We picked most of our names before we discovered our superpowers. Minerva White, Diana Green, Venus Red, Juno Violet--
Whatever, today, apparently, it’s Juno Purple.
Coughing to clear my throat.
You can’t make an ahem noise?
No gag reflex.
So, yeah, the first four and there’s also Eris Black.
I’m still pissed off she gets the Greek name. I wanted Artemis from the beginning.
Well, I liked Minerva over Athena and so did Michael. Venus had that Sailor Moon thing going for it. What were we going to do: have a Minerva, a Venus and an Artemis? It didn’t seem right.
Yeah, that’s why we forced Juno on her. But then, just because Michael attributes his first erection to no-gag-reflex’s double D’s, we throw the whole naming scheme out the window. Poof! Eris.
In fairness, we all agreed Discordia sucks.
I didn’t agree to that.
We gave you Purple over Violet. How about you let someone else get their way for once?
So, yeah, over five weeks we became a team of kick ass superheroines. Named for ancient Goddesses and wielding magic weapons with superhuman fighting skills, we--
I don’t really know if our powers are superhuman, just that we became experts as we acquired them. If we had worked really hard, had the diet and exercise right, maybe we could get--
I stopped a speeding car with a wooden shield.
I don’t think it’s technically wood.
Yeah, and I nearly broke my ribs on my airbag. Thanks, bitch.
You want me to kiss and make it better?
Michael does, if he’s watching.
Prudes ... I don’t need him to be watching.
So, yeah, superhuman warrior goddesses with magical otherworldly powers fighting strange and incredible monsters for truth, justice and the cis-white male patriarchy way.
You’re only saying that to rustle my jimmies.
You’re only saying rustle my jimmies to take the piss.
You’re only saying take the piss to--
I’ll slap you both. Slap you through a wall.
You couldn’t hit me. I was never here.
I’m surrounded by idiots.
More accurately, you’re walled in on two sides by idiots.
Thank you for the clarification.
It’s important to be technically right. That way the lawyers can’t get you.
Anyways, I’m telling the story because Minerva White--
I’ve always liked the Color Goddess naming scheme.
That’s because Black Eris still sounds badass, but Green Diana and Purple Juno sound stupid.
Maybe that’s because I am the badass and--
Diana’s the badass.
OK, that was one--
I killed a dragon from the inside.
It was just a really big snake and any of us could have done that if we’d gotten swallowed.
She killed a dragon from the inside.
Fucking shut your harpy mouths! I knew Michael first. I was transformed first. I fought the first perversion. I’m telling the first Goddamned story if I have to skewer all of your Goddamned tongues on my Goddamned magic spear!
Fine, jeez, put it back in your skirt.
It is a spear but, more accurately, javelin might better--
Run! Every Goddess for herself! Juno’s the slowest, trip her and the rest of us might make it!
“Don’t throw your brother off cliffs!” The things I had to yell at boys continued to bewilder me. The pirates, my brothers, were 10 and 11 and under my watch for the day. Honestly, I’d have rathered hole them up in the rec room and watch them play X-Box than trek back to the river. Yet, after three times being called a bitch, two broken cups and one fist fight, it was time to make them play outside.
Behind our backyard, there was a woods. We lived at the top of the subdivision and it was woods for miles. A river, normally clear but quick, cut a shallow ravine along the back of the neighborhood. We were skidding down the muddy slope to reach it. Spruce and birch trees scraggled up out of the mud as we zigzagged down to the water. The cliffs weren’t large drop offs, they were more like boulders, jutting from the hillside. Eddie jumped off after Roger who had rolled, soiling his windbreaker, and had kept running down. I sidled and skidded a couple more feet in my sneakers. Should’ve worn my boots.
“Trapper! Wait!” I turned my head at his voice, just in time for his dog to dash by my knees. I wasn’t touched, but I stumbled as the black lab mix chased the pirates. I stepped quickly to the left, grabbed a tree trunk to keep my verticality, and hopped because I wasn’t stopping. My feet, thankfully, found hard stone. I pulled my hands back, sticky with sap, and wiped them on my jeans. I hit a rip and grimaced as I dragged that stickiness over the skin of my leg.
