Jim - SixteenA Chapter by emily
I wont rate this M because I don't consider it that explicit, but be forewarned
“It’s not going to work,” Erich grumbled over his breakfast. It was Sunday morning, and I had just told him my plan for the day. I should have known he would think it was stupid, but I wanted approval pretty badly. I was so proud of myself I had sent Hersch on a wild goose chase up to the Brit History professor so I could run my plan by him and Moretti.
“What won’t work?” Gabe joined us with his oatmeal.
“The genius here has a plan to reclaim his dignity,” Erich said sarcastically with a mouth full of toast.
“No!” I lied. They would gang up on me if I started to sound stupid. Those two had been practically finishing each other’s sentences for days.
“Shut up, Amery!” I hissed before turning back to Gabe. “Fine. I’m just going to go try and pick up a gal.” Gabe wrapped his lips around his spoon and rolled his eyes. “What? What’s wrong with that?”
“Do you just want to get slapped again? Because I could do that for you right now.” A rare joke from Erich. He had been more sullen than usual since the air raid. Well, except towards Gabe. The whole thing was starting to get weird, frankly. Abrahamson had noticed too. Every so often, when something annoyingly unspoken passed between Gabe and Erich, Hersch would shoot me a look that told me he knew he was winning the bet.
“So you want to make her jealous?”
I groaned. “That’s not the point, guys!” Except that it was. “The point is getting past whatever the hell that thing with Rebecca was. It never happened, okay? That’s the point.”
Making her jealous was the actual point. I was sick of watching her spend all her time sitting in the courtyard with other guys. Why the hell Herschel had a problem with me and not them was beyond me.
Gabe let out a cough that sounded uncannily like: “pathetic.”
Erich tightened his mouth against a smile and said, “Face it, Banhart. You blew it.
“Actually, she blew it,” I said, raising an eyebrow so they knew what I meant. I couldn’t let them forget what she had done on the night of the air raid.
“Fine. You got some action out of her, good for you. Now drop it before you get in too deep. Give me that,” he snatched the butter tin out of my hand. “Can you believe the good stuff they give on Visit Day? Goddamn, I haven’t seen butter in months.”
“We can send Hersch to the kitchen to get some later. He never comes out during Visit Day anyway,” I suggested.
“Don’t you want him to see your plan in action?”
I did, but I wasn’t about to let them know that. “It’s not about Hersch, either, a******s. F**k, Amery, you’ve been spending too much time with this one,” I jammed a thumb in Gabe’s direction. “You’re forgetting how long it’s been since any of us have gotten any action at all.” I smirked at Gabe and he squirmed a little, much to my enjoyment. “Hell, for Moretti here it’s been seventeen years.” Gabe looked at his feet and gnawed nervously at a hangnail. “I’m practically dying and I just had Rebecca a few weeks ago. If anyone needs to pick up a girl, it’s you two.”
“I could have girls anytime I wanted,” Erich sneered. “I told you, they’re nothing but trouble. You ought to start listening to me before you get tangled up with Rebecca.”
If it had been Gabe, I would have called him a fairy and had done with it. But with Erich, all I could get away with was a sarcastic, “whatever you say.”
Erich ignored me and went back to his buttering. “Just don’t drag me into your stupid plan.”
“What plan?” Hersch’s voice from behind me came as such a shock that I fumbled my spoon and knocked over the salt shaker.
“That’s bad luck.”
“Shut it, Moretti!”
“Don’t need more of that, do you?”
“Banhart is going to pick up a girl today,” Erich answered just as I opened my mouth in preparation to lie.
“Are you?” Hersch said with sarcastic interest. “Well that ought to be fun for everyone involved.” I wanted to make it clear that I was doing this for his sake, as a way to keep my hands off his damn sister. But that was a fight I wasn’t ready to start at breakfast. Plus I had already tried to deny that this had anything to do with Rebecca. “We’ll make sure to leave the room empty for you, if need be. Just leave your pants outside and we’ll know.”
“Oh I will,” I said smugly over my grape juice. “I don’t care what any of you fuckers say. This will be my finest hour.”
It wasn’t my finest hour. It wasn’t even my second or eleventh or twenty-ninth finest hour. I won’t bore you with the details of my spectacular failure, but I will say that the whole day was something like having my pride smacked with a baseball bat for about five hours.
