Legal Notice:

The following contains mild descriptions of sexual acts between young people. It is an original work of fiction and has no basis in reality.

Do not read this story if:

  1. You’re not 18 or over.
  2. If it is illegal to read this type of material where you live.
  3. If you don’t want to read about gay/bisexual people in love or having sex.

The author retains Copyright © 2004 to this story. Reproducing this story for distribution without the author’s permission is a violation of that copyright.

Perry and Jesse

The Incredibly Romantic (and slightly kinky) Adventures of Two Boys In Love

Part V Truths and Lies

Chapter 27: When Girls Attack—Part 2 (Somewhere Over The Table)

Eric and Reggie were engaged in a heated postgame analysis with Eric’s sweat-soaked younger brother and a haggard looking Billy Scott, so I thought this was as good a chance as any to slip away. I called my mom, and less than ten mintues later, a sleek, silver Jaguar S-Type pulled into the circular driveway and stopped right in front of me. Jessica stepped out, looking like a magazine model in an open, short suede jacket with a ribbed, beige knit sweater underneath, tight white Dickies with flared cuffs, and a pair of comfortable-looking Doc Marten’s loafers. She had added some blonde highlights to her long, shiny brown hair that looked really nice.

We got in the backseat together and that’s when I noticed Mrs. Bainbridge also had blonde highlights in her long brown hair, which was kind of stringy with lots of little waves while Jessica’s was straight. I guessed the Bainbridge gals had spent Friday afternoon at the hair salon while I was stomping on Gary’s dick!

I felt another wave of guilt about the secrets I was keeping, as my mom cheerfully greeted me and asked me about the game. But I just didn’t think telling her about Goreski and the rest of them would do her any good. It was my problem to deal with, and the best thing I could do for now was to keep myself out of trouble. Of course, trouble did seem to have a way of seeking me out sometimes, as in my unfortunate encounter with Deanna. I was glad that Jesse had taken her down in front of my other friends. It was unlikely that she’d ever try anything like that again—at least at school, and for my part, I planned on giving her a wide berth.

Overall, it was a pleasant drive to the mall in the Jaguar. It wasn’t really much bigger than my mom’s Lexus, but it was definitely a notch fancier, the dark gray leather feeling much more supple and all the armrests and stuff made of polished, burled walnut. Jessica and her mom talked a little about the big Christmas party and Mrs. Bainbridge even invited my mom. She suggested that the adults could have their own little shindig while the kids had theirs.

“I’m not sure, Helena,” my mom answered politely. “There’s a lot to do before Perry’s trip, and I’m hosting a small family Christmas gathering on Saturday.”

I’m glad my mom stuck in the word, “family.” Hopefully, Jessica wouldn’t ask if she could come.

It was a sunny day full of clear blue skies with just a few puffy white clouds for contrast. It had been quite cool out this morning but it seemed to be warming up now that it was close to noon. In addition to picking up some gifts for family and friends and the Secret Santa thing, I wanted to get some new sneakers. My size 8½ Vans were starting to feel a little tight compared to my size 9 Reeboks!

The large, two level, open air mall was bustling with holiday shoppers, but the large crowds seemed to be buzzing with that anticipation of Christimas and that helped to heighten the experience from being just another shopping trip. The railings and lamp posts were all decorated with muti-colored garlands and oversized ornaments. After a pleasant lunch at a small bistro where I had the luxury of simply enjoying my food while the three females chattered away about all the sales, fashion trends, and holiday baking and decorating they were planning on doing, Jessica tried to get me to buy a pair of those Sketchers that looked like glorified bowling shoes.

“No way!” I told her and to her credit, she didn’t press me. We were on our way to Pac-Sun, where they had a great selection of skater sneaks, when a middle aged woman, tall, slender, and impeccably dressed in an off-white blazer and colorful Hawaiian-style blouse, abruptly stepped in our path.

“Excuse us,” I said politely, trying to steer around her.

“Please wait. Could I speak to the two of you for just a moment?”

Jessica and I exchanged wary glances. At fourteen, we were certainly old enough to take care of ourselves under most circumstances, but being stopped by an unknown grownup was always cause enough for a healthy dose of caution. The lady smiled sweetly, the front bangs of her neatly bobbed reddish-blonde hair drooping slightly into her tanned face as she stooped slightly to look us both in the eye.

“My name is Judy Lorington, of Lorington Casting. I was wondering if I could have just a few minutes of your time?”

“Uh...well...” I stammered indecisively.

“We can’t go anywhere with you without talking to our parents first,” Jessica jumped in quickly.

“Oh, that’s perfectly fine. We can talk here—perhaps over here out of the way a bit,” she suggested, gesturing to a nook between a very busy Hallmark store and a Talbot’s.

“I don’t know...” I said uneasily.

“C’mon, Perry. There’s nothing to be nervous about. Let’s just hear what she wants,” Jessica said, leading the way over to the quiet spot.

Ms. Lorington immediately pulled a business card out of her breast pocket and handed it to me. It confirmed everything she had told us so far, gave her title as casting director, and showed that her agency had offices in Century City, Sherman Oaks, and Newport Beach.

“So, you’re Perry,” she noted, having picked up the name from Jessica’s remark. “Glad to meet you,” she said, offering a smooth skinned and perfectly manicured hand. She then turned expectantly to Jessica.

“Jessica Anastasia Bainbridge,” she offered immediately, extending her hand in a very lady-like manner for Ms. Lorington to shake.

“You two make a strikingly beautiful couple,” the casting director noted.

“Thank you, ma’am,” Jessica responded.