“Jan, are you alright?” He lived next door to me, must’ve been just back after his first year at college. I figured, hoped, expected, or decided that he’d grab me and steady me but he just stepped up beside me and kept a friendly distance. I smiled. He smiled.
“I’m alright,” I nodded. He had grown shoulders since ... September? I hadn’t seen him when he was back for Christmas break, had I? “I better go get the pirates.”
“Well, they’ve recruited my dog,” He looked ahead and then back to me, “Walk you down?”
“Oh, you’ve majored in manners at college!” I joked nervously but he smiled.
“Yeah, it was either that or engineering,” he shrugged. “I wanted something that’d get me a job.”
“A working man, huh?” I flirted, my cheeks afire. Fuck, if I started giggling, I was going to punch my face.
“Precisely,” He laughed, he blushed a bit too. Good. I heard the body hit the current with a major splash and we had to go after my brothers. The fastest way down the hill was to break every bone in my body. I preferred the jackrabbit hopping from boulder to stone, slower but it was the safest path. Michael, reckless boy, just jogged down. His winter boots kicking the soft mud all about him.
Luckily, Trapper was dragging a stick out of the river back to Eddie. The dog playfully fought when Eddie tried to take it from his mouth. Roger threw a rock into the water and, at the splash, the dog shook his head trying to decide which game to play.
“The current gets fast downstream, so don’t throw anything beyond those rocks,” Michael directed. The boys listened. Jerks. The three of them. I forced my smile down to friendly from manic.
“OK, Michael,” Eddie grumbled and stumbled back as Trapper opened his mouth and loped over to us. I leaned down to pet him and he shook off the river water all over my sweater.
“You’re wet.” Laughed Michael.
“Yeah,” I said in good enough humor. The river water was cold, unsurprisingly. It was late April and down here there was still a little bit of snow waiting to melt into it.
“Fetch!” Shouted Eddie and Trapper was off after another stick. I shrugged at Michael and he shrugged back. I walked over to a dry boulder big enough to bench two and sat down.
I had known Michael for all 18 years. I was in my last semester at high school and he was off at college. My sister and his brother had dated, but we had never really connected like that. Maybe because we weren’t in the same grade? Maybe we had very different friends? Maybe we never talked? I liked him well enough, I thought, to flirt with him. I wasn’t much of a flirter. Michael was just easy, I guess. He was looking down at my legs. My legs in my baggy torn up jeans, there wasn’t much to see. I probably wouldn’t even have thought of it that way if I hadn’t been self conscious about the pine sap I had rubbed into my thigh.
“C’mon Eddie! It’s my turn!” Roger was growling as Trapper splashed back into the river after the stick.
“Let your brother have a turn--” I didn’t mean to shriek but Michael had reached between my legs and under the eave of the rock. I overcame the reflex and kicked out to the side and not at his ribs.
“Jan?” Eddie looked over and swore his four letter word, “Girl!”
I lifted both feet up, bouncing my knees and kicking aside some gravel as Michael pulled back a fat leather bag from under the rock.
“You alright, Jan?” He looked up for a second, squatting right between my knees.
“Sorry, you startled me,” I felt his arm bump my calf as he pulled the bag out and stood up.
“So long as you’re sorry,” he said and I nodded before I realized he was joking. The bag he had found was a backpack but it looked homemade. It had been stitched with a thick quarter inch strip of the same brown leather as the rest of it. It was one pouch, shut by a flap over a gut, and tied closed with another quarter inch strip looped around some sort of large predator fang. Michael was holding it by the strap and the bag swung back as he loosened the tie. It seemed to vomit in the way it fell open. Colored balls fell out.
“Ah, crap...” He muttered and went left to grab the red one which had rolled the farthest. I skidded off of the boulder. The backs of my sneakers scattered rocks and gravel back into the recess under the boulder. I squatted down and grabbed the white one as he stuffed a yellow one back in the bag. I climbed back onto the bolder. Michael, holding the bag more carefully, sat down next to me.
“And this one too,” I offered and yelped again. It wasn’t the same shriek. My fingernails were white. I hadn’t painted my nails since ... tenth grade, really? That seemed too recent. I wasn’t much of a girly girl. I pulled back from the bag and clutched ball in my hand. It was small, hard like a pool ball, but not quite as large, I think.
