"You dropped your bloody tissue..." I mumbled, staring at the guy in the nurse's office. I knew him from three of my classes, actually I knew him from having lived in the same neighborhood for more than ten years, not to mention we had shared no less than three classes together since first grade. He was leaning back in the hard plastic chair against the wall with a cold compress against his right eye, he turned a blank, slate blue gaze on me and I felt my cheeks flush.
"What?" he queried, I ducked my head and pointed at the twisted, bloody tissue on his lap. He scowled, then winced, at the tissue then grabbed it and threw it into the small waste basket. "Thanks, didn't feel it fall out."
I just bobbed my head, I didn't return his gaze, as I sat a few seats away. I hunched into my baggie sweater, wondering if he even knew who I was.
"Didn't you used to throw rocks at me in fifth grade?" he asked suddenly and my eyes snapped up to his one uncovered, my face burning as the blush shot up from beneath my neckline. "Yeah, I thought so ... you didn't talk much then either."
"Sorry..." I murmured, he chuckled and shook his head.
"No biggie, that was a long time ago." he replied with a shrug, then he dropped the cold compress and I winced when I saw his right eye, and most of his cheek and jaw, was near black with bruising. He looked at me again and I cringed a little, which might have surprised him but he probably knew how bad his face looked. "So what did I do that made you want to throw rocks at me?"
I opened my mouth, then shut it with a click, which made him arch his left eyebrow. I almost told him he terrifies me and always had, I didn't know why. He never raised his voice, no one had ever seen him anything but completely controlled - the girls he had gone out with all confirmed he was IMPOSSIBLE to tease - but there was something, some quality in his personality, his movements, his eyes that was enough to give me nightmares ... if it didn't also set every nerve ending to tingling and burning, making me want to run or throw myself at him. Like now.
"Do you like getting hurt?" I blurted rather than answer his question. He stared at me in surprise for a minute, then laughed somewhat painfully.
"No, can't say I much like pain." he chuckled, his slate blue eyes sparkling with merriment. "Why do you ask?"
"Well..." I hesitated, thinking I had already spoken more to him in ten minutes than I had in ten years. "Bill Tompkins and his cronies beat you up once a week, why don't you give them what they want so they'll stop?"
"Oh," he sighed as he stared off into space then he snorted in derision. "What Billyboy wants, I can't give him."
"What's he want?" he still terrified me and made me feel strange, but he didn't seem dangerous ... besides, we were in school, he couldn't do anything to me here.
"Heh." it was a strange half bark of laughter that made the hair on my neck prickle, but also sent a shiver through me. "Billyboy wants to be an Alpha wolf so bad he can taste it."
I frowned and cocked my head to the side, not understanding. He smiled and I saw teeth, my throat tried to close as I stared at his canines that were maybe only an eighth of an inch longer than the rest, but somehow seemed several feet longer to me. "High school isn't much different from a pack of wolves ... Alpha Male, Alpha Female, Beta Male, Beta Female and so on and so forth. Thing is, there are a bunch of packs all trying to coexist with limited territory. Punks, Thugs, Preps, Geeks, Jocks etc, each with their own Alphas and Betas. And most of the Alphas are clamoring to be THE Alpha of this massive, integrated pack called High school."
I stared at him wide eyed, especially since it was one of the better descriptions of going to school I had heard, and he gave a little wink with his good eye that ratcheted up my blush from tomato to painfully crimson. This time he titled his head and looked at me quizzically before shrugging and continuing to talk. "Billyboy has been declared the Preppies Alpha; the problem is he isn't dominant enough to actually keep the position without his even less dominant cronies to back him up."
"Why beat you up?" I asked, ducking my head to avoid eye contact.
"Because I scare the ever living shit out of him and I never back down." he answered with a happy laugh, I just sat there shaking in my baggie clothes.
"Me too..." I whispered to myself, he turned to ask me something but I cut him off with my next blurted question. "Why's he scared of you?"
"Two years ago he thought I was an easy punching bag, so I broke his nose and three of his front teeth." he was very nonchalant about it.
