1 - J-O-C-K
Brad Pitt and a shirtless Justin Timberlake used to hang up on his girlfriend's wall. It had annoyed and offended Dallas back then because he thought it was degrading to his pride that she would hang up other shirtless guys in her room and not a single shirtless picture of him was in sight, her boyfriend. There was an 8 x 10 picture of them hanging on Bailey's bulletin board, surrounded by construction papered hearts, but compared to the 22 x 24 posters of shirtless, buff men, it didn't really seem as special.
And besides, the picture didn't count because Bailey's monstrous little nine year old brother had poked three holes where his eyes and nose should have been, with a stupid ass pushpin. He looked like some pinhead.
I'm gonna kill that guy, Dallas thought.
Bailey wouldn't take it down either, because she said that she absolutely 'loved' the picture to death and claimed that the day they took it would be engraved in her heart forever. Yeah right, she'd probably remember it only because of the punched out eyes and nose. Like he was stupid.
She had even insisted that the holes made him cuter, and that had truly offended him. Dallas wondered darkly if she would think the same of Brad and Justin after he stabbed their eyes out with a pushpin. When he brought up the suggestion she gave him one of her murderous glares, which settled the matter.
But as much as the punched out eyes, and shirtless, buff men hanging on his girlfriend's wall had offended him, thinking back, Dallas suddenly found himself wishing that they were still hanging up on her walls. He suddenly wished that she had not only hung up Brad and Justin, but maybe Nick Carter and Freddie Prince Jr., too.
Dallas just didn't know it yet.
"What's this?" Dallas asked, surprised. He stood by Bailey's door, gaping at the spot on the wall where Justin Timberlake used to hang. Pleasure and relief fluttered in the pit of his stomach. A new guy now took the place of curly-haired Justin. A guy with a shirt on. Oh, good gracious God yes. Finally.
Bailey grinned and grabbing him by the arm, dragged him over to the large poster. "What do you think?" she teased. "Do you like him?"
Dallas raised an eyebrow, tilting his head back as he inspected the guy. "He has a shirt on. I like him."
His girlfriend let out a peal of giggles. "Oh god, Dallas." she looked back at the guy, smiling up in adoration. Dallas gazed up in approval.
The guy had black hair, and so what, maybe his shirt was a bit jacked up, as was the eyeliner he adorned–but he wore a shirt!
"This is Joel Madden." Bailey introduced.
"Never heard of him."
"But you like him, right?" she pressed.
"Yeah, sure." Dallas glanced at the time. He could not think of a guy he liked better than Joel Madden at the moment. "He's cool. We're getting late, Bail, let's go."
"All right, all right, let me just get my bag."
"Hey, like my new shirt?" He asked as she moved to collect her things after giving Joel Madden one last dreamy look. Bailey turned.
"'What does J-O-C-K spell?'" She read aloud, a bit confused.
Dallas held back the grin and turned to show her the back. "'Me'."
Bailey laughed. "Real cute, Dallas." she shook her head, tossing back her magnificent sheet of blonde hair. "Where'd you get it from? Champs?"
"Nope. Custom. You ready yet?"
"Yeah, yeah–bye, Joel!" Bailey kissed her poster. Dallas sighed and taking her by the arm, dragged her out of the room.
Mrs. Carlyle, Bailey's mother met them at the foot of the stairs. She was one of those soccer moms, a woman who kept in shape, and was rather attractive looking too. Seeing Dallas, her lips curved into an approving smile.
"The bowling alley, then, I suppose?" Mrs. Carlyle asked, raking fingers through dyed blonde hair.
"I'll have her back by twelve," Dallas promised, flashing a charming smile for balance.
"Now don't worry," Mrs. Carlyle cooed. "I know you will. Have a nice time, Bailey. Don't eat too much of that fried junk they serve. You probably shouldn't drink soda either. There's a pack of water bottles next to the garage door. Why don't you go grab one? You have to be vigilant with what you eat. You didn't become captain of the cheerleading squad for nothing."
Bailey pulled a face and Dallas refrained from throwing a sympathetic glance her way with her mother present.
"What were the two of you doing so long upstairs, any way?" her mother asked casually.
Bailey glared at her.
"Bail was showing me her newest poster." Dallas said easily.
Mrs. Carlyle's lip curled. "Oh good Lord. That strange looking thing replacing Justin Timberlake!" she clucked her tongue, frowning at her daughter. "He was absolutely appalling. Did you see the queer clothing and makeup the boy wore?"
Dallas cracked another grin. "At least he wore something, huh Bailey?"
"Let's go." Another glare her mother's way and his girlfriend stormed out the house.
"See you later, Mrs. Carlyle." Dallas turned to follow Bailey out the house but her mother stopped him.
"Dallas, you'll speak to her, wont you?" Mrs. Carlyle was still frowning.