“Um, you have my treasure,” he tutted. His eyes said he was worried. I forced myself to be calm and if he smiled back the way I smiled at him, I might’ve lost it.
“Hey, it came from between my legs,” I clutched it to my chest, hoping a joke would settle my nerves, “My treasure.”
“Great, I’ve always wanted to be a treasure hunter,!” He laughed and I blushed again, this time his cheeks went first though. That felt good.
“There’s a whole bunch of balls in here.” He said turning back to the bag. I was startled by a fat crack and glugging splash in the river.
“Roger if you throw rocks, Trapper can’t fetch them!” I snapped at my brother. I took a deep breath.
“There’s also a stick,” Michael announced drawing out a slender cylinder of wood, “Looks like a magic wand.”
“Oh--” I was turning to him when I moved my nose straight into a flick of the wood. I hopped backward on my butt, more startled than hurt.
“Bippity boppity boo!” He laughed, “Hey, how’d I miss that?”
“Miss what?” I asked but he flipped the stick around in his hand with a little toss.
“This little strip of white,” he pointed to a round ridge of enamel near the bottom of the wand. The whole stick was a couple of inches longer than a foot, the enamel section just wider than an inch. The same white was on my fingernails. The same white color of the ball. I squeezed it in my hand. I licked a dry tongue in my mouth. I was about to talk, but he barreled on, “I don’t get it. That little spell was supposed to give you a magic dress. Turn your brothers into horses or something. Where do you even get a pumpkin in April?”
“Maybe you’re not much of a fairy godmother?” I guarded myself with a smirk.
“Oh, yeah, smart. I should be a wizard!” He grinned evilly. I leaned back, holding myself up with my far arm as I held the white ball in my lap with the nearer one. He pointed the wand at me, “Cruci--Wait, shit no. Um...”
“Wait were you trying to use a forbidden curse on me!” I was hurt! “That’s the pain thing that broke Neville’s parents.”
“No,” He shook his head, “I was trying to remember the other one.”
“Avada Kedavra?” I raised an eyebrow.
“No, the mind control one.”
“The Imperius curse,” I smiled.
“Right,” he bopped my nose again, “Imperio.”
I raised an eyebrow. He waved the stick upward and I hopped to my feet. He laughed, spun the wand, I gave a twirl and then he waved me back down. I was on my butt again. We were laughing our asses off.
“Nice stick,” Eddie made me jump. I hadn’t heard him walk over, “Making my sister play fetch too?”
“We’re working up to it,” Michael joked. I glared at Eddie.
“You can play with us, Michael,” he glared back. “We don’t get boring.”
“And what if I like playing with your sister? Can she come play too?”
“No, it just means you’re ready for a nap, old man,” Eddie rolled his eyes and ran back over to Roger and Trapper. The younger one was losing a wrestling match with the dog.
“Don’t pull his ears!” Michael warned. Eddie flashed back a smile and slid across the mud to help the dog pin his brother.
“You going to leave the boring girl to play with the pirates?” I grinned at Michael.
“You kidding, I’ve just magicked an 18 year old girl into my control,” he laughed. “Where else would I be?”
“Well, I better state the rules then,” I dropped my voice a little as my cheeks flared again. “You can’t raise the dead. You can’t make someone fall in love and--”
“I can’t kill anybody?”
“What no? I’m down for murder. I’d be offended if there wasn’t a body count. Just no, uh, no regime changes.” I struggled up something silly and it worked, by his snorting laugh. His nose was cute. I looked away, saw my nails, and turned back to him.
“You’re a shit genie,” He poked me with the stick again, this time in the shoulder of my zipped up hoodie. A ripple rushed all around under my skin.
“So what are you going to wish for?” I flicked my eyes at the pirates but they were not paying attention to us. In the boldest, sexiest voice I imagined I could use, I whispered: “Let me guess, your own naked little love slave?”
“No, don’t be crass!” He rolled his eyes. Butterflies practiced MMA in my stomach, “I was just going to get like 587 blowjobs or something standard like that.”