"You did that?!" I thought my eyes would pop out of my head. Two years ago he was barely 5'8" and couldn't have weighed over 140lbs, while Bill Tompkins had been well over 6' and close to 200lbs of personally trained and exercised rich boy muscle. While Bill hadn't changed much, the young man sitting next to me had, having gotten much closer to 6' tall and gaining at least 30 more pounds.
"Yep, and he's never forgotten it." he shrugged again, but he was still watching me and I tried to hunker farther into my sweater. "I know why Bill is scared of me, but why are you?"
I think my heart stopped. I think my lungs did too. It's hard to be sure since I know my brain froze in utter panic. I was saved from having to say anything as the school nurse, Mrs. Sumner, walked in with the principle, Ms. Walthour, who looked directly at the young man and shook her head. "What happened this time, Mr. Cloone?"
"Becca, I'm hurt!" he made a pained expression and clutched at his chest. "I thought we had moved beyond such formalities in our relationship?!"
Mrs. Sumner grinned at me while I stared in openmouthed shock at him and the smile quirking the corners of Ms.Walthour's mouth. She finally sighed. "Alright, Donovann, let's go to my office so you can give me another fake accident report ... light pole in the parking lot again?"
"Noooooooo that was two weeks ago," Donovann was saying as he stood to follow Ms. Walthour. "And probably won't happen again for at least three more weeks, besides..."
I stared after them as his voice trailed off, not sure what to make of what was going on, thankfully Mrs. Sumner was willing to fill me in. "The whole faculty knows that Tompkins boy is leading the beatings, but we never catch it and no witnesses ever come forward."
"Doesn't he tell what happened?" I asked, more than a little confused.
"No, sweetie, he never has and from hearing him talk about wolf packs and alpha dominance games I doubt he ever will." she laughed at my surprised expression. "Don has spent a lot of time with me and Ms. Walthour over the last two years, so we know him pretty well."
"Just tell me what really happened!" Rebecca was starting to get irate with me.
"Why?" I asked reasonably.
"So I can put a stop to this before they hurt you!" she almost shouted it, I could see the little red spots on her pale cheeks that showed up whenever she started getting angry.
"No, so you can pull them into the office and question them and have all five of them say I swung on Billyboy first and they jumped in to help him." I said in disgust, I knew that's what would happen, and so did she. "Be realistic Becca, you KNOW I'll get hung out to dry if you try to make an official issue out of it."
She sighed in frustration and slumped in her chair. "Why won't you ever back down?"
I grinned and winked at her, she knew the answer, had known it for more than a year in fact, so there was no real point in repeating it. "Why do you keep asking the same questions?"
She glared at me but there wasn't much heat to it, and the corners of her mouth twitching gave the lie away. "Because I actually like you, Donovann."
"Aww, shucks." my grin widened and I pretended to hide a blush. "I like you too, but you're a little young for me."
She laughed and it lit her face up, I just sat there grinning at her until she composed herself. "Do you want to go home, or your next class?"
"I get a choice now?!" I was kinda surprised; they had always sent me home before. She nodded, giving a little shrug.
"You have a black ey ... cheek, but otherwise you're okay."
"Well, hell..." I muttered, thinking it over. "I'll go to class, can't afford to flunk out, now can I?"
"You, flunk out?" Rebecca snorted in amusement. "I don't see that being a problem since you're intelligent enough to ace every class on the curriculum!"
"I don't like to brag..." I waggled my eyebrows. "But I was thinking more of flunk by way of missed days."
"We're covering that considering the situation." she gave me a little wink and I smiled, thinking how the first time I met her neither of us had cared much for the other. Of course that was just after sending Billyboy to the emergency room and the dentist, she considered me a thug and would have expelled me but he had thrown the first punch. As it was I got a two week in school suspension and a week after my suspension I was the one going to the emergency room with three broken ribs. I was found in the parking lot by some kids planning to skip, when she asked me what happened I smiled and said I tripped. A week later I was having Annie Sumner clean up a split in my chin when she burst into Annie's office demanding to know what happened; I shrugged and said I walked into an open locker.
Three months of weekly 'accidents' and Rebecca Walthour had grudgingly admitted that maybe I wasn't a bad kid after all, and now I considered her a friend. A real friend that would still be a friend ten years from now. She was kinda cute, too.
