Totally, until yesterday afternoon. Intact and all.”
“No longer intact, thanks to the wonderful mouth and sweet fingers of my gentle mountain.” I looked him in the eyes again, promising the future.
“And?” Shirley, ever the journalist.
“Ask me at the end of the week.”
My Mountain stuck his nose in. It’s a cute nose. Looks like it has been broken a few times. “Sorry Shirley, no press allowed. It’s personal. Strictly between us, if and when it happens. I think it should be special.” He looked at me, deep. I melted into him again. Some sauce from his meal had dripped on his chest. With a grin and an evil thought, I licked it off. Oh! I like the feeling of my tongue on his swarthy skin. He just groaned a lovely sound of pleasure.
Another clearing of the throat. I don’t know who this time.
“Okay, Margie-the-curious. My turn. First question, and sorry for seeming so selfish, tell me how your Really Big Brother treats you away from school.” I challenged her.
The Damn, Stupid Bell rang!
“Later,” Margie said as she got up, “I promise to tell you.”
I was still coming down from the intensity of the morning. The physical aspects were nothing compared to the emotional. I really wanted to hear Margie’s honest answer while still processing Becca’s comments. As the table cleared except for the two of us, she looked at me. I melted into her eyes again. Damn, I can feel her heart. Feel her energy flow. Her essence is before me in vivid detail. I’ve had crushes before, even thought I was in love once. It was nothing like this. WOW!
“Why don’t you finish lunch quickly, then before the next group gets settled in, go talk to Dr. Cavenaugh.” I could see the grin as she read my face, “okay, Dr. C. He likes that from you. I think it’s okay for me to say that to him as well. Anyway, get everything set up. I’ll hold the ‘Naked’ table.” She paused. Her look said everything, but she spoke it anyway. “I love you. I trust you. I’m yours. Now, go!”
I shoveled another five thousand calories into my mouth. Okay, us jocks had special meals. High protein, high fiber, and tons of complex carbs. It would be well digested and fueling me by the time I got to the practice field this afternoon. Someone at the next table had Jimmy Buffett’s Son of a Son of a Sailor album playing. Ah, for a simple cheeseburger and being with Becca is paradise.
I kissed her again when I got up. Damn those time distortions in the Universe! Thank you Albert for explaining relativity. Two relative seconds for a two minute kiss. Two hours in the hall for a two minute walk. Okay, the walk took a bit longer. I hadn’t realized how hard Junior was. Seems everyone in the halls knew and “helped” him. I was too focused on my mission to pay much attention. That is until Susan stopped me.
“I have a request, Luis.” She was grinning at me and batting her eyelashes. Damn! She was sexy. Junior thought so too. She wrapped her fingers around me.
“Hi, Susan. Any request, as long as it’s reasonable.” I tried to focus on her while thinking about the Bet, getting to the office, and back to lunch.
“Well, it is to me. It’s a repeat of what we did yesterday.” Her smile broadened and her eyes started to smolder. My cock jerked at the prospect. Yet, I did need to get to the office. And there was this thing about Rebbecca…
“But, I asked for relief then.” She squeezed Junior and I felt it all the way down to my toes. Then she licked her lips. Damn!
“Well, now is my turn to ask you.” Her smile and eyes were getting to me. I was starting to melt.
“Ah…” Smooth, Luis. Ever the sweet talker and glib person. Her hands were stroking my cock just right. As one hand came off the crown with a little squeeze, the other would wrap around the base and start its movement. “Ah… Erg…”
“So, you agree to my request?”
“Erg…” I was turning to mush. Where was I headed? Why? Who? Reb… Eck… Argh… Susan was using her thumb to spread my precum over the head. Oh. My. God! Lightning bolts were shooting right through me.
“Ah…” Pull yourself back, Luis. Think Becca. Finally, I could see straight again and looked into her eyes. “Susan, a reasonable request is to touch and explore. Anything more intimate…” Shit! She started the thumb pressure thing on the underside. Think, Becca. You slug! Think Becca. In-through-the-mouth… “Anything more depends on… other… factors—and may not be reasonable.”