“Oh! Is that all?” I dug my elbow into his ribs, “C’mon, dream big at least.”
It would’ve been so brave to suck his dick right then! Really surprise him. Surprise me. I felt tugs on my lips. But I was not going to kneel down in the river mud while my brothers were just twenty yards away. I had visions of it though. A weird feeling of pride in myself for wanting to, and of disappointment in not doing it. My girlfriends had told me about several blowjobs in dripping gory detail. I swallowed reflexively. He smiled. I smiled.
“Jan, I’m glad you’re around,” he settled back on one hand. “Do you--”
“Ed--” Roger’s shriek was followed by a splash and my brother was in the river.
Oh! Little prissy princess! You had sap on your fingers, were afraid of a little mud, and wouldn’t suck a dick! Waa, waa, waa.
Didn’t. Not wouldnt. And, fuck off, there were kids there. C’mon!
OK, so you have one excuse. But you sound like a coward virgin. Had you ever ever even kissed a boy before Michael?
Yeah, like three.
Three? Who? Your Dad and your two grandpas?
No! Boys from school. I’d been on dates.
Dates? Wow. Big girl over here.
Oh, what were their names? Were they cute? Did they wear glasses?
You have weird taste.
It’s almost like pomegranate.
That’s not what I meant. But yes, you taste like pomegranate. Should I recommend my gyno?
No, we should let Min tell her story. I never knew about the bag.
What? Please ... It’s hanging from his bedpost and I know you’ve been there.
I didn’t notice it. I’ve only been to his house the one time.
Really? But you’re his widdle wuv goddess...
We’ll get to you guys when we get to you. I am trying to explain this thing.
Yeah, but what’s with the will they, won’t they, high school romance shit? Get to the perversion!
May I please tell the story?
Can I continue to make fun of you?
Probably not, you have a bit of difficulty with words and, you know, concepts.
I have a gun.
“Hey do you have water guns?” Eddie asked as we dragged the unharmed but wet and filthy pirates up the hill. I had been going home to force them into showers and everything. Michael gestured to his basement doors with the wand in his hand and we all started moving to his house.
“Yeah, there’s a bunch in the basement and some towels and stuff,” He looked at me, “Mom was in the kitchen baking, hopefully, cinnamon buns. Or do you need to take the pirates home?”
“Uh,” Trapper trotted around my legs. As soon as he was in front of me he shook out his fur. I managed to quickly hop backward and avoid wet dog spattering over my jeans.
“Please!” Pleaded Roger I could see his excitement for playing something new overtaking his momentary rage at Eddie.
“Yeah, we’re not going to get any wetter, anyways,” Eddie growled.
I wanted to deny him just out of spite. I wanted to ground him for pushing and throwing his little brother around. I couldn’t enforce it and Roger was eager himself. I had slipped the orb into my sweater pocket and was stroking it. Michael had the bag on his shoulder. Maybe we should’ve left it for whoever stowed it in the woods? “OK, but so long as you boys get cleaned up before dragging your filthy clothes around Mrs Samms’s house.”
I was mostly clean, my sneakers, beat up and ancient as they were, and the socks inside them were gross but other than a bit of sap on my jeans I was in good condition. I almost wanted to go home and change but I didn’t as Michael opened the back gate into his yard. I smiled, about to head through but the pirates and the dog stormed past me.
“Do you mind saying hi to mom for me and telling her about these?” Michael waved at my brothers. He settled his hand on my elbow after a twitch.
“Oh, sure,” I nodded, “But what about--”
“No worries, the basement can survive brothers,” He laughed. Roger watched him, right at his heels, as he hitched Trapper to a long leash hooked to a roller on the clothesline. I had never seen it hang clothes, “I’ll be up shortly.”
Eddie just opened the basement doors and climbed down the steps. I shook my head and went to the back door and knocked as the boys disappeared into the home. Mrs Samms arrived a few moments later.
“Janet! Darling, what brings you over? Did Barbara need something?” Then Trapper zipped across the yard behind me and caught Mrs Samms attention, “Is Michael with you?”
“He just took Eddie and Roger downstairs. We were down by the river while he was walking Trapper,” I turned back and waved at the dog. He wagged his tail. “They’re a mess. He said he was going to lend them squirt guns or something.”
