Tilting at air-conditioners.

Tilting at Air-conditioners.

I heard this a lot y’know. “You’re so pretty and talented you should be a cheerleader!”

My Name is Stacy and I live in hell.

Well not quite hell but out here in the suburbs it’s kind of the same thing. I’ve even sort of grown up in hell.

Mom’s a housewife and that’s all good and everything and Dad works in a bank and we’re well off. Even with that whole banking thing we’re still kind of rich, definitely upper upper middle classed. See Dad was the quarterback of the high school team and he was that guy that was the sports star and hero. My dad’s not a hero he’s a lucky jock.

See Dad took our team to regional’s the county then state and he was going to college on a scholarship. He had a high school job selling cars because he was grandfathered into the good ol boys club and he made commissions and started then. Add in a full ride scholarship he went and took business in college where he met my mom and moved here.
He got a job at the savings and loans and then he bought the car lot and the spray and wash place where you do your own cars.

Dad’s not smart, he’s not he’s really lucky he could throw a football. I know way too much about football stories of him in his glory days.

Ick…

Mom’s even worse. Mom’s from Tampa Florida and was a cheerleader and a sorority girl and even worse a one of those beauty pageant girls she went all the way to Miss Florida and came in fourth but she still have lived and gotten by on her looks, it’s her, it’s the way she thinks and it’s her way of life.

And she’s always wanted it to be mine.

I was born with the curse of being blessed with great genes.

I know boo hoo poor me I look pretty and I’m beautiful and I’m practically Barbie. I was raised in the whole world of girly girl, hell even before I was really aware I was a girl. I mean you do get a clue by the time you’re still really little but while I was young I was a pageant kid.

I’ve never had the pressure off of being pretty, of acting a certain way of being a certain way because.

“Stacy, you’re a winner and that’s how winners act.”

But I’ve never been free of the curse you know because if I don’t get it at home I get it everywhere else and as much as I hate it and stuff. It’s like what I know.

Dammit I just used like in that bimbo way I hate that.

I’m actually smart if that’s okay, I know it’s not socially acceptable. Oh it’s okay to have good marks and stuff but Girls are supposed to get math or like chemistry or physics.

No wait those are for the regular girls the girls that aren’t pretty.

There is so much pressure expected of being pretty and you have to be this way. And it’s non-stop too. I’m surrounded by it, soaked in it except for my few refuges. My online stuff where I can play someone else but I have to have it all hidden by passwords because of my so called friends. These girls are so bent…actually driven to make themselves top of the heap they’ll take any chance to climb over you.

I did it too in junior high before this all started to get to me. My saving grace for getting out of it is that I don’t do that stuff at all saying. “Please Mean Girls is like old and come on really spreading stuff that might not be true, that’s just so…Gossip Girl.”

Honestly it works. Being bitchy and condescending that them being backstabbing little bitches is old and untrendy actually works.

God It’d be cutting myself into a scared mess if I didn’t get the psychology behind it.

But I guess things changed when I met Jessie.

……………………………………………..Two weeks ago.

It was one of those days when you really never expect anything to ever happen I was shopping with the girls in the mall and having a good time and we had lots of really cool buys when we were heading to the elevators and he came walking out of an Orange Julius and he just walked to the elevator and cut us off.

I mean he just walked up there and then he saw us coming and he didn’t move? And he’s not rich, not part of the in crowd actually I wasn’t even sure if he even went to our school and the doors open and he walks into the elevator.

Mandy Tower is less that pleased and neither in Lucy Franklin. I’m wondering if he’s new or nuts because unless you’re cool enough to hang with us you certainly don’t ride an elevator with us or cut us off for that matter.

It’s like the rules, you don’t follow the rules that society sets out bad stuff happen to you. Lucy’s boyfriend Zack for one he’ll thump this guy to an inch of his life for this. I look him over and say. “Hey you, you got to move y’know this is our elevator.”

He looks at me, and the girls and he takes the straw out of his mouth and looks like he’s going to say something and he just puts the straw back in his mouth taking a long loud slurp and giving us the finger with the hand holding the drink and the doors closed.