Lucky for me, like I had guessed, Hersch hermited himself away rather than face the idea that anyone else in the world had a family. Erich and Gabe had given up on me after about an hour, returning every few hours to yell things like, “Give it up Banhart!” and “Still in those pants?” (Comments which, for the record, lost me at least one chance with a girl).
I stayed out all day, even though it was freezing could, followed the families into lunch and then again to dinner. I couldn’t go back without something. I couldn’t bear that they were right, and I couldn’t even think about the s**t they would throw at me if I had to face them as a failure.
By the end of the day, every family in the courtyard turned the other way as soon as they saw me coming. Every halfway-acceptable girl must have rejected me three times, though by the end I really could barely tell the difference between any of them, so that was probably my fault. I was basically delirious by the time I got back to the dorm. There was no one left in the yard, and it was getting dark, so I finally decided it was time to give up. So I hung my head in shame and got ready to accept three days of torment.
If you’ll remember, my mind was not all there at that point. I’m only mentioning that again so you don’t think I’m stupid or perverted when I tell you what happened when I got back into the dorm. The first thing that dawned on me was that it was really, really f*****g hot in there. Then there was a minute where I thought the room was on fire, before I realized the heat and light were coming from the boiler. Knight had said that it would be lit on cold nights, but I hadn’t realized that the intention was to cook us alive.
After all that, I finally noticed that I wasn’t alone in the room. Rebecca was there, in the laundry tub, sitting in the water with her back turned to me, naked.
I didn’t get it. The sight was too weird to process. I must have spent a full minute just looking at her before she turned around. “F**k!” she screeched, wrenching me out of my stupor. “F**k! F**k, James, what are you doing here?” She curled her arms around herself, effectively hiding everything worth seeing.
“Sorry!” I fumbled, immediately dropping my gaze to the floor and covering my eyes. “Sorry, sorry sorry! I… ow!” I hit the wall and had to open my eyes, only to see she was still in front of me. “I didn’t know… didn’t know you were… naked. I mean, not naked! I mean, you’re naked, but…”
“Sorry!” I said again. I had to get out of there. I was scared for a minute that the humiliation of this situation would make me yell or cry something queer like that. “Sorry! I’ll go.”
I was halfway to the door before she said, “well, you can stay if you want to.” I had no idea what she meant. When I didn’t answer, she said, “I mean, I want you to stay.”
“Oh,” I squeaked. She wanted me to stay? Weird as it was, I wasn’t about to turn that down. “Okay…” I stayed in my corner. Rebecca didn’t say anything, and I briefly wondered if it was too late to actually burn the dorm down. Nervously, I stole a look at her, trying to figure out what the hell she was playing at.
I didn’t see what I expected. Even with one eye shut, I could tell she wasn’t okay. Her legs were drawn all the way up to her chest and her chin rested sadly on her knees (which might have only been because that tub was tiny). It only took a few more seconds of inspection to figure out that she had been crying.
Of course, I said the most comforting thing I could think of: “You know that’s for laundry?”
Rebecca laughed a little and wiped at her cheek with the back of her hand. “You think I look dumb now, you should have seen me asking boys out in the courtyard to carry it back to the dorm for me.” The smile slid off her face. “I heard they were lighting the boiler tonight and I came down to save your stash from the fire.” She motioned to the pile of cigarettes and food in the corner. I could have kissed her for that. “Back home, Momma would run me a bath whenever it was a bad day. Back when there was water, you know?” I didn’t know, but I nodded anyway. “It always made me feel better when I was sad.”
I had to ask. “What’s wrong?”
“He wants to go home,” she sniffed, “Herschel.”
“He wouldn’t want me to tell you,” Rebecca said quietly. That sure didn’t stop her. “But, a letter from home got through. It was from a… a friend of ours. Peter, Herschel’s best friend from back home. Everything’s gone to hell since we left, and everyone thinks it’s Herschel’s fault.”
“Why?” God, I wished I could keep up with her life story.
“Does it matter?” One look at my face must have told her she had to explain. She sighed. “He was supposed to be the leader, after Papa got taken. Herschel and Peter were the heads of the resistance, the group that wanted to break out of the ghetto. But he ran when Kristen died, and the resistance fell apart. Peter said it was Herschel’s fault, and now Herschel thinks so too. And now Peter wants us to come home and help him.”