“He went for a walk in the woods, did he?” Mrs Samms was laughing, “Come on in, he’ll be up shortly.”
I squatted down and untied my shoes on the back mat. I usually just kicked these off but I usually wasn’t being watched by a grown-up.
“You don’t have to leave them outside, there’s a rubber mat by the radiator to dry them off,” She gestured. I picked up my shoes and followed her in. My socks squelched. I blushed embarrassed at her looking down. I didn’t match my socks. I was purposefully wearing one white and pink swirl and one yellow batgirl print. She just smiled as I took them off and laid them on the radiator, “Now come on, let’s go be barefoot in the kitchen.”
Mrs Samms was wearing mom jeans and a sweater. Her a-little-too-dark hair was tied back from her face in a short ponytail. She was actually wearing slippers.
“We don’t see you too much lately,” She grinned, “I loved what you did with your hair.”
“Thanks,” I had cut it short, chin length, in February. I really liked it, though I’ve been told it made me look young. “Yours is...”
“That’s OK, it’s just a bit boring today. You can always just compliment my butt or something.” She fluffed out her ponytail with a smile. “You’re just about finished school, yes?” She roundabouted on my laugh into that polite humoring conversing way adults do at teenagers. The kitchen smells hit me just past the back porch. It was divine.
“Um, yeah, just two more months of high school really.” My mouth watered.
“You get into the college you wanted?”
“Yeah, um, well, yeah,” I shrugged. “Dartmouth.”
“Wow, smart girl!” She grinned. “I bet you’re just following the track then? Zombie through the last classes. I remember senioritis. I skipped more of that final semester than I had in the twelve years before.”
“I’ve never skipped classes,” I blushed.
“That’ll make it easier to get away with. I was always getting into trouble back then.” She winked at me, “But, in my defense, Keith Radding had a car.”
“I don’t really hang out with anyone with a car.” There were a stack of cinnamon buns half on a cooling rack and half still on the cookie sheet. She slipped on her red wine themed oven mitts, grabbed her spatula and started moving the rest over.
“Michael’s got access to my Civic most afternoons,” she announced loftily. “But that’s neither here nor there, we were talking about you.”
“It’s a great topic, full of derring-do and adventure,” I joked.
“That’s what I like to hear!” She grinned and then needled, “So how are the parties this time of year? You got a boyfriend?”
“Not really much of a party girl.” I was feeling defensive even though I knew I didn’t have to be, “And I guess a few of my friends have been trying to set me up with someone for prom.”
“Let me guess, all the boys are either geeks or idiots.”
“I like geeks.” I rebutted.
“Ha!” She grinned. “I was into jocks. Football players, baseball players, hockey players, two swimmers and even a gymnast. Way too many jocks. Married a geek though.”
“Really?” I laughed. The more of a whore she hinted at having been, the sweeter she seemed.
“Sure,” she chuckled. She waved to her pile of baked goods. “Let them cool for a few minutes. They’re Michael’s favorite. Figured it was the only way to get him to stay close to home for an hour to catch up before he went chasing down his friends.”
“They smell so good.” I wasn’t a big fan of waiting.
“Thank you.” She set the cookie sheet into her empty dishwasher and dropped the oven mitts next to the sink.
“Um,” I thought for a second, looking to the basement stairs, “Does Michael have a girlfriend?”
“It hardly matters, Janet. In four months he’ll be heading upstate and you’ll be flying across the country,” Mrs Samms grin was too warm for that concept. She stage whispered at my ear, “Don’t worry about him having a girlfriend.”
“Oh,” I mumbled, frightfully disappointed. “I guess.”
“Four months, then you have to say good-bye,” She shook her head and looked me in the eyes, “You’d have the urgency to do whatever you could and none of the worries about way into the future.”
“But you said--about his girlfriend--I--What?”
“If he has a girlfriend,” she shrugged, “And I haven’t heard anything about one, that would be her problem. You’ve got four months. Wasting seconds would be your problem.”
“Are you saying?” I turned wide-eyed towards the basement stairs. Roger was saying something loudly but I couldn’t really make it out. I wrapped my arms around myself, “I couldn’t be like that.”
