My computer is dead. They could not revive it. They said
I could sell its remains on ebay. I’m reduced to depending on this old clunker
where the keys cannot be relied on to print and the space bar has all the
predictability of a roulette wheel. I’m constantly backspacing to fix things.
It makes typing anything exhausting. They seemed to think that my computer was
becoming obsolete and I needed a new one anyway. It was only 22 months old. Not
even two years. Obsolete? I mean I know it’s not cutting edge after 22 months,
I’ve got my eye on a replacement. I’ll have to wait for
the black Friday sale for it to even become close to affordable. But I have to
write. And I cannot continue to do it on this clunker. I have another name for
what it is but since this is a family site, I’ll stick with clunker.
I should have posted this last week, but well, ya know.
A Pretty Girl grew out of a dare kind of. You may have read Best Summer Ever. It’s posted under 2019 Stories. If not, you should. Anyway, at the end of Best Summer Ever a fan asked me about the female lead. She said the girl sounded interesting, what’s her story. I said I didn’t think there was a story there because I didn’t think I could channel a 15 year old girl. She said “Probably not.” Well, I took that as a challenge. I’m not sure if I really channeled a 15 year old girl, I can’t find one to read it for me. But I had a lot of fun writing it. It’s one of my longer stories, clocking in at just over 10,000 words. So get comfy before you start. I hope you enjoy it.
A Pretty Girl
“I’m coming over.”
“No, you don’t have to do that,” Mandy
“I said I’m coming over. You need a
“I don’t want to ruin your date. Don’t
bother. I’ll be fine.”
“Yeah. See you in about 30 minutes.”
Savannah broke the connection.
sighed. She hated being a pain. So she got stood up. It’s not that big a deal.
Not even stood up. Lated? Is that a word?
Jason was supposed to pick her up at
7 to go to a teen club dance. Savannah called her at 8 to find out why she wasn’t
there yet. Mandy babbled something about Jase having no sense of time, but she
was worried. He finally showed up at 9. Her mom answered the door and to use
her phrase, “sent him packing.”
“No respectable young man shows up two
hours late for his date and no self-respecting young lady would tolerate it,”
she said. “Besides, I caught a whiff of beer. I don’t think you should keep
seeing him if he drinks and drives. We agreed to allow you to go on car dates
now you’re 15 because we respect your maturity and responsibility. Don’t make
us regret it.”
Yeah, Mom has a way with words. Lots
of ‘em. But she was glad Mom took charge of the door answering tonight. It
would have been hard to tell Jase to go.
Well, alone again on a Friday night. What
a loser. When Mandy had related what happened when Savannah called again a
little after 9, her response made even Mandy blush. Savannah was her best
friend and super-protective. Even more so than Mandy’s body-builder older
brother Nathan, whom they both referred to as “the Neanderthal”. Savannah was
older and considerably wiser about boys, dating and other important stuff. What
a difference a year makes.
Savannah arrived as promised. Mandy
overheard her mother say she thought she’d see Savannah tonight. God, I am such
a loser, Mandy agonized. Even my mother knows it.
“So he bailed on you?” Savannah was
livid. Her green eyes shone with fire and her curly brown hair seemed to
crackle with energy.
“Not really. I mean he did show up.”
“Two hours late! In some ways that’s worse
than not showing up at all. It’s like saying ‘You’ll dance to my tune, bitch’.
He is such a douche. You can’t let that go.”
“Well, maybe it was my fault. He seemed
distracted at school today. Maybe I did something wrong.”
“Don’t blame yourself. Maybe you’re not
the problem. Maybe he is.”
“What? You think we should break up?”
“No. I’m calming down now.” Savannah
visibly settled herself. “You should do what YOU want to do. You’re beautiful
and smart. You should call the shots, not some nerdy boy. If you stay with him
or with anyone, be sure he respects you.”
“Like your Del? You are so lucky. He
absolutely adores you. I wish I had a Del.” Savannah’s face softened at the
mention of her boyfriend. Senior, biggest guy at school, all-state tackle,
bitchin’ car and yes, he doted on Savannah.
“Yes, like my Del.”
“Well, I AM very pissed about tonight.
He’s blown me off a couple of times at school, too. But he’s cute as can be and
I just can’t resist him when he makes his wounded puppy dog eyes at me. I can’t
just break up with him. He’s my first boyfriend since I can go on real dates.
And Fall Fest and Homecoming are coming up. I gotta have a date for those. Everybody will think I’m such a loser if I
can’t even get a date.”
“But someone like him? He showed up at the
club before we left. He told people you were being a bitch. You want to date a
boy who says that about you? There are other fish in the sea. And pretty as you
are, they’ll line up to date you. Just take your pick.”
“I don’t seem to pick so well. My last
boyfriend cheated on me and now this,” Mandy moaned, covering her head with the
comforter on her bed. “What’s wrong with me, Vannah? I feel like I have ‘loser’
stamped on my forehead. Why can’t I keep a boy interested in me?” Her voice was
muffled by the comforter.
“I don’t know, babe. You’re a pretty girl
and you like pretty boys. There’s nothing wrong with good-looking guys. I mean,
look at my Del. But you just seem to always pick the worst ones. A lot of good-looking
guys think they’re all that, like the rules don’t apply. Maybe go a little
slower. Get to know a guy before you give him your heart.” Mandy sat up and
looked at Savannah like she had all the answers. Savannah stroked Mandy’s honey
blond hair and looked into her cool blue eyes.
“You make it sound so simple. I thought I
knew Jase. I thought he liked me,” Mandy said looking earnestly into Savannah’s
“Jason Collins only likes one person, and
that’s Jason Collins. I haven’t said anything but I’ve been afraid this was
going to blow up.”
“What? Tell me.”
“You said I make it sound so simple. Well,
it should be, but dicks like Jason are everywhere. They put on this act. They
make you think they’re so romantic and nice and into you. Then once they’ve
drawn you in, you see the real person, and he’s a shit, but by then it’s too
late. I’ve seen him do this before.”
“Oh my god. Jase was so sweet and romantic
at the start. You mean now I’m seeing the real guy? That he thinks he can ignore
me at school and come and go as he pleases and I won’t say anything? What a
“That’s my girl,” Savannah pulled her into
a hug. “We’ll find you a real boyfriend. The kind of boy you deserve. But for
this weekend, you’re with me. Del and I are going bowling tomorrow night.
You’re going with us. I’ll bring my cousin Gary to make it four. You remember
“Yeah. He’s cute, sweet, everything I want
in a boy except he’s also looking for the perfect boy. Send him over early and
we can try on dresses together,” Mandy said through a pout.
“Don’t be homophobic. You could use the
help. Your sense of style is terrible.”
“Is too. Hey, I smell popcorn. Your mom
said she was making some. Let’s go gorge ourselves and zone out on Netflix.”