"About the poster." Bailey's mother actually sounded serious. "I don't want her to start... getting the wrong ideas about boys who... well–wear make up, I guess. They all turn out gay in the end, anyway. I don't want her to go through any of that stupidity."
He restrained from laughing. "Mrs. Carlyle, I don't think it's anything."
"But I'm afraid she might–"
"Start liking them?" Dallas interrupted, finding amusement in their conversation.
"You didn't see her yesterday," Mrs. Carlyle said, almost defensively. "She was watching some… some sort of rebel video or something–and singing along. They were screaming and singing–and they sounded so crude. They looked disgusting. Just talk to her. Please. Make sure she doesn't start liking all this crazy stuff or God forbid—start looking like one."
He stared at her. "All right," he gave in. "Sure. I'll talk to her about it. But I wouldn't worry too much. Bailey's not like that." Dallas flashed a comforting smile. "She's not into those things."
That had been just the beginning. The next time Dallas came over a new poster was up, and Brad Pitt was down only to be replaced by a group of guys with more clothes on, called the Casualties. Dallas was thrilled. No more shirtless, buff guys for Bailey to cream over. This rocked.
But he could see the problem this time.
Almost the entire band had unreasonably tall, multi-colored friggin mohawks. Ripped shirts. Tattoos. Peircings. Dallas stared apprehensively. At least... no ... half-naked guys, he thought weakly.
"Your mom...?" he had asked.
"Don't ask." Bailey said, her smile fading fast. "Don't even ask. We haven't spoken in a week."
After the Mohawk band came Evanescence. A cute female-fronted band who sang dark music of some sort. Following Evanescence came some weird band called Three Days Grace and a bunch of others, before Dallas was finally faced with his girlfriend's most current interest. A band led by a guy who looked like a–
"That's a girl." Dallas said looking down in distaste.
"Is not," Bailey said, rolling her eyes. "He's completely delicious. He's from My Chemical Romance." she sounded rather breathless.
"What's that?" Dallas asked, uninterested. "Some pill addiction?"
"Dallas!" Bailey pouted.
But Dallas turned away from the poster to study his girlfriend. Part of him felt frustrated, and the other half felt relieved and grateful. The past year had been weird. It looked like what Mrs. Carlyle had feared was coming true.
Bailey is so beautiful, Dallas thought. Thank god she didn't do anything crazy to herself like all those–those other people. Bailey listened to the music and enjoyed it, but she never did try to change her appearance to actually look like them. Especially now with all these kids sprouting out with edgy and rebellious looks to imitate.
Dallas felt he ought get down on his knees and kiss her feet from sheer gratitude. He didn't know what he'd do if—if she cut off her hair like the other girls and dyed it starch black. Her hair was so beautiful and blonde and—and he liked it the way it was.
His girlfriend's voice brought him back.
Bailey gave him a funny look and slowly reached up to take his hand, which he just realized he had been running through her hair. "Are you okay? You look funny." She sounded concerned.
"Don't do anything to your hair." Dallas said without thinking.
Bailey withdrew. "What?"
Dallas tried not to feel embarrassed. "I mean, your hair is beautiful. Its so long and–and–"
She looked at him strangely.
"Keep it this way." he insisted.
"Sure..." Bailey said uncertainly.
He had nothing against them. Honest. This one kid who sat with him in his home room class had shaved not only the sides of his head to replicate a Mohawk, but also his eyebrows. Two other kids with equally altered appearances shared his English class. Dallas wasn't like Mrs. Carlyle, who found it so hard to accept it. Things change, he figured. This phase was just another one of them.
"Good game?" The one who had home room with him asked him.
Dallas glanced over. The guy had long hair, dyed black, straightened, and parted to the side. Big black things weighed his earlobes down.
Dallas cracked an offhand grin. "You didn't come? Jeez, why should I tell you?"
The boy merely laughed quietly.
"We kicked major ass." Dallas told him. "You should have been there to support us."
See? He didn't have anything against them. They were okay. They minded their own business. This suited him fine.
Dallas saw the kid again in the hallways right before lunch. He was a senior; he and his fellow classmates were allowed to break earlier. At first Dallas didn't pay attention to him until his friend Aaron Lexting pointed to the black-haired boy's equally black-haired friend.
"Look at those pants," Aaron chuckled under his breath before calling out. "Hey doll, you gonna sweep the floors with your jeans, or what?"
Dallas had to refrain from laughing as the girl turned around. She looked anything but a doll. In fact, she looked downright murderous.
Something else flashed across her eyes that Dallas found he didn't like much; arrogance.
Aaron gave a grin. "Nice shirt," it was huge. Her slender shoulders huddled beneath the black shirt. "Slipknot, huh?" he asked, perceptively picking out what the shirt said. "Wow. How unbelievably morbid and gothic."
They weren't trying to be rude–not really. But Dallas heard Aaron's mocking tone towards the end. He gave his friend a light nudge to ease up.