“Come over here, Janet,” She told and I stepped towards her. She picked my arms off my torso, “I have a feeling you’re the kind of girl who can be whatever she wants to be.”
“Thank you,” I figured was a proper response.
She lifted my chin. She tilted my head, looking at my eyes, my mouth and my skin. Mrs Samms settled her hand on my left shoulder and reached for my sweater’s zipper. I was horrified when she pulled it down.
“That’s a cute bra.” It was a lime green one with a bit of lacey scrolling on the cups.
“Thank you,” I blushed.
“But do you really need it?” She lifted her eyebrow. She smirked so full of herself. I moved my mouth silently, way before the words found me.
“Ah!” I scowled. She just waited looking me in the eye, “I, yes I need it. I’d be poking straight through the sweater without it.”
“Heaven forbid! Imagine what the boy would think of you?” She covered her mouth in faux-shock. She was laughing at me. I scowled and tugged my zipper back up.
“What if he thought I was, you know?” I was talking to a mom, I didn’t want to say slutty but it took me a breath or two to think of a more friendly word, “Easy?”
“In four months he gets on a bus and you get on a plane. Do you have time to be difficult?” I saw my toes.
“You’ve been a good girl, right?”
“And that’s got you into a great school,” she said with genuine pride. “But now you’re set for four months. Do you know what being a good girl is going to get you?”
“It’s going to get you through another unimpressive summer,” she warned me. “I was a bad girl. The worst girl. I made some of the greatest mistakes of my life when I was your age.”
“That sounds terrible,” I figured that was the right response.
“Well, I didn’t have your brains,” she shrugged. “If you don’t make any mistakes, you’re just going to be the good girl, in the good school, with no good stories.”
“You’re smart, you’re much prettier than you know,” she smirked.
“I mean, I guess I do look like Susan, but--”
“Susan didn’t look like you do when she was your age,” she laughed. “ If you follow in her footsteps you won’t just be breaking hearts, they’ll be piling up at your feet.”
“That’s a kind of a gross mental image,” I smirked.
“Really? What kind of shoes are you imagining?”
“Um, something strappy, spattered in blood from the still beating hearts,” I tried to chuckle.
“That’d look great on you,” she beamed. “Here you are. You’ve got four months. Think of all the things you haven’t tried. Do you drink?”
“Marijuana, we’ve already established you’re not an idiot,” she rolled her eyes.
“OK, I was really into cigarettes and mushrooms at your age,” She grinned, “I wouldn’t recommend the cigarettes. Haven’t had one myself since the boys were born. I’m still quitting.”
“OK...” Was she telling me to do mushrooms? Where would I get mushrooms?
“Missing the point, don’t do drugs stupidly.” I guess I was wearing something beyond shock on my face. “I tried to find myself a torrid summer romance between high school and college but well, I wasn’t really someone’s idea of a summer long girlfriend.”
“That’s sad,” I frowned.
“It was, right after one boy and until right before the next,” she kept finding new ways to smile bigger. Handing off boyfriends all summer long? Oh my God! I couldn’t imagine. “But you’ve got a very different future spreading out in front of you. I think you’d be all set for a little romance.”
“Well, so long as it’s torrid,” I smirked.
“Now you’re catching on,” she grinned, “But, if you’re interested in Michael. You’re going to have to expect he doesn’t know what you’re thinking. Boys have this kind of brain where they don’t know you like them unless you tell them ‘I like you.’”
“Those idiots!” I laughed.
“Now he is my baby boy,” she warned me. “I want to protect from any of those horrible evil girls who only care about themselves.”
“Um,” I felt like the conversation has turned.
“I couldn’t imagine him with the kind of girl who might sneak in the back door that we leave unlocked at night and smuggle herself into his bedroom. The kind of girl who calls him up between high school classes promising to ditch school to go park somewhere secluded for a few hours. The kind of girl who’d go to the bathroom and ditch her bra under the towels so he’d see her poking through her little sweater knowing that she could literally control his every thought for the rest of the day. He’d be beside himself! It’s too much to imagine really. I don’t know what I’d do.” I was blushing at all of her absurd premises as she approached her purse on the kitchen table. She took out five twenties and laid them on the table. “That kind of girl would just take money off of her neighbor’s table and take her youngest boy down to The Clock for milkshakes to figure out if a great summer together is something he and she might want.”