“Now, that I agree with.”
Per Savannah’s advice Mandy didn’t
take Jason’s calls on Saturday or Sunday. She also ignored his texts and
emails. As she expected, he caught up with her at her locker Monday morning.
“Mandy. What’s the deal, babydoll?
You won’t talk to me or return my texts. I’m sorry about Friday, okay? I just
got caught up with the guys. You know I only think about you.”
“Oh, Jason. We both know that’s not true.
We’ve drifted apart recently so I think we ought to take a break from each
“A break? What? Are you breaking up with
“Yeah, I am. I like you a lot, Jase. I
just don’t think we belong together. We have other things we want to be doing.”
She stood on her tiptoes and kissed his cheek.
She turned quickly to walk away before being ensnared by his hurt puppy
dog eyes. She knew she wouldn’t be able to resist them. She heard him gasp,
“What the fuck?” After turning a corner she whipped out her cell and texted
Savannah, “done”. Savannah would get the rumors started and make sure Mandy’s
side was the official story.
Fall Fest was going to be a bust as far as
Mandy was concerned. She tried to be open to talking to different guys, trying
to get a feel for their character, but mostly it made her seem awkward and stand-offish.
Also, Jason was popular so dumping him did her no favors, even though Savannah
made sure everyone knew he had mistreated her. So, she ended up dateless for
the first school dance. She had planned to sulk at home but Savannah made her
come along with her and Del. A few boys asked her to dance, although one got a
painful jab in his foot from her spike heel in response to a wandering hand.
An hour or so into the dance, she and
Savannah went to the bathroom to freshen their makeup. Afterward, coming down
the hallway near the gym Mandy heard off to her left, “Hey, Mandy. Got a
minute?” She looked over and saw Jimmy DeVane, a classmate, a cute classmate.
“Hey, Jimmy.” Then to Savannah, “Go on,
I’ll catch up in a minute. So, what’s up, Jimmy?”
“I’ve been thinking I should tell you I’m
sorry about you and Jase, but I’m really not. He was never good enough for you.
Just saying.” He leaned against the wall beside a classroom door like he wanted
her to stay a few minutes and talk. She stepped closer.
“I thought you and Jase were
buds. Is that how you talk about your friends?”
“Yeah, we’re amigos. I know him real well.
That’s how I know he’s not what you need. I guess you know he was seeing
Charlene while you two were dating?” She didn’t know, but wouldn’t admit it.
“Yeah, he’s a douche,” she replied. Jimmy
“Let’s not talk about him. How about us?”
He stepped closer, into her personal space. She could feel the heat radiating
from his chest. He was summer tanned, black haired, moody, sexy. Your basic bad
boy. Yep, she thought. He’s got a reputation but he’s the kind of guy she
liked. “Maybe we could get together some time,” he breathed huskily. “You know,
get to know each other,” another step and he was very close but not actually
She suddenly noticed how dark the hallway
was. She edged a little away, saying, “That sounds like…”
He casually put his arm around her waist
saying, “What’s the hurry?” She overcame her jitters. After all, they were in
school. She was safe here.
“No hurry,” she whispered. He leaned back
against the wall, gently pulling her with him. She didn’t resist, but allowed
him to pull her into full contact.
“We could have a lot of fun together,” he
breathed into her ear. She lifted her head to reply, but his mouth found hers.
She went with it and decided Jimmy DeVane was a great kisser. Breaking the
kiss, she pushed him slightly back. With a smile she said, “Maybe Jimmy. But
not here in the hall.”
“There’s any number of open classrooms.
“No, Jimmy. Not at school.” His arms had
tightened and she realized she couldn’t break free.
“Let me go, Jimmy.”
“Aw, don’t be a tease, Mandy. Jase said
you always came through for him.” He pulled her tight against himself. She
could feel his arousal. He attempted to kiss her again.
“He said what?” she squeaked as she
avoided his mouth. She was so surprised she hardly noticed he had maneuvered
her into the classroom.
“Yeah,” he breathed in her ear as she
struggled. “He said you were hot for it. Slow to start, but a real tiger.” He
covered her mouth with his again. Only then did she notice his hand was under
her skirt and felt it slide down inside the front of her panties. Without
thinking about it, she bit his lip. As he pulled his face back she slammed her
knee up between his legs as hard as she could. His face creased in agony but he
refused to let go. As he crumpled to the ground he tried to pull her with him.
Getting one arm free she punched him in the face the way Nathan had shown her.
This allowed her to break his grip. She fled the room and ran without stopping
until she fell sobbing into Savannah’s arms.
“Oh god, baby. What’s wrong?”
“Jimmy DeVane, he just tried, he tried to force
me, he tried to rape me,” she barely managed to get out.
“Oh my god. My poor baby,” she crooned
wrapping Mandy even more tightly. “Are you okay?”
“No. I mean yes, I got away. But I wanna
“Del,” Savannah said. “Get the principal.”
He nodded and left.
“No, Savannah. I don’t want to cause
trouble. He’ll say it’s my fault. It sounds like Jason’s been saying I’m easy.”
“What? You told me y’all never did it.”
“And we never did. You know I wouldn’t
keep that from you. But he’s telling people we did. Jimmy wanted in on it.”
“They are both fucking low life scum!”
Principal James came up with Del. “Miss
Barrett, Miss Smalls. Del here tells me there has been some problem?”
“Yes,” Savannah said. “Jimmy DeVane just
tried to rape Mandy.”
“Oh my. Miss Barrett, is this true?”
“Yes,” she barely managed to whisper. Now
that the immediate shock was wearing off she was beginning to shiver and
couldn’t stop the tears.
“That’s a very serious allegation, Miss
Barrett. Are you sure it wasn’t just teenage fooling around?”
“He forced me in a classroom and tried to
rip off my panties,” she gasped.
“Oh, well, yes. That’s terrible. Now, I’m
sorry to have to ask this but I must. Did you at any time say ‘no’ or indicate
that you were unwilling? Or did you lead him on?”
She had been afraid they’d paint it as her
fault. She raised her tearstained face, surprising even herself with the force
in her voice, “I screamed no, bit him and kicked him in the fucking balls. Is
that enough of a no for you?” The principal seemed a little shocked at her
“Well, yes. But it’s over now. You’re safe.”
Turning to another teacher he told him to scout around and find Jimmy DeVane.
“Mandy! Mandy! Are you okay?” Nathan came
running up. “What’s going on?”
“DeVane attacked her,” Savannah told him,
passing Mandy into his arms.
“That punk. I’ll kill him!” Nathan roared.
“You’ll do nothing of the sort, Mr.
Barrett. I suggest you settle down and call your parents to come collect your
“I wanna go home,” Mandy moaned.
“I can take her home,” Nathan told the principal.
