Maureen's Mojo (PG-13)

I was late getting to class having been hung up in the library for a few extra minutes. The hallways were mostly empty as I hurried toward the classroom. The only student around was Maureen Grady, a volunteer with The Office Pool, students who delivered messages to various classrooms during their free periods. She looked very nice in a plaid skirt and yellow sweater as she approached me.

Maureen and I were in the same senior class and I had known of her since junior high school but our paths rarely crossed and I doubt I had said more than ten sentences to her in six years of school together. She was popular and beautiful, dating all-star football player Jed Clark and I was pretty sure she didn't even know my name.

All of a sudden, I heard screams and shouts coming from around the corner followed by breaking glass and POP POP POP POP POP. I couldn't be sure but I was pretty sure it was gunfire. We had gone through training earlier in the year and when I heard somebody yell "Lock down! Lock Down!" and I heard doors slamming I looked around for an escape or hideaway.

I noticed the Maureen had stopped dead in her tracks and she looked like a deer caught in the headlights. She wasn't moving so I rushed to her, grabbed her around the waist and whisked her into a nearby supply closet that had its door ajar. The small room was packed full of junk - old desks, broken chairs, obsolete computers and other equipment - and Maureen and I could barely fit into what little space was left and I closed the door behind us. There was a large fogged pane of glass in the door and a small sun window in the far corner of the room but that was all the light. I could feel Maureen shaking beside me and I saw tears steaming down her face.

"I don't want to die," she sobbed.

"Shh," I told her. "Nobody's going to die."

I pushed her to the floor below the door window so nobody would see our silhouettes and I sat next to her on the cement floor.

"Oh my God," she cried. "We're going to die!"

"Maureen, Shh!" I warned. "Quiet. We don't want anybody to hear us."

There was some sort of commotion going on down the hall and I tried to cover Maureen's mouth with my hand as she continued to tremble and freak out.

"That was a gun!" She said with fright. "Somebody's got a gun!"

"Shh, we're safe here but you've got to be quiet," I told her.

"I don't want to die," she sobbed. "I'm so afraid. This is unbelievable. Please God, I don't want to die."

I pulled her close to me and hugged her tight. "You've got to be quiet," I whispered urgently. "No talking. No sounds. No noise."

We heard footsteps running down the hall and Maureen practically jumped into my lap, wrapping her arms around my neck and burying her face in my chest while shaking uncontrollably. I felt my jeans getting wet and I realized that she was so frightened that she had pissed in her panties.

I covered her face with my hand and rested my chin on the top of her head trying to keep her still and quiet. I could hear her sobbing and crying against my shirt as I stroked her hair with my hand.

"I don't want to die," she moaned. "Oh, sweet Jesus, save me."

"Shh!" I begged.

I had no idea what was going on out there but I didn't want anybody to hear us. I glanced down and saw a puddle of piss on the floor and I prayed that it didn't seep out under the door.

"We're going to die," she sobbed.

"Maureen, you've got to be quiet," I told her, dipping my head down to look into her face that was covered with tears and snot.

She looked at me with eyes that were so wide and frightened that I thought they were going to fall out of her head.

"I don't want to die," she repeated again.

I didn't know how to shut her up so I leaned in and covered her mouth with mine, kissing her adamantly and forcefully and I was surprised when she returned the kiss with urgency and desperation. I had never kissed or been kissed with such intensity before as we made out with fear and panic. We heard shouting outside and that only made us kiss harder. My hand somehow found its way down the back of her skirt and inside her urine soaked panties and I squeezed her naked buns with my hand, quite literally getting my first piece of ass. I figured if I was going to die I might as well die happy.

Maureen was practically kissing my lips off and her tongue was inside my mouth and I chewed on hers knowing she couldn't talk if I was doing that to her and maybe that would save both our lives! My free hand was brushing through her hair while I continued to squeeze her damp ass cheeks under her panties and I make out with her as if there was no tomorrow because for all I knew maybe there wouldn't be one.

I don't know how long we sucked each other's faces off or how long my hand traipsed around on her ass beneath her panties but eventually we heard the principal's voice come over the public address system.

"All clear, all clear!" The Principal shouted with nervous relief in her voice. "Students are to exit the building in a calm and orderly fashion. The hallway to Room 109 is closed. Classes are cancelled."

Maureen broke from our endless kiss. "What does that mean?"

"It means its over," I said with relief, giving her one last kiss knowing this was the end of our little sudden death romance.

She wiped her face with the back of her hands and slowly climbed off me, standing and looking both humiliated and embarrassed. I stood too and glanced at her.

"You okay?" I asked.

She nodded. "Sorry I wetted on you," she mumbled softly, looking down at the puddle of piss on the floor. "I really thought we were going to die."

"I know."

"I need to go get cleaned up," she said, trying to pull herself together.

"Okay."

She looked at me, almost as if she was seeing me for the first time. "You're Humphrey Brooks, right?"

"Brooks Humphries," I corrected her.

"Oh, yeah, right." She nodded her head and looked away.

I gently moved her away from the door and slowly opened it. Grim faced and serious looking students were walking by looking like the dawn of the living dead, some being held and comforted by teachers. Several cops and paramedics were also passing by and it was clear that something serious and awful had happened.

