Sonata Four: Here to Study...?
If you took note of the romance novels, the romantic films and the plays on Broadway that boasted the conception (the kind of things that sent some grown women whimpering into an illogical maelstrom of used tissues and rum and raisin ice cream) you might have been right to feel disenfranchised with the way spousal life is portrayed. An endless malady of craziness was what those things suggested; and to them love was the proverbial tornado in the barn, striking around and tearing apart an innocent home in Kansas before it snaked back up into the heavens to leave nothing but destruction in its wake. Some could see love like that. But it wasn't all falsehood. Ever the cynic, Summer could yet admit however that there was one thing that romantic plays, books and movies often nailed with forthright success.
Namely a particular moment after sex.
You know the moment. That point when all the dust settled, all the sweat dried up, and all the moans had dissolved into the silence of lingering comfort and the sense of completion. It was the point at which it stopped being about getting and giving what you could from and to the other person -- and just taking the time to fold yourself into their being, to reflect, to admire your partner's beauty. There was nothing quite like the soothing, willowy feeling of the post-sex linger. It was decidedly relaxing. That sentiment was not lost on Emma now.
The chestnut-haired girl lay naked astride her beautiful Summer on the comfortable fabric of her couch. It was a restful position, she had her thin arms wrapped tight around Summer's taut stomach -- and the blonde had her own arms curled possessively about Emma's back and shoulders.
The girls were knotted into each other like that, legs criss-crossing, breasts pushed against each other. Sweat glistened over their skin like dewdrops in morning sunlight. Normally bugged Emma how tasteless her mother's couch was. It was ugly. Usually when anyone came to her house she was embarrassed to be seen with it in her living room. Now it was the ramshackle russet cloud upon which she'd been taken to the skies. Suddenly that made it all the more special. The notion was so fixed in her brain that she could scarcely wipe the bubbly grin off of her freckled face.
Summer didn't seem to begrudge that smile.
"Are you okay?" she asked serenely.
A wedge of hair thickened by sweat dangled in Emma's eyes. She pulled it behind her ear before answering, "You already asked me that... I'm more than okay. This... what we did... it was so perfect."
"I wasn't sure, you know, if I should have. I didn't want to move too fast."
Emma snatched another impassioned kiss from her."Summer, it's cool. If I didn't want to I would have said so. You don't regret it do you?"
"Of course not," professed Summer, who caressed her lover's cheek with tender strokes. "It's just that... with my first time... I didn't really have much chance to think about it. It was good, I liked it, but... if I could choose again... I would've wanted it to be someone like you, not-"
Though Summer offered up only a nod it was all she needed to. Once the name was put out there it hung in the air like a lingering smell, not necessarily a bad one, but definitely a strong one. If there was such a thing as a notorious whore then Holly-Raine was certainly one of them. There weren't that many gay kids about in this town but the ones that were all knew each other, either through their schools and acquaintances or through their Facebooks, blogs and YouTube accounts. They'd mimicked the famous L-Wordian "Chart" into a living breathing matrix and Holly-Raine in all her teenage glory was best defined as the `Shane' of the network. Everyone in their area knew how much of a slut she was (though Summer never liked to hear her called that, they were after all friends) and she hadn't been spared the label. In her own school that she and Summer frequented, the all-girl's school of Atlantic High, there were stalls in the girls' room of the toilets that had scummy epithets and diatribe scribbled on them, like "Holly-Raine is a whore; call 555-432 for a pussy licking" or "Holly = Cunt" or some shit. There was one particular girl Holly had fucked by the name of Susie, who was so embittered when Holly dumped her that she started up a blog, ihatehollyraine.blogspot.com, to publicly throw hate on her. When Summer and Jenny figured out that Susie was behind it they put pressure on her to close it down, which she did, thankfully before Holly ever saw it. The truth was that Holly's promiscuous existence in Victoria had become a kind of teen lesbian meme there, only compounded by the fact that it wasn't a fiction.
For that reason Emma paid close attention to Summer any time she spoke of Holly. She knew full well that they were friends but also that they had slept together (on Summer's birthday no less) and that Holly of all people was Summer's first. Needless to say she was a bit intimidated. Could she even compare to someone like Holly? Until an hour or so she was a virgin, and her only real sexual experience had been with herself. Summer had to take command of things when they finally did it, thus comparatively she didn't have anything close to the... shall we say... `expertise' of Holly-Raine. And while Emma didn't like feeling so insecure, she couldn't help it. That wasn't her department, she liked to be in control. But with Summer it was different. She liked her so much that she just couldn't help but feel threatened by anyone whom had come before her, smutty best friends included.