“I’ll release her to your parents. We’ll
let you leave when your parents arrive, Miss Barrett. I’ve called the school
nurse. She will want to have a look at you. Perhaps we can resolve this without
involving the authorities.”
Savannah, who had been whispering with
Del, whipped her head toward Principal James and said, “A fucking whitewash?
Are you kidding?” As she gaped at the principal, Del slipped away.
“Language, Miss Smalls,” the principal
glared at her. One of the chaperones came up. “Ah, Mr. Johnson. Have you found
“Yes, sir. We got the DeVane boy. Looks
like the girl got in some licks. Bob’s holding him in your office. Want me to
call his parents?”
“Yes, please.” There was sudden shouting
and shoving on the other side of the gym. It looked as if a fight might break
“Oh, Lord. What now?” the
principal worried as he and several other teachers headed toward the
After Principal James left, Del came up.
In the crook of his massive arm was the neck of a very frightened looking Jason
Collins. Although there were no visible injuries, the state of Jason’s hair and
clothes showed that Del had not used gentle persuasion to get him to come
“The boys are causing a ruckus to keep the
teachers occupied. You only got a few minutes, Savannah,” Del said. A small
crowd of students had gathered around them to see what was happening.
“Well, Jason,” she began. “I’m happy to
let you know that you and your best friend’s plan to rape Mandy didn’t work.”
“Mfft?” was all Jason could get out from
under the huge arm holding him captive. Savannah gave Del a short nod and he
released the boy with a look that advised him to stay where he was. “I didn’t do
nothing,” Jason whined.
“The police already have DeVane in custody
and are probably looking for you,” she coolly lied. “He told Mandy how you said
you two had been having sex and she was hot for it. Maybe you helped him plan
it or maybe you just set them both up. Either way, you’re an accessory to a
felony, Jason. Y’all are sixteen. You can be tried as adults. DeVane will be
expelled and do prison time. You will at least be expelled. Maybe prison also.
A pretty boy like you won’t do well in prison,” she sneered.
Jason’s crimson face blanched. He began
sobbing, “Oh god, no. I didn’t think he’d do anything. It was just talk. Just
guy talk. Oh god, oh shit. I can’t go to prison. Mandy, don’t let them send me
“You mean you and Mandy weren’t intimate?”
Savannah asked innocently.
“No! No, no, no. We never did nothing. She
wouldn’t. I mean I wanted to, but no. Not ever. I just said we did ‘cause Jimmy
was bragging about the girls he’s done. It was stupid. I’m so sorry, Mandy. I’d
never do anything to hurt you.” It seemed as if he were pleading for his life,
which in a sense, he thought he was.
“All right, everyone, break it up,” Principal
James said pushing through the milling students. “Mr. Collins. I might have
known I’d find you mixed up in this. Where Mr. DeVane causes trouble, Mr.
Collins is sure to follow. Mr. Johnson, take him to the vice principal’s office
and call his parents, too.”
Within a few minutes the principal had
cleared the area and Savannah, Del and Nathan took Mandy to sit on the
bleachers to wait for her and Nathan’s parents. Nathan kept his arm around her
and she leaned in as if drawing strength from him. The doors nearby flew open
and her parents came running in, her dad outstripping her mom. He rushed
towards them shouting, “Where’s my baby, where’s my little girl?”
Mandy, feeling like she was seven again,
cried, “Daddy” and ran to his arms. He was built big like Nathan and totally
engulfed her. Being enfolded in his arms was the safest place she knew. Her
mother came up and began fretting over her as her dad turned to Principal
“I want that boy locked up or I swear I’ll
kill him myself.”
“Now, Mr. Barrett. Calm yourself.
Everything’s under control.”
“Control? Where were you when that bastard
tried to rape my daughter?”
Principal James sputtered, “We’re dealing
“See that you do! Come on, honey,” her dad
said to Mandy. “We’re taking you home.”
Principal James grabbed him by the arm.
“She needs to see the nurse first.”
Mr. Barrett looked pointedly at the hand
on his arm, then the principal. “I’ll ask nicely only once. Take your goddamn
hand off me. I’ll take care of my daughter. You obviously can’t.” James quickly
raised both hands in surrender and the little group – father, mother and two
children left. Savannah leaned into Del and whispered, “Go, Mr. B!”
“So what was the deal with terrifying
Collins?” Del asked.
“A little bit payback and a little bit
cleaning up Mandy’s reputation. Jason’s been saying she’s a slut. Now he’s
publicly admitted he’s a liar. We have plenty of witnesses.”
“Remind me never to cross you,” Del
The attorney Mandy’s family consulted
advised against any action. She said that the school would probably not be held
responsible and it would be an awful experience for Mandy, especially
considering what she had already gone through. Jimmy DeVane was not expelled
but allowed to transfer to another school in a nearby school district. His
father, the largest contractor in Middleton, coincidentally made a huge
contribution to the athletic fund. And Jason basically got yelled at and told
to keep his nose clean. Mandy felt like the only one who received any real
consequences. Her parents decided she was not ready for car dates. They would
reconsider when she was sixteen. WTF? she thought. I’m the victim here. Even my
own parents are acting like I did something wrong. She felt like the point was
moot anyway. None of the guys were exactly lining up to ask her out. While they
all got a laugh out of the public shaming of Jason, it was as if she had broken
some taboo in reporting Jimmy. Even though everyone considered him a basic
boyslut, none of the boys wanted to see him called on it. Her parents also
wanted her to talk to a counselor, but she adamantly refused. She was not going
to talk to some shrink about something as embarrassing as this. She didn’t want
some pointy headed guy with a goatee poking around in her head. She just wanted
to forget the whole thing.
“Maybe I should have just let it go, not
told anyone. It was all my fault anyway. I shouldn’t have been alone with him,”
she moaned to Savannah.
“What? Hell, no! You were in school for
Christ sake. You should expect to feel safe there. It was not your fault. Don’t
ever say that. It was just a matter of time before he did that to somebody. You
probably have saved someone else from getting raped by standing up to him.”
“Then why do I feel like the bad guy?
Everybody’s acting like I did something wrong. Maybe I did. I did let him kiss
me. If I hadn’t he wouldn’t have thought I’d let him do anything else. Maybe I
did lead him on. I didn’t mean to, though. I feel like such a zero. The guys
only want me if they can get in my pants,” Mandy agonized.
“Girlfriend, look at me. You did nothing
wrong. NOTHING! He is low life scum and those bastards let him off scott-free.
You were totally right in everything you did. And if others can’t accept that,
then fuck ‘em.”
“Easy for you to say. It’s not about you.
I feel like that Hester girl in that stupid book we had to read in English last
year. The difference is I didn’t do anything! It’s like everybody hates me,
including me.” Mandy just wanted to scream.
