On my way out of Kate’s bedroom, I realize that I left my B.T.O. shirt on her floor. There was no way I’m going back in there, not after failing to get it up when she was lying there, naked and waiting for me to have sex with her. I stop in her brother’s room and grab a Polo shirt from his closet. Timmy, Kate’s brother, likes to wear his shirts oversized, so that benefits me. With a dark blue shirt in hand, I head downstairs, and into the luxurious kitchen Kate’s mom designed.
I’ve switch on the TV, an attempt to distract me from my thoughts of the bedroom incident. Vanna White turns the letter tiles on Wheel of Fortune.
What happened upstairs is freaking me out. I’m a teenage guy. That isn’t supposed to happen. I should be able to get a rise at the drop of a hat. Hopefully there won’t be any awkwardness between Kate and me.
As Ned from Grand Rapids tries to solve the puzzle, I search the pantry for something to drink. I knock over a two liter of Coke and chase it around the tile floor. Once I catch it, I give it a minute to settle before twisting the plastic cap to open the bottle. Instantly, I’m sprayed with sticky pop. Out of sheer instinct, I toss the bottle into the kitchen sink and grab the nearest hand towel to begin mopping up the puddle on the middle of the floor.
Kate enters the kitchen. She looks stellar, as usual. The smile on her face disappears when she sees the wet spot on my shirt.
“It was an accident,” I tell her.
“Now what are you going to do?” she asks, sounding like my mom.
“I’ll show you,” I reply, sounding like a ten-year-old.
I storm out of the house to wait in Kate’s car. In the passenger seat, I discover that Eric has left the bottle of Jack Daniels for me with a note written on a dirty napkin.
Lighten up; it’s only high school.
I climb into the car and wait for Kate, the bottle between my feet. It’s a good five minutes before she has locked up the house and joins me in the car. She starts the engine, and we back out of the driveway with squealing tires.
The entire drive to Eric’s house is in silence. If it weren’t for Indians game on the radio, this would be torture. In truth, I don’t know what to say to her. My mishap in the bedroom keeps playing over and over in my mind. Is she thinking about it, too? She has to be; she hasn’t made a single comment about the game on the radio. Kate hates baseball. Man, she’s pissed.
We get to Eric’s, and the party is in full swing. Standing outside his front door, the two of us stare at a beat up plastic lawn Santa that Eric must have found on his way home from Kate’s house this afternoon. It’s propped up to greet people as they enter the house. From inside, Cameo’s “Word Up” is playing on the stereo.
“Nice Santa,” Kate says, sarcastically.
I take Kate’s hand in mine.
The tone of my voice indicates that I’m sorry and that I know I fucked up. She tilts her head on my shoulder, and the fragrance of her shampoo sends me floating, just as it has ever since we started dating. I love that smell, especially when it’s on my clothes the morning after a date. But it’s not just the shampoo, it’s the combination of the shampoo, her hair and a little of her perspiration. I wish I could bottle that smell, a delicate balance of all three essences of Kate, and take it with me wherever I go.
“Thank you,” she says, kissing me lightly on the cheek.
Maybe we’re going to be fine after all. And what could go wrong? We’re going to be amongst friends.
Entering the house, as if the syncopated electro-funk of “Word Up” weren’t bad enough, people are singing along.
“Nice song,” Kate says.
I nod to our right at Mr. Garcia’s study. “I’ll be just a sec,” I tell Kate as I enter the room.
Mr. Garcia’s study is off limits tonight. In this room he keeps most of his prized possessions. Logically, it’s the prefect place for Eric and I to keep our alcohol for the night. No one will touch it.
In the closet, next to Eric’s dad’s collection of comic books and old issues of Mad Magazine, is a red cooler full of beer. Eric said he’s been hoarding beers from various parties for months, just for this night. There must be a couple cases. How on earth did he save this much brew without getting caught, and where did he stash it?
I place the bottle of Jack Daniels on a shelf between two Star Trek dolls. Captain Kirk and Spock, noting that the dolls are in near perfect condition, as if just coming out of the box. This leads me to wonder, Why buy a toy if you’re not going to play with it? A comic book if you’re not going to read it? Mr. Garcia’s entire study is full of Star Trek and super hero memorabilia. Strange.