WTF?

Did he just give me the finger?

It was like I said something and he just blew me off.

But that’s not the way that the world works. The way the world works is you have those of us that are in the upper part of society and we’re the winners. If you’re not one of us you either pucker up to get ahead too or get out of our way and do whatever the sheep do.

The sheep don’t give the wolf the finger?

We have to wait for the next one because we soooo don’t do the stairs or the escalators not in these shoes. I look for him when we got off and we don’t see him but the girls are looking too all the way to the food court where we meet up with our guys.

Lucy is having a total bitch fit about the guy to Zack who’s getting madder and madder because you insult his girl you’re insulting him. “I’m going to kick that little fucker’s ass!” he says and that gets the other guys pissed including Trent my boyfriend.

Trent’s okay…good in the sack I think, he’s like only my second guy I’ve been with but he’s got cash, a nice car, nice clothes and he’s on the basketball team so he passes parental approval. It doesn’t hurt that he’s kind of cute but…

He doesn’t get me anymore than anyone else does and I’m still kind of alone even in a relationship.

He gets the Stacy that everyone else see’s but not the real me.

I hate that I’m this insecure about myself that I can’t be the real me but it’s hard and I just want to get through this until I can maybe go to college and meet someone smart, maybe with lots of money that’s reasonably cute and move away from here, far away from here. Maybe he’ll be smart enough I can stop acting.

I’ve almost opened up to Trent once but he thinks a lot of the things that I like are stupid or useless. Just like everyone else.

We leave and the guys drive around looking for the guy but we don’t find him.

…………………………………………………..It was three days later I saw him in the crowd at the away game that Trent was playing at and he was sitting with a couple of these geeky losers and this girl there that was way too pretty to be as dressed down as she was. It just took me a few glances to get pissed at her though. She was easily as good looking as me but she had her hair comfortably loose but just styled to be relaxed and she was wearing a army jacket with a zip front hoody over a guys t-shirt that still showed off her boobs pretty well and she was wearing Chicago Bulls sweatpants, no socks and sneakers…..and she was eating whatever she wanted to it seems and she was laughing and having a good time.

She was free and honestly I couldn’t get why. If you look a certain way then they will make you fit in the place that they see you in. You either do that or you hide who you are and try to look ugly. Because if you’re not ugly they won’t leave you alone…you have to fit in their circle because you’re “Too good, too pretty” to hang with the losers who aren’t.

I hate that because that’s my life and how the hell does she get away with It.?

And he was sitting with her and so were a couple of other losers. Well loser in this case like this guy means a geek, most of them weren’t built or buff, some had glasses and they had long hair and these band shirts that I don’t really know and stuff. They’re that kind of rocker/metal head geek types. Y’know between the nerd and the goths and the stoners while being more that likely a mixture of all three.

The guy in question…Mr. Finger’s a good example. Five eight, long dark brown hair, glasses and about a hundred and fifty pounds of scrawny nerd boy. He thinks he’s cool or fooling people by wearing this t-shirt of some loser band called “Big Country” and jeans along with like deck shoes.

He’s not afraid of the people that are there on their side of the court either he seems to be sort of friends with them?

I mean I don’t see them doing the same shit that usually goes on back at our school.

It doesn’t throw me from cheering or the other girls but the whole thing really bugs me and Lucy see’s where I’m looking and as soon as there’s a break she moves into our part of the stands and tells Zack.

…………………………………………We all skip changing after the game and get into the cars with our guys to follow there assholes after the game and they end up going to a mall and getting out to go and eat at Burger King and we get out of our cars and Zack takes out a football from his car and throws it at that Finger guys hitting him with it the head knocking him down.

Ow…

Hey he should take what he deserves; you have to play by the rules in life one way or another. Either you just do it or life will make you do it.

Zack stalks over. “Hey you little shit, where do you get off telling my girl to go fuck herself?”

He kicks the guy in the ribs and one of his short geek/punk friends doesn’t back away like he’s scared instead he goes right up fast to Zack and punches him it the balls!

Ow…

Or so I hear.

