Monday, December 3, 2007

"Shit," Rusty muttered as he watched Jimmy and Claire make their way down the stairs to join him in the hallway outside the drama room on the bottom floor of the high school's main building. He crossed his arms and sighed with annoyed jealousy while the lips and hands of one of his fellow sophomores caressed the other, straddling that fine line between excessive intimacy and outright straddling. "Shit," he said, louder this time, to get them to stop.

Claire Zielinski turned suddenly to look at her friend as opposed to her boyfriend, with such speed that Jimmy's hand reached to his mouth to soothe the effects of her quick movement on his lips and tongue. "Sorry, Rusty," she smiled, patting him on the back before she set her purple backpack down at her feet and began turning the combination lock to open her locker, to the right of his. "Sorry," she repeated for good measure.

"I don't think sorry is going to cut it, Claire," Jimmy said as he approached her from behind, a choice of words Rusty immediately regretted putting together. Leaning on Rusty's locker with one hand, he said, "I mean, we've had sex." With Claire looking at her locker and not at him, Jimmy was able to continue this gloating with a sadistic grin to boot. "Multiple times. And this is the guy who's lusted after you for—how long has it been now, Rusty?"

"This," Rusty said, lifting both middle fingers in Jimmy's direction, "times five years."

"Generally when I'm using middle fingers and math at the same time," Jimmy said, his comment causing Claire to glance at Rusty just as she'd unlocked her locker, "one is pointing at the other."

"And it's not lust," Rusty added. "It's more than that, much more than what you have for her, James."

"Don't call me that, Russell."

"Fuck you."

"Yes," Jimmy said as he placed the hand he'd been balancing on Rusty's locker onto Claire's shoulder. "Yes, she is."

"I hate to break it you, Romeo," Rusty sighed, "well, actually, I don't hate it, in fact I quite like bringing it up, but when the only reason you're even in a relationship is because you're spiting each other's parents, it's probably not going to end well."

"It's not the only reason."

"Boys, stop arguing," Claire said, having finished sorting through her locker and zipping up her backpack. Her brown hair blew wind in Rusty's face and her forest green eyes traveled back and forth between the two competitors for her affections. "It's petty and immature."

"And sticking with this guy after he manipulated you into having sex with him and your parents told you to stop seeing him isn't?" Rusty said, pointing at Jimmy with disbelief.

"Well, when you put it that way it sounds bad, I'll agree."

"'That way' is called the facts, Claire."

"I reject your reality and substitute my own."

Rusty rolled his eyes, Jimmy smiled again, and Claire shuffled her feet impatiently, awaiting the arrival of her best friend Holly Snow and a resulting end to the boys' quarreling. Luckily, this didn't take long.

"Good news, everyone!" the blue-eyed brunette said gleefully in her Australian accent as soon as she walked through the hallway entrance from the quad a minute later. Rather than immediately continuing down the stairway and joining the others, she remained atop the stairs, looking down on her friends with a grin. The smile dissipated to "normal face" after a minute or so of minimal reaction to her joyful entrance.

"So just tell us already, Farnsworth," Jimmy said, which made Rusty groan.

"Guess who's no longer in crutches?" She made a brief turn towards the door, through which the bright morning sun was shining down on these suburban Angelinos, and shouted, "Come on in, Kent!"

"Maybe you guys should come out here," they heard Kent reply from outside.

"But if we come to you, you don't get to show off your walking abilities to the gang!"

"I have the whole rest of my life to do that!"

"Not if you get hit by another car in the time it takes us to wait for you!"

"I really don't think a car's going to come speeding through a crowded high school campus out of nowhere, Holly. And if it did, I think the crowd of students would probably slow down the car…and slaughter the students."

"Fuck this," Claire said, as she stepped out from between Rusty and Jimmy and up the stairway towards Holly. "I'm going out there." She waved at Holly upon passing her by, and when she saw the tall brown-haired boy dressed in a sooty gray wolf t-shirt standing at the foot of the stairs leading down into the quad, she then took notice of what he was looking at that had prompted his refusal to walk over to his friends. "Hey, you guys might want to come look at this," Claire remarked, and when she said it, that's when everyone followed her out into the sun.

As it turned out, Samara Pearse and her boyfriend Cameron McCarthy were having a heated argument, and were walking east across the north side of the quad, in the direction of the group that was watching them.

"Oh," Claire said as she turned to look at Kent, "by the way, congratulations on being able to use both feet again."

Kent smiled as he moved his gaze from Claire to his raised right foot, no longer encased in a cast. "I know," he said as he put his foot back down, "it's great, isn't it?"

"I'll say," she did in fact say. "Now you two can have sex like Jimmy and I."

"Is that supposed to be a good thing?"

"Dude," Rusty interjected, "don't tempt fate like that!"

"Relax," Holly said, "he'll still get some. Besides, I think he was referring to Jimmy and Claire's," she coughed, "questionable motivations."

"At least they have motivation," Samara said as she pushed Cameron aside while the couple was moving up the stairs, together and apart at the same time. The beautiful blonde, dressed in a long-sleeved plain white tee that could make many a man say "hey there," turned to look at her boyfriend, glared at him with those ominously and seemingly omniscient green eyes of hers, and snarled, "Like I thought we did."