“And so polite,” she noted with a broad, toothy smile. “That’s none too common these days. May I just ask you a few questions?”

“Sure,” Jessica replied quickly.

“Are you from around here?” she asked, smoothly slipping a flat device out of her pocketbook that turned out to be a very fancy looking PDA.

“We’re from Santa Corina,” Jessica answered.

She nodded. “That’s a lovely little town—past Escondido, right?”

We both nodded.

“Now Perry, how old are you?”

“Uh...what is this about?” I asked, not trying very hard to hide my suspicion. I didn’t like these kinds of people. My mom and I had run into plenty of so-called casting people over the years, and it always seemed to end up with them wanting us to spend money for a photo shoot or something.

“I see you’ve met my kind before!” she laughed knowingly.

Jessica gave me a little scowl, but I just gave her a slightly defiant look in return.

“Well, that’s perfectly fine, and like I said, I won’t take up much of your time. Nor will I try to sell you anything—okay?”

I nodded uneasily. “I...uh...just turned fourteen.”

“Oh, really? You look much younger!” she said with what appeared to be genuine surprise.

“No, he’s in my class, and he’s really fourteen,” Jessica verified in a business-like tone.

“And what about you, honey?” she asked.

“I turned fourteen in August. We’re in the eighth grade at St. Boniface,” she added without being asked.

We waited as Ms. Lorington made some quick notations on her PDA.

“Well, I suppose I should tell you the reason I’m out here stalking beautiful young people like yourself. I’m the casting director for a television series called Dana Point. Have either of you seen it?”

“I have!” Jessica replied enthusiastically.

That was one of those shows on the WB that was supposed to be about high school kids, but was actually cast with people in their twenties. They all wore too much make up, had perfect hair and perfect clothes, and got into all sorts of typical TV teenager trouble involving drugs, alcohol, beach fights, and car racing.

“Nope,” I said proudly.

When Ms. Lorington looked at me a little disappointedly, I felt compelled to add: “But I’ve heard about it before...seen the ads and stuff.”

“Kirk Vandriss—he’s so hot!” Jessica said, and I thought she might start drooling just to prove her point.

“Yes, he’s one of our breakout stars.” Ms. Lorington acknowledged. “And we were the ones to bring him to the producers’ attention,” she added proudly.

“We’re too young to be on that show,” I pointed out skeptically.

“Well, one of our upcoming plot threads deals with the younger brother of Jared Torrance—”

“That’s Kirk Vandriss!” Jessica interrupted excitedly.

“Yes, dear,” Ms. Lorington acknowledged patiently, “and he’s an eighth grader and getting himself into some serious drug and gang trouble. We’re looking for boys and girls between the ages of twelve and sixteen to play junior high schoolers. I suppose the two of you could pass for seventh graders,” she observed.

“Oh, how exciting!” Jessica said, clearly captivated by the idea of being on a TV show.

“Have either of you done any acting before?” she asked.

I quickly shook my head. Jessica hesitated.

“Yes, honey?” Ms. Lorington prodded gently.

“Well, I played Cinderella once—in the fifth grade...But it was for the whole elementary school!” she noted proudly.

“I see. And did you enjoy the experience?”

“Oh yes, very much. Only...”


“Only, I wish Perry had been there—he didn’t come to St. Boniface until last year. He would have made such a dreamy prince!”

Well, now she had me blushing. That was just great!

“I think you’re right about that,” the casting director said with a gentle smile. “And where were you before?” she asked me, again tapping the keys of her PDA.

“La Jolla,” I answered curtly.

”Oh, a lovely, lovely town. I could spend a whole weekend just browsing all the art galleries—”

“So you think Perry and I could be on your show?” Jessica interrupted anxiously.

“I’ve been in the casting business for over twenty years, and when I say that you are a strikingly beautiful couple, I assure you that’s not something to be taken lightly. Perry, what about you—any acting experience?” she asked hopefully.

I shook my head. “I’m not...I can’t...” I stammered.

“He’s sort of bashful,” Jessica pointed out helpfully. “But he’s just as cute as anyone on TV!” she added quickly.

“Yes, if you could get past your shyness, and perhaps take some acting lessons,” Ms. Lorington said, “I think you could do very well for yourself in show business, Perry.”

“Well, that’s okay,” I said, suddenly feeling very awkward in my own body. I didn’t know what to do with my hands and I stuffed them rather forcefully into the front pockets of my hoodie.

“If the two of you would allow me to take a few quick photos, I can email them to my central office in L.A. I have two associates there who cast extras.”

“Oh, just background people?” Jessica asked disappointedly.

“Well, generally, when young folk like yourself have no professional acting experience, it’s better to start out as extras—learn the ropes, become familiar with the routines and rhythms of filming, how to hit your marks, how to carry yourself—”

“My mom used to model...before she was married!” Jessica offered.

“She must be a very beautiful woman,” Ms. Lorington said patiently. “You have lovely bone structure.”

Finally, it was Jessica’s turn to blush. “ know...I try my best to look nice.”

“And it shows,” Ms. Lorington assured her. “So, may I take those snapshots?” she asked, rummaging in her pocketbook again, and exchanging the PDA for a slender digital camera.

“Uh...look...Mrs...Ms. Lorington,” I said, trying to sound more confident than I felt. “I’m not really interested in that sort of stuff. Really, I hate getting my picture taken and I don’t even like looking at myself in the mirror—”

“Oh, he just has some self-esteem issues,” Jessica noted dismissively.

“That is too bad,” Ms. Lorington remarked with clear disappointment. She started to slip the digital camera back in her pocketbook.