Homecoming came and went dateless. Mandy
went to the game to see Del terrorize the other team, but skipped the dance.
Savannah tried to get her out of her funk but couldn’t seem to get Mandy
interested in anything. She vaguely hoped her life might start back up when she
could date again at sixteen. Maybe. If she could find someone.
The mild Georgia winter came in softly and
it was in a warm January when disaster struck again. Del was contacted by a
PAC-10 college which offered him an experimental scholarship plan that would
allow him to finish his senior year at college while taking in college level
courses. This would allow a lighter load during his first football season, when
a number of athletes find out they can’t keep up. He explained to Savannah that
this was his big chance. She bravely kissed him good-bye and let him go. Then
completely broke down in Mandy’s room.
“I always knew he might go off somewhere
after high school. I just kept this small dream that he might get a scholarship
in-state. Somewhere close enough that we could stay together. Even if that
didn’t happen, I was hoping to enjoy at least six more months of the best
relationship I ever hoped to have. It’s just not fair. This world sucks.
Football sucks. Everything sucks.”
Mandy didn’t know what to say, so she just
held Savannah’s hand and passed her Kleenexes.
“I’ve got big news,” Savannah said as she
joined Mandy at their regular lunch table on a rainy February Monday. “Guess
who is back on the market?”
“I don’t have to guess. I’m sure you’re
going to tell me whether I care or not,” Mandy replied nonchalantly.
“Well, my intel is that Brad Jessup is a
“No way! He and Carol have been basically
married for the last year.”
“Well, apparently there’s trouble in
paradise. There was a scene at a party at Jordan’s on Saturday. You know. The
one we weren’t invited to. Mostly couples or couple wannabes. A parents out of
town party,” she said with raised eyebrows. “It seems Carol got into the
liquor. You know how she gets when she’s had a few.” Savannah loved to repeat
gossip. Fortunately, Mandy loved to hear it.
“I’ve heard she gets a little crazy,”
“Yeah. Seems she was getting flirty with
some of the guys. Brad and her got into it a few times. He was mad she was
drinking, and she was mad he was a ‘party poop’ as she called it. They weren’t
speaking to each other and avoiding each other most of the night. Then Carol
went off the deep end. She went shrieking through the house that she caught
Brad in a back room making out with Nicolette Sheridon. She said he had his
tongue halfway down her throat.”
“Eww,” Mandy didn’t care for that mental
“It went downhill from there. It seems the
most family friendly thing she called him was a goddamn fucking son of a bitch.
She went on that he was a pervert with a tiny dick, lousy in bed and slapped women
around because he’s not man enough to hit men. She really laid it on. And, get
this. Nicolette wasn’t even there that night. She must have imagined the whole
thing. They said Brad was just ice cold. Stared at her and didn’t say a thing.
He just left. She had to find her own way home.”
Mandy looked around the cafeteria. Brad
was sitting over at a table with the tennis team. Carol was sitting with the
cheer leaders. Even her extra heavy makeup couldn’t hide that she was recently
hungover or crying, or both.
“You know how they are. They’ll be back
together in a day or so. They can’t live without each other. They say it all
the time,” Mandy reasoned.
“Not necessarily so. I have intel from a
source, a guy, who said Brad told him he was getting tired of Carol’s shit. He
said this was the last straw and there was no going back. He even put on
Facebook that ‘Brad is NOT in a relationship’.”
“Wow, maybe it is over. And they were such
a beautiful couple, not.” Mandy thought Brad was gorgeous and Carol was just
too easy to hate.
“This might be my big chance,” Savannah
“Chance for what?”
“To get Brad.”
“As if. He doesn’t even know you exist.
He’s out of our league.”
“Of course he knows me. We went together,
“In fifth grade!” Mandy exclaimed. “Y’all
were going steady in homeroom and broke up by recess. It lasted what, three
“But a quality three hours,”
Savannah sighed. “I’ve got a class with him next period. Wish me luck.”
“Go for it, girl,” Mandy said through a
Savannah related over the phone to Mandy
that night how well she had played Brad in class and that he would be joining
them for lunch the next day. And sure enough, Brad came strolling up with his
lunch tray shortly after she and Savannah had sat down. Savannah was bright and
flirty, trying to keep Brad engaged, but Mandy got the feeling his attention
was elsewhere. Poor Savannah, she thought. She’s trying so hard and it’s so not
As they went back to their lockers before
the next class Savannah admitted it wasn’t working.
“Well, that sucked,” were her exact words.
“But I’ve got another 50 minutes to work on him. It’s double or nothing.”
“That’s the spirit,” Mandy cheered her.
That’s why it was almost surreal when she
found Brad falling into step beside her as she headed out of school later that
“Remember me?” he asked playfully.
“Oh, hey Brad.”
“You a walker or a bus rider?”
“Oh, I live just a few blocks. I walk when
the weather is nice. It’s overcast but not too cold today.” Mandy sensed she
“It may start raining any moment. How
about I give you a lift home? It’ll let me make up for monopolizing your friend
at lunch.” She noticed he didn’t mention Savannah’s name. Crap. What should I
do, she wondered. Savannah has staked her claim, but he’s definitely not
interested. She’ll hate me if she thinks I screwed things up for her, though.
But he’s driving a BMW. And he’s gorgeous. And he’s nice. Savannah said I
should look for nice. Maybe if I let him drive me home, it’ll give me time to
tell him what a great girl Savannah is, she rationalized.
“If you’re sure it’s not too far out of
Mandy knew that word would get around fast
and she needed to get ahead of it. So she called Savannah that night.
“You did what!” was Savannah’s response.
“I tried to tell him how great you are. To
build you up.”
“I’ll just bet you did.” Savannah was
having none of it.
“Vannah, don’t be that way. I didn’t go
after him and I’m not going to go out with him or anything. It was just a
“Mandy, get real. It was not ‘just a
ride’. He’s cozying up to you. I know you’ve been desperate for a boyfriend but
I never thought you’d stab me in the back like this.”
Mandy was sobbing now. “Vannah, don’t say
that. You’re my best friend. I promise I’ll never even look at him again. I’ll
do anything, just don’t shut me out. Vannah. Vannah!” but Savannah had hung up.
Mandy couldn’t face Savannah the next day.
She packed a lunch and ate it in the library. Maybe Brad and Savannah can work
things out without me in the way, she decided. And just to be sure, she left
the school by a different exit that afternoon so Brad couldn’t find her. If he
Mandy was sitting in the library the next
day eating a dry sandwich when someone flopped down in the seat beside her. It
was so sudden she jumped. She turned to find Savannah looking at her.
“This sucks,” Savannah said by way of
greeting. “I can’t be mad at you. It’s like telling a fish not to swim. And
it’s so cliché, letting a guy get between us. We should be better than that.”
“I’m sorry, Vannah,” Mandy said timidly.