"Yeah..." Summer rolled her eyes. "But you shouldn't believe all the shit that girls say about her. I mean yeah, she does fuck around a bit, but she isn't a ho. She can be a really sweet person when you get to know her."
Emma didn't really want to get to know her. "...I guess..."
"You don't believe me?"
"I didn't say that."
Soft fingertips reached out for Emma's cheeks again. Summer looked deeply into her eyes then, willing her to listen. "Emma, please don't tell me you think like those bitches that talk so much crap about her. She's my best friend and I want her to be yours too if we're gonna be together."
Honestly, as long as Holly was no longer a part of Summer's romantic life, Emma could put up with it. She just had to be sure of that, that Holly wouldn't stand in their way. So the glamorous brunette cradled both of Summer's hands with her soft palms, smiling back warmly.
"Maybe I should hang out with you guys one day," she answered. "You, Holly and Jenny. You keep talking about them anyways, so..."
Summer's lips curled into a wide, bright and brilliant smile. "You're gonna make me really happy."
She'd seen the sun rise (that woke her up) but she'd failed to see the sun fall. There was only one reason for this, the simple truth that Bonnie was straddling the penultimate phase of sheer meltdown. Normally she wouldn't have been found buffing up her room, organizing her books, dusting her shelves and folding her underwear. Normally she would have been found on her computer finishing up any homework or assignments she'd been given for the week. Or otherwise she might've curled up in bed to read something, with her Mom bringing her up a glass of chilled milk and a plate of cookies. That was how Bonnie spent most of her nights. Alone in her room, reading or working, before crashing out and letting the days and weeks pass. But today was very different.
Kris was coming.
That was why she was cleaning. That was why she was hiding all the little knick-knacks that might embarrass her; the haikus she'd written and printed off, the essays she'd written on Reconstruction and finance in the Post-Civil War era. She had to scan the room to make sure she didn't come off too nerdy. All the theatre production posters she'd put up on her walls (The Seagull, Othello, Wicked, etc) she had to leave because of the border faint, something she wasn't happy about. She honestly didn't want Kris to think that she was a nerd.
When Bonnie finally found the pause to slow down and think about what she was doing, she actually remember how cute Kris was about that whole`nerd' thing. When people saw her with big books that was what that naturally thought -- nerd. She didn't need to speak to them or assess the likelihood, she knew that to be a truth. Two popular girls might huddle up to each other so they could whisper, point and giggle in her direction. And it wasn't a case of "OMG, that blonde girl is SO cute she's making me blush!" but rather "check out the wardrobe on the blonde Stick over there! Someone needs to tell that geek the fifties are over!". It might have embittered her over time but Bonnie wasn't that sort of girl. She wasn't tortured. Sad thing was that she just considered it her lot in life.
That was why it had been so surprising when Kris said what she said before. When they bumped into each other the first time that day and Kris had helped to collect all the books Bonnie dropped there was no mildly hidden attack, no chastisement, no scorn, not even when Bonnie herself openly wondered if Kris thought that she was a nerd. Nothing of the sort was suggested by the hockey player. Her only words were;"It's fine you know. I don't mind. And even if I did, it shouldn't matter what I think," and better yet, "I think it's sweet. You really wanna do well for yourself, huh?"
Bonnie found herself blushing when she remembered Kris saying that. From that moment she knew that Kris Taylor was special -- and that she was lucky to be able to know her. But it made her wonder what she expected out of tonight. What did she expect? Kris needed help, even if she was a senior, that was all that really mattered. Even so Bonnie couldn't help but wish and wonder if they might get to know each other a bit better, to talk, maybe to understand one and other. There was something more of course. It was something that went deeper that any admiration or charm, and it's name went without saying. That she was attracted to Kris didn't matter though (it really didn't... who in her position would fancy their chances?) but it was a tricky line of thinking this. If she knew that Kris didn't think of her as a nerd, and she knew that she didn't have a chance with someone like her... why on earth was Bonnie so nervous?
Oh there was so much more to it.
Unfortunately she didn't get the chance to ponder it all. The doorbell rang out and it made Bonnie's heart leap into her throat. Kris was here already. When Bonnie glanced up at the clock she realized that the hockey star was bang on time, not as much as a minute late or a minute early. Her sock-encased feet scuttled her across her room to the window which she glanced out of. It was indeed Kris, standing patiently at her door with a folder of notes under one arm and a couple of text books in the other. The door rattled a little and Bonnie's mother, Carrie, opened the door. Since Bonnie had already explained to her parents that a girl called Kris would be stopping by for some help with her history final there was no contention between the Taylor girl and her mother. As soon as Kris introduced herself Carrie gave her a warm smile at directed her upstairs to Bonnie's.
