High School Again? Ugh! Ch. 02byJoeDreamer©
Author's note: Thanks for all you kind words. I was surprised by how many of you were interested in this story. Here is the second chapter. I hope it doesn't disappoint. :) JD.
The car ride was painfully quiet as we made our way toward my high school. My father was driving and to say he wasn't happy with me was a vast understatement. Mom was sitting next to him and looked like she hadn't slept much at all last night. I knew they were worried about me and I could certainly see why.
I skipped school and football practice the day before, something I never did. I didn't get home until late and I smelled of alcohol when I finally did show up. Oh yeah, I also forgot to bring pop's car home. He lent it to me for the first day of my senior year.
I'm sure my reaction when I walked in didn't help. I think I stood there with a stupid grin on my face the whole time they lectured me. I was so happy to see them that I could barely follow what they were saying. In the middle of my father's rant I hugged him. Mom was next. She returned my embrace better than pop did, but was obviously concerned.
They sent me to my room afterward saying that talking anymore would be pointless until I sobered up. I wasn't really drunk, but I could see why they thought so. To them I was an eighteen year old who'd skipped school and gotten drunk. To me I was a man older than they were who was getting a chance to see his parents alive and healthy, something that hadn't been true for years.
"Where is my car?" my father asked. I frowned for a moment and then pointed vaguely in one direction. I was pretty sure the senior parking lot was that way and I assumed that's where I parked.
As it turns out, pop's car wasn't hard to spot. You weren't supposed to leave your vehicle in the senior parking lot overnight. The school placed a large orange sticker on the driver's side window to remind you of that when you did. I groaned as memories of what it took to get the sticker off returned. Soap, water, a razor blade and a lot patience.
"I'll take care of that when I get home tonight," I said quickly. My father just shook his head, his expression reminding me of our conversation this morning. He made it clear that what happened the day before was unacceptable. He also made sure I knew how disappointed he was in me.
Now here's the funny part. Despite me actually being older than him and the fact that his judgment was unfair because he had no idea what I was going through, I felt surprisingly guilty. I shook my head and fought off a smile. He wouldn't understand.
"I love you pop," I said suddenly. "You too mom."
"We love you too," my mother said. My father nodded in agreement, but I could see the concern. I guess back when I was eighteen I didn't express my feeling for them particularly well.
'Sounds like an eighteen year old,' I thought, remembering my sister's Becky at that age as we pulled over. My father and I got out of the car.
"No more skipping school," my father said pointedly. I nodded in agreement. I was tempted to hug him again, but I knew it wouldn't go well. Pop was from a generation when men were men and they did not hug each other.
"Where is my kiss goodbye?" mom asked both of us. My father rolled his eyes, but than turned and kissed mom. I watched them and smiled, oddly content on a level it was hard to explain.
In my world pop had died of a heart attack years ago and mom was in a nursing home with Alzheimer's. For just a moment I forced the thought of what lay ahead of them aside. They were my parents and to see them together and in love like this was a dream come true.
'Okay, maybe being thrown back in time to relive high school wasn't a complete bust,' I thought. On the other hand, when the knowledge of what was to come crept back into my head my joy turned bitter sweet.
"Hey Simmons!" someone called. I turned toward the voice. It was Jimmy something or other. I couldn't remember his last name, but hell, I was happy I even came up with the first. He was a friend back in high school, but not a close one.
"Yeah?" I asked.
"Coach is mad as hell at you. He said..." Jimmy began, but then stopped when he saw my parents.
"Don't worry son," my father said. "We already know John skipped school yesterday." Jimmy's look apologized for bringing up the coach in front of my parents. I shrugged.
"What did he say?" I asked.
"Coach was ranting when you didn't show up for practice yesterday," Jimmy said. "Someone told him you skipped."
"Who?" I asked.
"Who do you think?" he asked rhetorically. "Brian."
It took me a second to remember who he was talking about. Brian Jacobs was the kid who wanted my position. He was the kid who got it after I blew my knee out in the third game of the season.
"Expect to run at practice," Jimmy said. "A lot."
"Great," I sighed.
"I'll see you later," Jimmy said, nodding toward my parents respectfully and moving away.
"Take whatever the coach gives you like a man," my father said as he moved to his car. "Don't do the crime, if you can't do the time."