“He’s just a little shy!” Jessica insisted with some concern. “You’ll let her take some pictures, right?” she asked me hopefully.

“Please, Jessica. I dont want to do this. I don’t want to be on TV or anything like that. I’d just feel...stupid or something. But you go ahead. You sound interested and you’d look great on TV for sure!”

But Jessica turned slowly to Ms. Lorington, who had the camera back in her pocketbook but still clearly had her hand on it.

“Sorry, ma’am,” Jessica said sadly. “I guess not....”

“Oh, I’m so disappointed!” the woman said, and I could see the wrinkles at the corners of her mouth when she frowned, indicating that she was probably a lot older than she first appeared.

“You go ahead!” I said, feeling terrible that I had hurt Jessica’s feelings. I hadn’t asked this woman to pop out of the woodwork and start hassling us about being on TV. It was the last thing in the world I could imagine doing but it was clear Jessica wanted to, either because she really had the acting bug, or because she wanted to be around that Vandriss guy or whatever.

“Thank you, Ms. Lorington. It was really nice to meet you,” Jessica said, again offering her hand.

Ms. Lorington took it reluctantly, and then turned to me. Now I could see the crows feet at the corners of her eyes as well.

“Are you sure you won’t change your mind?” she asked hopefully.

“Well, I guess it wouldn’t hurt to take a few pictures, if you really want.”

“Oh, Perry! Thank you!” Jessica beamed, giving me a quick peck on the cheek.

“That’s just lovely!” Ms. Lorington said. “Why don’t you just stand next to the bulding to that bougainvillea would be perfectly lovely.”

We did as we were told, Jessica grinning like she had just won the state lottery.

“Now Perry, couldn’t you give us just a little smile?” the lady asked.

I gave her a thin and artificial smirk, realizing I must look like a complete idiot. I was still standing with my hands stuffed in the front pockets of my hoodie, but Jessica suddenly threw one arm across my shouders and Ms. Lorington quickly snapped her photos.

“Thank you!” she said. “You made my trip down here today worthwhile. Well, of course, there are a few things I want to pick up at Saks as long as I’m here.... But anyway, thank you both so much for your time. Now I only need to know how to contact you—and your parents of course.”

Jessica went ahead and gave Ms. Lorington her home phone and her mom’s name.

“Perry?” the woman asked, again tapping vigorously at her PDA.

“Well, like I said, I’m really not interested in TV or anything.”

“Oh...are you sure?” she asked with an exaggerated frown.

“I’m sure.”

“Would you at least hold onto my card—tell your parents that we met?” she pressed.

“Sure...I’ll do that,” I said, just to hurry things along.

“Perry, it would be so awesome if we could be on the show together!” Jessica pressed.

“I dunno....”

“Well, I have your number dear, and you’ll certainly be hearing from me. In the meantime, why don’t you see if you can boost Perry’s self-confidence a bit?”

“Oh, I have some good ideas how to do that!” Jessica said, and then both females giggled knowingly while I stood there like a clueless moron. We all shook hands once more and the woman strode off into the bustling crowd.

“C’mon, Perry. we have a lot of shopping to do!” Jessica said.

“So you have the hots for this Vandriss guy?”

“Why, are you jealous?” she teased.

“No, it’s just that, he’s a big hunky kinda guy and I’m so skinny and dweeby....”

“Sure he’s really hot and sexy,” Jessica said, “but I’m sure he’s a total stuck up jerk in real life. Who needs that?” she asked. “You’re just as good looking as he is in your own way, and you’re so sweet and considerate. Thank you for letting Ms. Lorington take those pictures.”

I shrugged. “It’s no big deal. I’m not gonna go on TV or anything,” I reminded her a bit petulantly.

“We’ll see about that,” Jessica grinned. “After I boost your self-esteem a little!” And she broke into another giggling fit.

As we passed the Abercrombie and Fitch, Jessica insisted we go in. While I liked some of their stuff, I was still a Calvin Klein sort of guy at heart. She showed me a gray hoodie that had Basketball Abercrombie printed on it.

“Let me get it for you!” she said excitedly. I told her I already had a bunch of hoodies, including the one I had just gotten from the Taylors for my birthday, but it seemed to be a big deal to her so I gave in. Then I found a nice girl’s hoodie, light blue, and I insisted that I buy it for her.

“Really?” she said, getting all excited and gushy. “I love it! This is like the first thing you ever bought me—I’m gonna keep it forever!”

Gees, I thought she was gonna crack a rib or something she was getting so worked up. Then she decided she wanted to buy something for Katy.

“A Christmas gift?”

“No, just something to show I was thinking about her,” she said thoughtfully. She was asking my opinion on a long sleeved T-shirt that said Paradise Island on it, when we heard someone laugh rather raucously somewhere behind us.

There she was, slowly stalking us from the end of the aisle, dressed outrageously in a long, quilted pink coat with crazy blue and silver fur trimming on the collar, down the front, and on the sleeves. She smiled at us broadly, from blue frosted lips. Her eyes were surrounded by heavy blue and magenta mascara.

“Why, if it isn’t Mr. and Mrs. Cleaver!” she laughed loudly again, slapping her hands together and looking like she was having a good ol’ time.

“Clarissa!” I gasped, unable to disguise the shock I felt at seeing Jessica’s lecherous sixteen year old cousin pop up so unexpectedly loudly!

“So you really did bag this little cutie!” Clarissa said, coming up and putting her hands on her hips. “Congrata-fuckin’-lations, cous!”