“Nothing to be sorry about, babe. This
one’s all on me. It wasn’t going anywhere. I was just being jealous. Will you
“Of course. You’re my bestie.”
“Are we good?”
“Better than good.”
Brad wasted no time in pursuing Mandy. Giving
her the full court press according to Savannah. He met her at her locker, drove
her home from school nearly every day. He asked to pick her up in the mornings
but her parents didn’t know he was driving her home (he let her off down the
street), and since she wasn’t supposed to have car dates she didn’t want to
push it. Valentine’s Day was chocolates and a dozen red roses. She felt like
she was getting the royal treatment. Mom noticed and raised her eyebrows. “Not
that Collins boy, I hope,” she commented.
Mandy had told Brad about the sixteen-years-old
rule for dating and he had already had made plans with her for February 20. He
wanted to be her first official date. She had glossed over her few actual car
dates with Jason.
Mandy tried not to gush about him to
Savannah, but it was hard. She felt all glowy when he was with her and felt his
presence with her all day after he kissed her at her locker. It was like she
could smell his cologne on her all day long. It wasn’t long before Savannah
said, “Yep, you got it bad. Just be careful. You give your heart too easily.
Make sure he deserves it.”
Their first date was to a very nice
restaurant. Mandy knew his family had money but didn’t know much more. He told
her that both his parents were successful attorneys so he was raised by a
succession of nannies. His parents assuaged their guilt by buying him pretty
much whatever he wanted. He said he earned extra spending money doing filing in
his dad’s office on weekends.
“Weekends?” Mandy moaned. “When will we
see each other?”
“Well I couldn’t very well do it during
the week. I do have school work you know. But it’s only some weekends. Some
Saturdays, hardly ever a Sunday. We’ll work around it. You won’t even miss me.”
“I miss you whenever you’re not with me,”
“You’re such a romantic. Just one of the
things I love about you,” he said, reaching over to stroke her cheek.
What!? flared in her brain. Did he just
say the L word? Wow!
It frustrated Mandy that for most of March
it seemed Brad was more unavailable than not on weekends. He said spring was a
busy time in his dad’s office. He also didn’t pick up her calls and rarely responded
to texts when he was working. He said it was frowned upon to carry around a
cell at work. He was there to work. Dad wanted him to make a good impression.
The dates they did have were wonderful to
Mandy. She loved how all the girls looked at her enviously. And Brad was so
romantic most of the time. Whenever he was snappish or petulant he blamed it on
problems at the office. But, sometimes it was something she had done wrong. She
always promised to do better. He always forgave her. And she could always pull
him out of his funk.
When they would find a secluded place for
parking things got even better. Although he pressed as far as she was willing
to go, he always backed off the moment she asked him to. They had progressed
rather quickly and there wasn’t much they hadn’t tried as Prom approached.
Mandy talked with Savannah about going all
the way with Brad at Prom. Well, not at Prom, but at the after party. Savannah
told her what she felt she needed to know, what to expect and so forth. By this
time she and Brad were fairly familiar with each other’s bodies and she joked
with Savannah that Carol wasn’t lying about only Nicolette.
“She got the tiny dick part way wrong,
too,” she giggled to Savannah.
“More information than I wanted, thank you
“And next weekend I’ll see if she lied
about the lousy lover part. She must have. He’s so romantic and the way he can
make me feel with just his hands is so, so…”
“TMI, girl. Let’s talk about protection.”
“Well, I’m on birth control pills for my
“And were you taking a nap the day they
talked about STDs in health class? You’re not just sleeping with Brad, but
every person he’s ever slept with and that they’ve slept with. You’re sleeping
with Carol. And I know for a fact that she was balling Jackson on the football
team before she hooked up with Brad. And football players are worse than alley
cats. Who knows how many girls Jackson’s been with. And those girls probably
did other football players. It’s a geometric progression. You’ll probably be
screwing half the school. You tell Brad, no condom, no nookie.”
“Well, now that you have totally killed
“Just trying to keep you safe, babe.”
“Hey, Mand. Dreamboat is here!” Nathan
yelled up the stairs. Well, what’s Prom without a little brotherly
embarrassment, she thought? She had waited upstairs so she could make a big
entrance. Both boys watched as she slowly walked down the curved staircase. Mom
had gone dress shopping with her and had wanted her to pick a blue monstrosity
that Mandy thought looked like a wedding cake. She ended up picking a shimmery
emerald sheath that may as well have been painted on. A slit up the side to her
thigh allowed walking and dancing. A plunging neckline accentuated Mandy’s
well-developed chest. Her swept up hairdo accentuated her long neck. Brad’s
mouth actually fell open. Mandy beamed, noticing he looked especially sexy in
“Yep, little sis cleans up pretty well,”
“You look pretty nice yourself, for a
Neanderthal and all,” Mandy razzed him. Nathan did look dapper in a black
tuxedo. It fit well over his massive chest and muscular shoulders. He was doing
a super dooper brotherly favor for Mandy by taking Savannah to Prom. Mandy
wouldn’t want to go without her best friend.
“Wow,” said Brad, finally finding his
voice. “I knew you were beautiful, but wow, just wow.”
“I think you need to work on your patter,
bud,” Nathan said. Brad gave him a brief glare.
“He’s doing just fine,” Mandy crooned.
“Feel free to continue.”
Dad did his dad thing with Brad, but ended
up just saying “you kids try to get home before the sun comes up.”
Mom took about a thousand pictures and
Prom was everything she dreamed it would be.
She was the envy of every girl. She felt like she glowed. She was at the event
of the year with THE Brad Jessup. It didn’t get much better than this.
The after party was at Jordan’s. His
parents were home, but confined themselves to their room. Mandy barely
registered she was there before Brad was hustling her upstairs. He found the
bedroom he was looking for and locked the door.
“Alone at last,” he said.
“I’ve been wanting you all night. You’re all I think about. The way you look in
that dress is driving me wild. Every boy at Prom wanted you tonight. But you
are here with me. You are mine, and nobody else’s.”
He embraced her and started kissing her
face and neck. Mandy just reveled in the sensual feeling of it. Within minutes
they were on the bed. The assertive way she pulled open Brad’s pants sent the
message that she was all in. Ready to go for it.
Because of her discussions with Savannah,
her familiarity with Brad’s body and a little internet porn (just for research
purposes of course) Mandy felt she was well prepared. They left the light on
because Brad said he wanted to see her when he took her. She saw him pull a
condom from his pocket. Good, one embarrassing thing not to have to ask about.
When he finally entered her it didn’t exactly hurt, but was damn uncomfortable.
Then it got better. A lot better. Then Brad stiffened, groaned and rolled off
her. What? Is that it? she almost asked out loud. Was this the big mystery
everyone is wild about? Yes, once she got past the discomfort it felt nice, but
really? That’s it?