"Gee, thanks dad," I sighed. I'd forgotten how he liked all those 'oh so helpful' sayings.
"We're not done talking about yesterday," he added pointedly as he started his car.
"I figured," I replied. "See you tonight."
"Goodbye," he said and drove off.
"Are you okay?" my mom asked as I watched pop's car leaving the parking lot. She had moved over to the driver's seat in her car.
"Sure," I answered, forcing a smile on my face.
"You're lying," she said, making me laugh.
Mom could always read me. I looked at her and couldn't stop myself from picturing the last time I saw her before this whole thing started. She hadn't even recognize me. The truly sad part was that happened more often than not. I felt my eyes tearing up, but I fought it.
"I will be," I said more honestly. "Yesterday was just an off day."
"I imagine so," my mom smiled.
"I'd better be going," I said, leaning in the window and giving her a quick kiss on the cheek. "I don't want to be late for class."
"I'll see you tonight," she said. "I'm making your favorite, stew."
"Oh wow!" I cried excitedly. I hadn't had my mother's stew in decades. She was right. It was my favorite.
"You don't have to be that excited," she laughed. "I just made it a few weeks ago."
"Mom, you know how much I love your stew," I replied. "In fact, one of these days you'll have to show me how to make it."
"You want to cook?" mom asked in surprise.
"I like to cook," I shrugged. It was the truth, but it was something that developed later on in life, after Tiffany left and I was on my own.
"Since when?" my mom frowned.
"You'd be surprised," I replied, thinking, 'Boy in that an understatement!'
"Then maybe I'll let you make dinner one of these days," she grinned. "I get tired of cooking sometimes."
"Why not let Cindy make dinner?" I asked. My sister was a good cook as well. I hadn't seen her yet since returning to eighteen and high school because she slept over a friend's house the night before. I'm not sure if it was planned or mom and dad set it up when they heard I cut school.
"Please!" mom snorted. "I love your sister dearly and she's getting better each year, but I am not letting a thirteen year old into my kitchen by herself. She's not ready for that unless you want boxed macaroni and cheese for dinner?"
"Right," I said, shaking my head. Cindy was only thirteen. I guess I knew that, but it obviously hadn't sunk in. "I'll make dinner this weekend."
"Anything special?" mom asked in curiosity.
"How about lasagna?" I offered.
"Are you serious?" she asked in surprise.
"You'll love it," I promised. "I'll make you a list of what I need when I get home tonight." Mom frowned briefly, but then nodded and said goodbye before driving off. I watched her go and then turned and faced the school.
The build was boxy and made of brick. There was a tall fence around the front of the property. All the school needed was barbed wire and some guards and it could easily be a prison.
"Am I really going to do this?" I asked myself.
I had choices. I had a lot of them. I didn't have to go to high school again. In many ways it seemed so pointless. On the other hand, I really had no idea what to do if I didn't. I certainly didn't want to upset my parents further. So far, they were the one good point of being thrown back to this time and place. The fact that I was giving them reason to worry didn't sit well.
Late the night before while I was in my bed I thought it out and decided that I would not do anything drastic for a while. I'd live the life I had when I was eighteen the first time until I figured out what I wanted to do or until I woke up from whatever dream I was having. Besides, I was only eighteen in this life. I had time to make decisions and I had the patience that's tends to come with age.
Of course, saying that and living it were two different things, especially when twenty minutes later I was once again sitting on Mr. Hargrove's class listening to him drone on and on. The first thing I noticed when I walked in the room was that Rodger wasn't there. Smart man.
I spend the first half of the class wondering what he was doing. Rodger wasn't the type to step softly. I could picture him finding some money and buying stock in a company he knew was going to take off soon.
'No,' I thought. 'That's too slow for Rodger.' I thought a moment and smiled. It was far more likely that he was placing bets on a football or baseball team we both knew were sure wins. That made me grin as I realized money wouldn't be hard to come by if I put my mind to it.
I spent second half of the class wondering just how I could do that. I came up with far fewer alternatives than I expected. In my time, the future, I was a salesman, not a technician. I knew how fast technology was going to hit the world over the next few decades and that knowledge could make me money by investing in the right stocks, but I couldn't use that knowledge to develop anything on my own. I didn't have the knowledge.