She whistled as she turned away from the table at the sound of the oven beeping.
“But, uh,” I tried to catch up with her. I couldn’t believe an adult was talking to me like this. “I have the pirates, and they--”
“Oh, Janet!” There came that big smile. “It’s a beautiful sunny day. How about I watched Edward and Roger? I mean you’ve only got so many lazy Sunday afternoons left before you go off to college. It’ll give me a chance to catch up with Barbara when she gets home. We don’t talk enough, you know?”
“Dad’ll be home first.” I looked down at the bills on the table and reflexively fingered my bra strap. What the hell?
“Oh, Teddy? Maybe I’ll have my own torrid summer romance.”
She smiled a beautifully sarcastic smile. I was thinking about all the things she had said. I wanted something I guess. And despite how over the top and beyond me everything she said was, she made it sound fun. I was certain I would chicken out, then I heard the boys step onto the basement stairs. I dashed to the bathroom.
Jesus, his mom is a worse perv than he is!
I can’t believe I did that. It must’ve been because of the wand.
Or, you liked the cute boy who stalked you in the woods.
Oh, please! Don’t tell me you think he walked his dog into the woods just when you happened to go in with your brothers? Seriously, she’s the dumb one.
I prefer the badass.
Was this the light gray sweater with the frayed drawstring in the hood?
Yeah, that’s the one.
You poked through that! Your fucking nipples. If you could put them on her tits and onto her frame with my face. Wow.
Why’d you leave me out?
I’m not into feet.
That doesn’t happen, right? We don’t have some sort of Megazord form.
And there goes her badass privileges. She’s now, officially, the dumb one.
I’m more than envious that Mrs Samms was cool though. I mean, she wasn’t like that for me when I was dating Trevor.
Dating? You were practically engaged.
Don’t remind me.
She hates all of you, you know.
Oh, yes we do.
“They’re nice boots,” Michael was still sucking on his burnt fingers as I ducked in and out of my front porch. I should’ve changed. Instead, I had thrown aside the mudcaked sneakers and grabbed knee high boots. All I needed was to run up to the bedroom. Clean shirt, nicer pants, complete shower, shave my legs, throw on some makeup, hire a butt double, cure cancer, start a colony on Mars. I knew I’d have stopped, paralyzed, at my closet worrying over which bottoms with which tops until I felt the need to scoop out my brains and put them in the trash where they belonged.
“Thanks,” I grinned, “Yours look heavy.”
“So where’d you want to go?” He was hard to read, passive. He did look at my tits again. Jesus Christ, some people’s mothers. Was I going to have to sneak my bra back from his place later? I had been worried about doing my calculus homework. Life changed quickly.
“There’s The Clock or the gas station,” Without a car, and Mrs Samms hadn’t offered her keys, we lived way too far from town to do anything, “Did you want to huff gas?”
“We’re on the same wavelength,” He laughed, “Scary.”
“Yep,” I grinned as we started down the hill, “I haven’t gotten milkshakes in forever.”
“I can see that. You’re doing a shit job at getting fat,” He grinned and I swiped happily at him. He slipped the wand out of his front pocket.
“You brought that?” The bag was up in his bedroom. The white orb was in my pocket.
“Yeah...” He scratched his scalp with it, “I’m an idiot, I guess.”
“Dunno,” I said with a deep breath, “I don’t mind playing Imperius Curse some more.”
“Right. Imperio!” He bopped my nose again. This time I saw stars. I grinned, “Go out with me.”
“Um,” I waved between us with my left hand and pointed down the street with my right, “Me, you, and milkshakes.”
“This thing is something, isn’t it?” He showed off the wand.
“Yeah,” I was very curious about it. I saw my white nails again, “Hey, can I tell you something?”