Brad went into the bathroom to discard the
condom. He came back and stood by the bed dressing, looking at her cockily,
like she was a prized possession. She laid there with her dress shoved up
around her waist, tits hanging out, panties around one ankle, legs splayed and
suddenly felt like a Saturday night whore. She couldn’t help the tears of
disappointment that started rolling down her cheek.
“Hey, what’s this? No need to cry.” He sat
beside her and caressed her cheek.
“I’m just so happy,” she lied.
Savannah promised her that it gets better.
“That’s what they tell the gay
“Well, it’s true.”
“Yeah, I think Carol was right about the
lousy lover part.”
“It was your first, and his first with
you. The next time will be better. Less pressure. Trust me. I know these things. Me and Del had a
terrible time at first. He was so afraid he was gonna hurt me. It’ll be okay.”
The next week didn’t go so well for Mandy.
She missed meeting Brad after school one afternoon. She was sure she had told
him she had a meeting and couldn’t see him. The next day he was mad, and
remained moody despite her efforts to cheer him up. He flared up once and
called her ‘stupid’. She felt as if he had struck her. He was immediately
“I’m so sorry baby. It’s just
when you do things like that it makes me think you don’t care about us. I hate
it when you make me yell at you.”
“I’m sorry, too. I’ll try to do better,”
she said, but wasn’t really sure what she was sorry about.
Possibly the biggest surprise ever was when
Savannah announced she had a date with Nathan.
“Like a date date?” Mandy was dumb struck.
“Yeah. We had a good time at Prom. And the
good night kiss was excellent.”
“Eww, I don’t wanna hear that. Yuck.”
“Maybe we can double some time.”
Mandy tried to decide if that would be
awkward. No, what could be better than having the three people she most loved
in the world all together?
Brad didn’t agree.
“Being around Savannah would be weird for
me. She’s still got a thing for me. I can tell.”
“She does not have a thing for you. She’s
dating my brother.”
“I don’t know. It doesn’t feel right.
Don’t you think it’s kinda creepy the way she’s sticking herself in your life?
She’s all you talk about and now she’s got her claws in your brother. Kinda
like she’s stalking y’all or something.”
“Brad! You take that back. Savannah is my
best friend in the whole world and I won’t hear you talking bad about her.”
Brad grabbed her by her arms and pulled
her against him.
“You’re my girl. You’re supposed to stick
up for me, not put me down. We’re good for each other, babe. Don’t screw it up.
And don’t take that tone with me.”
“Oww, Brad! You’re hurting me!” He
“Sorry. Guess I don’t know my own
strength. It’s just sometimes you make
me crazy jealous.” And he walked away. Mandy rubbed her arms, knowing there
would be bruises. Well, at least it was
cold weather so she could cover them with long sleeves.
Mandy was worried about Brad’s mood swings
and tendency to suddenly lash out. She didn’t think she could talk about it
with Savannah because it felt too personal, and it was probably all her fault
anyway. But, she decided to have it out with him on Friday. As soon as she
opened her locker Friday morning, Brad popped up beside her.
“Good morning, beautiful.” He was holding
out a gorgeous, full red rose. “I was an arrogant jerk yesterday. I’m sorry.”
Her plans to ‘have it out’ flew out the
“Mom and Dad are on a business trip. I gave
Rosa Saturday night off. We can have the whole house to ourselves. Wanna play
house?” He wiggled his eyebrows, making Mandy laugh.
“You know I’ll do anything you want.”
“That’s my girl.”
Mandy had smoked pot with Savannah a few
times. She liked how it made her feel. She was amazed when Savannah told her it
was a cure for hangovers also. Mandy had been slipping booze from her parents
for about a year. It helped her forget when Brad was a jerk. She never had
hangovers, but it was good to know. Savannah also told her sex while high was
the best. So she stuck a joint in her purse when Brad picked her up on
Saturday. When she pulled it out later Brad was all in. They were reclining in
his king size bed watching some forgettable flick on his 50 inch HD TV,
drinking champagne (honest to god champagne!) from long stem glasses. He lit
the joint for her. He was being very romantic. The champagne buzz, the pot
buzz, their natural chemistry all flowed together and she fell into a very warm
and happy place. Brad began to leisurely caress her. Before long, they were
both nude. He took his time with her and when he finally entered her she
already felt on fire.
When the fireworks finally died down she
realized now that’s what it’s supposed to be like. Wow! Old Carol was wrong
about the lousy lover part, too.
When he took her home he apologized that he
had to work on Sunday but would see her at school next week. She floated in and
up to her room. She had no memory of anything else until she woke with a smile
on Sunday morning.
The next week at school was more of Brad’s
Jekyll/Hyde transformations. He was even more jealous than ever of Savannah.
Mandy just made sure she didn’t mention her around him. It seemed like every
day he was in a bad mood and relied on her to pull him out. It was frankly
exhausting. And she felt like she was walking on eggshells, trying not to set
him off. When he hadn’t said anything about weekend plans by Thursday she
timidly asked if he wanted to do anything. He morosely said he had to work
Saturday afternoon and night. Something about an important client and a lot of
paperwork. She’d see if Savannah was available. She made sure not to mention that
It turned out Savannah was going out of
town. An extended family member had died and she was attending the funeral on
Saturday. Well, that means Nathan will be around, she thought. We can binge on
Late Saturday afternoon Mandy’s mom asked
if she and Nathan would go pick up the enlargements of the pictures she had
taken of them dressed up for Prom.
“I never see you two all dressed up so I
wanted to make some frameable portraits. They’re at the Kinko’s in the mall in
“Mo-om,” she whined. “That’s like an hour
away. Why’d you take it there?”
“Because a friend recommended it. I wanted
a professional job done.”
“C’mon, sis. I’m driving,” Nathan called
from the foyer.
“Because I don’t have my stupid license,
yet,” she muttered.
There was a line at Kinko’s. A long line.
Why did everyone have to show up at the same time on Saturday she wondered.
Then the man said the pictures weren’t ready quite yet. She played around on
her phone until he told her they were almost ready and he would go get them.
She realized she had been waiting nearly a half hour. Nathan was waiting in the
car. He probably thought she got lost. She realized she should have texted him.
She saw there was a Starbucks beside the Kinko’s so decided to get him a latte
to make up for the wait. When the clerk gave her the bag she took it to a
nearby table to make sure the prints were right. She had to smile at how great
they came out. Mom could be a professional photographer. There were nice
portraits of her and Nathan. Mom had also sent the photo of her and Brad they
had received from Prom labelled “Midnight Fantasy, April 14” for extra copies.
Probably so she could brag to relatives, Mandy decided.