“But why would you?”
“Everyone we knew is dying, James!” she sobbed, suddenly overcome. “It’s not my fault any of this happened.” Before I could think about what I was doing, my feet had me making my way over to her, crouching down behind her. “I won’t go back,” she shook her head, tears falling down her face. “I won’t. I won’t go back.”
“Shh… shh…” I took a nervous breath and reached out to run my palms across her bare shoulders, hoping I was being comforting and not creepy. I tried to focus on being a good friend, not on the fact that she was naked and two inches away from me. God, she was beautiful up close, though. Her face was scrubbed clean of her usual makeup, and she seemed even prettier than usual because of it. She was sweating from the heat of the boiler, and her hair was just a little wet, just starting to stick to her temples. But she wasn’t herself. Without the fire in her eyes or the terror she struck into my heart, Rebecca was just a shell of some scared girl. I couldn’t stand to see her like that.
“It’s going to be okay, Beck… Rebecca.” Not now, idiot. Get her damn name right, at least. “Hersch can’t make you go anywhere or do anything you don’t want to.” She sniffled and I wrapped my arm over her shoulder and around her neck, trying to let her feel protected. She put a hand on my arm.
“Of course he can,” she sniffed. “Herschel always does exactly what he wants.”
“I won’t let him,” I said quietly, close to her ear. I didn’t know then exactly what I would do to stop it, but I did know that there was no way in hell I was going to let Hersch make Rebecca feel this bad. “I won’t let him.”
Rebecca dropped her chin and wiped her nose. “Oh, James,” she said with a little sigh. She turned her head, so our faces were hardly an inch apart. I couldn’t help it. I put my free hand on her face and kissed her. It was the only thing I wanted to do in the world. Rebecca turned to pull me closer, and my arm slipped down her chest, just barely grazing her chest.
It wasn’t like any kiss Rebecca and I had had already. It was like everything before that kiss had been a joke, a crazy, angry, ridiculous joke. But this was real. This was just soft and warm and real.
When she pulled away, Rebecca rested her face on my shoulder. “Will you get me a towel?” she asked, almost casually. I did exactly as she asked, of course, still not letting her into my direct line of sight while I dug around for a towel that didn’t smell like death. Still staring at the ground, I handed it to her.
“Thank you,” I heard her say as I stared at the wall. When I found the courage to turn around, she was standing behind me, well covered by the towel. Rebecca looked around the room self-consciously, then sat on Hersch’s bunk. “James,” she said quietly. “I know you promised Herschel you would stay away from me. So if you want to leave now, before anything can happen, I understand.”
“Rebecca, this isn’t about him.”
She dropped her eyes and looked at our hands with a little smile. “I know that. I just don’t know if this is really worth ruining your friendship.”
“I don’t know,” I replied, sitting next to her. “Why does it have to be?” I reached for her hand. “I care so much about you, Rebecca. More than I should, probably. You’re the… the best girl I’ve ever met in my life. Just don’t…” this was awkward to ask, but it was really eating at me me, “just don’t use this to get back at him. Because that won’t do any of us any good.”
Rebecca shook her head immediately. “That’s not what this is, I swear,” she said quickly. “Oh God, don’t think that.” I must not have looked convinced. “I know I haven’t been able to tell you how I feel, but you mean so much to me, James. You’re the only person who’s given a damn about what I’ve had to say since I left home. After that day in the library, I cried for the first time since I got here, because I thought you didn’t care about me, too. You’re not like anyone I’ve ever met, James. You make me happy, like no one ever has. And I want to be with you.” She brought her eyes back up to mine, her beautiful brown eyes. “And that couldn’t have less to do with Herschel.”
I put a hand under her chin and pulled her face in close. “Well there’s your answer,” I said with a smile. That might have been the most intelligent thing I had ever said to her (up to that point, of course). But it was true. If what she felt about me had nothing to do with rebelling against Herschel, then there was nothing stopping either of us.
I brushed a hand across her face, traced down her neck, took hold of her shoulders, and kissed her. Rebecca practically melted under my hands, like I was finally doing something right. She started to lie back, but I stopped her. “This is his bed,” I laughed, with my forehead pressed against hers. Rebecca laughed too, and then got up. She stood in front of me and dropped her towel.