"Alrighty then," I glanced at my watch. "I guess I'll head to lunch then."
She sighed again, but nodded and waved as I left.
Even though it was October it wasn't all that chilly, so I was sitting outside eating my lunch and reading a book when I heard a few people cheer. Looking up I saw Donovann strutting into the quad waving to the table that had cheered his return, the people at the table were a mixed group but like him they didn't fit anywhere but with each other. I glanced back at him in time for his eyes to settle on me and wink, a shiver of fear raced up my spine and I quickly turned back to my book and prayed that no one else could see my fear.
I was just starting to put the fear aside and concentrate on the book when I heard him talking with his friends.
"We'll fuck his world, bro!" Randal Petterson was snarling as he scanned the quad for Bill, Randal could do it too. He was a linebacker on the football team and was super protective of his friends.
"Oh please, Randy" Donovann laughed, slapping the much larger guy on the back. "It was only five of them, I'm waiting for six."
"Donny, you're nuts!" Sarah Beaumont laughed, she was considered one of the school sluts, but as far as I knew not a soul knew anyone she had slept with.
"No I'm not, I just want it to be fair to them!" Donovann proclaimed, grinning.
"Dude, those assholes are gonna accidentally kill you one of these days." James Candora was shaking his head, he was a seriously bad boy and had barely escaped juvey a half dozen times in the last year. Looking at Donovann's friends I had to wonder why Bill thought it was a good idea to constantly attack him, but then nothing had ever happened to them yet.
"So, then I can haunt them and make spooky noises every time they're about to get laid." Donovann said matter of factly while taking a large bite from a carrot. Watching his teeth snap through the orange vegetable brought a vision of his teeth to mind and my heart started hammering and I thought I was going to hyperventilate. I had to stop looking at him or I would bolt from the quad, so I tried extra hard to focus on my book.
I was doing pretty good, at least I couldn't hear them anymore, and I was starting to relax when someone said from just over my shoulder. "That's a good book." and I turned to say I thought it was so far, but I froze as I found myself inches away from slate blue eyes.
"There are a couple more in the series and a new one due in a few months." he was smiling and showing his teeth again, I was starting to tremble. "You never answered my question."
"What question?!" I blurted; my voice high and squeaky with terror. He wasn't smiling now, he was frowning and it made my stomach churn and cramp.
"I can't remember ever having been mean to you, never hurt you, never even tried..." his frown deepened as he watched me, probably seeing me shaking."So why do I scare you?"
"I don't know!" I hissed as I scrambled up and ran out of the quad, three steps into the cafeteria I realized I had forgotten my textbooks. I turned to see where he was when Sarah stepped in front of me and I jumped, still rattled by Donovann.
"Hey, Donny asked me to bring you these." she was holding my books and my purse, I blushed as I thanked her. "Oh you should thank Donny, he was the one that saw you forgot'em."
"Uh ... okay, well tell him thanks..." I stammered, but she smiled and said she would. She was actually really pretty with her bright blue eyes and honey blonde hair. She waved and turned to head back into the quad and I just walked slowly toward my Biology class ... where Donovann sits behind me. I groaned in frustration and fear.
I hope he doesn't try to talk to me again...
I was sitting on my stool, ignoring Mr. Walters rambling speech about cellular something or other, just watching the girl in front of me slump over her textbook and trying to be as unnoticeable as inhumanly possible. When Sarah had come back she said the girl acted perfectly normal if a little shy and that just confused me more. Maybe I needed another opinion, so I leaned over to my lab partner.
"Hey Roni, do I scare you?" I asked as I leaned in, making it look like we were discussing something in the textbook.
"What?" she whispered, giving me that 'Did you leave your brain at home?' look.
"She seems to be terrified of me," I said, pointing to the girl in question. "and I can't figure out why so I thought I would see if it's just her or a group thing..."
"You're shitting me?" Roni snorted as she glanced from me to the two people sitting in front of us, but I shook my head frowning. "Don, if you scared me there is no chance I would have let you 'tutor' my brains out!"
I opened my mouth, then closed it at the gleam of mirth in her so brown eyes, and had to admit she had a point. "Okay, maybe I asked the wrong person ... but I still can't figure that girl out."