Mandy slipped the pictures back in the bag
and headed out. The Starbucks was in a semi open area by the food court. She
suddenly stopped in her tracks. Was that Brad at a table? Yes, and who was the
young lady with him? Maybe a client? No, too young. Maybe a co-worker? That’s
it. They must have stepped out to have a coffee break together. The girl
laughed at something Brad said. He reached out and wiped a dab of whipped cream
off her nose and stuck it in his mouth. She leaned into him and they kissed.
What!? This couldn’t be happening. Not
again. Just when everything was going so well. Okay, not so well. In fact,
pretty crummy the past week. But, hell, not again. Her world came crashing
down. It was all a lie. Why her? Why again? She realized that she must truly be
worthless. No guy could stay true to her. Her first impulse was to run home and
cry all night. She leaned back on a large planter and felt the beginnings of a
sob form in her throat.
No! she thought to herself. He just isn’t
worth it. This relationship is more trouble than it is worth anyway. She
suddenly realized she had been getting to the point where she didn’t look
forward to seeing Brad, but treated each occasion with trepidation. What kind
of relationship was that?
she was sick of playing the victim. She felt a fire burning inside. She needed to have it out with that goddamn
fucking son of a bitch. And a public place was just fine.
She slipped into the Starbucks, keeping
out of Brad’s sight and ordered a latte. Once she had it, she walked up to
Brad’s table and sat down.
“Hey, babe,” she said cheerfully. Then she
turned to the girl.
“Hi, I’m Brad’s girlfriend, Mandy. I’m
sure he’s mentioned me. You must be his cousin Sally. You’re much prettier than
he described you.”
Mandy wished she had a camera to capture
the absolute look of horror that ran across Brad’s face.
“Brad, who is this?” the girl asked with a
voice Mandy would classify as shrill.
“Um, it’s just a girl I used to date. I’ve
tried breaking up with her, but she keeps pestering me.”
“Oh? When did we break up, Brad darling?
Last week after I left your bed? Or yesterday when you kissed me good morning?
I must have missed something,” Mandy said in a falsely bright voice. Brad was
turning very red.
“Brad, what’s she talking about?”
Definitely shrill, Mandy decided.
“Nothing, hon. She’s just delusional. If
we ignore her she’ll leave,” the last two words were directed at Mandy with a
threatening look. Mandy just winked at him.
“So,” Mandy said conversationally. “How
long have you two been together?”
“A few months, uh who are you?” the shrill
girl was getting annoyed.
“Mandy, stop it!” Brad demanded, slamming
his hand on the table. People stopped talking and were looking at them.
“Maybe I should leave,” the shrill girl
“No,” Brad grabbed the girl’s wrist.
“Mandy was just leaving.”
“Brad, you’re hurting me,” the girl said.
“You’ll get used to it,” Mandy said. “And
by the way, Brad. Mom said to be sure to give you one of the pictures.” She
pulled the Prom photo of the two of them with their heads together, looking in
love and dated a little over a week ago. She put it down in front of the girl.
“Brad?” Shrill girl said tremulously, then
yanked her arm away and ran out.
“You fucking bitch,” Brad snarled at
Mandy. He swiped at her, knocking the coffee from her hand onto a patron at the
next table. The old lady gasped and made to get up. Brad turned on her, “Sit
the fuck down.” She squeaked and sat back down.
“Leave her out of this!” Mandy demanded.
She had never seen him this wild but she was pretty livid herself. Where was
Mall Security when you needed them? The place had a fair number of customers
but mostly women with small kids and senior citizens. People Brad would have no
Brad turned back to her.
“You just had to push it. You just
couldn’t let it go. No, you just had to go and FUCK IT UP! Are you really this
stupid? You think because it’s a public place I won’t kick your skinny
ass? My parents are lawyers. No one can
touch me. I can do whatever I want. They could buy this whole goddamn mall
without batting an eye. And you think you’re good enough for me?” His backhand
slap was so fast she never saw it coming. Her head snapped back leaving her
dazed. There was a muffled, shocked “oh” from the people watching. He picked up
and threw his luke warm coffee in her face. “You’re pathetic. Not even worth
the time it took to fuck you. I was about done with you anyway.”
“You bastard,” she gasped as coffee
dripped down her face. She snatched the old lady’s coffee and dashed it in his
face. If possible his face got even redder. He grabbed the tiny table and threw
it aside ignoring the noise as it clanged against other tables and chairs.
Mandy had stood up to face him. She turned to her left, pivoting on her left
foot as if to flee. As she expected, he lunged forward to grab her arm. She
continued her pivot bringing her right foot around and directly into Brad’s
unprotected crotch. Just like Nathan had taught her. He doubled over, clasping
his hands over his genitals with a groan. Mandy used the brief moment to reach
into her purse. She pulled out a small canister and sprayed pepper spray into
Brad’s face. He screamed like a girl and began clutching and wiping at his
face. He ripped off his shirt and began wiping his face with it. Some in the
rapt crowd laughed.
“I’m going to fucking kill you,” he
threatened through a voice rasping from the effects of the pepper spray. “When
I’m through with you no guy will ever look at you again without disgust.” His
eyes, red, distorted and undoubtedly blurred had a murderous gleam in them.
Mandy realized she was in trouble. She had
used up all her tricks. Brad was still between her and the mall opening. She knew
she probably couldn’t outrun him anyway. Well, she’d go down swinging. She
grabbed the little cocktail chair she had been sitting on and brought it up
like a lion tamer. She jabbed it at Brad, making him take a step back. She
aimed it at his face making him put his arms up protectively. On about the
third or fourth jab he grabbed it and tore it from her grasped. He threw it behind
him. It went clanging out into the main mall walkway.
“You bitch,” Brad said in a low voice,
apparently his pronouncement before carrying out her sentence. That was all he
got out before a blur to her left tackled Brad. They tumbled to the floor and
Mandy saw an enraged Nathan pummeling her former boyfriend. He gave him two
quick right jabs to the face.
“You piece of scum!” Nathan shouted. “How
dare you touch my sister! I’m gonna kill you! You son of a bitch! He punctuated
each sentence by slamming Brad’s head into the floor.
“Nathan,” Mandy cried. “Stop. He’s not
Nathan pulled himself together. “You sure?
I’d love to fuck him up, but good.” He looked down at Brad with murder still in
his eye. He continued banging Brad’s head against the tiled floor.
“If you ever (bang) touch my sister (bang)
again (bang), I will (bang) rearrange that pretty face so much even your mama (bang)
won’t recognize you (bang). Got it? (bang)”
When Brad didn’t say anything Nathan
banged his head against the floor again.
“I said got it?”
“Understood,” Brad muttered.
Nathan let Brad up.
“Now go get in your fancy ass car and
leave. If I ever see you again you will regret it. That I promise.”