Zack doubles over and this guy that hit him is like five foot four and has his hair died blue but has serious geek glasses shoves Zack away to the ground and stands there with both fists clenched and actually says. “Okay, who’s next?”

And the others of this geek squad are lining up like they’re going to fight the guys too?

Are they nuts?

Then finger guy gets up and shakes his head to clear it from the football hit and he looks at us and at me and Lucy then at me, then at Zack. “I didn’t say shit to your girl asshole; I gave that stuck up princess the finger when she told me to get out of a public elevator just so her and the bimbo squad could ride down in style and without sharing it with the likes of me.”

Zack get’s up swinging at him. “I don’t care, you gave Stace the finger and the other girls too and you don’t get to get away with that shit without taking a beating.”

He get finger guy over closer to us and Trent steps up and kicks the guy in back of the leg and he goes down and they’re both going to mash the guy so I grab Trent’s arm. “Trent no, just leave it!”

“Stacy shut the hell up and get out of the way!” he shoves me aside and I trip and I fall.

Ow…

Asshole!

Then the weirdest shit happens.

Finger guy is now got Trent and Zack but Roger one of the boyfriends of the other girls trying to circle him. He yells “Dan! Sword!” and the short guy runs to their car and takes this old car antennae taped hard with hockey tape to a screwdriver?

Dan slides it to finger calling out. “Jessie four o’clock!”

Jessie gets it in his hand and as soon as he does Zack’s on him and there’s this fast whipping sound and Zack staggers back with a shriek and seconds later so does Trent and Roger as this Jessie guy just kind of jumps them and they actually fall over each other to get away from him.

He ends up getting Trent up against his car and he has the car antenna under Trent’s chin like…well like a sword or a fencing foil and he’s looking at my boyfriend who’s a lot bigger than him like he’s a piece of shit. I can see red lines of welts forming on Trent and likely the other guys.

“Apologize to your girlfriend asshole, there’s not good reason in this world for you to shove her like that.”

Trent looks at me and puffs himself up sort of and gets red in the face but doesn’t say a word to me. Then he won’t even look at me…this isn’t my fault…

Jessie sidesteps Trent and he offers his hand and I take it and he pulls me to my feet. “Sorry, you shouldn’t have gotten hurt, you shouldn’t have been so stuck up but you shouldn’t have been hurt.”

“I…I…” He stands up for me…he helps me up and then he’s calling me stuck up?

“Hey, it’s okay.” He turns from me backing toward his friends who all took steps closer as this whole thing was going on and everything…the same kind of kids run in fear from us at our school this…it’s like the twilight zone. “Jocks, Jockettes? Are we done here?”

Zack spits and stumbles forward like he still wants to fight. “This ain’t over you little shit’s we’ll be back and we’re going to…”

Dan the little blue haired dude with glasses that had just mixed it up with him steps right up while Zack was mouthing off and belts him in the face and staggers Zack back blooding his lip. “If it’s not over big man then it’s not over, let’s settle all this right now and skip you guys tracking us down and jumping us in groups like you guys usually do.”

Zack backs off even though he makes two of the Dan guy and looks confused. We’re all confused really because this stuff doesn’t happen… right?

And I know that Trent’s going to be an ass about this.

And I know that they’re all going to be asses about all of this.

It’ll be my fault for getting in the way of their fight and they were worried about me and that’s why they lost and it’s like a psychic vision.

I can see the tidal way of bullshit and passing the buck until I’m the scapegoat and they tear me apart socially.

I open Trent’s car door and get my gym bag and my purse and run over to Jessie and them. “Can I get a ride back with you guys?” I shoot Jessie this pleading look. He moves and takes my hand and pulls me out of the way of Trent trying to grab me as he’s snarling. “Stacy what the fuck do you think you’re…ow! Fuck!”

Jessie brought that antennae don’t on the hand Trent was going to grab me with hard. And hid other friends step around me like their protecting me? But…but…I wouldn’t give these people the time of day back home…?

Trent yells as he’s backing off. “Fine! Keep the bitch!”

Bitch!?