"On the prowl?" she grinned with the corner of her lip between her teeth and I'll admit I blushed a little but shook my head. "Just curiosity?"
"Yeah." I nodded and she looked thoughtful. "I've sorta known her since first grade, hell she lives two blocks from me and..."
Mr. Walters clearing his throat behind me stopped our conversation dead, I slowly turned and grinned up at him. "Is my class that boring, Mr.Cloone?"
"Certainly not, Tom!" I replied with a wider grin, the teachers hated it when I used their first names ... most of them anyway, but they were hard-pressed to give me a hard time since I could probably teach the classes better than they could, I knew it and so did they. "Ms. Klain and I were just discussing openings in my schedule for a tutoring session."
Roni choked and half the class laughed, Tom Walters glared at me, I just continued grinning. "Would it do any good to send you to the office?"
"Hmmm ... probably not, Tom, but you can if you want." I answered, letting my grin spread into a full-blown smile. "Besides, I've read the book four times already."
He closed his eyes, and I knew from experience he was searching for patience, he must have found it since his eyes opened slowly and then he grinned back. That was almost scary..."If that's the case, perhaps you would be kinda enough to tell us all what it says on page 237?"
"Oh, sure thing, Tom, but I'll have to back up to page 236 since the first paragraph on 237 is a continuation from the previous page on..." and off I went, Mr. Walters shook his head as I recited the topic in question from memory. About halfway through he went back to his desk and leaned back while the rest of the students stared at me. Most had no idea, but some-like Roni-knew I was a closet brainiac ... what could I say? I read everything I can get my hands on, no matter how dry it is. Mom had my IQ tested when I was eight, it was over one hundred and sixty then ... it might have gotten higher since.
Two hours later I was standing in the parking lot leaning against the fully restored 1970 Challenger my estranged, and oh so guilty, father had bought me after my stint in the hospital. I was far from being a gearhead, but something about classic muscle cars could get me nearly as excited as a willingly nude female. Not being of the grease monkey persuasion, I was glad I had friends who were and drooled at the chance to work on my baby when it needed it.
So there I was, bullshitting with Sarah, Roni and a couple girls I didn't recognize when I saw Billyboy strutting across the parking lot to his brand new Corvette. Shaking my head I turned back to Roni, who was blushing as she related my stunt in Biology and asking when that 'tutoring' session was gonna happen. I was wiggling my eyebrows at her, to the cackles of the other females, when I heard Billyboy shout "You stupid bitch!"
Our conversation died as my eye twitched and I turned to see who he was picking on now. My eyes locked on him in time to see him give my personal terror club president a shove that sent her reeling into a car hard enough that she sagged to the ground. I was moving. Sarah was yelling something, but I only had eyes for Billyboy. The object of my soon to be malicious affections saw me coming and scrambled into his car. Gunning the engine he peeled out of the parking lot in a squeal of tires. I switched targets as soon as he whipped out onto the highway and headed north, instead homing in on the girl still sitting on the ground.
"Hey, you okay?"
I hate crying, but my face and arm hurt where Bill had shoved me into the car, so I couldn't help it. I was just going to sit there for a little bit and then finish walking home, but now Donovann Cloone was standing over me with a really, REALLY nasty look on his face. He was asking if I was okay, but I couldn't speak so I just looked up at him and his eyes widened for a second then hardened as I watched. Then I saw Sarah and a bunch of other people behind him.
"Donny..." Sarah started, but stopped as he leaned down and scooped me up. My heart stopped.
"Get her stuff!" he growled and the girls scrambled to get the books that fell out of my bag while he was stomping over to his car. Veronica Klain must have known what he was doing because she ran to the passenger door and opened it, pushed the seat forward and dove in the back then pulled the seat back just as he got to the car and sat me in the bucket seat. He turned and took my book bag from Sarah, who was looking a little worried.
"I'm calling Randy and James!" she said it almost like a threat, Donovann's answer was too quiet to hear over my heart pounding in my ears and Veronica was leaning over the seat fussing with me as she examined the swelling of my cheek.
"Oh god are you okay, I mean it looks bad but does it hurt much I can't believe that asshole shoved you like that and Christ Don is going to hurt him!" she seemed as scared as I was the way she was babbling. That last part of her tirade made me frown, which hurt a bit.
