Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Spring Fling... In The Suck

A month after I complete Spring Fling I decided I should submit it somewhere. God help me if it did not cost me some loot to send it in. At about 4 AM this morning I had this genius idea, it's safe to say that I should not have my credit card handy at that time of the morning. What's not safe to say is that I have the number memorized. 

In case you are interested in actually reading  Spring Fling I'll paste it right here below. You can decide whether or not I should have invested the $15 for a submission. Before I do that though I NEED to thank my friends on efiction. They kindly ran through the story and made some suggestions. So what you're about to read is not exactly the same story posted on my website.

With out Further ado...

She hated her shoes, and everything else that’s happened since the Spring Fling started. Geri's brother practically begged one of his friends to take her. What’s worse was, her older sister spending the week adjusting one of her unused dresses for the occasion. The twins meant well, but nothing made a 16 year old more special than a make believe date and a dress on loan. Dave and Danielle decided that Geri would have no excuse to miss the dance. Their parents in uncharacteristic agreement, encouraged them to go nuts.

So Geri waited in the living room wearing an excessively short party dress and uncomfortable new shoes. She fiddled with the bodice stuck to her chest, the two sided tape made her skin clammy. Even after Dani took in the little thing it still would not stay put. 

Geri thinking she was off the hook hastily removed it as her sister left the room, during the fitting. She was putting on her t-shirt when Dani came back in with a roll of double sided tape.

"Tada.. Boob Tape. The answer to your prayers." 19 year old Dani exclaimed as she practically sailed into their room. "Why'd you take the dress off?"

"Because I don't want to go to the stupid Spring Fling." Geri stuffed her feet into dirty tennis shoes. She stomped over other side of the room. Trophies and athletic gear covered every surface in her area. Dani tsked then sat on Geri's bed.

"You really don't want to go?"

"Nah, It's just… It's just that no one asked me, and they will all know that you and Davie got me a date. They're going to murder me." Geri grabbed her favorite catcher’s mitt and started playing with its laces.

"Maybe they'll all be jealous of the hot older guy you brought to the dance?" Dani tried to think on the positive side. When she and Dave were 16 everyone made fun of them too. But at least they had each other, Geri was on her own. Sammy and Sarah were five years younger.

"Fat chance Dee Dee" She used Dani's nickname. " I can't go. I can't even hold up the dress right." Geri  looked over her skinny frame. She was lanky, on days when she didn't have a sport she didn't even wear a bra. The dress would maker her look even lankier, unlike her sister who had the shape of an Amazon.

Geri stood on unsteady legs as the door bell rang. Her mother raced to answer it. Her date stepped in, and Geri cringed, it was Paul, the most handsome guy she'd ever met. Whenever Paul came to the house to pick up Dave, she turned into a stuttering freak. Trust Dave to get the one guy she actually liked. She plastered on a fake smile when Paul greeted her. She was going to kill them both. When he cracked a million dollar smile in return she thought, she'd kill them slowly.

Like every other girl in the house, except Dani, they all loved Paul. He seemed to charm women out of their socks. Even Sarah the youngest, was infatuated with him. His family was pretty well off, though he was in college on some sports scholarship. He had the best manners, straight A's in school since forever and drove the coolest car, a 1970 Chevelle. Why wouldn't you like him?

She barely listened to what Mom was saying. Next, she was sitting in the passenger seat next to Paul. He'd been on the road for a few minutes before he cleared his throat.

"So Geraldine, I hear this year the student council outdid themselves."  He slid a look at her legs. The dress made legs look like they went on forever.

"Did my brother pay you to take me?" Geri refused to look at Paul, started looking  at the passing lights on the road instead.

"No I said I'd take you for free." He maneuvered the Chevelle on to the road that lead to Cherry Point High School.

"You don't have to lie Paul, it's okay." She almost wanted to cry. If she ruined the make up job Dani did on her face before even getting to the dance, Geri would never let her live it down. She choked back her tears.

"I'm not, I wanted too." He'd been watching Geraldine since she was 13. This was the first time he'd seen her in a dress. He liked her more when she was playing ball. This version was nice, but she smiled more when she was covered in sweat and dirt.

When they pulled into the parking lot, he quickly found a space and turned off the engine.

"We don't have to go in you know. We can catch a movie or hang out at the Dive if you really don't want to be there." The Dive was the local hang out, where most of the kids in town went.