I grab a couple of beers and return to Kate, still standing in the foyer, looking around for people she knows. I hand her a can.
“If you want anything else to drink, there’s a cooler in there. Just grab something.”
“Do you really need anything else to drink? I want to do something tomorrow.” She says all of this with such an air of contempt that I want to scream.
“Kate, it’s a party.”
Whatever bonus points I made outside the front door are slipping away. Her face becomes emotionless.
“Fine, Brian, do whatever you want. I’m going to find Andrea.”
Kate walks away, leaving me standing in the foyer. Where’s Eric?
Behind me, the front door opens and in walks Darius Hamid, who graduated a couple years ago. We were in Key Club together.
“Brian! Good to see you.”
We shake hands as two 16-year-old girls push past him and walk out the front door.
“I tell ya, Bri,” Darius sighs, “I could do it all over again tomorrow.”
“High school. Best years of my life. Appreciate it while you can. Once you’re out, it’s a whole different story.”
Darius’ girlfriend, Carrie McClintock, walks in behind him.
“Hey, Brian,” she says, oozing sexiness.
“Hi, Carrie.” I respond, doing my best to keep my eyes off of her chest. Carrie is a babe. She moves by me and farther into the house. Darius and I both watch her go, in her bright blue tank top and white mini skirt that barely covers her ass.
“Dude,” I say, “she is fine. Uh, no offense, Darius.”
Darius laughs. He slaps me hard on the back (ouch!) and follows after Carrie.
I enter the fray to find Eric and let him know that we arrived. This requires navigating the gauntlet of the front hallway, a narrow passage packed with kids I know by name only. I get cornered by Jeff Logan and Don Gibbons, drummers in the marching band. These guys are the biggest stoners I’ve ever met, but you wouldn’t know it from their appearance. Don is a diminutive little smartass with a wispy mustache and a high-pitched laugh. He looks fourteen. Jeff is an uber-computer geek, with thick glasses, the face of a college professor. These two always – and I don’t know how, maybe because they know how to party – but they ALWAYS have cute girls hanging on them.
“Dude!” Jeff exclaims. “This party is choice!”
Don eggs me on to join them in shotgunning our beers. When we’re done, I’m the only one not soaked down the front of my shirt.
“Have you seen Eric?” I shout.
“No!” Jeff replies.
“I’m gonna go find him!”
The two guys nod, oblivious.
Pushing past us is Gwen, Allison’s best friend. She’s carrying a twelve pack of beer.
“Gwen! Mind if I have one?”
She rips open the cardboard package and hands me a can.
“Thanks,” I say.
Gwen eyes me, a perturbed look on her face.
“Is Ally here?” I inquire.
“Is your girlfriend?” she replies.
“Yes, Kate is here.”
Don and Jeff get uncomfortable, like they’re intruding on a private conversation.
“What are you gonna do, Brian?” Gwen asks.
“About what?” I respond.
“Is something wrong?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about, Gwen.”
“Dumbass, Allison is in love with you.”
My eyes go wide, and I back up into the wall.
“What did you say, Gwen?”
“Don’t act like you didn’t know. She’s in love with you, and it’s killing her, Brian.”
“I… didn’t realize. She’s in love with me?”
“Yeah. And it’s about time you figure out what you’re gonna do.”
Before I can reply, Gwen storms off. Don and Jeff act like they see someone they know and walk away, leaving me once again alone with my thoughts. Damn it, I need distractions.
Allison is in love with me?
Is Gwen fucking with me? Because it didn’t sound like she was fucking with me.
I lift my beer to my lips and stare off.
Allison is in love with me.
Today’s artwork was by Bob Cavin. Bob Cavin 3 was born and raised in Detroit. He draw things for Cartoon Network’s Regular Show. He play poker, he grow beard. He eat & drink things that are tasty. Twitter: @BobsRappinBeard
Cameo’s song, “Word Up!” is found on their 1986 album, Word Up!
Read Chapter 16 of Legendary.