I looked at Jessica, and she seemed slightly annoyed at her cousin’s extroverted demeanor, although not particularly surprised by her sudden appearance.

“Not so loud, Rissy—the whole store can hear you,” Jessica urged her in a loud whisper.

“Who gives a rat’s ass!” she asked, looking around cockily, daring anyone in the store to reproach her.

“Did you know...?” I asked.

Jessica averted her gaze and shrugged. “Clarissa said something about possibly meeting up with us at some point,” she admitted.

“Love your haircut!” Clarissa declared, actually running her long nailed claws through my shortened locks. “Really lets those big peepers shine through in a big way—very fuckin’ cute!” I got a little slap on the cheek when she said “cute.”

“ colorful...” I offered, trying desperately to find something nice to say about the high schooler whose hair looked like a snake’s pit of incongruous colors and textures. Tendrils of blue, magenta, brown and blonde dangled off in every direction. Even though it all looked rather random, my guess was that it had cost plenty to get her hair to look that chaotic on purpose.

“Yeah, I’m burstin’ with colors!” she laughed. “I should’ve known I’d find you two at this garage sale!” she observed disdainfully. I saw one of the sales clerks bristle at her insinuation.

“I was just picking something out for Katy,” Jessica noted timidly.

“Well, she ain’t here, is she?” Clarissa asked pointedly.

“No, of course—”

“Then let’s get going!” Clarissa declared, turning and heading out the store.

“Where are we going?” I asked.

“I’m not sure, but we’re not going until we pay for our stuff!” Jessica said, trying to sound defiant.

It was strange to see Jessica, who was so strong willed, focused, and in charge all the time, so clearly intimidated by another girl. Of course, they were cousins and had probably grown up together, and I could also tell that for some reason, Jessica genuinely looked up to her older cousin. Well, there was no accounting for taste, was there? I mean, she had told me that I was the boy of her dreams—blech!

Clarissa was waiting for us impatiently outside, arms crossed. “Have lunch yet?”

Jessica and I nodded in unison. “Then let’s go—Time’s a-wastin’!” Clarissa started off into the crowd, clearing a path for us with such confidence that it almost seemed choreographed.

“Where are we going?” Jessica asked, finally managing to catch up to Clarissa, who was setting a brisk pace in her tall, shiny magenta boots with some seriously spiked heels.

”Neiman’s,” Clarissa said, hardly slowing her pace.


“Why not? You telling me you don’t adore Neiman’s?” Clarissa asked bemusedly.

“No, of course. It’s just that—”

“There’s someone I want you to meet,” was all the explanation we got. Jessica gave me a shrug and a thin smile of assurance.

Clarissa led the way as we entered the snobbiest of all department stores. We came in by the cosmetics department, and I couldn’t help but make a sour face as my nostrils were assaulted by all the potent fumes.

“Don’t you think it smells good?” Jessica teased, noting my expression.

“Smells like bug spray!”

“I’m gonna get you a big bottle of everything for Christmas!” she teased as we passed one lavishly decorated counter after another. Cartier, Guerlain, Burberry, Chanel, Escada, and on and on.

Clarissa led us up the escalator to the second floor, which was mostly dedicated to housewares. We passed shelves and opulent displays of Nambe china, Swarovski crystal, and Kate Spade silk linens.

“Who is this person we’re going to meet?” Jessica asked, as Clarissa made a beeline for the customer service department.

“Oh, Mr. Broyhill. You’ll like him,” she said distractedly.

We entered the large room with its long lines of impatient Christmas shoppers. We passed the big white counter, but Clarissa ignored the harried clerks wrapping gifts and helping customers pay their bills and apply for more credit. She led us into a corridor that said, “employees only.” No one stopped us. We turned a corner and started down another longer hallway and the eternal blast of piped in Christmas tunes faded into the distance. The corridor we were in suddenly opened up into a small reception area. A young woman, very light complexioned, with dark brown hair tied back in a no-nonsense bun, sat at a desk with a computer terminal.

“Clarissa Dearborn!” she said, smiling with recognition. Her face was just a little bit too long and her teeth just a little bit too big to be called pretty.

“Joanie! I’d like you to meet some people. This is my all-time favorite cous, Jessica. And this cutie is her main squeeze, Perry! Guys, this is Joanie. She did an apprenticeship with my mom her senior year at UCSD.”

“Nice to meet you,” Jessica said politely.

“Uh...hi,” I stammered, not sure how I felt about being introduced as Jessica’s main squeeze. I guessed it was harmless enough but it still sounded weird.

“So how’s ya been?” Clairissa asked in a way that seemed to imply that she really wasn’t looking for a long response.

“Things are going really, really well,” Joanie said, deciding to make the most of the opportunity given to her. “The boss likes me, and I think I’m going to be getting an assistant night manager position after the holiday hysteria calms down.”

“Well, that is just awesome!” Clarissa declared with a big, fake smile. “So I’m taking these two to meet Mr. Broyhill,” she added casually.

Joanie seemed momentarily surprised by that announcement, and looked at both Jessica and me somewhat differently, a little more carefully I guess. Apparently, Mr. Broyhill was some kind of big muckity-muck around here. Well, that was cool. Maybe he’d get us an employee’s discount and I’d be able to pick up some really nice gifts for my mom and maybe my aunts as well.

“So if you can work your magic there...” Clarissa urged, a pleasant, but impatient smile plastered to her make-up laden visage.

Joanie kept smiling with those huge teeth and tapped away at her keyboard. “You’re all set,” she said. “Just give me a ring when you’re coming out—you know the number.”

