Dancing with Kelly Ch. 01byGypsyGirl84©
I know a lot of these stories always start off with "I blame this person", or "I blame this situation", etc., for how things turned out. In truth, I don't blame anyone, because blame almost implies regret and, trust me, I have no regrets with how things turned out.
The story actually starts eleven years ago, when my buddy, Lance Kimball, was going through what turned out to be a messy divorce. There had been two attempts at reconciliation, and both of them had failed miserably. Anyway, at the time, Lance's two kids, then seven year old Kelly and her younger brother, Robert, were really getting bounced around. To make things worse, their mother ended up remarrying the guy she had been seeing on the side, and moving out of state (on a side note, that marriage lasted all of three years, but that's another story).
So as I was saying, me and Lance met eleven years ago when we both played for an arena football team. Lance had just turned 31 and was a kicker looking for one last shot into the NFL. I was twenty-four, had just gotten out of college with a bachelor's degree in accounting, and had decided to waste a couple of years playing arena football before going back and getting an M.B.A. degree. I played defensive end when I was in high school and had even been actively recruited by some big name universities, but about that time my folks had died in a car accident, and I pretty much just withdrew into myself for the next couple of years. When I did get my act together, all the scouts had moved on. So I used the money left to me to put myself through college. I was a pretty somber guy back then: no partying, no nothing. Just strictly study, study, study. So when I graduated, I decided to take a year off and have a little fun. One of the things I did was tryout for our city's Arena Football Team. It had been a few years since I had played the game, but I made the cut.
Now, a lot of guys on our team were trying to relive their glory years of high school and college football. And there were guys like Lance who were trying to use arena football as their one last shot into the NFL, a la Mike Vanderjact. Me, I just wanted to have a year or so of fun before I went back to college.
But for whatever reason you play arena football, you're not doing it for the money. Don't get me wrong, if you're a star quarterback, you can make close to two hundred thousand dollars a year. But the average player's salary in the AFL is around forty thousand dollars a year. Nothing to sneeze at, but we're not talking multi-million dollar four year contracts with commercial endorsements on the side.
But I digress. I met Lance when I started playing Arena Football. Lance was a carpenter who had been a kicker when he was in high school and decided to give his dream one more chance. He was a really nice guy and we hit it off almost immediately.
I had met his wife (this was about a couple of months before their marriage had started self-destructing) and I got nothing but bad vibes from her almost immediately. Their youngest son was OK, I suppose, but a real momma's boy (a trait that would follow him throughout his entire life). Kelly, though, was a real firecracker. Even at seven, she could make profound comments that would make you do a double take.
Now, the team I played for dubbed me Steamroller Steve, which just got condensed down to Steamroller (I stand 6'5" and 265 lbs.) To Kelly, I was her Uncle King (short for King Kong. As a little trivial note, some of my fellow players did occasionally call me the Great White Ape). We got along famously.
Then things started getting messy; at least, for Lance, they did. The team we were playing on cut him. His wife kicked him out of the house and let her boyfriend move in. By that time, Lance was more than my best friend; he was family, my surrogate big brother. So when this hit him, what could I do but let him move in? I was still living in my dead parents' house. It wasn't a mansion, but it was nice. Two story ranch with a pool in back. Lance's soon to be ex tried to be a real bitch about child custody, and more times than not, Robert never showed up at his father's when it was his weekend. But Kelly seemed to have picked up on the fact that her mother was being a real witch, and spent every moment she could with her father. It was great. Kelly was always a very well behaved little girl, but still very adventurous.
About the same time that Lance was getting cut, my fortune was going up. Our city's local NFL team had invited me to spring tryouts. I made the cut. And a local car dealer gave me my first commercial. So I was starting to come into more money. And since I was pretty much Kelly's surrogate uncle, I used a lot of it to attempt to spoil her rotten. Kelly was too good a kid for that to work, but she appreciated the effort.
