The following contains mild descriptions of sexual acts between young people. It is an original work of fiction and has no basis in reality.
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The author retains Copyright © 2004 to this story. Reproducing this story for distribution without the author’s permission is a violation of that copyright.
Had I dodged a bullet this afternoon? I didn’t feel that way. After clinging wordlessly to each other for about fifteen minutes, Jessica and I had quietly returned to our shopping expedition. At first she seemed very pensive, and being the stupid dolt that I was, I had no clue what to say. But slowly, she seemed to loosen up again, buying lots of extravagant gifts for everyone on her list, helping me get through most of my list, jokingly teasing me about not wanting to be a TV star, trying on different outfits and modeling them for me (yeah, that was pretty hot!), and generally enjoying herself and my company. She even made a surprisingly off-color joke about Clarissa falling on top of her. But having been where she had been, with fate holding me by the scruff of the neck, my feet dangling into the unbearable emptiness of the abyss, I couldn’t accept that she had been content with my response to her declaration. I knew, if Jesse had said something like that to me that day at my house, I would have felt, if not totally devastated, at least cheated somehow. Sure, that might sound petty, but when you’ve gotten to that point where you’re certain your feelings are so strong, that you simply can’t continue to exist without that other person fully in your life, and you declare your love out loud, nothing less than hearing those words repeated in your direction can ever fully satisfy.
I didn’t even dare log onto the internet that evening for fear that Jesse would try to contact me. I had no idea what to say to him. I had nearly told Jessica that I was indeed in love with her, even though I didn’t really feel that way. How fucked up was that? And it wasn’t even that I was worried that Jesse would freak when I told him what Jessica had said to me in the back seat of the Jaguar. What I was most afraid of, was that Jesse would insist that I did tell her.
I thought about calling Jessica, and several times started to punch in her number. But I didn’t know what I was going to say when she answered, so I canceled the calls before they went through. Just as I was about to turn in for the night, my cell phone rang and it was her.
“Hi, Jessica. I’m glad you called,” I said, trying to sound easy going and up beat.
“Perry, just listen—please?” She sounded tense and troubled.
“I’ve been thinking and thinking about what happened today—I mean everything, like with Ms. Lorington, Clarissa, the parking garage....” She paused and I wondered if she really did want me to say something. But after a few beats, she went on, sounding like she had practiced these words at least a few times before actually making the call. “I know I can’t take back what I said today, and the truth is, I don’t want to, but I also know that I don’t want to scare you or rush things along too quickly. You’ve told me over and over again that you need to take things slowly, and me, like some desperate school girl, I just keep pushing and pushing. I mean, seriously, I have us married with kids, and you being like the star of some hit medical drama, and Perry, I even pictured the two of us walking down the red carpet at the Emmys, you in your black Armani tux, me in a stunning blue Christian Dior, six months pregnant, beaming for the cameras....”
Wow, and I thought Jesse had a wild imagination!
“But I realize that’s all in my head. That’s not reality. It’s so not where we are.”
“Where are we then?” I asked with genuine curiosity.
“We’re right where you said we are, you silly boy,” she said with a nervous giggle. “We’re in the eighth grade at a little Catholic school in a tiny town in the middle of the great big world. We’re not like Ben and J-Lo, or Brad and Jennifer—”
“Or Ashton and Demi,” I joked.
There was a long pause and I heard her sigh delicately. “Oh, Perry, you’re so funny, so sweet, thank you.”
“I’m sorry. I interrupted what you wanted to say,” I told her quickly.
“It’s just that, yeah, we are like kids in some ways—in the sense that everything is new and exciting, and we can do things now we couldn’t do before and...and yet, we’re like a little bit grown up too—if we want to be. I mean, it’s crazy of me to have us already making love and someday getting married and....” I could feel her choking with emotion and my heart went out to her, but I held my tongue.
“What I’m trying to say is, I’m so not going anywhere, Perry. As long as you’ll have me, I’ll be here. So there’s no rush about...about anything.”
I felt a tear trickle down my cheek and I had to swallow a lump in my throat before I could respond.