“Will do.... You’re a doll, Joanie!” Clarissa said, as she started to head further down the passageway.

“Uh...nice to meet you,” Jessica offered politely, obviously as confused as I was by this strange little encounter. She glanced at me apprehensively and then started after her cousin.

“Yeah, uh, me too!” I said.

“Wish I could join you!” Joanie winked at me conspiratorily. I gave her a puzzled look and then hurried off after Jessica. We came to a pair of polished wood panel doors with fancy curved brass handles. Clarissa started to open them.

“Wait!” Jessica said, speaking in a hushed voice for some reason, even though the only other person around seemed to be Joanie, and she was quite a ways back.

Clarissa eyed her cousin impatiently.

“I mean, what are we doing here, Rissy? Who’s Mr. Broyhill? Is he a friend of Aunt Marjorie ?”

“Clarissa’s mom works here?” I asked.

“Actually, mom’s a senior fashion consultant for Dolce and Gabbana,” Clarissa explained quickly. “She was the regional manager here for about six years. She still comes by occasionally, and sometimes I tag along—we get a lot of free stuff—samples and displays—things like that.”

“But Mr. Broyhill...?” Jessica pressed.

“Don’t get all uptight,” Clarissa assured her. “You’re gonna like him. He’s really easy to get along with.” With that, she opened the double doors. We were looking into a small foyer or cloakroom, softly lit, dominated by a fancy side table with a big vase on it, with a few genuine orchids in it. I wondered if it was a coincidence that the blossoms were magenta. There was a mirror to one side, and a coat rack in another corner. There was another closed door which probably led into the next room, and presumably, to Mr. Broyhill.

Clarissa immediately pulled off her coat and hung it up. Underneath, she was wearing a low cut, blue and pink striped ribbed sweater that hung off her now bare shoulders and clung tightly to her well endowed bosom. Her tight blue jeans were trendily faded in just the right spots, and her magenta boots came nearly up to her knees. She nodded to us to do the same. Jessica hung up her coat, revealing a sleek beige top with a mock turtle neck. I liked wearing my new Northwestern hoodie, and it made me feel like I had a little part of Jesse with me.

“Uh...I’ll just keep mine on,” I said.

“Believe me, Perry,” Clarissa said in a scolding tone, “that’s not considered very polite.” She looked at me expectantly.

“Okay...” I pulled the hooded sweatshirt over my head and hung it up. I had a tight fitting blue henley on underneath, neatly tucked into my Diesel jeans. I wasn’t exactly dressed to meet anyone important, but I didn’t look like a slob either. I glanced in the mirror and quickly ran my fingers through my hair.

“You look totally hot!” Clarissa assured me offhandedly as she opened the next door.

It was fairly dark, although there was a large window or windows on the opposite wall that leaked some dim light in even though they were heavily draped. Clarissa quickly found the switch and the room was bathed in a warm, yellowish illumination by sconces on the walls. It was an enormous, lavishly appointed office dominated by a large teak desk. There were two high backed, padded chairs in front of it. There was a fireplace along one wall with two upholstered chairs and a small table placed near it. The wall opposite that was dominated by a very large plasma screen TV. A long teak conference table stretched in front of it, surrounded by comfortable but functional looking chairs. Lastly, against the wall with the draped windows, there was a long, sage green chenille sofa with end tables fronted by a low, glass-topped coffee table.

The light wasn’t very good for reading, but I could still make out the plaque on the desk: Yolanda Marcescu.

“I think we’re in the wrong office,” I noted nervously.

“Nope,” Clarrisa answered unconcernedly.

“But this says—”

“Perry, Jessica, I’d like to introduce you to an old friend of mine: Mr. Broyhill,” she said, gesturing lavishly to the chenille sofa.

“That’s not very funny,” Jessica said, unable to hide her annoyance at this seemingly pointless little side trip.

“Oh, but I’m totally serious. We go way back. I made out with my first high schooler when I was like twelve—right here on this sofa!” she declared proudly. “He was a clerk in the men’s department,” she noted with a conspiratorial wink.

“Well, that’s very interesting,” Jessica said, the tone of her voice clearly indicating otherwise, “but I don’t think you needed to drag us in here to see where you made out when you were a kid!”

“Maybe we should go, before someone comes in,” I suggested nervously.

“That’s not gonna be a problem,” Clarissa assured us calmly. “You see, this is the regional manager’s office. It was my mom’s before that Yolanda bitch moved her bony ass in here. Everyone here got to know me—some of them may even have liked me—who the fuck knows or cares! But pretty soon, I could come and go as I wanted, regardless of whether my mom was in the office or not. Of course, being the regional manager for the entire west coast, she travelled a lot, and it didn’t take long for me to figure out this was a great place to make out—elegant, refined, and totally private! The only hitch was the security camera in the corridor. Yeah, I got caught once,” she snorted, “and there was a bit of Hell to pay—but what the fuck? It was totally worth it! The receptionist at that time—she was trying to kiss up to my mom—showed me that it could be controlled from her computer. She was a little skittish about helping me out, but I got her to look the other way a few times. When Joanie got the job, she already knew me and was really grateful to my mom for showing her the ropes of high-end retail fashion, and she was more than willing to be a sport.”

“How?” Jessica asked, her hands stiffly on her hips, clearly angered by our situation.

“See, she can put the camera into a loop—looks like an empty hall no matter what. A hundred elephants and the guy with the broom and trash can could come parading down that corridor, but when the camera’s in loop mode, no one would know—well, maybe from the smell, but not from looking at the freaking video!” she laughed.