Trying to regain some semblance of
dignity, Brad looked down his nose at the attentive Starbucks audience. Then he
quickly turned and limped away. The entire crowd began applauding Nathan. A
barista ran up to her with a towel.
“That was so impressive,” she gushed. “We
called Security. I don’t know why they aren’t here yet. Let me get you a
replacement for your latte. And another coffee for you too, ma’am,” she added
looking at the elderly lady Brad had threatened.
“Oh, I’m sorry about that,” Mandy
apologized to the elderly lady. “And I’m sorry I took your coffee.”
“That’s fine, dear. You put it to good
use. You’re a real spitfire. The boys better watch out for you. And your
brother’s a real cutie.” The old lady winked at Nathan making him blush.
“You okay, sis? I can’t believe that
bastard hit you. Why didn’t you tell somebody he was like that?”
“I didn’t realize how bad it was, it just
kinda snuck up on me,” she was trying to make some sense of it all. “I guess I
got what I deserved, though. How much did you see?”
“Pretty much all of it. I just waited to
let you take care of it. You were way outgunned but stood your ground. Pretty
gutsy. I’m so proud of you. Now, let’s get you home.”
As it turned out, the mall security
cameras captured the entire scene at Starbucks. The mall authorities banned Brad
from the mall. When his parents were shown the video they were so furious with
him that they took the keys to his car, grounded him for the rest of the school
year and ordered Rosa to enforce it.
And, it was hardly surprising that someone
at Starbucks had whipped out their phone and recorded the whole sorry scene and
posted it to the web. Of course, it went around school like wildfire. Brad’s former friends began avoiding him,
some of the jocks jostled him roughly in the halls and the girls jeered him.
Suddenly everyone seemed to care about Mandy and how she was doing after such a
terrible ordeal. Several people, guys and girls, approached her with raised
palms for a high five.
“Good afternoon, Mandy.”
“Good afternoon, Dr. Foster.”
“Oh, please, call me Edna. I want us to be
able to talk freely in these little sessions. You calling me doctor sounds so
Mandy couldn’t believe she was in a
counselor’s office. But Mom and Dad had insisted. Even Savannah said that after
the year she’d had, talking to someone might help her process it.
Um, no. But I’ll be polite and listen.
“I’ve talked to many teens like yourself
who have been through traumatizing, confusing situations. It really helps to
talk about it. No drugs, no needles, no head shrinking. Just let’s talk.”
Mandy didn’t want to talk but Dr. Foster,
no Edna, had a way of drawing things out of her.
In their second session Edna came to the
“Mandy, according to what you’ve told me,
you have had some horrific experiences in the past year, all centering around
your relationships with boys.”
“You could say that,” she said with the
condescension only a teen can muster.
“You’ve been cheated on, lied to, nearly
raped, physically and mentally abused. Is that the kind of relationship you
“What? Of course not.”
“Okay. Is that the kind of relationship
Mandy opened her mouth to deny it but
nothing came out. She wanted to deny it. But, maybe, down deep, she knew it was
all her fault. Brad had once said she could even ruin a wet dream. She was
worthless. She was a loser. Maybe she didn’t deserve better.
“I see,” said Edna. “I think this is
something we need to talk about. A lot.”
By the end of the school year Edna cut her
loose, as Mandy described it. The first Monday she didn’t go to see Edna seemed
odd. She realized she would miss the good doctor. Edna was no miracle worker;
Mandy was not healed of whatever it was that was wrong with her, at least in
her estimation. But she did learn a few things. She leaned on Savannah too
much. She needed to be her own person; make her own decisions. And she should
stop second guessing herself, afraid of what others, Savannah, Nathan, her
family would think of her. She needed to own her actions and decisions. And she
needed to respect herself. Edna said if she couldn’t respect herself, why
expect others to? Good point. Edna told her that when it came to boys, she
didn’t need to remake herself into what they wanted. The face she presented
them was what they would come to expect. And how long could she keep up the
façade? She would never be happy that way. She needed to be herself and not
measure her worth by what a boy thought. Either a boy would like her or not,
but at least she was being honest. And if he had problems with her being
herself, then she needed to respect herself enough to walk away.
“Basically, if they don’t like it, fuck
‘em,” Mandy paraphrased.
“Er, that’s one way of putting it,” Edna
There was one strange coda to the whole
year that Mandy and Edna discussed. Jimmy DeVane had attacked her just the same
as Brad, yet the school’s reaction was radically different. Was it because
Brad’s was visual and Jimmy’s was out of sight? Brad had left physical damage,
Jimmy only psychological. Edna helped Mandy to understand the difference was
the type of attack. There remained the subtle impression that what happened
with Jimmy was her fault. The simple fact is that whenever there is a sexual
assault, people rush to say what the woman should have done to prevent it. It’s
her fault that she let it happen. At first that realization infuriated Mandy.
But in the end, it just made her very sad.
“I am so glad this school year is over. I
hope to never have another one like this,” Mandy whooped.
“Cheaters, rape, abusive boyfriends. Just
another day at the office,” Savannah was the only one who dared joke about this
with Mandy. But it helped her put it in perspective.
“Really, what’s next year? Serial murder
“Yeah, typical high school.” They both
laughed. Mandy’s mom came in the room.
“You girls all packed? We leave early
“All set, Mom. Sun, sand and sea, here we
Mandy’s parents had rented a cottage in a
small NC beach town for the summer. Her mom had heard they had a good fireworks
display and was looking forward to it. After that she and her husband largely
left the teens to themselves as they toured the area, visited historic sites
and played lots of golf. They frequently were gone overnight, but told Nathan
he was the chaperone. Mandy almost choked the first time they said it.
A summer at the beach was just what she
needed. Total relaxation and a perfect tan for the next school year. A few days
after the Fourth holiday she and Savannah and Nathan had staked out their spot
for the day. They were right in front of the cottage, a Low Country style with
a huge wrap porch, side sun deck and wooden walkway right down to the beach.
Nathan had found a group of kids with a Frisbee. He was just a big kid himself
and they were soon whooping it up.
Mandy laid on her stomach and unclipped her
“Vannah, put some lotion on my back,
“Such good manners,” Savannah teased as
she squeezed lotion on Mandy’s back and rubbed it in.
“Mmmm,” Mandy purred and closed her eyes.
She heard Savannah rattle the cooler, putting ice in a cup and the sizzle of
“Heads up!” she heard Nathan yell. She
felt Savannah jump and suddenly her back was covered in ice and soda. She was
so startled that she shrieked and jumped up, belatedly realizing that her
bikini top was still on the blanket. She looked up into the face of a cute boy,
who was staring at her tits.
“Pervert!” she yelled at him. “Are you
just going to stare at my tits or help?” He immediately threw his towel around
her. She clutched it tightly and ran for the cottage, Savannah in her wake. In
the background she could hear Nathan laughing his ass off.