“I’m not going anywhere either.”
There was a long pause and I couldn’t imagine what she was thinking. I didn’t even feel bad about what I had just said, because I realized I had to be here for her. She was my friend as much as Morgan, Tom, Gene, Gary, and even in some ways, Jesse. I couldn’t dump her any more than I could tell Tom to get lost, Gary to stop living in the past, or tell Morgan to keep his hands off me and get his head screwed on straight. I had no special gifts like my friends. I didn’t have Tom’s artistic skills, Gary’s or Morgan’s athletic prowess, or even just one of Jesse’s multiple talents. Against Jessica’s aristocratic beauty and her forceful personality, I had nothing. I was a skinny, confused, middle class kid who lived with his mom and went to a little Catholic school in a tiny town in the middle of the big, big world. All I had were my friends, and I would do my best by them—up to a point, anyway. There was no question in my mind that Jesse and I were soulmates, and that we’d be together for the rest of our lives. Somehow I sensed the others would come and go, the people I called friends now would either literally up and leave or move on in some other way, and there would be new friends and relationships, but Jesse would always be my rock.
“Oh...Perry,” Jessica gulped emotionally. “I’m okay now...I’m okay now.” It sounded like she was trying to convince herself. “Thank you, Perry, really.”
“For being you.”
“That’s not very hard,” I said with a giggle.
“Well, I lo—like it, I like it just fine.” There was a pause. “Perry?”
“When I said there was no need to rush things, that we could take things at your pace—like at a slower pace?”
“Well, that doesn’t include the part about me wanting to see you naked, okay?” As ridiculous as the words were, she sounded so serious. Did she really want me to respond?
I heard her erupt into girlish giggles. “I bet I made you blush!”
“Uh...yeah,” I admitted sheepishly.
“Then my work here is finished. I’ll see you at church tomorrow, right?”
“Absotutely!” I covered the phone so I could breath a heavy sigh of relief.
“Goodnight, Perry. My dream boy.”
I tossed and turned in bed, feeling alternately too hot under the covers and then too cold without them. The day’s events spun around in my head in a big, swirling jumble like the twister scene in The Wizard Of Oz. I was satisfied that I had made my feelings clear to Melissa, and that she wouldn’t try to come on to me again, at least not in the near future. In that sense, I was glad I was with Jessica. I realized that when I had said that I had strong feelings for her, it was a completely true statement. I found her physically attractive and she did have a warm and caring heart underneath a harder, more demanding personality, and I could see that she truly had strong feelings for me. Maybe she really did love me, although I could tell that it wasn’t at the level that Jesse and I connected. Still, it was a vague word to begin with and in some sense, she had every right to say what she did. I think she realized I was reluctant to say the words back to her, and realizing that she had put me in an awkward spot, had tried to get past the moment as gracefully as she could. I felt sorry for her, even though I knew she’d hate me if she knew what I was thinking. The best thing I could do for now was to be her friend—her boyfriend.
Despite the focused and determined personality she showed to the world, I knew that inside, she was just as confused and insecure as anyone else. She needed to know that the people around her cared for her. I thought about my friends and how they were like a security blanket that I wrapped around myself, keeping the cold, heartless world of strangers and strange ways at arm’s length. Still, it had actually been a little distressing today, seeing how Jessica had cowed in front of her older cousin. I had never encountered anyone as brash and vulgar as Clarissa—male or female. It seemed to me now, as I lay in bed going over the day’s events, that Melissa Doering was a total rookie compared to that blue-haired vixen! And still, it was clear that she had a very deep, almost sisterly relationship with Jessica, and that Jessica had a great deal of respect for her. It must have been hard for her to deny her cousin’s request, not only because she wanted to be with me in that way, but because she didn’t want to disappoint her mentor. It was kind of funny that Clarissa had jumped on me the same way Melissa had this morning. Two pretty, horny girls, sitting in my lap! I guessed that some guys would have wet dreams for weeks after a day like this, but it just made my head spin more and more. I wasn’t attracted to either one of them in anything but a passing physical sort of way, and I was reminded again that in the end, looks weren’t everything, or even that important. They were just something that caught your attention, that hopefully gave you the opportunity to go a little deeper, and find out what people were really like on the inside, where it mattered the most. Jesse had speculated Clarissa might spend her free time biting the heads off rats, and all I could do was feel sorry for those clueless vermin!