Well, Lance ended up going back to being a carpenter, and stayed with me for the next three years until he got back on his feet. His wife got married to her boyfriend within a month of the divorce and moved out of state. That was rough on Lance, but he got Kelly the entire summer, as well as Thanksgiving through Christmas. Robert showed up for a couple of weeks in there, but threw a real fit if he had to be away from his mother for more than a few days. The ex-boyfriend turned second husband tried to interfere with Lance's parental/visitation rights to Kelly during those times set in the divorce settlement. He even made the mistake of trying to get physical in my presence. Let me just say this: I didn't make it to the NFL because I lack physical presence.
So things were going smoothly in our little happy household with me, Lance, Kelly (four months out of the year) and Robert (maybe two weeks out of the year). And then one of those relationship foundation blocks got laid when Kelly was ten.
Lance's life was coming along great then, as was mine. I was now a starter, and there was a construction boom going on, so Lance was doing well financially. In addition, he was seeing a very nice woman and was in the process of buying his own house (I gave him a zero interest loan. He had resisted, but I eventually talked him into it. Lance was my "big brother", after all, and was always there when I needed to talk to him about my own dating life and other stuff). I think it was the fact that Lance was actually happy again, even after she had left him, that set his wife off. It was about a week before Kelly was coming to visit Lance for the summer. Lance was excited, since it would be her first summer in his new house. (Although Kelly did promise to visit her Uncle King often, particularly since I was in the process of selling my parent's house and buying a really, REALLY nice house in the ritzier part of my city). Anyway, me and Lance flew out to the state Kelly's mom was living in, rented a car, and drove out to the ex's house to pick up Kelly.
When we got there, Hell had manifested itself. It seemed that Kelly's mother had been making her second husband's life miserable with her continuous ranting about Lance's new love. And Kelly have never gotten along all that well with her stepfather in the first place, blaming him (a partly correct assumption) and his adulterous affair with her mother for the break up of her parent's marriage. Well, just minutes before we arrived, Kelly had made some innocuous remark to her stepfather about how much fun she was planning to have that summer.
That's when her stepfather snapped.
So we arrive at the house to find Kelly's stepfather chasing her across the front yard. Kelly was in hysterical tears, her clothes ripped, with her stepfather swinging his belt above his head and shouting profanities.
That's when I snapped. And blitzed.
The next thing I knew, I had Kelly's stepfather's throat in my hand, with his body pinned against the side of the house. Her stepfather was flailing uselessly against me, and I was considering doing everyone in the world a favor by crushing his larynx in my grip.
Well, about that time, the cops showed up, and I let the stepfather down. He wanted to press charges against me, but fortunately a neighbor had been filming the entire thing. Plus, little Kelly had actually planted herself between one of the officers and me and announced over and over that I was the hero, so they'd better not even think of arresting me. So to make a long story short, Lance ended up getting full time custody of Kelly, the second husband ended up going to jail, the ex-wife ended up getting a divorce, and Lance's son Robert ended up resenting Lance and Kelly even more for the way things were turning out. I knew that was eating up Lance, and it hurt Kelly, but like I said earlier, Robert was turning into a real Momma's boy, so I didn't think about his absence often.
After that, I became the family protector. Kelly didn't develop a lasting crush on me or anything like that. But she felt things were always safe around Uncle King, even if they weren't safe anywhere else. And Kelly tried to reciprocate by playing little matchmaker from time to time. Which brings me to my dating life.
A lot of guys, when they make the big times of the NFL, really cut loose. Not me. My college years had established a sort of down-to-earth kind of personality. I was dating a lot, but nothing wild. About the only difference between my dating life as a pro athlete and my dating life if I had never gone into the NFL but went back and got my M.B.A. was the caliber of the women I was dating. I even dated a couple of Hollywood actresses, but nothing wild or elaborate. Think Tony and Eva, except way more low key.
Kelly got along great with most of the girls I had dated, but none of them ever stuck. Nothing serious, just we ended up becoming friends rather than life long soul mates.
As Kelly got older, she blossomed into an even more and more lovely woman. She was also fairly conservative. I think she looked at her mother and had made a mental pledge that she was not going down that path. She had even confided in me once that one of her friends had just lost her virginity at the age of fourteen, but that she wasn't planning on giving her virginity to anyone until she was at least eighteen, and it was going to have to be somebody special.