"You should go," I told Maureen.

She nodded in agreement and slowly passed by me and disappeared into the flow of the crowd and just like that she was gone out of my life almost as quickly as she had entered it. I slipped out of the supply closet careful not to step in her puddle of piss and I followed the rest of the quiet and sullen crowd from the building. Cops, firemen, and other emergency people were everywhere and I heard mutterings that Sophomore English Teacher Ms. Bernier was dead.

I didn't say anything to anybody as I headed for the student parking lot and climbed into my car, driving home in a daze. I tossed my pissed-soaked jeans into the washing machine not quite believing any of what had just transpired had really taken place. I took a shower and thought about Maureen and how round and soft and wonderful her naked ass felt in my hand and how she had clung to me and kissed me and wanted me in that strange moment somewhere between life and death.

My parents barely said a word about the tragedy when they got home that night which pretty much typified the state of our communication and family relationship.

My friend Ron called later to give me a play by play account of his experience. "I hid out in the second floor girl's bathroom with Brittany Eaton and Lydia White!" He bragged. "Where the hell were you?"

"Down on the first floor," I said.

"With who?"

"Nobody," I lied.

"Poor sap," Ron laughed. "You never get a break do you?"

"Guess not," I agreed. "So, Ms. Bernier?"

"Yeah, bummer, huh?" Ron said but then he was shifting back to his bathroom experience with Brittany and Lydia and I didn't have the heart to tell him that I had my own unique bathroom experience with a girl.

The death of Ms. Bernier was classified as a work place domestic violence shooting instead of a school shooting. Her estranged boyfriend, whom she had placed a restraining order against, had been harassing, abusing and stalking her for months and apparently he had snapped and arrived at the school armed with several hand guns. It was a nice Spring day outside and somebody had left one of the back doors to the locker rooms open and that's how he entered the building, finding Ms. Bernier in her regular room. He smashed the glass to the door and kicked the door open and fired at point blank range several times as she stood in front of her classroom.. She died instantly while twenty horrified students fell to the floor or jumped out windows in fright.

The cops traced the guy back to his house where they found him dead from a self-inflicted gun shot wound. School was cancelled for two days and grief counselors were available to anybody who was interested when we returned. The routine seemed to fall back into place fairly quickly although Ms. Bernier's room was closed off and off limits. Kids who witnessed the shooting said her blood and brains were splattered all over the wall and floor and I had no interest in seeing any of that gore. There were rumors and gossip and even some bragging about the incident but I didn't want to think about it. I liked Ms. Bernier when I had her Sophomore year and I saw her around the school a lot these past few years. Thinking about her being dead wasn't a cheery thought.

I didn't see much of Maureen Grady around and when I did she didn't make eye contact with me. I couldn't blame her for feeling embarrassed and humiliated having pissed all over me but I couldn't stop thinking about her and I wondered if she would be so traumatized by that day that she would always equate me to the death of Ms. Bernier and that she would want nothing to do with me because she was ashamed about what happened.

I kept remembering the taste of her lips and the feel of her tongue in my mouth and how my hand cupped her lovely ass cheeks. I dated occasionally in the past but I never got beyond second base (heavy clothed petting and making out) and nothing in my catalog compared to the intensity of that day in the supply closet with the frightened Maureen and how wonderful it was to be with her in such an intimate way.

After a few weeks, life got back to normal for most of the kids at Hillsboro High School although I know that a few parents pulled their kids who witnessed the tragedy out of the school and a few others were seeing therapists and getting help. For the rest of us, we were mostly part of a lore that would never go away and while I was sad to think of poor Ms. Bernier and how she died I was also grieving Maureen Grady knowing that the intensity we shared that day was unique and special in its own perverse way.

I had a part time job stalking shelves at Fontaine's Family Grocery Store which kept my car on the road and kept me busy. I had friends but I wasn't a popular jock like Maureen's boyfriend and I wasn't involved in a lot of school activities. My home life kept me miserable enough that I kept a low profile and I occupied myself by picking up extra shifts at Fontaine's when I could.

I was just going off shift one night when I saw Maureen of all people standing in the express check out lane buying a few items. She looked up and seemed surprised to see me. She glanced away and looked down at the floor but I figured the least I could do was say hello so I walked over to the counter as my co-worker Chrissy Matthews rang her up.

"Hi, Maureen," I said tentatively.

"Hello, Humphrey."

"It's Brooks," I reminded her. "Brooks Humphries." I threw Chrissy a dirty look when she laughed.

"Oh, right, sorry," Maureen muttered.

"How are you doing?" I asked gently.

"I'm okay," she said.

I bagged the items Chrissy was ringing up. "I can carry these for you," I told Maureen when she was done paying.

"That's okay," she replied but I had already the two bags in my hands and I walked her out into the parking lot.

"Would you like to get some coffee or something?" I asked when we reached her car.

"I don't think that would be a good idea, Humphrey," she replied and I didn't bother correcting her on the name this time.

She took the bags from my hands and put them in the car before slipping behind the steering wheel and closing the door practically in my face. I was hurt by her reaction and I watched after her as she drove away wondering why she was treating me so coldly and distantly.