And then there had been the seventh grader, Merissa Scott, behaving in typical schoolgirl fashion, tittering and blushing, somehow seeing me as attractive, probably because I was a little older and didn’t have any zits. She was pretty in a sort of old-fashioned, girlie sort of way, and her personality seemed to reflect that same sensibility. Maybe she really did have some sort of schoolgirl crush on me and Jesse and that seemed harmless enough. As I finally felt myself drifting off into the foggy realm of dreams, I tried to imagine Merissa attacking me the way Melissa had, or had it been Clarissa? Was Merissa the one with the blue hair, or Clarissa? No wait, Clarissa was Jessica’s cousin, and Merissa had been the one who attacked me...Clarissa...Merissa...Melissa.... The names echoed and blended in my mind.
I was sitting on the bench behind St. Joe’s again. I didn’t see anyone in front of me, but when I turned, there was Melissa, Merissa, Clarissa, and Katy all staring at me with weird grins on their faces! Suddenly, Jessica walked out from around them, and she was dressed in her school clothes: white polo shirt and khaki Dockers. I noticed all the girls were in their uniforms as well, although all their various colored tops looked just a little too tight to pass muster at a real Catholic school.
“Well, are you ready to go?” Jessica asked impatiently.
“Go where?” I asked confusedly.
“Like to make out, of course,” she replied, rolling her eyes with frustration.
“I don’t want to...I mean, what’re all these people doing here?”
“Well, everyone wants a turn,” she explained as if that should be blatantly obvious.
“No...I don’t think—”
“That’s good. Don’t think!” Jessica said, gesturing to the other girls with a tilt of her head. Suddenly, I was yanked off the bench and was stumbling towards the school building. I tried to shake all the clenching hands off of me and dig my heels into the grass, but suddenly, I couldn’t feel solid ground anymore! I looked down and realized I was floating! Jessica was walking purposefully in front of me and two large metal doors swung silently open as the other girls guided me in like I was a helium balloon in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
At first, the corridor was completely dark, and then, as my eyes adjusted to the dim fluorescent light, I started to make out endless rows of dingy, beat up lockers on either side as we zoomed by at what seemed like an unreal rate of speed. I noticed there was graffiti on the walls and someone had written, in large, green dripping letters: Gregson Sucks! And then a smaller statement caught my eye: a crudely drawn heart shape with the initials BC + JT in the middle.
We went down a large flight of stairs that looked just like the ones that led to the basement of the social hall at St. Agnus, my feet never touching the floor. It felt a little like being on a plunging roller coaster. When we got to the bottom, I just kept sliding along on a cushion of air, guided by the hands of the four girls clustered around me. I could clearly hear the scuffling of their sneakered feet on the dingy, tiled floor. I did recognize the long, dimly lit corridor under the social hall now, as we zoomed past closed doors with frosted window panes, dilapidated office and classroom furniture, and the occasional stack of dust-covered textbooks. This was where Jessica and I had made out for the first time, the place where Jesse, Gary, and I had hidden out from Fred Goreski and his giant sandworm. We turned a corner and made our way quickly down another long corridor until we got to a door clearly marked: Teacher’s Lounge—Faculty Only. Jessica opened the door and in I went, suddenly stumbling across the thinly carpeted floor. I quickly lost my balance and fell face first, throwing my arms out in a vain attempt to cushion my fall. My nostrils were immediately assaulted by the smell of cigarettes and stale coffee.
I barely had a chance to look around, noticing that I was in a large, open area encircled by long, dark sofas. One even bore a striking resemblance to Mr. Broyhill! Before I was able to pick myself up, I felt someone tugging at my ankles. I turned to see Melissa and Merissa yanking off my still-tied sneakers. As my feet fell back to the floor, they quickly peeled off my socks as well. Next I was rolled over onto my back, staring at a high ceiling covered with long, flickering fluorescent lights, and peeling, yellowish paint.