She was beautiful. Unbelievably beautiful. She looked even better than she had in that nightclub, a little healthier and a little rounder. I thought she was a lot skinnier than the few other girls I had seen like that, but then I remembered she had been basically starving before she got here. Her olive skin was practically glowing in the light from the boiler. In fact, she looked so incredible, I couldn’t help but feel that I was far out of my league.
She clasped her hands nervously in front of her, and I realized I hadn’t said anything. My lips were so dry I could barely get words out. “You’re perfect,” I stammered. She was. She really was.
Rebecca smiled a tiny smile and looked at the floor. She knelt down on the rug by the boiler and I practically tripped on my own feet in my hurry to join her. I was already down to my undershirt, it was so hot in there, and Rebecca made short work of that once I reached her. The pants were awkward, but it felt right to be naked if she was. I was never very confident with how I looked, so f*****g tall and skinny, but Rebecca looked at me like she didn’t even notice. I only left her side for one second, just long enough to throw my pants out the door.
I was honestly not even sure where to start. I was no virgin, but this had to be different. I wanted to touch her everywhere, do everything, and at the same time the thought of doing anything made my head spin. So I laid her down and got on top, simple enough. I could tell right away Rebecca knew what she was doing. She knew what I was thinking before I could even say it.
“You’re wondering about the nightclub, aren’t you?” she asked against my mouth.
Well this was awkward. “A little. How many…?”
“None,” she kissed down my throat to my chest. “No one wanted it. That’s why I got fired, really. No one got more from me than what you got.”
I pulled her lips back to mine. “Their loss,” I rasped.
That was comforting, at least. And it gave me the nerve to go on. I kissed everything I could reach, her face, her hands, her throat, her chest. I managed to get my shaky hand all the way down between her legs. She made a little noise, not like in her dressing room that night, but real. Confident now, I stayed there for a minute, trying to prepare myself for the next step.
It was Rebecca who moved us on, in the end. She sat halfway up and put her hands on my chest, letting them drop slowly down until she reached my groin. She gave it a stroke, rendering me nearly incapacitated already, before guiding me inside.
I pulled her face to mine and didn’t stop kissing her until I was all the way in. I was at least smart enough to know that this part could be hard for the girl. I made sure to touch her softly, trying to think like she was made of glass. She made little noises in her throat, but didn’t say anything to stop me. God, it had been a long time since I had done this. Then Rebecca breathed in sharply and clutched tighter onto my back. I felt myself immediately fall into rhythm with her.
Everything started to get foggy then, and really bright. I felt the power surge, and I knew I wasn’t in control anymore. Rebecca’s mouth was at my neck and her nails were digging into my back. That should have hurt, in retrospect, but it didn’t. I couldn’t do anything anymore, except wait to lose it.
I went over the edge pretty quickly, after that. Everything just went white and bright and warm. The waves of release were blinding, but I could tell Rebecca had gotten there to. I made another ugly noise, this one just like the one from the night in her dressing room, but I couldn’t hear it. All there was for me was the rush of blood in my ears and the pounding in my chest and the feeling of Rebecca under my hands. She shuddered hard underneath me, then slowly relaxed her muscles. I suddenly couldn’t even hold myself up anymore, and all but fell down on her. And that was it.
I kissed her one more time and rolled off, panting. I wanted to tell her how amazing she was, how much better and more special that was than anything I had ever done with any other girl ever. “Rebecca, I…”
“Shh…” she cut me off, rolling onto her side and throwing her arm over my chest. “You’ll ruin it,” she said with a little smile. How much better could she know me? This moment was perfect, and if I wrecked it with my rambling I would never live it down. “Just lie here with me. No boy has ever wanted to lie with me.”
So I did. I lay on the rug in front of the boiler in the room where I thought nothing good could ever happen, with Rebecca in my arms. And I felt so unbelievably lucky and happy and free, I thought maybe I was dreaming. And I knew right then that Rebecca was going to be the best thing that would ever happen to me.
We stayed like that for a while. Rebecca dozed a little, but I didn’t. After about an hour, her eyes opened and she smiled up at me. “You let me sleep?”
I grinned like an idiot. “Yeah.”
Rebecca sighed. “I should go. Your boys will want to get back into their own dorm.” She untangled herself from me and stood, pulling on the dress she had discarded next to the tub. She tied a little scarf around her neck, which conveniently hid the marks I had left on her neck, and something dawned on me.