I’ve only ever been decent with him and he’s calling me a bitch…

The good looking girl with Jessie moves me back further as I’m crying because this is confusing, scary and he hurt me twice…once when he pushed me and now… She actually wraps her army coat around me leading me towards Burger King. “He’s not worth the tears, he isn’t if he’s pushing you one day he’ll be hitting you sooner or later.”

……I…oh?

(Sniffle.) “Thanks I’m Stacy.”

“I’m John. Nice to meet you.”

“John? Wait you’re a guy?” I’m staring, no how, no way…

“Usually but I felt like I wanted to be a girl tonight so I am?”

“But…but…?”

“Yeah I know my butt’s pretty rocking tonight right.” He…she…he’s smiling and…I’ve never met anyone that’s LGBT before even though we have them at our school I’ve always sort of avoided them because well…because it wasn’t cool.

Already she…he…she’s better than my other Girlfriends none of whom came to see if I was okay from when I fell down. None of them are seeing if I’m okay now…I look at them and their leaving and two of the hangers on ass kissers are with Trent telling him something consoling and getting into his car with him.

It’s already started.

I just watch now from inside the Burger King my so called friends driving away and leaving me here with these people who aren’t like anyone that I’ve ever met….I’m starting to shake from everything that went on and the emotional impact and to be honest my social cowardice is kicking in big time.

I’m in the middle of a bunch of strangers and I really don’t get them.

I have the feeling that I’m one of those people that “they” don’t have much of a use for.

But John actually leads me over to one of the bigger tables they have and sit’s me down. “Hey, okay it’s going to be okay Stacy.”

“I…I don’t…”

“Here.” I look up and Jessie’s there and he’s got a handkerchief I take it and wipe my eyes with it and sort of try a weak smile at him.

“I’m sorry? (Sniffle.) I was kind of a right complete stuck up bitch to you at the mall…I’m sorry that it all went nuts and got out of hand.”

Jessie’s looking me in the face actually staring me in the eyes and not in that romantic way but….intense, kind of scary, not like he’s trying to scare me but like he’s looking at me…well sort of like you get stared at by a cat. It’s so strange actually having a guy look you in the eyes just because he’s looking you in the eyes.

Heck that’s strange because where I’m from at all because not just the guys won’t look you in the eyes but the majority of the girls too. Now that’s because most of them are not really your friends but they’re your “friends” if someone can get by another person by sabotaging them or undercutting them so much the better.

Oh yeah there’s so times I hate my own gender.

Guys aren’t much better but they let things go a lot more and when they’re staring at you it’s usually because of them undressing you with their eyes or thinking things like what they want to do to you or you to do to them.

But Jessie is looking me in the eyes like he’s trying to figure out who I am or some thing and that fake, social climbing, popularity seeking skin I’ve grown over the years doesn’t like it, like I said it’s scary.

“It’s okay, it didn’t really get that nuts, and it was actually just about what I’d have expected from them.”

“And me?”

“Yeah…kinda.”

“I kind of come across as a spoiled self righteous bitch huh?”

“Yeah…kinda.”

What…? I mean honestly what? Guys are supposed to be all nice and tell me stuff like Aww no you’re not…

Honesty…actually.

I was acting like that because that’s the way that everyone I’ve every known in my life acts. My Mom, My friends every one I grew up with has treated me like a princess that was supposed to act like one.

Another thing that I’ve used a lot and hated deep inside. When you’re pretty, when you’re one of the attractive people…there’s not a lot of stuff that’s your fault. Especially if you’re a girl. I’ve done that, lived it…used it. And I don’t know about other people but if I actually thought about it I could feel that slowly making me a worse and worse person.

But Jessie.

He was just honest with me.

And it hurt.

“I’m…I’m sorry I’ll get out of your guys’ way and call a cab to go home.”

“Okay but why so soon?”

“But you just said that…?”

“And I used the past tense. Look you got something in there that had you walk away from them and their typical high school wannabe bullshit. You go home now and all you’re going to do is get upset because of what just happened and what you’ll spend the rest of the night fending off calls and watching them tear you a new one of Facebook until you want to slit your wrists.”