“Is he wearing it?” Jessica asked.
Merissa pushed up the cuff of my jeans and stared at my bare left ankle. “No.”
“Well...I knew he didn’t really intend to keep his promise,” she noted smugly.
“No!” I protested. “I always wear it to school. I just didn’t think that I’d see you here today!”
“Just hold his feet down,” Jessica instructed.
Merissa and Melissa held my bare ankles as Clarissa came from behind, scooped me up by the armpits, and lifted me into a sitting position. She leaned against me as she pulled my hoodie up over my head.
“What the...?” I gasped, barely able to catch my breath since falling to the floor.
“This part’ll be a little rough, but once you’re out of these annoying clothes, it’ll be a little easier,” Clarissa explained as she worked my jacket down my arms. She began tugging my blue Henley off my belly and I grabbed at her arms to try and stop her, but instead, I began twitching and laughing hysterically as Merissa and Melissa mercilessly tickled the soles of my bare feet. Katy came and sat on my shins as Jessica watched the proceedings with an air of satisfaction.
I was sure my shirt was going to rip as Clarissa worked it up and over my head. I was still flailing my arms around but couldn’t concentrate on anything but the intense stimulation of the tickle torture. Soon the shirt was off and I was back in the light, naked from the waist up and barefoot. I realized the tickling had stopped, but now the two girls were busy kissing my feet and toes, sometimes even licking with the tips of their warm and wet tongues.
“Tsk...No crucifix either,” Jessica noted, now sounding even more disappointed.
“But I did wear it today!” I assured her frantically, trying to feel around my neck with my pinned arms. “I showed it to Ge—heeheehee,” I laughed uncontrollably as one of the girls got her tongue in-between the first two toes of my right foot.
“Go for it, cous!” Clarissa declared, again hooking her arms under my pits and pulling me towards her, gripping me as securely as one of those shoulder harnesses on the new, suspension roller coasters.
Jessica sauntered over and gracefully knelt, before carefully undoing the snap at the top of my jeans. She grasped the nib of my zipper with her long, perfectly manicured fingers and tugged it down, opening my fly and exposing dark plaid boxers. I was already getting hard from all the attention, and I noted Merissa and Melissa had stopped what they were doing and were propped up on their knees watching intently.
Jessica began tugging my jeans down my hips. “Damn! I can’t get them off if he doesn’t lift his butt!” she declared frustratedly.
Right on cue, the tickling began again, the sharp nailed fingers of the other two girls lightly scraping the soles of my bare feet, while Katy kept her position sitting on my shins. Clarissa pushed my upper body back to the floor and then pinned me, the long, curved nails of her claws digging into my bare shoulders. As I squirmed and struggled, Jessica got my jeans down past my hips. Katy got off my legs and knelt on the opposite side from Jessica. She firmly held my thighs—including the legs of my boxers—pinned to the floor. Jessica had no problem getting the jeans off, and Katy also released her grasp as Melissa and Merissa once again held my bare ankles, pressing my heels into the well-worn carpet.
“Stop! You shouldn’t be doing this!” I cried hoarsely, finally getting my voice and wits about me. “I don’t want to make out!”
“As if you had anything to say about it!” Clarissa snorted, long, twisted strings of blue, blonde, and magenta hair drifting into my face as she leaned over me, still pinning my shoulders to the floor. It seemed now that each strand was actually a thin and squirming snake, darting into my face and then pulling back as one after another took its place.
“Jessica, please stop this!” I begged, knowing that I was sounding pathetic and whiny, but unable to help myself. Besides the fact that all these girls were seeing me without clothes on, was the strong sense of panic knowing that someone could come in and discover our little orgy at any moment.
“I’d never be able to get you like this by myself,” Jessica explained thoughtfully. “You’re too damn shy. So this is really for the best. Who wants a kiss?” she asked, looking around.