“Okay fine,” Jessica said impatiently. “We’re really impressed and all, but we want to get back to our shopping now.”

“Hold your freakin’ horses!” Clarissa said. You tell me your going to Fashion Valley for a little shopping, that you’re dragging your cute little puppy boy along, and that it would be fun to meet up and...then what? You’re just gonna blow me off? Just like that?”

“I...I don’t know what you mean,” Jessica answered uneasily.

“I’m not her puppy boy!” I pointed out with undisguised irritation.

“Ooh...woof, woof, woof,” she teased. “I only wish you were on a leash.” She paused and looked me over thoughtfully. “Come to think of it, I have a diamond studded collar at home that would look just fantastic around your hot little neck!”

I was beginning to think that maybe it was better for me to keep my mouth shut and let Jessica handle this.

“Look, Rissy,” Jessica said, coming to stand by me, “this is all really nice—it’s a gorgeous office and it was sweet of you to show it to us—but I just don’t see what the point of all this is!”

“Are you telling me, now that you snagged a guy who’s finally worth the effort, you’re not gonna share him with your favorite cous?” Clarissa pouted mockingly.

“Share him?” Jessica asked indignantly. “What are you talking about, Rissy?”

“Come on over here, Perry, and set your tight little ass down right on Mr. Broyhill. If you’re as naive and inexperienced as you look, then Clarissa needs to teach you a thing or two. Jessica’ll be grateful, I promise.” She sat grinning like the Cheshire Cat and crossed her legs.

“You’re not serious,” I said uncomfortably, knowing that she was.

“Jessy shares everything with her favorite cous, don’t you?”

“Well...” Jessica hesitated. I saw the look on her face, and it wasn’t the defiant expression I had hoped to see. It was clear that Clarissa had some power over her, and that the usually forceful eighth grade princess wasn’t in charge here.

“C’mon, Jessica. Let’s blow this place!” I said, grabbing her wrist. I started to tug, but she kept her feet firmly planted on the plush, deep green carpet.

“What did you have in mind?” she asked the leering sixteen year old sitting on the sofa across the room from us.

“Well, I did hear the word blow. I know we went over this before, but something tells me, you haven’t gotten into this boy’s pants yet—correct?”

I saw Jessica’s eyes open wide with shocked affrontery.

“Yeah...thought so,” Clarissa said smugly. “C’mon, Perry. Might as well kill two birds with one stone. I’ll give you the thrill of your golly gee whiz life, and Jessica can take notes.”

“We don’t have to listen to this!” I stated angrily, trying to cover my embarrassment. I tried tugging Jessica’s arm again, but she actually pulled away. She looked at me guiltily. “’re not seriously thinking about...?” I stammered, suddenly losing my confidence.

“I...I don’t know,” Jessica admitted in a small, quiet voice.

“You don’t want her do that to me, do you?” I asked incredulously.

“,” she answered uncertainly.

“Hey, I’m easy here!” Clarissa declared with a broad smile. “I can totally get off watching you two hotties doin’ it as well as if I was doin’ it myself. Why don’t you guys just get all those annoying clothes off, and I’ll give you some easy to follow instructions—blow by blow!” Where had I heard that awful joke before?

Jessica looked at me and I shuddered. I reconized that look. It was the same as the one she had given me in the park when she had told me I was the boy of her dreams!

“No way!” I said, my voice dry and and unconvincing, even to my own ears. I slowly backed toward the door.

“Perry...” Jessica said, and I could hear the conflict in her voice, “maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad idea. I do want to make you happy, and Clarissa, well....”

“Has lots of experience!” her older cousin finished.

“No...Jessica,” I said, a plea more than a statement.

“Here’s a plan, Jessy,” Clarissa said, her voice still cheerful but tinged with a sense of urgency now. “You come on over here and get yourself nice and naked. Lover boy won’t be able to resist and we’ll still save the afternoon from being a total washout!” She patted the sofa cushion next to her with a loud, dull thump.

Jessica started slowly walking over. Clarissa got up and met her younger cousin half way. “Here, turn around and let me help you out of that top,” she offered. Jessica turned and looked at me guiltily, as she scooped her long brown hair up in one hand. Clarissa immediately went to work undoing a zipper at the back of her neck.

“Stop!” I called out. “This is...nuts! Don’t do this, Jessica. This...this isn’t right!” I pleaded desperately.

“Clarissa and I are more like sisters than cousins,” Jessica remarked uneasily. “You don’t need to be shy in front of her.” With that, Jessica lifted the tight, clinging sweater off her concave belly and then worked it over her head. She exposed her smooth, lightly tanned shoulders as she slipped the sweater off her arms. She was left wearing a superthin diamond necklace and glittering crucifix around her neck. The bra covering her modest, fourteen year old breasts was white and simple, and I felt my dick twitch despite my best efforts to ignore what I was seeing.

“No...Jessica...” I uttered quietly.

She looked so sad as she reached her arms back, apparently undoing her bra.

“Wait!” I cried, rushing over to her. She clutched her loose bra tightly against her chest with both hands, looking uncharacteristically vulnerable. I noticed that Clarissa, who always had a sort of wild look to her, now looked downright certifiable.

“But Perry, you do...want to see me, don’t you?” Jessica asked in a quiet, but desperate voice.

“I...I do—honestly,” I assured her, the words pouring out entirely of their own volition. “But not here; not now. You see, I care about you...a lot, and I don’t want our first time together to be like this....” I boldly grasped her bare shoulders and I felt her shiver a little.