“Rebecca?” I asked, pulling on my pants. “Why did you leave me your scarf that night?”
She looked at me for a minute, then laughed, looked down, and put a hand to her mouth. “It was stupid. I just wanted you to remember me. That night… I was feeling really low. I was starting to think that no one in the world knew I even existed anymore.”
I went over to her and wrapped my arms around her waist. “I would have remembered you anyway.”
“Oh, James, no you wouldn’t.”
“I would,” I smiled, “you would have always been the call girl who almost strangled me.”
Rebecca laughed at that, a real, happy laugh. Then I kissed her, as long and hard as I could, before she pulled away and said, “I have to go.” She got as far as the door before turning. “Come to my room, after dark, next time you can.”
“I will.” Hell, it was going to be all I could do not to go there that night!
“Good,” Rebecca opened the door, but didn’t go out. “James,” she called quietly from across the room. “James, come look at this.”
All three of the guys were passed out sleeping outside. It was such an insane sight that I almost lost it and started laughing, which would have been a really bad idea because if they woke up Rebecca and I were both screwed. Hersch was on the wall opposite the door with his glasses still on and my pants stuffed behind his head like a pillow. Gabe and Erich were, of course, together, with their heads practically touching. Rebecca gave them a long look. “We must have been in there longer than I thought. Are those two…?”
“Don’t ask,” I cut her off. Way too complicated of a story to get into now. “Quick, go before they wake up!”
Rebecca giggled behind her hand as she tiptoed over their legs. She turned back once she had gotten past them. There were a thousand other words I could have used right then, but all I managed to say was, “see you.”
“See you,” she said softly. Then she was gone down the hall.
Once I was sure she was out of sight, I slid behind the door. Apparently, I didn’t shut it quite quietly enough, because all three of them were up in one second.
“Banhart!” Hersch had himself wedged in the doorway before I even knew he was awake.
“Gah!” He scared the hell out of me.
“Jim, what the hell? You really got a girl in there?”
Well this was bad. In my own true fashion, I hadn’t exactly come up with anything to tell them. At the time, the pants thing had seemed like a good idea, since they had bugged me about it so bad. But now I realized I was going to have to come up with a reason they were there that didn’t involve Rebecca.
I managed to stall a little bit, when I heard, “What the... Get the f**k off of me, Moretti!” and looked out in time to see Erich shove Gabe away. I’ll say it again, that bet was mine for the taking. He got up and joined Hersch in the doorway. “Hey Banhart, nice work!” he elbowed me in the ribs and shoved past us into the dorm. “So who was she?”
I shot him a look, trying to let him know that he had effectively thrown me under the bus. Erich picked up on it, and his eyes got huge. But Hersch hadn’t caught on yet. “Yeah, Jim, who was it?” Hersch chimed in.
“I… uh… she was…” I was stuck. I had nothing. The truth was going to come up. Oh God, I was so completely fucked.
“Was it that one from the courtyard?” Gabe’s quiet voice came from the doorway. “The one with the blue dress who you were with earlier?”
He knew f*****g well that there was no girl from the courtyard, I thought. What the hell? Then it dawned on me. One quick glance at Gabe and I realized he knew what he was doing. He was helping me out. He made eye contact with Erich, who jumped in too. “Oh, her! Her with the… hair…” he looked at me for confirmation and I nodded. “Man, Banhart, she was nice! You got that one?”
“Yeah!” I breathed, looking gratefully at both of them. “Yeah, that one. That is the one. Well, f**k it’s hot in here.” It was a useless subject change, but I really was sweating through my shirt.
“Yeah it is,” Erich said, pulling his vest over his head. “You two must have been doing some nasty things.”
“Looks like you already did that,” Gabe jumped in, only after Erich had started it, of course.
“Hey, you saved the stash! Way to go, Banhart!” Erich clapped me on the shoulders.
“Oh… yeah. That was me…”
Hersch looked around. “Banhart, were you doing laundry?”
There wasn’t a lie in the world good enough to get me out of that one.
© 2012 emily
Added on January 7, 2012
Last Updated on January 9, 2012
Sons of Thunder: Part One
AboutHello all! My name is Emily, I'm 18, I am definitely not at home in this tiny MN town, and soon I will be the most famous author my generation. I go to Barnes and Noble to see where my book will sit .. more..