I wondered why Jessica wanted to get kisses from the other girls, but then Merissa piped up.
“Me first, please?!” she begged childishly.
“Of course, Merissa. After all, you are my flat-chested little toady,” she noted affectionately. “Why don’t you show him? Then you can have your kiss.”
“Yes!” Merissa shouted triumphantly. She came and knelt by my shoulder while Clarissa’s claws continued to dig into my flesh. She boldly pulled off her polo shirt only to reveal that she was wearing nothing underneath. And much to my surprise and astonishment, she really was flat-chested—resembling a rather skinny and underdeveloped eleven year old boy more than a beautiful young lady with bushy blonde hair and twinkling blue eyes. Her small brown tits were boy-sized as well, and her torso narrowed into the waistline of her light gray Dockers.
She giggled self-consciously as I stared at her wide-eyed. I was shocked as a long pink tongue darted out, hit me square in the nose, and then disappeared again. Then, before I could scream in horror, she leaned in and forcefully pressed her lips to mine. Despite the long curled locks of thick blonde hair tickling my skin, her kiss felt for all the world like one of Tom’s. She applied a lot of pressure but didn’t seem interested in using her long, amphibian-like tongue. After a lengthy and uninspiring lip lock, she let go with a loud smack and then kissed my cheeks, chin, and neck.
“Okay, that’s enough. Put your shirt back on before we all get jealous!” Jessica declared with a totally straight face.
“Hot, huh?” Clarissa asked, looking down at me with those gleaming, mascara-encased eyes an evil grin on her frosted blue lips. The nest of colorful snakes on top of her head continued their aimless, slithering dance.
“Did I make him hard?” Merissa asked hopefully, putting her shirt back on. Strange that now I could see the small, pert mounds of a normal seventh grade girl.
“You did just fine, dear,” Jessica placated her. “Now go back and do your job.”
“Oh boy! I love Perry’s feet! They taste just like cherry popsicles!” Merissa declared as she scurried back down to her spot on her hands and knees, and resumed holding my left ankle.
“C’mon, cous,” Clarissa urged. “Let’s see what kind of pistol Puppy Boy is packing!”
Jessica just nodded, her face serious as she concentrated on the task at hand. “Just life your butt so this’ll be quick and easy,” she urged me emotionlessly.
“No way!” I gasped. I struggled furiously, but I could barely budge the determined girls holding me down.
“This’ll help!” Clarissa said, as she leaned down and planted her icy cold, frosted blue lips on mine. She began chewing furiously, forcing her tongue into my mouth and gliding it around just like one of the slithering snakes on top of her head. I wanted to scream as I realized the weird taste from her mouth must be raw rat flesh! As I struggled to fight her off, I felt my boxers being tugged down. My boner provided some resistance, but Jessica just pulled harder, bending my shaft and allowing the underwear to slide down to my hips. My dick snapped painfully back to attention.
“Ooooh—he’s got a sandworm!” Melissa noted excitedly.
“It’s called a manpole,” Katy explained patiently.
Shit! I was stark naked in a room with five horny girls—what a nightmare!
Clarissa raised her head to take a look. “Congratu-fuckin’-lations, cous!” she crowed. “You got yourself a real wiener, I mean, winner there!” she cackled.
“Let me just have a few snapshots.” It was Ms. Lorington, and she was suddenly hovering over me with her digital camera.
“No!” I screamed as the flash went off again and again, leaving my vision speckled with black spots.
“What do I do? What do I do?” Jessica asked quickly and excitedly,
still kneeling beside me, waving her hands helplessly in the air.
“I’ll show you!” Melissa volunteered eagerly.
“Just hold on,” Clarissa said in a husky and commanding voice. “I believe he owes me a little something for this afternoon’s circus!” She got to her feet and walked down to my waist, standing opposite of where Jessica was kneeling.
“You weren’t very nice to me this afternoon, were you?” she asked, raising her knee. I noticed that, even though she was dressed in school clothes like the other girls, instead of sneakers, she was wearing her spike heeled magenta boots. She held one poised over my exposed groin. “Now I don’t want to cause any permanent damage mind you, but ’no pain, no gain,’ I like to say!”