Once Kris came inside and the front door closed behind her, the blonde teen quickly shut her window to straighten herself out a bit. With bated breath her held herself still whilst listening to Kris' slow footsteps trudging their way up her staircase and across her hall until there was a calm knock at her door.
When a hand jiggled the handle to opened the door her sights were once again blessed by Kris' appearance, face to face again, putting Bonnie close enough to once more admire that born-again confident smile and those handsome tomboyish looks. Not so suddenly or unexpectedly Bonnie felt an ache in her cheek muscles. She was probably flushing hard again like she always did. But no one made Bonnie blush as hard as Kris did.
"Hiya." said the senior, with friendly inflection.
Bonnie's eyes ducked away, though she couldn't hide her smile. "...Hey..."
She didn't really need to be invited in nor did she wait to be. Kris stepped past Bonnie (unintentionally brushing their forearms together) to drop the items in her arms, her books and notes, onto the bed, before she sat herself down.
"Hey Bonnie, thanks again..." She combed her fingers through her lush raven bangs whilst saying so. "You know... for doing this. I know you must have tons of other stuff to do."
She actually didn't, in all earnestness. That was one of the reasons she was so anxious. It had been quite a few years since the last time someone other than her parents or herself had come into her room. It was a sanctuary to her, the one slice of the world that she could openly say was hers. Right now there wasn't anyone else she would have wanted here -- but that didn't stop her from being jumpy in Kris' presence. Far from it.
Bonnie, finally, exhaled again."I-it's okay. I hope I can help... I mean... if I can."
The blonde girl paused a moment, not sure if Kris was going to say something else to her, not sure if she was even going to say something, all until she realized that Kris was here to be helped... thus she couldn't take charge. It was weird. Most of the time people spoke to her -- or she didn't speak. She wasn't used to being the one to have to initiate things.
"So, um... what things have your history class being doing this year?"
She saw Kris blink and ask,"...Don't you want to sit down first?"
Oh. She was standing up. Okay. Bonnie scratched her brow, hoping to God that she wasn't embarrassing herself too badly, and did as she was asked when Kris patted the bed. The part of the bed that was next to her. Bonnie had to will herself to take a deep breath before she padded over and sat down next to her crush. Her crush, Kris Taylor.
The dark-haired one gave her another of those bright smiles."What was the question again?"
"Your history class... what, like... subjects did you have to do? Like in my history class right now we're working on the Spanish conquest of the Americas and... contact with Incan and Mayan civilizations, the toll on the native population, the exploitations of land and wealth... and the economic consequences that the discovery of the New World had on internal European affairs in the later early modern period."
Kris stared at her evenly."You know what? I don't have a clue."
"About what I said or what you've done?"
Wow. She really wasn't all that interested in history. That was something Bonnie didn't get about Kris. History was certainly one of her favourite subjects yet it had gotten such a bad rep with other students; Kris included. Bonnie often wondered why. Nevertheless she busied herself after the fact by taking Kris' notes for a quick skim through. As her fingertips flicked through the numerous (but sparsely scribbled upon) pages the novel student gained a quick understanding of what topics Kris had been working on and where she was at. There were three main subjects; number one was the Industrial Revolution, number two was World War One, and finally number three was the economic boom of the 1920s. According to what Kris had carelessly scrawled (honestly her handwriting was God-awful) the most recently studied subject was the economic boom, which made sense because it was chronologically the most recent of all three subjects. Ultimately she had to complete an exam AND submit a paper, the former of which made up 65% of her grade whilst the latter made up 35%.
Right then and there Bonnie made up her mind to work on WW1 with Kris first. Since it had been learned at the beginning of the term it was probably the subject she was least familiar with (though she didn't seem too enthused about any of them really).
"...You've done a lot this year," Remarked Bonnie, a bit more focused now. "World War One, the 1920s boom, and the Industrial Revolution. But they aren't hard to learn about... there's plenty of resources online and I know that the library has tons of books that could help us. I know a few articles on the Wall Street Crash and 20th century German militarism we could print off too. I think we should start off with WW1 first though. Is that okay?"
"Uh, sure... I guess so."