“Factors? Like a girlfriend?” Her eyes flared.
“Yes,” I said as calmly as I could. “Rebbecca.”
It felt really good to say that.
“We’ll see!” With that, she turned and stormed off. Oh, well. Get yourself back together. Bet. Program. Becca. Yeah. Ten deep breaths. I settled into my feet, my energy roots descending to the center of the Earth. I walked on. Still forcing my breath, calming slowly.
When I got to the office, Ms. Carlisle was there. Perfect. One of the first really good things to happen all day. Under the Boardwalk by the Drifters was playing a little louder than normal.
“Ms. Carlisle, I have a request that has to do with the Program.”
“Oh, I thought I was supposed to make the requests.” Her grin was disarming. She gave Junior a quick glance. When she looked up, there was a twinkle in her eyes and a grin on her face.
“Got me on that one.” I chuckled as Mrs. Grant walked away with a snort of suppressed laughter. “The current ‘Nakeds’ would like to meet with you and Dr. C to talk about the Program. I’m sure by the end of third lunch, you’ll know what I offered as a bet. Becca bought in, so did the first lunch Nakeds. We think it is a way to make the Program more powerful. We still need to work on it some, though. Could you and Dr. C give us some time after the lunch periods?”
At first, it looked like she wanted to ask me about the bet. Then she must have seen the commitment and passion in my eyes for the changes we wanted to propose. About the same level of commitment I saw in hers to make the Program work.
“Luis, I’m going to trust you. When?”
“Anytime after third lunch. I need to get back for second. Oh, Mrs. Grant? Rebbecca and I will need excuses for third lunch so we can stay for that and talk to those Nakeds.” Ms. Carlisle nodded to Mrs. Grant.
“Luis, do us proud. I know you will,” Mrs. Grant said as she handed me two notes.
In a flash, I Got It—Leadership. This is what my parents do. What I do on the gridiron. We lead, not demand. We ask others to come on our journey with us. We find a compelling reason, build trust, and go.
I took both their hands, “Thank you. Thank you both for believing. I promise I will not let you down.”
Mrs. Grant came across the desk and kissed my cheek. She actually blushed and said, “You’ve always been my special son. Go. Do!”
Ms. Carlisle, Jean in the moment, looked at Mrs. Grant. As Mrs. Grant turned away, I had a wonderful, mature woman pressed fully against me, pulling my face down and kissed me hard.
“For my warrior champion.” She smiled at me when she broke the kiss.
“I know. Come home with my shield or on it.” Only deserters and losers lost their shields. Winners always kept theirs, even if they paid the ultimate price.
“With it, please!” Her smile lit up the room.
I got back to the lunchroom a few minutes later. Now what? I was winging this and needed a plan. I needed a compelling goal as well. Approaching the table and the collection of Nakeds this week, I couldn’t ask for a better group to help and do something amazing. Dr. C had done well, his strategy was working, I realized. Be Young, Be Foolish, Be Happy by the Tams drifted over the table. Must be Carolina Beach Music Day!
“Hi, sweetie.” I gave Becca a quick kiss. I noticed she was doing sketches of Will. God, she was good. Damn, she can sit there so calmly while remembering something that intense coming at her? I suppressed a shudder and hung on a smile.
“Hi, stud!” She watched my reaction and laughed. “Gotcha!”
“Well, not your stud, yet!” That got a laugh from the table and made Becca turn red.
“I filled everybody in on this morning and the bet. Well, more like your declaration and the bet.”
“Thanks, sweets.” I turned towards the rest. “What do you folks think?”
We talked, explored, planned for twenty minutes. About then, people started leaving lunch. Speech time. I made the same basic one as before but left out details of the bet. I did tell them the current Nakeds were meeting that afternoon with Dr. C and Ms. Carlisle.