“Jessica, please, help me!” I screamed. “Jesse!”
Just then, I heard the door open. Everyone turned to look, including me. It was an adult male—probably a member of the faculty. I felt shame and relief pour over me in equal amounts.
“What’s going on in here?” the man asked in a smooth, mature voice. The only thing was that he sounded not so much like a teacher demanding an explanation, as someone who was genuinely startled and confused by what he saw.
“She’s gonna hurt me!” I squealed.
“Who is?” the man asked, now entering and closing the door behind him.
“Clarissa...the...girls...” I said, propping myself up on my elbows and looking wildly around the room. I couldn’t believe that all five of them could’ve run off so quickly. “But...they were right here,” I noted confusedly.
“Well, they seem to be gone now,” the man said, eyeing me suspiciously.
Shit! No wonder—I was naked! I brought my knees up to my chin as I looked around frantically for my clothes. It seemed like they had disappeared along with the girls and Ms. Lorington. “The girls...they must’ve taken my clothes,” I explained sheepishly.
“Are you sure?” he asked, coming a little closer, but still keeping his distance.
“Th-they were here...Jessica, Merissa, Clarissa, Melissa—”
“...Katy?” he asked uncertainly, as if the word stuck in his throat before he pronounced it.
“Uh...yeah. So you did see them?” I asked hopefully. I sat there with my arms wrapped around my knees, wondering if I should make a run for it. Running naked through school corridors wasn’t anything I hadn’t done before in my dreams, but it was very weird being in this place with this grown man. I had a sudden and urgent curiosity about who he was.
As my panic began to subside, and the man continued to scrutinize me, I noted that he was a little over six feet tall, with longish brown hair that was kind of shaggy and unkempt. He was wearing a loose-fitting, matching long sleeved T-shirt and pants made of some shimmering light blue fabric. His T-shirt was not tucked into his slender waist, and his large feet were bare. He looked vaguely familiar and I realized with a shiver that he resembled my dad more than a little...but I was sure it wasn’t one of my uncles.
“D-do you see my clothes anywhere?”
The man made a good faith effort of looking behind and under all the furniture before shaking his head and giving me a shrug. “It’s okay; it’s not like I haven’t seen you naked before,” he explained calmly.
“You...you’ve seen me before?” I asked, feeling a real shiver go down my spine now.
“Well of course. You’re me...well, me when I was a kid...thirty years ago give or take.”
“What...?” I looked at him more carefully. He had a nicely shaped face and a square chin and looked like he hadn’t shaved in twenty four hours or so, and his eyes were...hazel.
“I’m you and you’re me,” he said, sounding slightly confused himself. “Do you mind if I sit?” he asked.
I just nodded dumbly. He sat on one of the long, beat-up leather sofas that surrounded the open area in which I still huddled with my knees pulled up to my chest.
“Sorry about your clothes.... Do you want my shirt?” he asked.
I shook my head.
“It’s okay—I know how you feel about being naked in front of people,” he reminded me.
Of course he was right, so I nodded and he stood back up. I didn’t see any seams, but his shirt just seemed to open up as he slid his thumb down the middle of his chest. His body looked younger than his face, and was lean and smooth with well defined muscles and very little hair. He walked over and handed it to me.
“You look...good, you know,” he said with a slight smile.
“Uh...thanks,” I said, taking the shirt and wrapping it around my shoulders. “So do you,” I offered as I carefully got to my knees, turning my back to him, trying to figure out how to reclose the garment. “People sure dress weird in the future,” I noted.
“Uh...just touch the two sides together anywhere,” he said. I did what he told me and the shirt just sealed itself up. “They’re pajamas actually,” he explained sheepishly. “You know, the old ’wandering around school in your pajamas’ dream?”
“Wow...I’ve never seen anything like this,” I said, still on my knees, but turning to face the man who said he was me.
“Memtex...It’s a technology that’s in your future...I hope I’m not changing the past by letting you wear it,” he chuckled.