Then the darnedest thing happened. Bonnie, in her bid to help Kris, forgot about how much she liked her, how much she made her blush, and actually homed in on the task at hand. As soon as Bonnie mapped out what they were going to do she went at it without a moment's hesitation. She glided through Kris' notes again and marked down what facts and events Kris' History teacher had put emphasis on, for example the naval arms race between Germany and Britain leading up to the First World War; wrote down each significant attribute of them, and then she jotted down what little she knew and informed Kris that they would organize themselves around those key points. Bonnie quickly took her online to flesh out those points (though according to her the internet wasn't always factual -- so this was only to expand upon what they already knew, then they would turn to books at the library to corroborate things and then provide the meat of their work) and they visited at least a dozen sites relating to WW1, all of which provided them with information. Bonnie picked out what she thought might be good then had Kris type it all down so she could print it off for her. The rest of the evening was spent knuckling down with those fact sheets. The younger girl had Kris read their information to her and asked her questions about what she'd read at certain intervals. Most of the time Kris failed to recall anything other that details specifically related to combat; i.e. the uses of new technologies to the era (like anti-personnel weapons such as tanks or incendiary weapons like mustard gas and so on) as well as the tactics involved including the development of trench warfare. Apparently this was because Kris had played a few militaristic computer games with her sick cousin a few months back. Go figure. Over the hours Carrie came in with refreshments for the pair of them; chips and soda for Kris and (of course) milk and cookies for Bonnie.
But something other that just studying happened. Over time points that weren't necessarily historical in nature were made plain. The foremost? Bonnie wasn't just a studious young girl: she was dedicated and thorough, refusing to leave anything to conjecture if it didn't need to. The blonde one was in very many ways... business-like about her studying; even if the knowledge she dragged herself into wouldn't apply to her until next year, when she was a senior. By the time the clock hit ten Bonnie was so knee-deep in the work that she hadn't even noticed it, rather she went over one of the fact sheets they'd printed out together.
"Because British colonial authority was on the whole better established and longer lived in its colonies than that of the Germans, which were kind of new, the Entente powers were able to dominate the Schutztruppe in the West African Campaign." Bonnie glanced up at Kris who was leaning over her shoulder -- presumably to read. "Do you see?"
"...Huh?" The hockey player juddered as if caught out doing something. Bonnie found it odd. It was as if Kris had been paying attention to something other than the fact sheet.
"Do you see?" She repeated. "Britain's naval capabilities and stronger global presence gave the Allied powers an edge in certain theatres of war. Your teacher said that one of the keys points you needed to study were the causes of the First World War, and we know that the arms race was one of them, so maybe you could say that consciousness of British naval power was a logical concern on the part of the Central Powers, one that played out in a way that actually necessitated German militaristic innovation in the pre-1914 years. That invalidates triviality as a criticism of the arms race, doesn't it?"
Kris scratched her head."Uh, yeah, I guess so."
"Good. Then we should probably-" Then she saw the time on her digital clock. "It's 10.23? Already...?"
Bonnie wondered how the time could have slipped by her so quickly. Then she giggled that worry off of her shoulders. She knew that when she studied there was no stopping her. But that was when she finally began to wind out of`study-mode' inevitably recall her circumstances here. It was night. Kris was in her room. Not just in her room. Sitting next to her. Close to her. Close enough to smell the lingering waft of 7-Up on her lips. Close enough to bump heads. Close enough to even kiss. Her heart started pounding like crazy when it settled in, her shaking azure eyes able to notice the gentle contours and boyish distinctions of Kris' face, how strong and charming she seemed, how easily it might have been for someone to just fold themselves into her arms...
And immediately Bonnie wrenched herself up from the spot, putting some distance between herself and Kris. Maybe more abruptly than she should have. Then she saw it. A frown. She saw Kris frown at her a little, its surprise mixed in with confusion, and an unwelcome brew it was. Suddenly Bonnie got the feeling she'd just made a mistake. What... did she imply just there?
Kris smiled softly and... not with much zest. "It's getting late. I should go."
"No... you... y-you don't have to-"
"Nah, I probably should," replied Kris. "Thanks for what you did tonight. You... really helped me out."
The hockey player gathered up all the notes she had, those made today and those she had had previously and she was pretty quick about it. Bonnie only stood and watched in mute while Kris loaded up her stuff, said a brief goodbye, then nudged her way out the door. She could be heard descending the steps before thanking and saying her goodbyes to Mr. and Mrs. Mitchell before showing herself to her door. Her former study buddy went to the window. By that time Kris was already halfway down her street and disappearing... and a newly dejected Bonnie watched her go. Gone. Like that. Just gone. Moments later Bonnie collapsed into her ruffled bed without shutting down her computer or tidying up her books.
"...I didn't want you to go..." she whimpered, disconsolately.
* Well, like a supervillian in a bad comic book, this story keeps on rising from the dead to make itself known again. Hats off toOperculum for giving me the encouragement to continue, all thanks is due to her.
* It occurs to me now that this story is more light-hearted than my current projects. That's probably why I've left it so long to continue. But I have to say it makes a change for my normal doom and gloom.
* Thanks to all those who've read and liked this story over the past four years. I'm gonna try hard to finish it.