“But I mean what should I be doing then?” He’s right though that’s exactly what I’d be doing if I went home. I’m almost itching to look in and check my page and my tweets on my phone. Right now I’m going between that and feeling sick about what might be there already.

Jessie looks ay me, rolls his eyes. “Look hang out with us and I’ll make sure that you get home safe and sound. Hey you might even have a good time.”

There’s really not much of a decision to make. I’m more than ready to admit to really not wanting to be alone right now and with Trent and the guys actually hurt from the scrap none of them will be in a mood to forgive me.

And my phone is still screaming at me. It’s like it and the stuff on it and my texting and everything is all tecnomanifested in the thing like all my shit and insecurities given life and tied up into an addiction.

I want to check it soooo bad.

I know he’s caught me looking at it.

“Go ahead, check it.”

“But, you said I was going to get all mopey and obsessed about it.”

“No, I said you’d do that at home. There’d just be too much temptation to get all obsessed about it. You might as well know now what they’re saying about you.”

I check it and it doesn’t take much to get me upset and crying. They’re saying things like I was cheating on Trent and sleeping around with both as far as they’ve been saying Dan and Jessie but who knows who else and that I instigated the whole thing with the fight. That I jumped Trent trying to get him hurt by gang member boyfriend.

Oh yeah they didn’t get their asses handed to them by the geek squad that I’m with no…now Dan and Jessie and the others are like gang members. That Dan on hurt Zack as bad as he did was from cheap shots and when he was going to kick his ass Dan had a knife.

But they’re already starting with the lies. About seeing me doing drugs, or coming out of someplace that I thought that I wouldn’t be seen doing or trying to hide that I was doing the walk of shame.

And my close friends… Well they’re trotting out stuff that I had said or actually done putting this spin on them like so I come out looking in the worst possible light….

I knew it was going to happen but it’s hard to breathe and my heart won’t slow down and…and…

Jessie turns my head and he kisses me.

Kisses me!

Kisses me……. Oh…oh…well….really, really…good kisser…strong and in charge but tender and soft while he’s doing that over and over…he breaks it once to say.. “breathe.” Before kissing me again.

Panic attack….I’ve had them before…hell not unheard of in a lot of teens really when you add in all that social pressure and stuff. Sometimes you can’t help but to feel your world crashing in on you.

No one in my life has ever kissed me out of one before…

“I…I uhm…I didn’t say you could kiss me.”

“I didn’t have a paper bag handy sorry you were having a panic attack.”

“Yeah…uhm..I…uhm…”

“You say that word a lot.” He smiles at me as he says that and out of nowhere Dan’s there saying. “She does like that word.” Then Jessie looks at me with this Spanish accent and says. “I…I am not sure that that word has the meaning that you think it is meaning.”

And I can’t believe that they are quoting one of the most beloved movies of my life. I love The Princess Bride and my folks have no clue that it’s as great a film as it is to them it’s a proper girly princessy movie.

I can’t help but to actually say. “Inconceivable!”

And we all started laughing.

Not just the three of us but all of us because we all got it and I was in on the whole geeky funny sort of thing and….

I got to laugh, just laugh at something that I thought was funny.

We end up actually leaving and heading for this place called Rusty’s. It’s out in a neighborhood we’d usually never head to because well there’s nothing there that’s popular so before now I’d never go there.

And I go bowling for the first time in my life. And the guys are just having a good time, there’s no macho super competitive thing going on where they have to show each other up and there’s as much cheering and laughing at the screw ups and stuff as there are for the good shots.

Dan is just funny as heck all the time and he’s a smart alec too. He’s also really smart and he…well all of them don’t dumb anything that they’re talking about down for me but I’ll have to admit. I really don’t speak geek and there is a whole lot of stuff that they are talking about that I get lost about because I really have no idea what the heck they are talking about.

I sort of hang with John who translates for me and explains stuff too. Anime, manga, TV shows that I’ve never heard of and movies that I’ve never seen and likely would never have heard of either if I hadn’t met them.

Role-playing games are apparently not stuff that you do in the bedroom or you do if you’re lucky according to Johnny.

I honestly like Johnny and to be there and watch her do her thing all dressed up you would know that she’s a he unless she told you that she was a he like they did.