A few days later, I saw Maureen sitting in the library alone and I decided I had nothing to lose by talking to her. Until she told me to leave her alone, I was going to do everything in my power to become friendlier with her. She seemed to be sad and depressed since that day in the supply closet.

"Hi Maureen," I said, taking the chair across from her.

"Hello, Humphrey," she replied and I decided that she was using that as a pet name for me.

"How are you doing?" I asked.

"I'm okay," she said.

"You sure?" I inquired.

She glanced at me but then looked away. "What do you want me to say, Humphrey?"

"Have you talked to anybody about it?" I asked. "That day, I mean?"

She shook her head no.

"They have counselors still on call for anybody who was in the building that day," I told her.

"I try not to think about it," she admitted.

"I can't stop thinking about it," I revealed. "I can't stop thinking about you."

"That's probably not a good thing," Humphrey," she advised. "As far as I'm concerned we were never together that day so you should probably get me out of your mind."

"I'd like to be able to help you, Maureen," I replied. "Like I did that day."

She stared at me as if I was a ghost. "That day never happened," she insisted. "I have a boyfriend, Humphrey. Do you know what would happen if he found out?"

"I don't care about him," I replied honestly. "I'm worried about you."

"Worried?" She asked with surprise. "What are you talking about?"

You look like a zombie, Maureen," I informed her. "I know what happened that day affected you."

She sat back in her chair and stared at me, her eyes watering up. "Who thinks about dying when they're seventeen years old?" She asked quietly.

"Nobody," I agreed.

"I never knew what they meant by 'my life flashed before my eyes' until I heard those screams and those gun shots," she confessed. "All I could think about was all those school shootings you hear happening. But those happened somewhere else. I never thought something like that could happen here."

"I know," I said.

"I really thought I was going to die and all I could think about was my Barbie dolls."

"Your Barbie dolls?"

"I was remembering how happy and innocent I was playing with my Barbies in my bedroom," she explained. "My mom bringing me milk and cookies with a few extra for the Barbies. How secure and safe I felt in my house."

"I guess we all wish we could stay eight sometimes," I said.

"I was thinking about how wonderful my parents are and how they raised me with good values and virtues and how they made me feel like I could anything I wanted," she said. I was never afraid when my Dad was around. My mother taught me how to read and now I love to read. And I'm a great speller."

"Those are all good things," I said.

"I was well behaved, stayed out of trouble, and sent thank you notes to my relatives after Christmas and my birthday," she continued. "I visited my grandparents without complaining. I knew I was going to turn out okay. I did well in school and I know my parents are proud. I rarely miss school, I go to Church every Sunday, I believe in God, and I'm a good teammate on the Soccer team. I think I'm a pretty good friend."

"You are well liked," I validated.

"But when I heard those gun shots I thought it was all over," she confessed and I could see her visibly shutter. "That my life was about to end and I realized how much I haven't accomplished yet. I thought about my parents and how much I'd miss them and how sad they'd be. I thought about all the things I wanted to do. I didn't want to die. My heart pounded and I peed and I was so frightened. I really thought I was going to die."

She looked at me with tears in her eyes.

"But you didn't," I pointed out.

"I'm different now," she sighed. "I don't trust. I don't smile. I feel sad and depressed."

"Why?"

"I don't know," she confessed. "I guess I lost my innocence that day."

"Everything's okay now, Maureen," I told her. "Everything's back to normal."

"I hear those gun shots every night when I go to sleep," she revealed. "I hear Ms. Bernier's voice in my sleep. I've wet the bed several times since that day. Nothing's normal anymore, Humphrey."

"That's why you should talk to somebody about this."

"I'm talking to you," she replied secretively.

"I meant somebody professional," I remarked.

"Why?" She frowned. "So they can tell me I've got post traumatic stress syndrome or something? I don't want to hear that crap. I just want to be the way I was before."

I buried my fist in my cheek and stared at her. "I'm glad you're talking to me," I said.

"Yeah, well you were there with me so I figured maybe you'd understand," she said. Then she peered at me. "But you weren't really scared that day, were you?"

"Sure I was," I insisted.

"You didn't act it."

"I was trying to keep you calm," I replied. "But I was really scared shitless."

"You didn't say anything."

I shrugged.

"What were you thinking?" She asked, giving me a long hard look.

"I was thinking I finally got a girl alone and the last thing I was going to do before I died was kiss her," I admitted. "I figured if I had to die it wasn't a bad way to go."

"You really didn't think that," she said.

"That was pretty much it," I confessed. "It was the best kissing of my life."

She sat back in her chair and stared at me. "What about your family?" She wanted to know. "Didn't you think about them?"

"I was thinking my father would probably turn my bedroom into a study," I replied.

She looked horrified. "You did not."

I laughed. "My family isn't as great as yours, Maureen."

"Didn't your life pass before your eyes?" She asked.

"You passed before my eyes, Maureen," I told her. "Saving you was the only thing that mattered. I would have covered you with my body and spared your life with mine."

"Why?" She asked with amazement. "You barely know me."

"Because you're a better person that I am," I explained. "You'll live a better life than me. You deserved to live."