"Why's he going to hurt Bill?" I asked, a little stunned. Her mouth opened and her eyebrows went up, she was looking at me like I had asked something she couldn't get her mind around. I didn't think I could get more uncomfortable, but it was happening. Bill had hurt me and Donovann was scaring me more than ever, my heart was trying to decide whether to just stop working or finish hammering it's way out of my chest. Just then Donovann got in the drivers seat, slamming the door hard enough to rattle the windows as he cranked the engine.
He let it idle for a minute, and I swear the car was going to die the way it loped and rocked, then he slammed the gas pedal down and the engine screamed to life like some insane beast. Heads turned in the parking lot and a few cars that had started backing out of spots stopped dead. I was bracing myself, waiting for him to squeal out like Bill had, but instead he hit the shifter and eased out and turned toward the highway. He stopped and watched traffic for a second.
"Buckle up." he said and as the tab clicked into the lock he gunned the engine again and I was slammed against the seat, Veronica squeaked as she was tossed around a bit, as the car ripped out onto the highway heading the same direction as Bill. Seconds after he got the car pointed in the right direction he hit the gear shift again, then again seconds later and the engine seemed to scream louder and louder as we passed cars like they weren't moving. I looked at his face and my stomach churned harder at his expression.
God I'm gonna be sick...
The supercharger, blower and full racing cam were giving me my dad's money's worth today as the speedometer clicked up to 85mph and continued edging toward 90mph. I was fuming and I was planning a serious beat down on Billboy when my cell phone started playing Bodies by Drowning Pool, that was Randal's ring tone so I guessed Sarah had called him. I reached out and flipped the cell open in it's cradle and hit the speaker button.
"Yes, Randal, I'm going to stomp a mud hole in Tompkins' ass." I spoke through gritted teeth.
"Fuckin' A!" he yelled through the phone and I could hear his truck revving in the background. "James and Bobby are with me and we're fuckin' ROLLIN'!"
"Gimme the goddamn phone and drive Randal!" I heard Bobby Vindel shouting just before his voice came fully over the speaker. "Donman! What the hell happened?! Sarah was babbling like a goddamn loon!"
"Billyboy decided I wasn't fun enough so he shoved Cindy Kamrel into a fucking car." I snarled as I whipped around a red Lexus moving at a snails pace.
"Goddamn!" Bobby shouted. "Who could hurt that cutie?!"
"She can hear you, Bobby." despite my anger, I had to smirk at her wide eyes and massive blush.
"She's in the car?!" he exclaimed, his next question was clearly directed at her. "How bad did that asswipe hurt you, sweetstuff?!"
She was stammering something and getting redder by the second so I stepped in to rescue her. "In about an hour we'll look like mirror twins."
"Goddamn that asswipe!" he shouted, something he was really fond of. "I'll rip his balls off for..."
"Found him!" it was my turn to shout and Bobby stopped talking, Cindy jumped while I started breaking and downshifting, cutting across lanes to the outskirts of the malls parking lot. I glanced in the rearview and saw Randal's big candy apple red Dodge Ram barreling down the highway toward us. "See me?"
"Hell yes!" Bobby answered and then I saw Randal changing lanes also. "See you soon!"
The connection died and I flipped my phone closed as I turned into the lot then screeched to a halt twenty feet from Bill's car. I noticed he had a few friends with him, there were a few other people around that stopped to stare as I got out of my car, yelling. "You got a big fucking problem, Billyboy!"
He and four of his five cronies laughed. "That a fact?"
"Yeah, seems you have another dentist appointment." his face scrunched in something close to fear, then moved to hate and they all ran at me as I came around the car. Good, I get self defense with all the witnesses watching! I thought before I doubled over as someone punched me in the gut, then slammed me against the passenger door. I heard Cindy and Roni scream, then I heard a grunt and realized it was me.
"Goddamn!" it was Bobby's personal battle cry and then he was wading into Bill's friends like the Tasmanian Devil with Randal and James playing wrecking crew right behind him. I grabbed Bill by the shirt and slammed my forehead right into that goofy, startled look and saw blood shoot from his mouth as his fell back, but I wasn't letting him get away that easily. So I kicked him square in the nuts then put my knee right in his grille as he doubled over. He hit concrete like a wet sack and I turned to see Randal with two guys in headlocks.