The truth was that like most people in my time I didn't really understand how things worked. For example, I'm pretty good with computers, but so what? Being able to create fancy slide shows, documents or spreadsheets are all based on having an application to develop it on. I could describe the functionality of any of those applications I use in some detail, but would that help a developer? Maybe, maybe not. It was something to think on.
The bell rang and broke me from my thoughts. My next class was gym. After that I was lost. I guess I could go to the office and ask. I can't be the only guy who ever lost his schedule on the second day of class.
'I should probably find out which locker is mine while I'm there,' I thought, but that was more problematic. We kept our lockers from last year and although I had a general idea where mine was, I couldn't pick it out. I'm sure that would get me some odd looks at the office if I asked. On the other hand, walking around the halls with my knapsack was annoying and drawing some odd looks of it's own. I sighed to myself.
"John! There you are," I heard and forced a smile on my face as Tiffany walked up to me. It struck me as odd at how I could love and hate someone so much in the same instant.
"Hey Tiff," I said. I think she expected me to kiss her, but I couldn't do it. She was eighteen and beautiful, but I knew that one day she'd grow into the cheating bitch who divorced me. I frowned suddenly and thought, 'Or would she?' I looked at Tiffany closer.
'Has she done it already?' I wondered. 'Are her and Brad already having an affair?' I knew it started back in high school, but I didn't know when. Of course, the real question was did it matter? Tiffany took my hand and led me down the hall.
"I can't believe you cut class yesterday," she was saying. "Especially not without letting me know."
"I needed to think," I replied.
"It's our senior year!" she laughed. "No time for thinking. It time to party!" I shook my head and looked at her. I remember having senioritis my last year of high school, but not on the second day. We were interrupted before I came up with a response.
"Hey John, let's get going!" Brad said. "You missed it yesterday. Ms. Valente is our gym teacher. She's hot!"
I was tempted to smile because I remembered Ms. Valente and Brad was right. She really was hot. Of course, smiling was out of the question with him standing so close because it was all I could do not to punch Brad in the mouth.
The moment was completely surreal. Here I was, standing in front of the girl I would one day marry. Standing next to her was my 'friend' Brad who sometime during this year would start screwing her behind my back. Weird shit.
"Please!" Tiffany snorted. "Ms. Valente could do with losing some weight."
"No way!" Brad laughed. "She's just built curvy."
"Fat," Tiffany insisted.
"Put the claws away!" Brad laughed. "She's too old for me anyway."
"It's not you I'm worried about," Tiffany said pointedly.
"How about it John? What do you think snout Ms. Valente?" he asked with a grin.
"I remember liking her accent," I said, more to move our little group along than anything else. It also happened to be true.
"John, don't tell me you think she's hot too?" Tiffany asked.
"If my memory serves," I replied. "She's an attractive woman."
"Men!" she cried. Tiffany clearly didn't like my response, but frankly I could care less. I thought she'd say something more, but she let it go.
Tiffany stepped up to a group of lockers, popped hers open and pulled out her gym clothes. I smiled as I suddenly remembering that my locker was almost directly across the hall from hers. I had no idea what the combination was, but that didn't matter. They all popped open the same way. After three tries I popped open a girl's locker by accident.
"Curious to see what a freak like Tara is hiding?" Brad asked. I frowned. I didn't realize that Tara's locker was so close to mine.
"What I'm hiding can't be stored in a locker," Tara said as she walked up. She looked at me. She didn't look happy.
Tiffany blushed badly and even Brad looked embarrassed. I'm sure at eighteen I would have reacted just as badly, but thankfully despite my youthful body, I was long past being a teenager.
"Is it bigger than a breadbox?" I asked with a smile.
"What?" she asked in surprise.
"What you're hiding," I replied. "Is it bigger than a breadbox?" Tara looked at me for a few seconds and then laughed despite her annoyance.
"Wouldn't you like to know," she replied. "Is that why you're in my locker?"
"Guilty," I said nonplussed.
"Or," she said thoughtfully. "You could just have popped open the wrong locker."
"You think?" I smiled. Tara laughed again and popped open the locker two down from hers.
"This one's yours," she said, looking in it. "You know, isn't this supposed to have some books in it? Or something? Anything?"