"You got a problem with what I'm wearing or something?" the girl demanded, eyes cool, glazed with disdain and appreciation. She really wore a lot of eyeliner.
"No, of course not." Aaron said sweetly.
"Aaron," Dallas sighed. "Let's go."
"Is it because I look strange or something? Is it because I look different?" the girl wanted to know.
Aaron burst out laughing and even Dallas had to hold back a snort of laughter. Glancing at the kid from his home room, he felt bad. There was nothing wrong with them, not really. The guy looked rather annoyed and Dallas tried not to feel guilty.
"Honey," Aaron was saying. "Have you looked around yourself lately? You don't look different. Everyone else looks like you, and you look like everyone else." he smiled broadly. "Nice try though. Let's go, man." he turned and strolled away.
Dallas briefly raised his eyebrows at the pair before turning and following Aaron.
"You were being pretty rude back there." he commented.
"Shut up, Dallas." Aaron grinned. He quickly sobered up. "I know. But it's fun. I love how they get so riled up, and you know they like it almost half as much as we do."
Dallas curled his lip before shaking his head. "The guy is pretty okay, you know."
"I know," Aaron said, almost patiently. "I was just having fun. The guy is really okay, and that girl was actually cute." he paused. Then he burst out laughing.
"I have two of their people in my chem class." Dallas said.
"Yeah? I have four of them in World History." Aaron shot back. "They all huddle in the back of the classroom and just stare at themselves in the mirror or scribble poems about suicide on their test papers."
Dallas gave Aaron a look.
"Let's get something to eat." he muttered.
"Do we gossip?" Mark Henson asked in the locker room.
Dallas glanced over to where Mark stood, leaning close to the mirror as he pulled out his nose hairs. "Where the hell did that come from?" he tried not to watch his friend for too long, because it left him feeling kind of queasy. The other guys didn't seem to mind it, however. Mark had a particularly tortured look on his face as he concentrated on drawing hair out.
"I dunno." Mark carefully slid his tweezers in their leather case and tucked it back into his changing locker. "Something Stephanie and I were arguing about. She said we gossiped just the way girls do."
"The term 'we' meaning guys?" Aaron asked, spraying himself with anti- perspiration.
"Yeah." Mark gazed at himself critically. "Shit. We don't gossip." He uncapped a pale pink tube of lip balm, smoothing it evenly over his lips.
"Hey, you remember that blonde chick, Kelly, you were telling us about?" Dallas asked.
"Holy shit, that girl needed to shave her legs," Mark said. "I'm telling you. She didn't listen to no one. She comes from the dark ages or something–"
Aaron and Dallas exchanged a smirk.
"Nah." Dallas told Mark casually. "We don't gossip."
Mark threw him a dirty look. "Ha, ha."
"How's this for you," Dallas leaned against the locker and turned so he could see Mark. "Do you think we're vain?"
"We have a right to be," Mark snapped superciliously. "We can look and take care of ourselves. What's the crime in that?"
"I never said there was a crime," Dallas replied evenly, running a hand through his hair almost defensively.
"Just don't go overboard, pretty boy." Mark taunted, dumping his toiletries into a duffle bag and walking away.
"What's overboard?" Aaron wanted to know.
"Like for one thing," Mark turned. "Quit spraying a shitload of that Axe Effect, for fucksake. Your body ain't that good."
"It's not to look good," Aaron sounded sulky, but stopped spraying anyway. "It's to smell good."
"Then just spray it into your damn armpits, you dumbass. Why the hell is that thing aimed at your fucking stomach?"
Aaron hastily dropped it into the locker. "It's not."
Mark merely laughed. "You're a basket case, you know that, Lexting?" One last scornful look and Mark disappeared past the bodies of the rest of the players and out the locker room.
"Bastard." Aaron muttered. "As if plucking your damn nose hair isn't going overboard. Moron."
Dallas grinned. His friend scowled.
"You think he's funny, don't you." Aaron accused.
He simply shrugged. "He's pathetic. But amusing, so yes. I do."
"He keeps his damn tweezers in leather casing, for chrissake." Aaron sounded outrage.
Dallas chuckled. "Yeah. Exactly."
Aaron stared at him before shaking his head. "I give up. That guy's a hypocrite. 'Don't go overboard'." he scoffed. "Mark is the biggest, dumbest, vainest–" he made a violent gesture with his hands. "Man, what an asshole."
"Man, my legs keep getting hairier, and hairier." The voices of their other teammates drifted towards them.
"Then quit shaving, you bitch."
Dallas shook his head. "Let's get out of here."
A/N: New story. I promise to God it's not half as stereotypical as it may seem right now. Give it a chance. Just something I was thinking about after browsing through so many stories featuring the hot, loner, goth kid, I decided we needed a good jock kid out there again. Thus, Dallas was born. Another story to add to my bin of cliches.
Lalalalalala, I can't hear you.