James had another's arms in a nasty looking joint lock that was making the guy bawl like a baby, while Bobby was on another's back beating the back of his head and neck as the guy tried curling into the fetal position. The last one had actually stayed by his car when the others rushed me, I stared at him. He shrugged and leaned against his car, I walked slowly over to him.
"I got no beef, man." he said when I was ten feet away. I stopped and looked at him.
"Then why are you here?" I was a little skeptical.
"My brother needed a ride." and then he pointed to one of the guys Randal had dropped, which where both unconscious due to lack of air. "He's an idiot and has shitty taste in friends."
I laughed and extended my hand to him. "Donovann Cloone."
"Andy Mitchum." he said, giving my hand a firm shake then pointed to his brother, still laying on the ground. "My brother is Tim."
I nodded and leaned against the car next to him and listened to the sirens approaching.
He really didn't back down... I couldn't help the thought as I watched a paramedic put a bandage over the cut on his forehead. The guy-Andy- Donovann had been talking to, the only one to not attack, was talking to the police, as where several other witnesses. Bill had tried to say Donovann and his friends had attacked them first, but Andy laughed and told the cops he was lying through his busted teeth. The other witnesses confirmed it and when Donovann pointed to me a large cop came over and asked me to step out of the car, then swore when he saw my black eye.
Then Bill really stepped in it when he yelled that he shoved me because I scratched his car, four cops looked at my face then turned and looked at him like he was bug slime. Then the Sheriff, Big Randal Petterson, pulled out a cell phone and made a call.
"Dan, it's Randal." I heard him say, and Bill's face went smug as he glared at Donovann, so I guessed it was his dad. "Yeah, I'll see you for golf on Sunday, but that's not what I'm calling about. I'm afraid you might need to pick Bill up at the station." he listened for a second, then. "No, he very well could be having multiple assault charges filed against him."
Bill's smug looked drained away like water in a desert as Randal's dad continued talking to his. "In his own words he shoved a girl into a car for scratching his, then he and four of his friends attacked a young man in full view of no less than seven witnesses. Sure, Dan, he's right here." with that he turned to Bill and handed him the phone. "I believe your father wants a word with you, son."
"Dad?" Bill said as he put the phone to his ear, then winced as everyone in earshot heard Dan Tompkins yelling at his son through the cell phone. "But I..." the yelling got louder and his face paled, finally he quietly said."Yes, sir." and handed the phone back to the Sheriff.
I watched the Sheriff grimace into the phone and start to say something but Donovann was walking toward me and my flight instinct was taking over, I couldn't see anything but his slow, easy gait as he looked at me. He must have seen my expression because he frowned, and then he was in front of me.
"You okay?" he asked, leaning down a little as I looked up at him with saucer like eyes. Sitting wasn't so bad, but with him standing over me like that it really struck home how much taller he was than my rather small 4' 10" height. He tilted his head, looking into my frightened eyes, then sighed and shrugged. "Guess this didn't help with that whole terror thing, huh?"
I wanted to say something, I really, really did, I even opened my mouth with words ready to come out, but a kind of strangled squeak is all I could manage. He snorted and leaned against his car beside me. "Yeah, I guess a long lasting, deep seated and completely unreasonable fear like that doesn't just disappear."
I bobbed my head and hunched into my sweater so he couldn't see my face blushing AGAIN and I heard him sigh. I wish I knew why I was so scared of him, too. He actually seemed like a pretty nice guy, except for the fact his presence made my blood pound in my ear and I felt like I would hyperventilate any second. He turned a little and his hand brushed my arm, I bit my lips to stifle a scream while my nipples throbbed and heat pulsed between my thighs.
"Uh ... sorry..." he mumbled and edged back from me a bit, he must have seen my body jerk at the contact.
God I really hate this...