When I was done, the first lunch Nakeds joined us. Shirley leading the group as they approached us.
“Luis, we talked about it. We’re in and thought we should be here and next period. We believe you can pull off something really good and want to support you.”
“Shirley, we all can do something good. This can’t be just about me. Or Rebbecca. Or any single person. It has to be about the Program and making it work the way it should.”
“That’s why we’re here. By the way, we got notes for everyone to stay through third lunch.”
“Just like you Yanks,” said Paul Templer. “Fomenting a little revolution. Well, looks like I’m on your side this time! Up the rebels!”
“Here’s to the Naked Revolution!” Who else but Rosalee. “Tits and Ass will rule the world.”
After we calmed down from Rosalee’s demonstration of Tit-artillery, we got down to some serious discussion. I found my role to be interesting. An idea would be proposed. I’d make sure everyone contributed to the discussion of it. All sides were heard, all options considered. Then, I’d summarize what I’d heard. We’d record it and move to the next. Actually, my obsessive-compulsive, over organized, and incredibly cute sister took on the role of recorder.
As the lunchroom emptied, I knew we had about fifteen minutes before the next lunch was in full swing. Instead of working through the noise as people got settled, I thought we could use a break.
“Why don’t we spend a few minutes practicing what we’re about to preach?” I declared and everyone agreed.
“You go first, Luis. Tell us something.” It didn’t even register who said it. I’d been expecting it, though.
“That would be fast and easy. Yet, would we accomplish our goal of finding ways to personally connect with others?” After a few seconds, they got it. Instead, we had a fifteen minute long free-for-all which, thankfully, led to promises to spend more time one-on-one and in small groups. A promise was made to set the best example possible.
The rest of the Nakeds had joined us and were brought up to speed by the group. That left me free to see the next steps. The path was easy to see, now.
“A commitment is a good thing. Yet, without making a commitment to a specific person, it lacks power and purpose. That’s why on the football team, we each make a commitment to Coach McFarlan. He makes a commitment to each of us, individually. We also make individual commitments within the team.”
Chris Flanagan looked me dead in the eyes, “Coach Contadino, I commit to you to find a way, every day, to make deeper connections. Not only within the Naked team, but within the school and my community. I’m open to any standard you set as my coach. I expect it to be beyond my comfort zone, yet something you see in me that I can achieve.” He held out his hand to me and we shook.
“Chris, you’re on. Let’s meet before school at the strippers’ entrance and I’ll set the standards.”
“Done, Coach L.” Chris’s grin was infectious.
Becca took my hand, looked me in the eyes, and said, loud enough for everyone else, “Sweetie? Help me out. Explain coaching, commitments, standards, and such. Obviously, you and Chris understand it from sports. Help the rest of us.”
God, I loved her. The Invisible Woman has definitely come out of hiding! I kissed her, not as hard and as long as I wanted. A quick nibble on her ear and I whispered, “thank you, my love.”
“Thank you, my love… and my coach.” She nibbled a bit and then pushed me back. “Coach, time to go to work!” She took some of the heat out it by placing the sweetest, most delicate kiss on my lips.
“As Chris pointed out, teams are formed around a purpose and a set of standards. There is one person that sets them. Every other member of the team commits to that person under the conditions framed by the purpose and standards.”
Luke Nguyen spoke up, “so, we need a team leader, a coach. Someone that has the passion, skills, and respect to make our revolution work. Okay, I’m with Chris. I’ll meet my coach tomorrow morning.” He pointed his finger at me, “you!”
“Luke, thank you. Chris, thanks.” Before I could get another word out, everyone at the table agreed. I was the coach, the team leader. We’d work out the details by tomorrow morning.
Before the two thousand pound weight could hit me in the chest, my Becca grabbed my hands. A butterfly kiss on the nose, then a hard kiss on my lips. She pushed back, got my full attention with her eyes. “Hi Coach! Lead us to your dream.”
SHIT. It is Tuesday, at lunch, and this week is already out of control. What’s next?