Scary thing is Johnny is actually a lot better at being a girl that a lot of the girls that I’ve known for most of my life. She’s funny and smart and giggles and can toss out a sassy quip as fast as she can toss her hair and she skirt slides in and out of the seats just like she’s been doing it all of her life and it didn’t even hit me that she went to the bathroom with me and did her thing and we retouched our make up just like any other two girls would and she never did anything.

She wasn’t a sex freak about it or anything and she was just…normal.

It so showed me again that I really don’t know anything about stuff in the real world or outside of my social circle. And part of me was really expecting her to be like a pervert and stuff.

I actually have a good time despite me having social anxiety freak outs over my phone and stuff and what’s getting said on Facebook and stuff.

Jessie looks at me and he takes a drink of his pop while Dan’s stealing his onion rings. He takes out his own phone and starts taking snaps of us and asks. “Anyone here got the fight on camera?”

Some one called Nick and Donnie said that they both have it and Donnie said he’s already got it up on You tube and stuff.

“W..what?...” I stammer out.

Donnie who’s this shaven headed black skinny kid looks at me. “Yeah…Look Stacy the first rule to surviving the Mongul hordes of teen age popular thugs is to travel in numbers.”

Nick chimes in with some of the others even and says. “Tape everything.”

“But…” honestly I don’t know what to say. I mean this shows that they were all being major dicks but that they got their asses handed to them and once they find this out that it’s online they are soooo going to hate me.

“Oh…oh…god…oh god…they’re so like going to hate me…”

Jessie sits beside me. “Yeah well that’s their loss they want to dump a friend that easy them maybe they aren’t really your friends to begin with Stace?”
(Sniffle-sob.) “No…No they’re not!...I don’t have any friends!”

I can’t help it I fall apart again and I start to bawl and I guess it’s just instinct, girl programming but I’m crying soon on Jessie and lie the skinny odd sort of knight in geeks clothing kind of way.

………………………………………..I get shaken awake by Jessie not really remembering at what point it was when I had fallen asleep but my head’s under his jacket and resting on his lap while the rest of me was curled up on top of the bowling alley bench seating.

The lights are going off and I can tell they’re closing the place up. “Hey Stacey c’mon we have to go.”

“Huh… (Sniffle.)…d’wanna…carry me?”

“What?”

(Sniffle.) “Carry me…”

“You weigh more than I do…c’mon you’re legs are broken.”

I weigh more than…

What!? I mean he’s not supposed to say that….you don’t say that to a girl...he should carry…

And….I mentally catch myself because he’s right…and I just slipped into the whole tired and whiny girl that I’ve become and I hate it, I hate that I know that I’m not really like this inside but at the same time it’s me…who I somehow managed to get programmed into being.

(Yawn.) “Sorry…for a minute I slipped back into before everything happened.”

“Yeah….well, I actually like you a lot better Stacy when you’re acting like a human being.”

“Me too…I sit up and blink…okay let’s go…where to next.”

“Well it’s late and I have a weekend job so how about home?”

“My place or yours?” I’m only half joking. I really am not looking forward to me going home.

“Uhm…yours.”

“But you kissed me?”

“Seemed like a good idea at the time.”

“Uh…huh…right…” How I feel about it and we all head outside to get into our cars and I’m shivering because I’m tired and I get cold when I’m tired plus it’s late and it’s chilly anyway.

I usually sit in the front passenger’s seat but Johnny pulls me into the back seat with her and she’s shivering too. It’s so strange to see her as a guy. She sort of snuggles with me and leans ahead to tap Dan. “Hey we’re freezing back here a little help.” He looks at Jessie and Jessie looks at him and they do that nod…guy secret language thing and take off their coats and they pass them back to us to use as blankets.

“I’m so not used to this…”

Johnny snuggles into me and nods and fights a yawn of her own. “Yeah the guys you were hanging out with were jerks.”

“Yeah but are all the guys at your school like them?”

“No, but since Jessie moved here two years ago things have been different.”

“How?”

“He does what he says and he keeps his word and he holds himself and others to this higher standard.”