I was still a little weirded out by Cindy's reaction, I mean come ON! It was the back of my hand on her arm! But she acted like I was about to punch her. She had ridden in the back on the way to file the assault charges against Bill, I wasn't going to file any charges until Big Randal mentioned witnesses, so I did. Afterward I drove Roni and Cindy home; since Roni lived two houses down from Cindy it made sense. Pulling up in front of Cindy's house, Roni leaned forward with the seat as she opened the door and Cindy scrambled out like she was running from a rapist.
"Bye!" Roni called out the window and Cindy stopped, turned and actually smiled at her, then she caught my eye as I waved and she bolted for the front door. Roni turned to me in surprise. "Wow!"
"I told you that girl is terrified of me!" I commented as I shifted to first gear and motored slowly to her house.
"And you just totally defended her honor and ... stuff..." she was laughing now, her eyes sparkling with mirth.
"Yeah, whatever." I grumbled, avoiding looking at her.
"You did!" tears were leaking from her eyes as she doubled over. "Big strong man saving the helpless little damsel in distress!"
"What the hell are you talking about?" I barked as she literally cackled.
She was slowly calming down in the face of my scowl and apologizing for laughing at me; finally composed she looked me right in the eye. "Seriously, the way you just picked her up and hauled ass after Bill was just..."
"I would have done it for anyone." I said with a shrug, looking straight ahead, and it's true. I would have done it for any girl, I had in fact done it for my mother when a boyfriend decided she was hittable. He quickly found out she wasn't and I had the baseball bat that made sure he understood perfectly. "I'm old fashioned, guys don't hit girls."
"Yeah..." she got quiet, just looking at me, then shook herself and changed the subject."So you going to that Halloween thing at school?"
I gave her a look and she snickered, knowing I avoided school functions like the plague, besides I had plans. "You know I'll be with Sammy."
"Oh!" her eyes got wide and she smiled as she remembered, proof that she had forgotten, then she grinned at me. "Such a good big brother!"
"Mom has to work, and it's our thing." I smiled; it was a tradition since I was ten for us to go Trick or Treating around the neighborhood. I had wondered if she wouldn't want to this year since she just turned thirteen a few weeks before, but she had already asked what I was wearing. She wanted to coordinate costumes, so I was in a pretty good mood over it. Except I had a week to come up with something to wear. "Hey, Cindy seemed to like you, see if you can find out what her deal is, would you?"
"I guess I can try..." she looked hesitant, but she nodded as she was getting out of the car."You sure you didn't put gum in her hair or something?"
"Yeah, in fact she was the mean one in fifth grade." I started, but glanced at my watch and saw it was almost 6:30 already. "Shit, I gotta go!"
Roni waved as I cruised away, heading home and I pulled in just as mom was heading for her car to go to work. I pulled along the curb and she came over and leaned into the window. "Randal wasn't kidding, it does look bad." she scowled as she examined my black cheek. "But if he's right I doubt you'll be coming home black and blue anymore, will you?"
I grinned and shook my head, rolling up the windows and getting out. She met me at the trunk for a quick hug. "You'll tell me the whole story tomorrow?"
"Totally, did Sam eat yet?" I asked as I walked her to her car.
"Nope, waiting on the master chef to make dinner." she smiled. I could actually cook, and mom couldn't, it was a little strange but funny too.
"Okay, have fun at work." I watched mom pull out and then headed into the house, where I was attacked for the third time that day. Only this time it was four barely teen girls begging for food. This attack I liked and could easily deal with. "Okay ladies! How long do we have?"
"All night!" Sam giggled, then rolled her eyes when I looked at her in confusion. "It's Friday, Don!"
With everything that had happened, I had forgotten it was Friday, actually I had made plans with Sarah, Randal, Bobby and James for tomorrow night since mom didn't work. But that was tomorrow, and tonight my plans where a bit of cooking for a sleep over. "Okay, its Friday, what do you want to eat?"
"PIZZA!" the cry wasn't deafening, but the four girls shouting all at once was still pretty loud, and I let them troop me into the kitchen. Times like this I was glad Aunt Kate had insisted I learn to cook since, as she put it, mom could burn ice water. It helped that Aunt Kate was an actual chef, so she took it upon herself to teach me over the last three summers. While I washed my hands, the girls danced around the kitchen and grabbed ingredients, all of them having a good time.