“Like that old Star Trek episode, ‘City On The Edge Of Forever’...!” we said in complete unison. We looked at each other with mild shock, and then we both laughed.
The shirt came down well past my knees, so I got up and went to sit on another sofa as the man retook his seat.
“This is weird!” I declared.
“No argument there,” the man replied with a slightly bemused smile.
“Are you really me?” I asked anxiously.
“Perry Jacob Thompson, son of Trisha and Jacob. Born December fifth, 1989, La Jolla, California,” he rattled off quickly.
“And you’re in my dream?”
“Or you’re in my dream,” he pointed out. “Since this feels real to me—or at least, like a real dream, if you know what I mean.”
I nodded slowly since I realized that I did know what he meant. “Before you came in, these girls were attacking me...”
“Yes, I remember that dream...only I don’t remember getting a visit from...me,” he noted, obviously perplexed by the conundrum we found ourselves in. “But this is pretty cool,” he said, seeming to relax a bit. “It’s really great to see you...I mean, really see you again like this. You don’t usually see yourself in your dreams, even if you’re remembering way back when you were in school or whatever.”
“So what were you doing before you came in this room?” I asked, still not fully convinced that I was sharing a dream with my future self.
“The usual. Wandering the halls of H.T., looking for my class. Of course, I was late and there was an exam scheduled and I hadn’t studied and I couldn’t find my locker or remember my combination.”
He shrugged. “Believe me, you’ll get real familiar with that one!”
“So you were in Holy Trinity? I was in...I’m not sure. I mean, at first, it was St. Joe’s, then it seemed to be Jesse’s old school, Gregson, and then the basement of St. Agnus....”
I realized that the man’s expression had changed. It was like his face fell and he suddenly looked very tired and worn despite the excellent condition of his naked torso.
“What...?” I asked cautiously.
“Nothing...Nothing,” While he had seemed almost relaxed there for a while, now he suddenly looked very tense, like this was somehow turning into a bad dream for him. “Actually, this looks pretty much like how I remember the teacher’s lounge at H.T.,” he noted, glancing around nostalgically. “Except for that sofa,” he said, pointing to the green chenille coach across the room.
“Oh, that’s the one from this afternoon—I mean the one that Clarissa—”
“Mr. Broyhill,” the man recalled with a gentle smile.
I nodded warily. This was still way too weird to get a handle on, but I decided to go with it anyway. “If you’re really me, then there’s so many questions I want to ask!”
“Well, you know that I can’t tell you much. Preserving the timeline and all that...” He tried laughing, but it came out as a heavy breath from his nostrils.
“You look pretty...okay,” I noted, “I guess like how I might turn out when I’m old and stuff.”
“Thanks a lot!” he noted sarcastically.
“Sorry...I just mean, you look pretty good for a...for a grown up.... It’s just that—”
“Just that you look kinda...sad or tired or something.”
The man shrugged his bare shoulders. “It’s just life, Perry. It just goes on and on and on, and you think you’re in control, that things are gonna work out a certain way and then....”
“And then what?”
He shrugged again. “Things always seem to turn out different than you expect.”
“Just...different,” he replied cryptically. Then, seeing I wasn’t going to be satisfied with that response, he went on. “Some things do turn out better than you ever could’ve hoped for,” he assured me with a warm smile.
“How could this be happening?”
“I have no idea. Maybe it’s good ol’ Jerrin, playing a little game with us!”
“I love Jerrin! I saw him at Disneyland—for my birthday!”
The man nodded. “Yeah...yeah...I remember...It was our first 69!” His smile broadened to show his teeth for the first time, but his hazel eyes were glistening now.
I blushed, talking about something so intimate with a grownup, especially when I was basically naked!
“Honestly, I don’t know what I’m doing here, how we could meet like this, or what the purpose is—”
“Maybe you’re supposed to warn me about something!” I speculated.
The man seemed to give this some serious consideration, but then he shook his shaggy haired head. “I don’t think so, Perry. I think you just need to live your life.” He looked uncomfortably around the room, and then eyed the door through which he had first entered.