"You would think. Wait, what's that?" I said, pulling out the single sheet of paper off the shelf. Thankfully it was my schedule.
"That's it? Just your schedule?" Tara teased.
"Hey, don't knock it. I can't figure out why I left it here, but at least I won't have to go to the office to get another copy," I said.
"So, now you know where to go," she smiled. "Now if you only had some books to take with you."
"I didn't get a chance to get any with skipping after first period yesterday," I explained.
"Rookie," she joked, showing me her locker. It was full.
"How'd you manage that?" I asked.
"Friends," she smiled. "They got my books from each of my classes since I was home 'sick' yesterday."
"You have friends?" Tiffany interjected. That was weird. I almost forgot she and Brad were still standing there. That was obviously part of the reason why Tiffany was being such a bitch.
"Ouch," Tara said, looking at my girlfriend. "That hurt."
"You look it," I grinned. Her delivery was perfect. It let Tiffany know just how little Tara cared what my girlfriend thought.
"On the inside," Tara explained. I couldn't help it. I laughed.
"John!" Tiffany snapped. "I don't see what's so funny!"
"Dude," Brad said. "What's up with you?"
"Funny is funny," I shrugged, and then changed the subject. "Let's get to gym before the bell rings." I took that moment to pull my gym bag from my knapsack before shoving the latter into my locker. "See you later Tara."
"Later Johnny," she said, causing me to frown. No one called me Johnny. I hated the name, but oddly enough it didn't sound bad when she said it. She winked at me before she left. I'm sure that was just to irritate Tiffany. It worked admirably.
"Maybe you'd rather have her as a girlfriend?" my girlfriend said angrily once we were out of Tara's earshot. I wasn't in the mood. I know I promised myself that I would take things slowly, but I couldn't deal with Tiffany.
"The thought has passed through my mind," I replied. Tiffany froze in shock. I ignored her reaction and kept walking.
We were playing floor hockey in gym. I'd forgotten how much I liked it. What made it even better yet was that Ms. Valente was even hotter than I remembered. She couldn't be much over thirty if at all. I flirted with her a little. She seemed surprised, but that was to be expected. She dealt with it well enough. I'm sure I wasn't the first student to flirt with her, much less the first guy. It just wasn't something I did last year when I had her for a marking period of health.
I was bringing the puck up the sideline when someone slammed me into the wall. This was supposed to be a non-contact version of floor hockey. We pushed the rule as far as we could, but this was way over the line. I looked up and saw that Brad was standing over me.
"Dude," he said, obvious angry. "What you just did to Tiffany was uncool!"
"Don't you think that's between her and me?" I asked, standing and stretching. Nothing was hurt all that badly.
"She was my friend before you two even met," Brad snapped. "You were a jerk!"
"Maybe," I shrugged. "But I would think that you'd be happy if we broke up. You're obviously in love with her."
"I am not!" Brad cried, but he was blushing badly.
"Whatever," I sighed and moved away just before Ms. Valente started reading Brad the riot act for hitting me so hard.
The rest of my classes went by uneventfully enough. There were a couple that were interesting, but only a couple.
Tiffany avoided me for the rest of the day, but the few times I saw her from a distance I could tell that she hoping I'd follow her and beg for her forgiveness. Hell would freeze over first.
You might call my anger with her immature or juvenile, but the truth was that it was much more than that. Only a man who'd loved a woman as deeply as I loved Tiffany could be so hurt by her betrayal. I'm sure my teenage hormones were adding some strength to my feeling, but the pain and hatred was there long before I was thrust back into this body.
The day dragged on. I couldn't find Rodger anywhere and realized he must have skipped the whole day, not just first period. I was very jealous of him by time I made it to my last class. I'd have too visit him soon and see what was going on. Maybe talking it out with someone who understood would help.
I was relieved when the school day ended. At least I was until I bumped into Jimmy again. He looked at me and grinned.
"Time to face the music," Jimmy said as we made our way to the football locker room. "Coach Riley is probably outside already waiting for you."
"Joy," I sighed, making him laugh.
I'm sure my memories of Coach Riley were colored by the years, but none of them were all that pleasant. He believed the only true motivation was someone screaming in your face. I didn't deal with it well back then and I probably wouldn't now either.