The subdivision we lived in was stuck off the highway. There weren’t sidewalks; we walked on the gravel shoulder, him at the asphalt and me at the grassy edge of the ditch. The roads were cracked and there were potholes every block or two. Most still filled with yesterday’s rain. Maintenance sucked. Snow plows sucked. The posted speed limits were 30 mph. Like every other car on the street, the Subaru was doing 60. There was a brown puddle right in front of us. I stuffed my hands in my sweater and threw my shoulders forward. This was going to be worse than the dog. Michael was oblivious. He was looking at my sweater again.
“Sure, anything,” He said just before the Subaru’s wheel raised a sheet of brown water. My nails dug into the orb.
I leapt, throwing my shield up onto my right shoulder and throwing Michael onto someone’s lawn. My skirt fluttered as I twisted. I landed, sandals down and spear point dragging up the sod, right next to where Michael belly flopped face first. The muddy water splashed harmlessly down on the shoulder. The Subaru veered crazily and pulled to a stop in front of the next driveway.
“Jan?” He looked up with a gobsmacked face, “What the hell are you wearing?”
I had flashed into what we’ve started calling the princess kit. The helmet would scare me later. I saw the torn up lawn beneath my sandals. Hey, my toenails were painted white too! I had left my socks on Mrs Samms radiator, shit. I heard the Subaru door open. Michael was nearly up on one knee. I slung the spear behind my back, knowing it would catch in a loop sheathe. I grabbed his left arm, yanked him up and started running as the Subaru’s driver side door opened.
I don’t know why we ran. I was confused more than anything. I just bolted and took him with me. The yard we were in was on a hill. I had sledded down it tons of times years before. The driveway was empty and Mr Leonard lived alone. I felt so bad about the gouge in his lawn. He kept it so nice. He had a free standing garage at the top of the asphalt. It had old cream colored siding on it whereas his house was a newer sky blue. We stopped behind the garage. Michael was panting and tired from the sprint. I was energized.
“What the hell?” He reached up and teased the coronet in my hair, “Do you have any idea what you’re wearing?”
I didn’t, but I checked myself out. I was not dressed for beginning of spring weather. Winter was still hanging on tooth and nail, even if it had clearly lost the battle. It wasn’t time for a short white dress. It was almost light cotton, nearly see through. It started on my shoulders, with very short sleeves and a low cut down to my breasts. It fell into a very loose skirt that hung a couple of inches above my knees.
I was wearing a corset, hard brown leather, over the dress. Four plates cinched tightly around my guts and laced together on my sides and up my spine. The laces were the same fabric and color as my dress. Hard enamel clasps, also the color of the dress, ran up the front of my stomach and held the whole thing closed. My tits were uplifted, way bigger than they had any right pretending to be. Yet, despite the squeeze around my waist, I still felt like I could move, or run, or anything.
I had on sandals, my boots and jeans long gone. I had washed away the tree sap in Mrs Samms’s bathroom but I had still felt a bit icky. Now, I had bare legs and they felt pristine. The sandals were flat hard leather soles with thick bands right behind my toes, over my ankle, and backing my heel. Crisscrossing thongs of leather climbed my calves right up to my knee where they were tied off inside and outside my legs.
My upper arms were decorated in leather bracelets. They were the same brown as the sandals and bodice, but were laced closed on the inside of my arms.
In my hair was the tiara, a laurel of white leaves. I couldn’t pull it out, because my hair was styled around it. It felt delicate but rigid and was made from the same hard material as the clasps on my corset. The leaves were dull and smooth, with the intricate veins rising out of each blade.
I carried, hanging off my left shoulder, a wide round shield. It was made of the same wood as the wand in Michael’s hand. A wide white enamel circle, just like my tiara, just like my corset clasps, just like the circle on his wand, just like the ball, covered most of the shield’s face. A rim two inches all around the enamel face showed off the wooden back. It could cover me from my chin to my knees.
Finally, there was my spear. A javelin, as Venus has said, but I didn’t know yet how perfectly I could throw it. I didn’t realize it was only a short spear. It seemed gigantic in my hand. Its haft was the same wood from the eight inch white spike at its foot to the sixteen inch long blade at its head. Two enamel grips adorned the shaft, one in the dead center and one much closer to the bottom spike. It was crazy sharp, a gentle wave cut Mr Leonard’s lawn down to the soil. I quickly leaned it against the garage and took two steps away from it and towards Michael.