"Nah, thanks though. I think the family wants to see pictures as proof that I was there."

Paul nodded once, then reached into the back seat. Making his cutest puppy face he held out a corsage. "In that case will you wear my corsage?"

Geri erupted in laughter. She snatched the box and ripped it open. "Paul you didn't have to get me this. It's not a formal dance."

"Well Dave and Dani said it was your first dance." He shrugged. "Why 
not make it special for you? I'll get the door." With that he got out the car and moved to open her side.

When they entered the basketball court they were greeted by thumping base on bad speakers. Garish colored lights spun off a hastily hung disco ball. Paper flowers and balloons littered every corner. The section designated as the dance floor was surrounded by onlookers poking fun at the few dancers brave enough to enjoy themselves.

Paul lead her to a chair which she sank ungracefully into after a moment. Her hair was already coming loose in the up do her mom and sister made. Not only was it falling in her face, but the hundred pins meant to keep it in place were scratching her scalp.

Paul had disappeared and returned with drinks. She took the drink, praying she wouldn't spill the red punch on her dress. He sat next to her quietly, going over how Dave asked him to take out his sister. This night couldn't have come at a better time.

He watched her grow anxious, then he asked her to dance only to see the color drain from her face. When her friends came to comment on her dress, she visibly shrank from them. Geri was more than uncomfortable, and he wanted to help her. In her, though, he sensed her need to brave out this night. Somewhere deep inside her she had something to prove. He kept his peace.

After an hour of watching her fidget he decided he had enough. She'd sat beside him petrified to even look in his direction. If he was  younger, he'd probably leave her alone. But he knew Geri and knew what made her tick. Sports, lots of it, so he started with the season she was having at school. Gradually she smiled more, her shoulders finally came down from her ears, she even laughed at his joke about the coach's gym socks.

The next hour passed quickly and he'd convinced her to take off her shoes. She was grateful that he said he didn't care for heels. Suddenly she wasn't afraid of him anymore. Geri wanted Paul to like her. He might be out of her league now but a few years from now she'd be allowed to date him. There was hope.

Paul saw the moment she made a decision. He hoped it would be about him. He could already call this night a success just by getting her to smile, but what if she danced with him? Her hair was coming loose and neither of them cared. He reached for a strand of dark brown hair.

When she didn't flinch he twirled it around his finger. She leaned just enough forward to let him tuck it behind her ear. Looking in his eyes her heart sped up. "This is it." she thought. "He might kiss me." She leaned just a little closer to him.

Before their lips touched a screech rang out from across the gymnasium. A gaggle of angry teenage girls ran from the bathroom, followed by a cloud of smoke. The folks on the dance floor broke into laughter that died when the smell of the smoke reached them. It was awful.

The Principle climbed on the makeshift stage near the DJ booth. He was kindly asking everyone to wait outside while they figure out exactly what was going on in the ladies room.

Paul and Geri decided it was time to go. He rose and draped his jacket around her shoulder and helped her to her feet. Before she had to chance to put her shoes back on Paul tucked them under his arm.  He took her hand in his as they walked out the doors with everyone else.

Some of her class mates called her over. So he led to them there and waited while she finally talked to them.

"Geri you would not believe what Heather Blackmier did…" They all began talking over each other at once. While they talked, more shoes came off. Periodically you could hear the ping of discarded hair pins. By the time the gym was declared safe the girls in Geri's circle had ruined their outfits.

Paul liked each and every one of them for throwing aside the social norm to be comfortable. But Geri was the one who stole his heart. She almost kissed him, he felt it.
If it weren't for what ever happened in the bathroom, they could have been dancing right now.

Paul let it go, with a sigh. There would be other times, he'd make sure of it.

He gently extracted Geraldine from the group with a gentle tug. They all waved good night. He escorted her to the Chevelle and helped her into her seat.

Once in the car, Paul looked ahead at the gym. He really wanted to dance with her.

"What's wrong Paul?" She looked at him with a half smile on her beautiful face.

"Nothing really." He tried not to sound hurt.

"Oh really?" She looked out the windshield at the gym. "I had a nice time tonight. Thank you for taking me."

He looked at her profile until she returned his gaze. Again he reached for a loose strand of her hair. She smiled at his touched.

"I'm glad you had fun. You looked like you wanted to bolt for a minute though."

"Yeah, but you made it better." She smiled as he twirled the lock around his finger.