But she looked at me with those light brown eyes with the tiny specks of gold in them, and I saw the sweet, vulnerable person that I knew was in there behind the haughty, take-charge façade that she used to get her way in life.

“ about me, Perry? Honestly?”

I heard Clarissa blow air out of her mouth disdainfully.

I nodded, and glanced over at Clarissa, who was rolling her eyes impatiently. “Yeah...Yeah, I do,” I assured her, looking Clarissa right in the eye.

“Oh...Perry!” Her eyes were watery as she rushed into my arms. I embraced her, feeling her bare back, so soft and smooth, with the palms of my hands. Only my body pressed against hers kept her unclasped bra in place. I could feel her trembling. She smelled lightly of spring flowers.

“Are you okay?” I asked gently.

She nodded her head, but didn’t move.

“For crap’s sake, what is this, The Young And The Spineless?” Clarissa snorted. “Come here, you!” she demanded, before grabbing me roughly by the arm and jerking me toward the sofa. Jessica held her bra against her breasts, her eyes wet and wide.

“No, Clarissa!” she cried angrily. “He doesn’t want to be with you!”

“Well, we’re running out of options here,” Clarrisa explained as she tugged me along.

I planted my feet, and tried to pull my arm away, but she dug in with long, acrylic claws. “Ouch!” I cried, feeling her nails dig into my flesh right through my shirt.

“What’s wrong with you anyway?” she asked frustratedly, continuing to drag me toward Mr. Broyhill. “You fuckin’ gay or something?”

“Jessica, tell her to get her hands off me!” I pleaded, trying to picture what it would be like to hit a girl.

Jessica was standing back in the middle of the room, busily rehooking her bra. “Perry...” she said, but her voice trailed off indecisively.

Meanwhile, Clarissa shoved me down on the sofa and then straddled me just as Merissa had this morning at the football game, only this sixteen year old she-demon was a whole lot heavier! She pressed her palms against my cheeks and held me in a vise-like grip.

“Give momma some tongue!” she declared, before pressing her lips against mine. She began chewing hungrily, her tongue pounding against my teeth like a battering ram. I grabbed her wrists and pulled her hands off my face, but her lips remained forcefully locked to mine. I even had the frightening thought that she was sucking the life right out of me. “MMMnnnnnn!!!!” I cried.

“Get your hands off him!” It was Jessica, and she had come up from behind and grabbed Clarissa by both shoulders just as I managed to wrestle her claws off my face. Suddenly, both of them flipped back over the glass coffee table. Jessica landed roughly on the floor and Clarissa right on top of her. Unfortunately, Clarissa’s magenta boots came down right on top of the table and it shattered like the windshield of a car.

I sprang up as Clarissa nimbly rolled off her younger cousin. “Are you okay?” I asked, helping a stunned Jessica to her feet.

She nodded, shaken but unhurt by the dramatic spill.

“Oh, Rissy—what are we going to do now?” she asked worriedly.

Clarissa picked herself up and put her hands on her hips. She puffed her cheeks and released another blast of air. “Fucking cheap piece of Z Gallerie shit!” she grumbled. She looked at us, and then back at the shattered table and sighed. “Guess I’ll have to go get another one and have them haul it over here before the mall closes—lucky they’re running holiday hours.”

“I...I’m sorry,” Jessica apologized uncertainly.

Surprisingly, Clarissa shrugged. “What the fuck? You were protecting your little puppy boy. Can’t say I blame you for that. Still...” She grinned at me satanically. “I got a little taste, and that wasn’t bad. One of these days, we gotta get this one and his little blond buddy in a locked room somewhere, and just let the good times roll!”

I couldn’t believe Clarissa was being so nonchalant about the whole incident. My lips were actually throbbing from her ferocious assault. Jessica picked up her sweater and pulled it on.

“Let me help you,” I offered quickly. Jessica once again gathered up her long velvety brown tresses and I zipped her up. She turned, her eyes still a little wild from the exciting tumble over the coffee table, but with the beginnings of a tentative smile on her face.

“So I suppose you kiddoes want to split, huh?” Clarissa asked, hands on her hips as she surveyed the damaged coffee table.

“Oh, Rissy.... How can we help?” Jessica asked with obvious concern.

Clarissa waved her off. “Don’t worry about it. Like I said, I know where to get one just like it and ol’ Miss Boney Ass won’t even notice anything’s amiss when she staggers in with her hangover on Monday.” She turned to give Jessica a more thoughtful gaze. “I guess my little cous is growing up, huh?” she said, a proud smile on her face.

Jessica looked a little embarrassed. “I...I’m sorry, Rissy, really I am...but Perry...Perry’s special and—”

“Hey, I got that message loud and clear as we went sailin’ over that fuckin’ table!” Clarissa laughed. “I just hope you’ll get a chance to use some of my expert advice before you both start collecting social security.”

Jessica glanced at me awkwardly. “Well...I guess we’ll move at our own pace.”

“That’s all well and good. Just remember you got yourself a real cutie, and there’s gotta be a raft of other gals that’re just waiting to get a piece of him, so don’t take things too slow.”

She winked at me and I shuddered. I didn’t like the way Clarissa talked about me like I was a piece of meat, but for Jessica’s sake, I kept my mouth shut.

“Come here, you,” she said, spreading her arms wide. At first, I thought she was talking to me and I nearly wet my pants, but Jesssica went up and embraced her cousin warmly.