"And you don't?"

I shrugged. "Not as much as you."

"That's crazy," she protested.

"You want to know how I see it?" I asked, leaning over the table and sticking my face in hers. "I figure we both have been given second chances. You saw all that you have and all that you'd miss but instead of embracing it and being thankful for it you're all moody and sad and depressed and defeated and miserable and unlike the way you used to be."

"I think I have survival guilt," she admitted.

"Me? I'm happy to be alive. I'm thrilled you were walking down the hall at that exact moment and that I got to hide in the supply closet with you of all people. And that I got to kiss the prettiest girl in the class." I leaned closer and whispered softly. "And that I got to cop that beautiful ass of yours."

She blushed and looked away. "I told you, none of that happened."

"You pissed on me, Maureen," I reminded her quietly. "Isn't that like some sort of initiation?"

"Please shut up," she said forcefully.

"You can deny it all you want," I said. "But they way I look at it, we're connected. We're bonded. We're co-survivors. And what we shared that day makes us uniquely one."

"You're crazy," she said, standing just as the bell rang. "Nothing happened that day."

She marched off and I watched her go realizing that I was totally smitten with her.

Life is full of choices and very choice has a reaction and a result. I choose how I spend my day, how I act, who I talk with, and what I say. Before that day, I choose to play it safe. To stay hidden. To not rock the boat. To not put myself out there. To not pursue girls for fear of rejection.

But now, after that fateful and frightful day, I find myself not wanting to play it so safe. Playing it safe left me lonely and alone and now that I met Maureen Grady in the most personal of ways in the strangest of circumstances and situations, I wasn't going to give her up or let her go. I didn't care that she had a boyfriend and I didn't care that she wanted to forget what happened that day.

To me, that day was a day of destiny and my destiny was now Maureen Grady. We were meant to be together that day and what we shared deserved to continue beyond that tiny supply closet. We thought we were going to die together and now we needed to live together.

Maureen tried to ignore me and avoid me at school, turning in a different way if she saw me in the halls but I made it a point to say hello to her in the cafeteria or other locations around the school even if she was with her boyfriend. I didn't care what he thought. I was going to let Maureen know that I was still thinking about her and that I wanted to be with her.

I discovered that there was one place that I could talk with Maureen - the library (how ironic was that!). I found her there during most of her study halls when she wasn't working as an Office Volunteer and when she was sitting alone I would slide into the chair across from her and smile.

She usually rolled her eyes and groaned but she did talk to me.

"Do you like school?" She asked me one day.

"It's alright," I replied. "I've never actually really fit in so it's not the social haven like it is for some."

"Why don't you fit in?" Maureen asked.

I shrugged. "I'm kind of shy," I admitted. "A bit anti-social. Not all that confident. It was just easier to take a back seat and keep a low profile. Not call attention to myself."

"That's stupid," she said.

"You didn't even know what my real name is," I pointed out. "And we've been going to school together since seventh grade."

"It's Humphrey Brooks," she said, although I wasn't sure if she was teasing or not.

"Brooks Humphries," I corrected her with a smile.

"Whatever, Humphrey."

"What about you?" I asked. "Do you like school?"

"I did before that day," she revealed. "Now I feel like I'm in a museum for the dead."

"School and work is a diversion for me," I revealed.

"Why?"

"Because going home isn't all that fun," I replied.

"Why not?"

"My parents hate each other," I explained. "They drink a lot. They really don't pay much attention to me. There's a lot of fighting and chaos and stress. It's not a fun place to be at."

"I'm sorry," Maureen offered.

"I guess I've pretty much wasted my high school experience," I admitted. "I didn't play sports. I didn't run for student council. I only went to a dance if I was dating someone. I don't apply myself in my classes so I'm an average student at best. I probably should have tried harder."

"Why didn't you?"

"I just didn't care," I said. "I wanted to be left alone."

"Sounds like me now," Maureen sighed. "I thought I was safe in school," she said. "I had fun here. I did everything you were supposed to do. AP Classes. Honor roll. Sports. Extra-curricular activities. Student Council. The perfect boyfriend. I thought everything was perfect."

"It was," I pointed out. "Until that day."

"You want to know the really ironic thing?" she asked.

"What?"

"I wasn't supposed to be at school that day," she revealed. "I was going to go check out Emerson College with my boyfriend but he decided to go with a couple of his guy friends instead so I went to school after all."

"I'm glad I went to school that day," I remarked.

"Why?" She asked with a frown.

"Because I got to be with you."

"I was supposed to have a big Calculus test that day," She recalled. "I had crammed for it and I was sure I was going to ace it. After that day, I didn't care if I took it or not. I've been applying to every college in a five hundred mile radius trying to come up with the perfect selection for the perfect reason but now I'm thinking I'll just go to Blue County Community College and be done with it."

I was surprised by that revelation.

"I turn eighteen this summer," Maureen continued. "It was supposed to be the best summer of my life but now I could care less."

"You need to get your mojo back," I told her.

"My mojo?" She asked with a frown. "What the hell is my mojo?"

"Well, your smile anyway," I reasoned.

"What did you do that night when you went home?" She asked.