"Good, when the next dance comes up I'll take you to that one then." He smiled in the dark at her then he started the car.

They drove in silence. It was a comfortable one, barely broken by the low hum of the engine. When they pulled up to Geri's house, they both looked at the door reluctantly.

"We can just sit here if you want?" Geri offered, not wanting the moment to end.

"Yeah I can sit for a bit. You want to hear the radio?"

"Okay." She let him pick the station. Just so, since it was his car.

When he found a channel that played slow music he sat back. Not that the popular stations weren't good, he just figured something slow would be more fitting. As he sat back he felt her watching him. For the first time this whole night he was a little nervous.

"You-you know there was one thing I wish we did while we were there tonight." He was looking at his hands on the wheel.

She'd never heard Paul sound unsure. Maybe he was going to ask her to kiss him, she thought.

"Yes?" she leaned in hoping to get him to kiss her first. She even lowered her eyelids a little bit.

"We…" He turned as he spoke only to be caught off guard by Geri's upturned face and puckered lips. This was not what he had in mind when he pulled up to her house.

Geraldine opened her eyes when he stopped talking. Here she was waiting for her first kiss, it now looked like she'd never get it. She was mortified. Geri shrank back to the farthest reaches of passenger seat.

"Sorry." She said as she tucked her hair behind her ears.

"No  I'm sorry."

"It's okay, I just thought.."

"Looks it's all right Geraldine. I promise." He was truly amazed at how she'd already wrapped him around her finger. He'd do anything for her.

"I should not have done that." She was still upset that he'd rejected her. She looked again at the house. The front door light was on. The windows above weren't lit. Even so she knew at least one of the twins were watching. She hope they didn't see her try to kiss Paul.

"It's okay. I was going to ask you to dance."

She changed from shy to excited in the blink of an eye. "I'd love to dance."

"Really?" At the University where he attended, the girls all seemed to resent any mildly romantic gesture. He almost hated asking a woman to dance nowadays.

She nodded eagerly, eyes bright.

"Let me get the door." He was out the Chevelle and on her side in an instant. He reached in to turn up the radio after she cleared the passenger door. The Flamingoes crooned I Only Have Eyes For You on the radio. 

He took Geri into his arms. He placed one hand high on her hips the other cradling her hand to his shoulder. They stared into each other's eyes. As they swayed slowly to the old tune, Paul tilted his head forward just enough to place a gentle kiss to her temple.

Geraldine sighed. It was not the kiss she was hoping for, but it would do. She lay her head on his shoulder as the song dwindled away. The next song was a little faster and they picked up accordingly. As the Bee-Gees wondered How Deep Is Your Love they scooted closer to each other.

By the end of the song, they'd stopped moving all together.

"Maybe I should go inside." She said with absolutely no conviction. Geri couldn't think of any place she'd rather be, than in his arms. He squeezed her tightly before opening a space between them.

20 years later.

"Aww Honey listen…" Geraldine turned up the radio much to the twins displeasure. Jimmy and Jamie hoped their parents weren’t going to get all mushy. Every time this song came on, they stopped and danced.
Groans erupted as Paul pulled over to the shoulder. Ignoring the kids they looked at each other and remembered that night twenty years ago when the Flamingoes crooned to them alone after the Spring Fling.

With the music loud enough to hear over the passing cars they meet between the head lights. Geri floated into Paul’s arms, just like their first dance he kissed her temple, and held her close.

M'kay kiddies, then at about 5 AM I decided I was going to start another short story. This one I affectionately call, "In the Suck." Now you military minded folk will automatically think of all kinds of unfortunate scenarios involving sand storms and engineering casualties. Or worse sand storms and gun fire, or earthquakes and tsunami's or something truly and terribly SUCK. Throw those ideas away. That's not the kind of suck I'm dealing with here.

In the spirit of tax season I'm doing another short, in first person this time, about someone going to get their taxes professionally prepared.   So far the day my character is having pretty much sucks. I'm hoping to have that finished an posted in Google docs by this time next week. Look for it.

Hey btw, lately I have been networking some truly unique people. Their blogs have ended up in the follow pile. Feel free to check out L.A.M.E and JJ's Journey.  Girl's Got Shine still remains a "Ms. Townes Favorite" however I think I managed to find some serious nuggets every time I check out the list. You folks should too.

Happy Hump Day

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