It was good to get back in the open air again, and the Christmas decorations and bustling crowds helped bring us down from our crazy encounter. After that, we did start shopping with a vengeance, and it wasn’t long before we both had enough packages to warrant a trip back to the car. We got the keys from Mrs. Bainbridge and made our way through the thick and ever-growing crowd to the Jaguar. Two cars and an SUV immediately lined up behind us, waiting to grab our space, but I waved them off. We put all our packages, from Abercrombie, Saks, Nordstrom’s, and even my new, dark gray Etnies from Pac-Sun in the trunk. I started to head back but Jessica slipped into the back seat, gesturing for me to join her.

She scooted over and looked at me in an intense way. “I’m so sorry about Rissy,” she apologized humbly.

I shrugged. “It wasn’t your fault. She’s just kinda—”

“Crazy?” Jessica finished.

I nodded hesitantly, but was relieved when she gave me an uncertain smile.

“It’s just that, Perry, you really are the most handsome boy in the world and I do want to see you and-and be with you and do all those things people always talk about.”

Jessica was horny and I could understand that, having had plenty of experience with passion and lust myself. “It’s nice of you to say those things,” I answered carefully, “but I never imagined there’d be three of us involved!” I hoped that sounded at least a little bit facetious.

She smiled, but then her expression turned serious again. “Oh, but it’s true, Perry. Rissy and I have always shared...just so many things over the years, and she’s always been there for me, always given me advice on...on just everything—not just about boys, but, well, especially about boys of course. But I never expected she’d try attack you like that!”

What would she think if I told her this had already been my second battle of the sexes today? “It’s okay. You rescued me!” I said with a warm and grateful smile, taking her hand carefully in mine.

Her fingers wrapped around mine and she squeezed them. She looked like she was about to cry. “Perry, I have to tell you something...something I’ve been thinking about for a while now. I didn’t even have the nerve at the park.... But when you said that you had feelings for me...that you really care about me....” Her eyes were getting moist and something told me that I was about to get dumped. And even though I was a little bit afraid, I realized that it would be a relief. If Jessica ended it here and now, I would be totally off the hook. I wouldn’t have to hurt her feelings before things went too far. I wouldn’t get involved with any more girls, and I’d be able to focus my full attention on my beautiful blond angel.

“I love you, Perry. I really, honestly do,” she said, caressing my cheek. “Perry...?” She drew back from me as if I had suddenly sprouted horns and a pointy tail.

I realized that I was just staring at her blankly. “Oh...uh...” I stammered, my head spinning even more than it had when Clarissa had tried to force her tongue down my throat while bouncing up and down on my lap. “Jessica....”

She pulled her hand back and looked at me fearfully. “I shouldn’t have said that, huh?” she asked fearfully. “I’m moving too fast for you again, aren’t I? I was afraid to say it because I wasn’t sure you felt the same way, but it’s just that, after what we just went through, I thought maybe you felt the same way.... Oh, I’m such an ass!” She was breathing rapidly and shallowly now, just like someone about to have a panic attack—something else I had plenty of experience with.

“No, it’s okay,” I assured her quickly. “You just caught me by surprise. I mean, here in the parking garage.” I thought I should wrap my arms around her, but it seemed like she was shrinking away from me. “I mean, you should say what you’re really feeling.” God, what a hypocrite I was! I saw her relax slightly, but I knew she wanted to hear more than that.

“I’m so silly,” Jessica said, scoldng herself, her cheeks red with embarrassment.

“No, you’re not. You have strong feelings swirling around inside you just like everyone else.”

“Like you?”

Gees, I just kept getting myself deeper and deeper. I nodded.

“So, Perry...” she asked hesitantly, and I still felt like she wasn’t ready for me to touch her just yet.

“You want to know how I feel...about us?” I surmised.

She nodded apprehensively, biting her lower lip.

“I guess one of my problems is I think about things too much,” I admitted. “And you, well you just said how you feel right now and that’s really cool, really great. I know I have strong feelings for you, that I think you’re the most beautiful girl I’ve ever seen, and I feel good about us. But....”

She waited expectantly, holding her emotions in check, keeping her expression as neutral as possible.

“But I keep thinking that we’re just kids, and kids have crushes and stuff—”

“But this is more than a stupid crush!” Jessica blurted out, no longer able to hold her feelings in. “I know it—I feel it!”

I realized my heart was pounding furiously in my chest even though we were just sitting in the back seat of a car. What could I say to satisfy her at this point? I knew the words she wanted to hear, but I wasn’t sure I could speak them. And if not, what then? Had we suddenly gotten to that point where things had gone as far as they possibly could without plunging headlong into a relationship that would destroy what Jesse and I had?

Jessica looked so forlorn sitting there and I realized she had taken that incredible leap of faith, like the one I had taken almost three months ago, sitting on Jesse in my den. I knew that feeling of just stepping off the edge of that cliff, looking down into the abyss of rejection, with the only thing that would keep you from plunging into eternal darkness and despair the voice of that one special person saying those oh so special words.

Before I was even conscious of my actions, I realized I had my arms wrapped tightly around Jessica’s slender shoulders, the flowery scent of her perfume wafting into my nostrils, the silky tresses of her hair tickling my cheek.


“Don’t say it, Perry,” Jessica begged, suddenly pulling back and looking at me with an almost irrational fear. “I know you have strong feelings for me, and that’s all that matters right now—really.” She tried to convince me with her look, but I felt terrible for making her take that lonely step into total darkness with no one there to catch her.


“Hush...” She literally pushed two fingers against my lips. “Just hold me.... I love it when you hold me.” She was trembling as if the temperature had suddenly dropped thirty degrees in an instant. “Hold me,” she urged quietly. And so I did.


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