"Took a shower," I replied with a shrug.

"What did you parents say about it?"

"Not much," I admitted.

She looked at me with disbelief. "My parents came to the school and got me," Maureen revealed. They stayed with me and held me and hugged me and told me how much they loved me."

"You're pretty lucky," I admitted.

"That night, I cried for hours. Jed wasn't around and my parents gave me some space but I was so scared that I wanted throw up. I ended up sleeping with my parents that night."

"How are you doing now?" I asked.

"I'm angry," she replied. "I'm pissed off that Jed doesn't understand what I'm going through and keeps telling me to get over it. I'm annoyed that my parents are treating me like I'm made of glass. I'm mad that Ms. Bernier is dead. I want to scream and yell and hit something or somebody."

I chewed on my lips for a moment. "I kind of feel happy," I admitted.

She looked at me with disgust. "You're a sick bastard."

"I know," I agreed. "I know I should be sad and full of grief and all that but I'm happy because I'm talking with you now and that never would be happening if that day hadn't happened."

"You do realize how pathetic that sounds, don't you Humphrey?"

"Yeah," I admitted. "But it's the truth."

"You must have some sort of sick fetish or perverted mind," Maureen told me.

"That's not it," I replied. "I just thing you and I shared something so personal and so intense and so intimate and so life changing that we're meant to be together now."

"I have a boyfriend, Humphrey," she reminded me.

"Yeah and where is he now?" I wanted to know. "He thinks you're going nuts."

"Do you think I'm going nuts?" She asked.

"Not at all," I replied. "I think you're confused and mixed up and sad and scared but I'm here for you if you'd just give me a chance."

"I never did thank you, did I?" She realized.

"I really didn't do anything," I replied. "Everything just sort of happened."

"You want to know what that day taught me?" Maureen asked as if she had just had a revelation.

"What?" I asked.

"Life is short," she said. "You never know when it's going to end. You can't take it for granted. I never realized before that even the bad parts are worth living."

"And now everything is new," I told her. "We're still alive and we can live our lives differently."

"Why don't you have any friends?" She asked.

"I have friends," I said defensively. "I get along with the kids I work with. Ron Howell is my best friend. I used to date Karen Howe and Rhonda Karsh. I'm not a total loser, Maureen."

"I guess I just never noticed you before," she admitted with some embarrassment.

"I'm pretty low on the food chain," I admitted.

"Is Ms. Bernier the first person you've known who's died?" Maureen asked.

"No, my brother died when I was ten," I said.

"What?" She asked with shock. "I didn't know that!"

"People tend to forget such things," I replied with a shrug. "He was older than me. Sixteen when he died."

"What happened?"

"Car accident," I replied. "His friend was driving. Ran a stop sign."

"I'm so sorry, Humphrey."

"That's when the family really fell apart," I revealed. "My parents never got over it. It's like they stopped caring when Brad died. At first I was too devastated to notice but then I came to realize that my parents were a perpetual mess. I don't want that to happen to you, Maureen."

"I appreciate that, Humphrey," she said. "You're probably right. I need to stop feeling sorry for myself and being all morose. I didn't die. I'm still alive. I need to get my mojo back!"

I smiled happily. "Damn straight."

I was sitting alone at the one of the lunch tables in the cafeteria and I was surprised when Maureen took a seat across from me.

"Hi," she said warmly.

I glanced around. "Where's the boyfriend?"

"Who gives a shit about him?" She asked with a grin.

I laughed. "How are you today?"

"I'm doing okay," she replied as she ate her apple. "Trying to get the mojo back!"

"Good for you," I said.

"Do you think you'd still like me even if I hadn't peed on you?" She asked quietly.

"I already liked you long before that day," I revealed.

"You did?" She asked with surprise.

"Sure," I smiled. "You're a good looking girl. Smart. Popular. Well liked. I used to go to the Greenville McDonalds just because you worked there."

"God, I hated that job!" She laughed. Then she studied me for a long moment. "How come you never said anything?"

"What was I supposed to say?" I asked. "Hey, I know you don't know my name and you have the perfect boyfriend and you're a sweet wonderful girl but would you consider going out with a loser like me?"

"Yes," she replied.

"What?" I asked with confusion.

"Yes, I'll go out with you, Humphrey."

"But…..what about the boyfriend?"

"Who?" She smiled.

"Really?" I swallowed.

"Look, the only person in this entire school besides a couple of observant teachers who's bothered to treat me with any amount of sympathy and understanding has been you," she observed. "My own boyfriend thinks I'm a wimpy head case. I don't need his shit after what I've been though, I can tell you that much."

"You'd dump Jed Clark to go out with me?" I asked with disbelief.

"When are you going to get your mojo, Humphrey?" Maureen asked.

"I think I'm getting it now," I replied with a huge smile on my face.

"Why didn't you have it in the first place?" she asked, moving her chair closer to me.

"Because Brad died," I confessed sadly.

"Your brother," she said softly.

"It just sucked, Maureen," I sighed. "I saw how much of a tragedy death can be and I understand it. Maybe that's why I wasn't as frightened as you that day in the supply closet. I had already seen and experienced death and a part of me really didn't care if I died or not. It wasn't until we started kissing that I realized that I really did have something to live for!"