Mom didn't notice my black eye and dad just frowned a little and went back to watching TV, so I just went to my room and shut the door. A few minutes later mom yelled that dinner was ready, but I wasn't even remotely hungry, I was still way too worked up from everything that had happened. Hell, I wouldn't be surprised if everyone around could smell the fear sweat soaking through my clothes.
I pulled off my sweater and bra, slipping on a Steriogram t-shirt, as I went to sit at my desk and took my diary out of the top drawer. Though to be honest it isn't really a diary, it's more like a journal of Donovann encounters. I've been keeping them for six years and I write anything remotely related to him in them. Overheard conversations, glimpses of him at school or the mall ... and the dreams. God I think those are the hardest part, like I can't get away from him even in my sleep.
Maybe I'm a little obsessed ... but I want to know why I react like I do, and the only time I can actually think rationally about it is here in my room, where he can't see me, can't get to me. Not that I think he's going to come after me ... well, I don't think it anymore. When I was little I did, and I woke up screaming a few times after I first met him at school. I WAS six, but still my mother sent me to a shrink that said I had developed a phobia and put Donovann as the source. True enough, I guess.
I avoided him, except when he tried to talk to me, then I threw rocks at him and he eventually stayed away so everything was just fine. And then I hit puberty at twelve ... oh how fun THAT was! Not only did the very sight of him make me want to run screaming, but NOW it made me tingle and burn and throb and ... god I hate this. The dreams got worse too.
No longer was he just the boogeyman in my nightmares, oh no. Now he was a rapist, a lover, a monster ... and no matter how terrifying the dream, I had to shower to get the reek of arousal off my skin. Arousal, I thought as I shook my head, waking up with a small pond on my bed might be a little more than aroused ... and still I have no clue why. That's all I want, I just want to know WHY!
I would have been fine if things had stayed as they were, him not noticing me. We would graduate in two years, then I would go off to college and he would be out of my life, if not my dreams. That's not going to happen now, I can feel it. He's interested in me now, wants to know why he frightens me ... damn, maybe he can figure it out cause I sure as hell haven't been able to.
I blinked as the phone rang, I didn't answer since it was just an extension and was probably for da...
"Cynthia?" mom called through the door. "It's for you."
I was suddenly afraid. Had Donovann decided to call now? I really didn't want to find out, but mom would bug me to tell her what was wrong if I didn't talk to him. So with a severely shaking hand I picked up the phone and brought it to my ear. "H ... hello?"
"Hi, Cindy, it's Roni!" came the brightly cheerful voice of Veronica Klaine and my breath whooshed out of me in relief. She waited as I yelled through the door to mom that I had the phone and then she started chattering at me like we were best friends.
"Did He put you up to this?" I asked and I know she could hear the scared little quaver in my voice.
"Sorta..." she knew who I was talking about and she hesitated before continuing."Don just wants to know why you're ... why you seem scared of him..."
"I told him I don't know!" it wasn't loud, but it had heat and fear giving it weight.
"Well, okay then, I'll tell him again!" she sounded a little huffy and I was about to hang up. "Cindy?"
"What?" I wasn't feeling very friendly toward her just then.
"Doing anything tomorrow?" she asked quietly, and I was stunned, too much to speak at least. She must have taken my silence as anger because she rushed on with. " I was thinking we could go to the mall tomorrow and do some shopping or just hang out, you know?"
"Why?" I blurted, surprised at the question.
"Well ... forget it, sorry. I just thought ... nothing. Sorry." she sounded kinda dejected and I felt bad cause it seemed like she was actually being nice.
"No, I'll go." I wasn't sure why I said it, but maybe it would be fun. "This better not be a set up for Him, though!"
"Oh no! I swear it's not!" she was back to being bubbly and cheerful. "I like Don, but not that much!"
Maybe this won't be too bad...
"Cut it, cut it, cut it!" the, apparently, starving girls were chanting as I pulled the pizza out of the oven and grabbed the pizza blade. No wimpy pizza cutters in this house, only a shop style pizza blade that I expertly wielded on said pie. I had barely finished when the girls descended and eight slices disappeared in a heartbeat. Good thing I make a big pizza, I thought as I stared at the last 2 pieces.