As I said, Kelly was becoming a very beautiful young woman, but a conservative one. On her sixteenth birthday, she had a pool party at my house. (I was thirty three at the time and had done very well by myself). As you can imagine, her friends were very excited about being able to party at an "NFL star's mansion." (It was a big house with lots of electronic toys, but I wouldn't call it a mansion). But Kelly had made it clear that there was no alcohol being served, and no alcohol or drugs would be tolerated, and that her Uncle King would enforce those rules.
The party was still a success, despite (or perhaps because of) Kelly establishing her no-nonsense ground rules. And another example of Kelly's conservative attitudes toward things was her swimwear. Now, I had seen her in skimpier things around my house when it was just her or her and her girlfriends hanging out at my house. But at the pool party, with lots of guys around, she was wearing a very conservative one piece.
Which she still looked great in, an assessment that the young men at the party were in complete agreement in. However, Kelly didn't let any of the guys do anything more than dunk and splash her.
Now, before we continue the story, let's step back and examine my relationship to Kelly up to this point. I had seen Kelly in skimpy bathing suits when she was out sunning by my pool alone or with friends, and she was very attractive. However, it wasn't something I took more than a casual notice to. I was dating fairly regular by then, and so I really didn't take notice of it. When Kelly and her friends were out at my house, I didn't spend my time secretly looking out a window, stroking my erection, and thinking to myself as I peered out the window at underage flesh, "I'd like to tap that."
And Kelly, for the most part, was a very proper young woman. She didn't parade around the house in skimpy lingerie, and when she came into the house after sunbathing, she always put something over her bikini and made sure her friends did the same.
Kelly had always spent a lot of time at my house for several reasons: I was her Uncle King, whom she had come to see as a source of indisputable protection. Both her Dad and her step mom worked, and so they didn't mind her spending her time over at my house. And my house did have a lot of neat stuff, particularly in the opinion of a teenager. And for some unfathomable reason (at least to me), Kelly seemed to consider me an indispensable confidante.
Kelly's dating life had never really gotten off the ground. She had told me once that she had never done more than kiss a boy good night. And though she had lots of male friends, she had never felt the need to date just one boy. She felt that level of seriousness should be reserved for when she got out of high school.
Oh, and just for another point of clarification, neither Kelly nor I were "touchy-feely" people. Kelly always gave me a big hug when greeting me, saying thank you, or saying goodbye, but she wasn't the type to hang off of anybody, and neither was I.
She was a very athletic girl, and was more than pretty enough and skilled enough in gymnastics and such to have made cheerleader if she had wanted to, but such was never her desire.
The big social events in Kelly's life were Reality TV nights at my house. (As you can probably tell, I've always been very indulging to my honorary niece). I have a fantastic home theatre, professional-quality 7.1 channel surround sound and a high definition 50" plasma display. She'd invite her friends to my house to watch whatever the reality show du jour was. I remember about three weeks before Kelly's eighteenth birthday party (and a month before the story proper begins), when they were watching the first episode of Dancing with the Stars, that one of her girlfriends said, "Oh my gawd, Kelly, you look just like Kelly Monaco!"
And indeed Kelly did bear an incredible likeness to Kelly Monaco. They were both the same height (5'3"), and had nearly identical body types, though I though my Kelly was prettier in the face, and didn't have to have plastic surgery to achieve her incredible good looks. Plus my Kelly's hair reached almost to the small of her back.
Now, as a side note, it may seem like, for a man in his mid-thirties, I spend a lot of time with teenagers. Nothing could be further from the truth. I had my own career, and of course my house wasn't available for the times I had away games. Plus I had commercial endorsements and my agent was even talking about a small part in a movie, though the number of athletes who have been able to translate their success on the field/court to the movie screen is almost zero. Plus, I was still dating a lot. And I had become something of a fan of NASCAR, so I spent some free time going to races around the country. But anytime Kelly was over at my house, her father expected me to be there to chaperone, and Kelly had no objections. I usually kept myself out of sight but within hearing distance, in case there was trouble.