"I thought I'd never see my family again, never hang out with my friends again, never marry someone wonderful and have kids," Maureen told me sadly. "I couldn't even come up with any famous last words. How tragic is that?"

"Well, I'm glad your last words weren't 'get your hand off my ass,'" I teased and she burst out in laughter.

"You really are a pervert," she said warmly.

"No I'm not," I sighed. "That's the farthest I've ever been with a girl."

She raised her eyebrows but she didn't say anything and I looked at her with pleading eyes.

"Do you want to go to a movie or something?" I asked.

"Yes, I would," she replied.

I wanted to kiss her on the spot.

Maureen Grady is as wonderful and amazing as I always fantasized and I couldn't believe she was even talking to me let alone going out with me. We went to the movies and to Johnny C's Diner for hamburgers and I met her parents too. I don't know if Maureen told them what happened between us that day but they seemed to welcome me warmly and with smiles even though I was clearly not the kind of kid Maureen had hung out with in the past.

Maureen and I shared a special bond that went beyond the normal school structure and peer hierarchy. What happened that day fundamentally changed both of us and we talked about it often, using each other as our own therapeutic sounding boards and outlets. I was glad that Maureen trusted and valued me enough to be honest and open with me.

I wasn't about to bring Maureen around my dysfunctional and miserable house so we spent a lot of time at her place. She had a nice family room in the cellar and we hung out there a lot.

"I've always gone out of my way to avoid trouble and problems," Maureen told me one afternoon. "I drive carefully and I don't speed. I don't drank or smoke and while I must confess that Jed and me fooled around I never crossed the line of impropriety even though my friends called me a prude."

I tried not to feel bad about that. Maureen and I had kissed since we started going out but I hadn't put any further moves on her than that. I was just happy to be in her presence.

"I never thought I'd ever dump Jed or say 'yes' to you," she admitted.

"I'm glad you did," I replied as we cozied on the couch together. "I hope you parents don't think you're going out with a psycho."

"They like you, Humphrey," Maureen assured me. "Besides, it turns out that I'm the psycho!"

"You know what I regret the most about all this?" I asked.

"What?"

"That I never showed my true colors until that day happened," I said. "Teachers were always after me to 'open up' and all that crap and even Ron told me that I needed to put myself out there and I guess they were right but I didn't know how to do it until I was in that supply closet with you."

"Why did I care so much about what people thought?" Maureen wanted to know. "In the end it didn't really matter. It was only what I think that really matters."

"What do you think?" I asked with a smirk.

"I think I'm lucky I found you," she replied, giving me an appreciative kiss that made me wondered if I was really dreaming all this. "Tell me about your brother," she said quietly.

"Brad?" I asked with surprise. "He was my big brother. My mentor. My hero. My protector. He was funny and strong and he was good to me. Even though there was a six year age difference he still paid attention to me and did stuff with me."

"Was he the only one who got killed in the accident?"

"Yeah," I sighed. "There were three of them in the car. His friend PJ who was driving walked away and the guy who was in the back seat got injured pretty seriously but he eventually recovered."

"Do you ever see them around?"

"I don't even remember who the guy in the back seat was," I said. "But PJ got busted for running the stop sign and reckless driving and my parents tried to sue his family so it was a big deal for a long time. I used to see him around but not so much anymore. He's like twenty-four now. Not sure what he's doing but I often wonder what Brad would be doing if he was still alive and how my life might have been different had he lived."

"How do you think it would be different?" Maureen asked.

"He would have helped me with the girls," I grinned. "He's was quite the ladies man even at sixteen! And of course my family probably wouldn't have fallen apart if he was still around so I could have brought you home to dinner and all that."

"But maybe we wouldn't even be together," she said.

"We would have been together sooner," I replied. "Brad would have helped me sweep you off your feet long ago."

"Do you hate that PJ guy?" Maureen asked.

"I don't hate him," I admitted. "I feel sorry for him, actually. He's the one who has to live with what he did. Hopefully he found comfort and peace and was able to move on with his life."

"You never went to therapy or anything?"

"My parents didn't believe in that stuff which probably explains why they went off the deep end," I replied. "I can only imagine what they'd say if I told them you were my therapy."

She smiled and rested her head on my shoulder. "I thought every day after that day that it was a bad day," she said. "I wanted to forget about everything and not get out of bed. I didn't care about the future but then you were always there, always looking at me, always saying something to me and all of a sudden I started to see a new beginning. I started feeling safe because you were there and I stopped feeling so sorry for myself because you seemed so happy to see me."

"I was," I said openly. "I looked forward to every day just so I could see you."

"I want to be done with all this," Maureen sighed. "I want this stupid feeling of guilt to be over. I want to stop having nightmares and wetting my bed. I just want to have a normal day again."

"This morning I woke up and I looked out the window and I saw the most beautiful sunrise," I said.

"I wished I'd seen it," Maureen sighed

"It's not all about sunrises but sometimes it is," I said. "I never noticed stuff like that before. Now I do."