“Don’t leave!” I begged him, getting to my feet. “Stay with me—tell me what’s gonna happen. Are Jesse and I gonna get married?” I asked hopefully.
“I...I gotta go,” he said, sounding somewhat disoriented. He seemed to be having a hard time looking me in the eye now.
“Is there something bad...something about Jesse?” I asked, feeling my heart rate increase as dread began to fill my chest.
“No!” he answered quickly. “No, Jesse...Jesse’s fine,” he assured me, but without a smile. “Everything’s fine, Perry. You have to believe me on that,” he implored me as he also got to his feet.
“Then what is it?” I pressed.
“What grade are you in?” he asked.
The man seemed to be collating memories of his youth. “That...that was a crazy year....”
“It’s been almost three months since I met Jesse!” I informed him.
“Three...months?” he asked, some kind of awe in his voice now. Now tears started to pool in his soulful hazel eyes. “Dude...my little dude,” he whispered, and it was pretty clear that powerful emotions were beginning to overtake him. I guessed he really was me!
“Will we be happy?” I dared to ask, my voice trembling.
“Perry...” the man said, his eyes wet with unspilled tears. He came over and embraced me and he only felt like a stranger for about half a second. I wrapped my arms around his broad back as best I could. I recognized his smell and it was strangely comforting.
Then I felt his muscles strain as he pulled us apart. “You be good, huh?” he asked, a tear trickling from the corner of his eye down his unshaven cheek. “You know...your mom...our mom...” His lip was trembling and he didn’t seem to be able to get any more words out.
“Mom is great,” I assured him. “She was a little freaked out when she found out some of the things me and Jesse’d gotten ourselves into, but I know...she’s okay with it. She likes Jesse—”
“I gotta go,” he repeated more urgently, slowly walking backward toward the door.
“What about your shirt?”
“Keep it...It’s only a fuckin’ dream!” he laughed uncomfortably. He got to the door and opened it. I resisted the urge to follow him. It just seemed like I was meant to stay here in this room.
“It was...good to meet you,” I said, suddenly feeling very sad to see him go.
The man looked at me, his eyebrows knit, his jaw clenched. It was like he was holding something in, like there was a dam inside him getting ready to burst and he wanted to get out of here before it happened. He started backing out into the corridor and then paused and turned to me.
“You will be happy, Perry...I promise.”
“What about Jesse?!” But it was too late. He was gone, the door with it’s frosted glass pane rattling as he shut it behind him.
Suddenly, the lights went out even though he hadn’t flicked the switch. It was completely dark, and it took me more than a few pounding heartbeats to realize I was in bed—my own bed. I was awake and relieved to be so. I glanced at the clock and it was four in the morning...Sunday morning. There would be church...Jessica...Katy...that short story to write...I sighed, wiping the sweat from my brow. It had been a remarkably vivid dream, not unlike the one I had had about Derek Kipner. But despite its clarity and depth, I had been aware through it all that it had been only a dream. I wished now that I had asked my older self how the dream had ended for him when he was my age—or he was me, or whatever... Had the Medusa-like Clarissa really ended up stomping on my balls? Had Jessica dropped her cold and haughty act and stopped her at the last second? Or had I just woken up covered in sweat and shivering as my heart pounded violently against my chest? I felt a real chill course through my body as I wondered for a brief moment if maybe somehow in the future I ended up marrying Jessica instead of Jesse. That would explain why he—I mean, I— looked so sad and...guilty. But I quickly dismissed the thought. There was no way that was ever going to happen!
Still, as my mind slowly settled back into reality, I realized it was an intriguing idea. What if you really did have a chance to meet your future self? What questions would you ask? What good could be gained from such an encounter? If it really was possible to know the future, could it be altered, or was it better to simply let it unfold naturally? Would knowing something was going to happen cause that thing not to happen? Or was everything already fated? It was the stuff of old black and white Twilight Zone episodes.... As I felt sleep begin to overtake me once more, I realized that whatever else came from this odd and disturbing dream, I at least had a really good idea for my English project!
Don't forget! Perry and Jesse
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