“Why?”

“It’s just Jessie. He’s this RPG geek and yet he takes things seriously even though he’s like the strangest person that most of us had ever met.”

“RPG?”

“Role-playing games, no not the bedroom stuff but like Dungeons and Dragons and other stuff, he reads comics and fantasy books and…”

Jessie looks back at us from the mirror. “I believe if we can write people that hold themselves to a higher standard that we should be at least be able to try ourselves.”

I look at him. “You are the weirdest guy I have ever met.”

“I revel in my weirdness. I’m different and not the least bit ashamed at being so.” I can see he’s sort of joking with the whole topic but there’s something else there too like this light? Fire there…passion.

I’m not used to passionate people. Home my crowd we’re not passionate about anything unless it was clothes and shopping and events like prom and stuff like that but even then it was that stab you in the back fake friendly stuff.

Jessie looks like he means it and wow…slender/skinny with long brown hair and glasses and these hazel eyes…there’s something right there in those eyes that is alive?

I’ve never seen that in people I knew…

He blinks and looks at Dan. “But we’re all a little like that right bud?”

“Oh yeah we’ve all gotten infected with you and your craziness Jess.”

“Crazy? What are you talking about Sancho? You don’t see the giants out there?”

“Dude we’re pretty far from any windmills.”

“Than I don’t have any choice then…I shall have to tilt at air-conditioners then.”

I’m confused. “Tilting air-conditioners?”

Dan looks back at me. “Tilting at windmills.”

“Uhm…I don’t get it.”

“Tilting, jousting…”

“At windmills?”

“It’s from Don Quixote.”

“Oh…wasn’t he supposed to be crazy or something?” I think I heard about him in like honors English or something.

Jessie starts to chuckle like a crazy person. I kick the seat a bit but I’m smiling because I kind of get it now, maybe sort of get him…yeah…he doesn’t give a shit about how things are supposed to be or what others think things are supposed to be so…yeah…

Here in the suburbs and stuff, not going with the status quo…He definitely tilts at air-conditioners.

And it’s kind of brave that he does that.

And I think I really like that.

………………………………We pull into my house and despite it being late the lights are all on and Jessie get’s out of the car and helps me out of the back seat. Johnny get’s out too and she gives me this great big hug and holds it a few extra seconds. “You need anything you call me or text me and I’ll be there.”

“Thanks Johnny…it means a lot.” It does because I actually believe her when she’s saying that.

Dan gives me a hug. He’s short so he’s kind of at boob level and he holds it there and he lets out this long wistful sigh that makes me blush and push him away. “Hey…perv…” He just grins at me. “I’m vertically challenged Stace I’ve no choice to embrace all the pros and cons of my destiny.” God I love his grin, he’s got this expressive smile that lights up where he’s at and just goes with him being funny and awesome. That goof-ball grin fades and he looks me in the eyes. “Seriously Stace, call.”

(Sniffle.) “Yeah I will.”

Jessie walks me to my front door and that’s kind of nice and before things can happen or not happen my dad opens the door.

“Stacy…who’s this?”

“Dad, this is Jessie.”

“Nice to meet you sir.” Jessie offers my dad a handshake. Dad looks surprised because I’m not sure if Trent had ever called him sir before.

They shake and dad’s got this look like he’s giving Jessie this hard macho hand shake and Jessie just looks him in the eyes as the shake hands and I can see my dad getting a bit thrown off by this. Dad’s a jock, Trent’s a jock there was this thing there between them and I’ve heard my dad talk and laugh about the geeks when he went to school.

Geeks don’t do the alpha male thing.

Jessie…I think just unhorsed him or something.

“So where do you know my daughter from?”

“We met awhile back at the mall but we really hadn’t interacted until tonight.”

“Oh?”

“I wasn’t going to let her ex-boyfriend get away with treating her like garbage.”

Yikes…there the truth out in front in a hurry. He’s not the least bit afraid or like worried?

“Trent was treating her like garbage? I was under the impression that he was a nice guy, plays on the varsity basketball team.”