I found it ironic that one of the most abnormal events to ever happen helped me become normal. Getting to know Maureen and to actually date her got me out of self-imposed exile and I was actually somebody at school for a change. Kids said hello to me and noticed me and Maureen's circle of friends actually talked with me and included me in their conversations and events.

I was doing better in my classes, participating in class discussions, and being noticed by my teachers. I was feeling better about myself and Maureen had definitely gotten her mojo back because she was smiling more and she seemed to be positive and happy, moving away from the doom and gloom attitude that had encased her after that fateful day.

I actually went to the prom with Maureen, renting a tuxedo with Ron which was the last thing I would have thought I'd be doing. It felt good to belong and to be part of the senior class experience after hiding in the shadows for so long. Maureen and I also attended the class trip to Cape Cod together which was a lot of fun and for the first time since Brad died I felt like I was living my life again.

"I'm older now than Brad was when he died," I told Maureen on the bus ride home from the Cape. "I'm now doing the stuff he never got a chance to do. Like the prom. And a class trip. And graduating from high school."

"Did he have a girlfriend?" Maureen asked.

"Tina Pitchford," I recalled affectionately. "What I remember most about her was how much of a hysterical mess she was at the funeral. My parents were numb and I was pretty stoic too but they had to peel her off the coffin."

"Do you think they had sex?" Maureen asked.

"I shrugged. "I was only ten. What did I know?"

"I hope they did, fool around a little anyway," Maureen said. "I can't imagine anything sadder than dying a virgin or not seeing someone they love naked."

"Well, I'd better not die today then," I whispered and she giggled. "I think Tina is married now. I know she has a kid."

"I'm sure she still thinks about your brother sometimes," Maureen remarked.

"What you and I learned that day in the supply closet is that most people feel themselves on fairly good terms with Father Time but we make the mistake of assuming that our own time is very far away."

"It didn't feel far away at all that day," Maureen said.

"And it never felt all that far away after Brad died for me either," I admitted. "All I know now is that I'm very grateful for every moment I have. Especially with you."

"Thanks, Humphrey," she smiled, giving me a hug.

"I suppose my brother was just starting to think about all the important things about life," I said. "Whether he should have sex with Tina. Whether he could afford to buy a car of his own. About what college he might want to attend. I'm sure it never occurred to him that PJ would run a stop sign and that he would die when he was sixteen."

Maureen sighed with sadness.

"I guess one of the reasons I wasn't scared that day in the supply closet was because my own death, and the death of everyone I love, is clear in my eyes after Brad died."

"You're really not afraid of dying?" Maureen asked.

"Not if it means I get to see Brad again," I replied. I glanced at her. "But I'm in no hurry to die, Maureen, okay?"

She smiled and hugged my arm.

"I went to the hospital that day with my parents," I told Maureen. "Brad was hooked up to the machines in the intensive care unit. He was still alive but he looked dead. There were not as many scrapes, bruises and cuts as I expected but he did look a little blue and he was cold to the touch. The machine kept him breathing and my parents had to make the decision to pull the plug. They did and he stopped breathing as soon as they turned the machine off."

"I'm so sorry, Humphrey," Maureen said quietly.

"I try to remember the good parts," I sighed. "Playing whiffle ball in the backyard. The family vacations to Summer Beach. Brad teaching me how to ride my bike. Christmas morning. Birthday cakes."

"The good stuff," Maureen smiled.

*** *** ***
Before we knew it was graduation night. I marched with Maureen as my partner and we sat together listening to the speeches and watching our classmates get their diplomas and various awards and there was a special memorial for Ms. Bernier. Maureen got a little teary-eyed and I held her hand and squeezed her tight.

And then just like that we were high school graduates with the future of the world ahead of us. Maureen had decided on the local Green College and because I was an average student at best I was going to have to start off at Blue County Community College and work my way up.

We congratulated our friends and classmates when the ceremony was over, turned in our caps and gowns, and started for the bowling alley for the all night safe and sober graduation party.

"Would you be terribly upset if we didn't go to the bowling alley?" Maureen asked as we left the school parking lot.

"Not if you don't want to go," I said.

"I just don't want to face all those people," Maureen sighed. "That memorial for Ms. Bernier is really testing my mojo," she admitted.

"Well, what would you rather do?" I asked. "Movie? Late dinner?"

"Let's go get a motel room in Greenville," Maureen boldly suggested.

"What?" I said, nearly driving the car off the road.

"Come on, Humphrey, it's time," she said sweetly. "We've been dating for months and you've been very respectful and polite and sensitive but if we're going to have sex don't you think now is the time?"

"Yes," I admitted honestly and that made her laugh.

"Nobody will know. Our parents think we're at the party."

We stopped at the local corner store and picked up some munchies and drinks and then I checked us in to the Super 8 Motel in Greenville. Room 207.

I was naturally nervous when we entered the room with the two double beds but Maureen looked pretty relaxed and confident. Of course I knew she had already done it with Jed and I worried that she might think I was a terrible lover in comparison. She sat on one of the beds and smiled at me. She was wearing a pretty printed dress and she kicked off her shoes and purposefully hiked up her dress to show me her legs.

I sat on the bed beside her and smelled her perfume.