But back to the story. I suppose when someone had made the comparison between my Kelly and Kelly Monaco, some of the guys there probably entertained more than one fantasy about my Kelly in one of Kelly Monaco's dancing costumes. Or less. And it might have led to the incident that occurred a month later.
It was about a week after Kelly's eighteenth birthday and I was driving home from a car dealership. I had met there with my lawyer to discuss with the owner the possibility of going into a partnership. He wanted to open up another lot and wanted to use my name on it (along with some of my capital). I was driving home when I passed the park I knew Kelly ran in. I had my gym bag on the front seat of my truck and thought to myself, 'Maybe I'll go running here tonight. It'll be kind of late when I get home, anyway.'
So I pulled into the park's parking lot, headed to the bathroom and changed into my running shorts. I had done some stretches and started running. About a quarter mile on the trail, it does a right turn, with a small clump of trees and bushes on the left. Now, when I run, I start to zone out. But I hadn't quite reached that state yet when I heard something from the bushes. I wasn't sure what I was expecting when I went to go investigate, but when I emerged into this little clearing, it wasn't what I thought it would be.
There was Kelly, stripped down to her panties, her clothing in shreds around her. She was pinned down on her back, her eyes closed, while four young "gentlemen" were surrounding her. One had his hand over her mouth, two were holding her down, and the fourth had a knife in his hand, which he was getting ready to cut away her panties with.
When I entered the clearing, the four boys looked up at me in surprise. I'm not sure what they saw on my face, but they couldn't have liked it. I'm not sure what happened next myself. It's all kind of a blur.
The next thing I knew, I was surrounded by a group of unconscious bodies, with a nearly nude Kelly in my arms. She had screamed when I touched her, but when she heard my voice, her eyes flew open, and as she wailed "Uncle King!", threw herself into my arms, pressing herself as tightly as possible for protection.
I just sat there stroking her hair and whispering soothing words when I noticed one of her attackers was stirring. I gently pushed Kelly away, which invoked a panicked, "No, please, don't leave me, Uncle King!"
I placed a kiss on Kelly's forehead and smiled as gently as I could. "I'm not going anywhere, Kelly. I'll be right back." Her near nakedness impressed itself on me again. I pulled off my T-shirt and handed it to her. She smiled at me for the first time and slipped it on. I then turned to her four assailants.
One of them I recognized. He played on the high school's baseball team and have been over at my house before, including the night of Dancing With the Stars. The other three guys looked liked they were probably high school athletes as well.
Now, one of the things you learn about being an athlete and a semi-celebrity (hey, I'm not being immodest or vain. I did say semi, after all), is that you discover just how much slack athletes are given by the authorities. I guarantee you, that for every sports related sex scandal you see in the papers, ten more get covered up. The boy I recognized was going to college on an athletic scholarship. The college in question had a team that was constantly ranked in the top twenty nine out of every ten years. I was willing to bet that the other three guys I didn't know were similarly situated. Plus, there was my own name recognition. An attempted rape trial wasn't going to be easy on Kelly under normal circumstances. Between me and the four guys on the ground, it would turn into a media circus. I wasn't going to make Kelly go through that. I decided I'd dispense a little of my own justice.
You're probably wondering how I could take all four guys out. I mean, I am big guy, after all, great shape and everything, plus I did have an overload of adrenaline and testosterone flowing through my system. But these kids were in good shape, too, and had numbers on me besides.
Well, part of the reason was I was pissed and I had a lifetime's experience in dealing out pain and punishment. But another big part was Jake the Snake. Jake Smith was an ex-Army Ranger who played in college, spent four years in the Army, and then tried out form my team last year. Jake has the potential of being a great running back. Being an ex-ranger (i.e., a snake eater) as well as his style of weaving between potential tacklers earned him the handle "Jake the Snake.") Well, Jake and me ended up becoming good friends, and he taught me a lot of martial arts moves. I wasn't looking to become Chuck Norris or anything, but I was always on the lookout for anything that could help my agility; plus, I figured that if my agent could get me a few roles, maybe having some martial arts moves wouldn't be a bad thing. So I have to assume that I've been practicing enough that when I lost it, I was unthinkingly using a lot of those moves.