Cameron scoffed and crossed his arms to make his somewhat portly body, hidden under a navy blue shirt, seem more muscular. This student was already two years ahead of the rest of the people conversing on this stairway, and he further made his seniority known with a growing amount of black facial hair and an attempt at a wise comment. "Samara, all you care about is outdoing Claire at everything."

"That's not true," Samara said. "I want to outdo everyone else at everything, too."

"Let's face it, this relationship was never about me, or you, or us, it was about her," he said, pointing at an embarrassed Claire, who hid halfway behind Kent after pushing him away from the handrail to give herself some space to do so. "I mean, we had sex every day last week!"

"Lucky," Rusty said quietly.

"Oh, not so," Cameron continued. "This girl's a menace. She'll drain you dry." He glanced at Samara again and added, "Nympho."

"I'm not addicted to sex," Samara replied calmly. "If I was, I wouldn't be nowhere near as universally despised by the populace as I am due to all the young men that would be walking out of my bedroom happy. I am, however, addicted to being the best, and if it's too much to ask for you to help me become that in the world of lovemaking, perhaps you should've considered leaving me sooner."

"But you don't want me to leave you!"

"You're doing a great job breaking up with her there, Cam," Claire added sarcastically, peeking her head out from behind Kent.

"He's not trying to do a great job," Samara said. "Why would he want to? The man is having sex with me, after all."

"Not anymore," Cameron scoffed once more, turning his back on the others to head back down the stairs and inadvertently cueing Claire to step out from her hiding space when he did. "From now on, you can just fuck yourself, Samara," he said as he stomped away.

After a moment of silence, Samara turned towards the onlookers who didn't really consider themselves her friends, and grinned. "Isn't he precious?"

"Samara," Holly said, taking a cautious step towards the newly single chore of a classmate, "your first boyfriend, the man you lost your virginity to, just broke up with you." After Samara shrugged this detail off, Holly placed her hand on the other girl's shoulder and continued with a sigh: "We're here for you."

"We are?" Claire said, shooting confused looks at Kent, Jimmy and Rusty. "Why?"

"Tex is right," Samara said as she turned her glance from Claire to Holly. "Don't worry about me, Ozzie. Why, before day's end, I'm sure I'll find another man willing to do the nasty with me."

"Hey, Rusty, shouldn't you be volunteering right about now?" Jimmy smirked.

"I'm not that desperate!" Rusty replied. Sensing an opportunity to get back at Jimmy, he retorted, "But I'm sure you'd be willing to do it with her, seeing as you're just itching to cheat on Claire the first chance you get!" He laughed. "Heh. Itching."

"Yes, it is kind of funny to receive an STD as punishment for one's infidelity," Samara said, and without even taking a second to pause, added, "but, it doesn't matter who among you gentlemen of varying degrees of ineptitude is actually willing to bed me, since when this is all over and I do finally become ready for a new man in my life, not only will there have been nobody in the between time that can claim with absolute sincerity that I was indeed willing to reciprocate his perverse feelings and sleep with him in my time of need, but that new man will rank far above everyone else you and I have ever met before and runs a significant chance, in fact, of being the greatest lover to ever walk this Earth. Because I will settle for nothing less, and anyone who stands in my way will suffer the consequences."

She walked away, anticipating the first bell to ring quite shortly, before anyone knew how to respond.

"Well, she's going to be disappointed," Claire said. She turned to Jimmy, smiled, and asked, "You're not going to cheat on me, right?"

"Of course not," Jimmy as he moved his face in to kiss her. "You've got legs," he said, causing both of them to glance downward between kisses, "and know how to use them." Meanwhile, Rusty rolled his eyes again.

"ZZ Top," Claire smiled. "You know me."

"And not just in the biblical sense." He and Claire stopped kissing, and then Jimmy turned to Kent and Holly. "You know, it doesn't make much sense for you two to criticize us for being together to spite our parents when you guys are doing the exact same thing."

"Except my parents are stupid," Kent said. Looking and pointing at Holly, he added, "And her dad agrees, and I'm sure her mom would to if she weren't…"

"No," Holly said, shaking her head. "No, she wouldn't."

"Just because she was stupid enough to cheat on your dad doesn't mean she's stupid enough to disagree with him."

"I think cheating on one's spouse is the ultimate disagreement, though," Claire said.

"And I think the debate team just found a new winning strategy," Rusty quipped.

"Trust me on this," Claire continued, "I still see both of my parents. I know. But that's beside the point. You two need to have sex."

"No," Kent and Holly said in unison despite walking towards each other and taking one another's hand.

"Shouldn't the bell have rung by now?" Rusty said to no one in particular.

"Shouldn't these two lovebirds just have sex already, Rusty?" Jimmy said, and everyone joined him in turning to Rusty for a fifth opinion.

"Hey," Kent said. "Holly and I aren't small African parrots."

"You know, you're right," Rusty said just as the bell rang, loud enough to heavily drown out his words. "You both are," he said, glancing back at both of the other boys. "You two aren't small African parrots, but you should have sex."

"Why?" Holly asked.

"I would," Rusty shrugged.