"I always thought you were cute," I told her sincerely. "I used to watch you even while you hardly noticed me. I always loved your light-brown hair that was longer in the front then the back and your blue eyes too."

"Oh, Humphrey," she sighed. "Why do I get the impression that you're more afraid of sex then you are of death?"

"I guess because I've experienced death before but not sex," I admitted. "Although I'm pretty sure if we had spent any more time together in that supply closet we both would have been naked that day."

She smiled. "You're probably right. I would have done anything that day to avoid thinking about what was going on outside that door."

She leaned over and kissed me gently on the mouth and I felt her hand make its way to the zipper of my pants.

"Are you sure?" I whispered.

She looked at me and nodded. "Trust me."

"I do," I assured her.

"Don't worry," she said. "I'm on the pill. Do you still want to use a condom?"

I shook my head no.

She unzipped my pants and my heart was beating so fast that it felt like I was in shock. She looked at me with her big beautiful blue eyes and I soon felt her hands on my cock which was definitely where no girl had gone before. I was already erect and I was already ready to lose it. She stood and pulled down her panties from underneath her dress and then she threw her leg over me and strattled me, a leg on either side and even though she still had her dress on I could feel her pubic hair and pussy lips against my thighs. I closed my eyes and focused on the feeling of her hand stroking me gently but I wanted to see her do it so I opened my eyes again and watched.

Maureen sat up slightly, holding my dick straight up and she pulled her dress up enough for me to see her clearly. I had never seen a vagina in real-life. A small slit between her legs and a pair of lips around it. It was almost dripping and as I looked at her face she smiled and bit her lip before sitting down on me and I felt myself entering the warmth that was her body. She moaned loudly as she sat up slightly and fell back down, and then up again and back down. Each time she moaned louder and louder and I finally figured out to put my hips into it, lifting her up and letting her fall back down onto me while my hands found their way to her backside and I felt her lovely buns for the first time since that day in the supply closet.

I watched eagerly as the head of my dick disappeared into her and the sensation drove me wild and neither of us were ready to stop any time soon. I then felt that amazing sensation that I assumed was my orgasm rising from the base of my penis to the tip and the pleasure increased as Maureen's moaning grew loud and continuous and over and over again she screamed in pleasure. I began pumping as fast as my hips could and she screamed so loud I was sure someone in the next room would hear her. I finally felt the pressure leave my penis to explode in a warm mess inside Maureen as she dropped her head onto my shoulder and bit into it as she released her own internal pleasure.

I listened to her heart beating against mine and I pulled the dress off over her head so I could see her in her beauty. She smiled as she unsnapped her bra and let it fall into our laps and I stared at her wonderful breasts that were practically hitting me in the face.

"You are so beautiful," I told her.

"You are too," she said happily as she peeled my shirt off over my head. I lifted her off of me and gently placed her on her back on the bed as I kicked off my pants and underwear and lay down next to her, both of us as naked as the day we were born.

She burst out into tears and for a minute I panicked, convinced that I had been a rotten lover or that she had regretted doing it with me.

"Maureen?" I asked softly. "What's wrong?"

"Oh Humphrey," she sobbed. "I'm so happy."

"You are?" I asked with confusion. "You sure?"

She bit her lip and looked at me. "That day was the worse day of my life but now I'm happier than I've ever been in my life," she said. "I'm not sure if I should be laughing or crying. The worse day ever brought me the best person ever."

"Does that mean you have your mojo back?" I teased as I kissed her.

"Oh, I most definitely have my mojo back," she laughed happily as she wrapped her arms around my neck and embraced me with all the strength she had. "Thank you, thank you, thank you," she said. "I owe it all to you."

"I didn't know I had any mojo until I met you," I admitted. "Thank you for showing me what it's all about."

We cuddled and held each other and talked through the night, eating our munchies in the raw and laughing and being happy.

"I might wet the bed tonight," Maureen warned me when we were ready to go to sleep. "I won't be offended if you want to sleep in the other bed."

"It's okay," I assured her.

We got some towels from the bathroom to help protect the hotel mattress and I held her tight and we drifted off to sleep after making love for a second time.

The bed was wet when I awoke in the morning with Maureen cuddled against me.

"Damn," she said when she opened her eyes and realized she had wet the bed. "When am I ever going to get over this?"

"I guess your psychological mojo isn't quite back yet," I told her as I kissed her forehead.

"That's the second time I've pissed all over you," she groaned with embarrassment. "What in the hell is wrong with me?"

"You were frightened to death, Maureen," I reminded her. "It affected you in ways you can't imagine."

"Why are you so wonderful?" She asked as she sat up and peeled the peed stained towels off the bed. "Jed called me a little baby and refused to stay with me when I told him I was wetting the bed."

"Jed is a moron," I said as I sat up and peeled the sheets off the bed.

We stood across the bed from one another stark naked looking at each other.

"My mother wants me to go see somebody," Maureen sighed. "I've already ruined one mattress."

"I'll go with you," I said gently.

"Really?" She asked, her eyes watering up.

"Yes," I said.

She burst into tears and hopped across the mattress to give me a hug and I held her close to me.

"Shh, Maureen," I said, rubbing my hand through her hair. "It's going to be okay."