Innocence - A Short Story from Award Winning Author Mary Deal
Innocence by Mary Deal
Elise and Joe broke up. She was a senior and Joe was already three years out of high school. He flirted with me when attending school functions with Elise. The slow way he secretly winked at me made me think he liked me more than her. Classmates saw us flirt too. Some of the girls wondered why he went with Elise when I was much prettier. I didn’t know about that. My friends say he dated her because she puts out. He also dated Shera and Clarissa. The kids in school gossiped, saying that those two put out to anyone, but they weren’t the only girls Joe was said to be dating.
I stayed away from the talk. My best friend, Cindi, and I decided it was just a lot of idiocy. Joe was every girl’s dream. When Elise and Joe broke up, I saw my chance. Joe and I have secretly been seeing each other the past three weekends, Friday and Saturday evenings.
“I’ve been seriously attracted to you,” he told me when we first got together.
I had to ask. “Did you do it with Elise?”
He curled up the corner of his mouth and rolled his eyes, like he was embarrassed. “Nah, we never got that close.”
“But you dated for two years.”
“I guess she wanted to move on.” He looked at me curiously. “It wasn’t serious. I date a lot of girls.” His smile widened. “You could be my only girl, if you wanted.”
Somehow, I think he only mentioned his dating others to make me jealous.
Ten o’clock was curfew set by my mom and dad. I met Joe again when I left Cindi’s house early one evening pretending to want to walk home. In the darkened school yard, Joe pressed hard against me till the back of my hips hurt against the concrete wall.
“Let me!” he said, pleading. “You know you want it too.” His hot breath swirled across my neck.
I wanted to lay down right there in the shadows on the school lawn and let him have me, but why hadn’t he tried to kiss me? If a guy cared, wasn’t the kiss what came first? This was happening too fast, and not the way I thought it should. I tried to kiss him and rub my tongue against his lips like I heard other girls talk about, but he pulled away fast. Wasn’t it a kiss that would start it all?
He wrapped his arms all the way around my waist till it seemed we’d melted together. Feeling his excitement between us, I almost gave in. “I can’t, Joe. Not like this.” I was just as aroused. He knew it too, but why hadn’t he tried to kiss me. I really wanted to feel what it was like to be kissed the way I’d heard about.
Clouds in the sky broke apart. The position of the full moon up there shocked me to my senses. I glanced over Joe’s shoulder at my wristwatch. It was five minutes till curfew. If something was to happen to bring Joe and me together, it wasn’t going to be tonight.
I pulled away abruptly. Joe looked hot and shook up and a little dazed. “Fuckin’ curfew!” he said under his breath.
“If I don’t get home, Mom and Dad will put me on probation for a month.” I ran the three blocks from the school yard to our house.
Mom and Dad sat in the living room playfully feeding each other popcorn and watching an old movie. That’s what I wanted; the comfort of a loving life partner, although what we might feed each other wouldn’t be popcorn.
Mom saw me. “You’re such a good girl,” she said. “Always home on time.”
Little did she know that I could have the boyfriend of my dreams if I could have stayed out longer. He’ll be mine soon if I can get past being scared about doing it the first time.
I thought Cindi knew about me and Joe, but how could she? He and I saw each other secretly. I wasn’t ready to tell anyone that me and Joe were going together till I was sure of him. If we went all the way, he’d be mine. After that, I could let everyone know. Still, I was so happy that I wanted to share my secret with my best friend.
Monday morning at school, I walked in to find everyone talking excitedly in the hallway. Some of the girls with the big bad reputations stood crying, which was strange because they usually acted tough. The guys and girls stood apart, which was unusual too. The guys looked confused. I didn’t hear Elise’s showy voice and personality, which usually dominated the halls. Shera, nearly weeping, grabbed Clarissa when she came through the doorway and told her something that made her turn white as a ghost and faint dead away, right there in front of the book lockers.
I found Cindi and asked, “What’s going on?”
“You haven’t heard?”
“I just got here.”
“It’s Elise. She’s gonna die!”
“You know that guy Joe, don’t you? The one she’s been dating?”
“What about Joe?” I asked.
“He gave Elise HIV!”
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(From my short story collection: Off Center in the Attic - Over the Top Stories)