“Good for him sir, he can run back and forth and throw a ball. But I think somewhere along the line he should’ve picked up you don’t go around shoving girls.”

“He shoved her?”

“He wanted to fight me over something stupid and she tried to stop the fight.”

“And he shoved her.”

“Then he got verbally abusive and stuff. I can give you the You-tube address.”

“Huh…”

“Oh, it’s on tape.”

“How’d that happen?”

“Habit with my friends.”

“Habit?” he’s staring at Jessie hard and Jessie is staring right back at him. I’m not sure what’s going to happen because…just…I mean this is my dad and no one acts like this with my dad…they usually well…kiss his ass.

“Oh you know the types, the overly macho good at sports types who think because they’re popular they can get away with murder…we’ve learned a long time ago that they are that brave and they are that tough when they don’t outnumber the not-cool people and are actually pretty scared when there’s proof that they’re not nice people.”

God he said it at…at…my dad who’s well an ex-jock like it was a challenge…

“Jessie…enough okay…” I put my and on his chest to sort of stop the fight…or whatever is going to happen from happening between me and my dad and…

I have my hand on a boob…it’s an a-cup but it’s definitely a breast….

Uhm…WTF?

Jessie has boobs?

Is Jessie really Jessy?

Dad looks at him. “Sure here, e-mail me that video.” He passes Jessie/Jessy his card and he heads inside. “Don’t be too long Stacy.”

I look at Jessie and he…she? Looks at me and then down at my hand…

Instead of taking my hand away I step in and set my other hand on the other breast and look at them. “You are crazy…no one’s ever talked to my dad like that before…ever.”

I…I moved my hands a bit kind of rubbing and I…I’m not even sure why I mean I’m not a dyke…but…

I like them…guy…girl…somewhere in between…it doesn’t really matter…does it?

Jessie bites their lower lip and their nostrils flare with that big breath…it feels good thing and looks at me.

“He’s one of them…or he was…I think your father’s perfectly aware of the kind of assholes that he used to run with…and might be seriously thinking more of does he really want his little girl around guys like that.”

“Really?”

“Yeah…” Jessie nods, but has that look like…god I sort of know that getting your breasts touched look and I can feel the nipples these really hard and stiff little points under my palms and mine are as hard as little achy diamonds….and whatever this is…I’ve never been this turned on…”damp.” In my life…

The I’m not sure who started it but then we were kissing and we kissed until…until someone in my house was flipping the light switch off and on and we parted ways and I went inside.

Mom’s looking at me and she looks like she might have been going to freak out on me for screwing up things with Trent but her eyes are teary red and she doesn’t say a word just heads back to the den where dad’s at and she sits beside him and looks at the computer screen and I can hear the voices from earlier tonight and both of them are watching and just after I hear me make a painful yelp that I don’t remember making they both look at me.

Mom has fresh tears coming down her face…dad looks like that too and wanting to hurt someone.

He says with that holding back tears voice… “You should head up to bed honey its late…we’ll talk in the morning.”

I nod…and pull Jessie’s jacket around me some more. “I want to transfer schools…I don’t want to model, I don’t want to be a cheerleader…Guys…I just want to breathe…I want to be me…”

I look at them.

They look at me and I lock eyes with them…they nod almost together. “Okay…okay Stacy…”

That was the first time that I ever took the chance and had the courage to tilt at my own air-conditioner.

…………………………….. I reach over across the long table in the cafeteria and start stealing some of Dani’s fries as she’s adjusting her gel -boobs under her green lantern logo tee-shirt. She’s still short but really cute when dressed. Like Johnny she does it whenever she hit by the urge. I love my group, I love that we’re weird, I love my Firefly t-shirt and that I’m wearing it to school. I’m smiling at the three cheerleaders who had come over to draft me for the squad here. I eat two out of the three and feed the third one to Jess.

“And that’s how come I’m going to school here and how me and Jess got together…so you girls can sort of get why I’m not into the whole cheer thing anymore. Besides I‘ve just got too much on my plate with classes and catching up on my reading and gaming so thanks but maybe some other girl okay?”

I smile and finger wave good bye to them as Jess leans over and kisses me.



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