tagRomanceRun Ch. 07

Run Ch. 07

byEvil Alpaca©

This story is a bit wordy and fairly long, so if you are looking for immediate gratification, you might want to look elsewhere. It contains heterosexual and lesbian sexual activity.

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The following story is a work of fiction. Any resemblance between actual persons, living or dead (or just confused) is entirely coincidental. Please do not copy/redistribute the story, in part or in total, without the author's permission.

This story takes place in the entirely fictional city of Springfield, California, so don't go looking for it on a map. And in my little fictional world, there are no unwanted pregnancies or STD's, except as plot driving devices. The author encourages the practice of safe-sex.

This is part of an ongoing series. Please check out earlier part(s) for background and character history.

Also, I would like to thank those readers who have stuck with me through the entirety of this story and made writing it worthwhile.


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Gail was worried. She hadn't talked to Pat since Saturday night, and a lot had happened. She knew that Pat and Keith had engaged in sexual behavior for the first time in Pat's life, and Pat had also spent her first night at her parent's house since her brother's funeral. Gail was so anxious to find out what was going on that her skin was twitching. Keith had been abnormally tight-lipped about his role in proceedings, and Gail needed to find out why.

She saw Pat coming up from the parking lot, a little . . . disappointed . . . that Pat didn't need a ride to school anymore. It had been fun getting to spend those mornings with her, hanging out with a girl. Of course, now she had Sally to hang out with as well. She and the quiet young woman were still on good terms after they had shared their first girl-on-girl experience. In fact, they were quite comfortable with each other.

"Pat!" Gail said, almost ambushing her friend. Pat jumped a little.

"Hey," Pat said, giving Gail a quick and friendly hug. 'I've come a long way,' she thought after performing such a . . . normal . . . action.

"Okay, we have fifteen minutes until the bell rings. You are NOT going anywhere until you tell me everything!" Gail said excitedly. Strangely, Pat didn't seem to share her enthusiasm.

"What's wrong?" Gail asked. "Keith wasn't an asshole or anything was he?"

"No!" Pat said, then blushed a bit. She knew Gail and knew that she wasn't going to be able to slide by on this. "Promise you won't say anything? On pain of death? Which I can arrange," she reminded Gail with a glare.

"I'm a snoop, but I haven't ratted you out yet. Well, not on anything important. At least I don't think . . ."

Pat rolled her eyes and drug Gail away from the beaten path. "I . . . it's so weird. Everything was so perfect leading up to everything," Pat said as she started to pace in a circle.

"He didn't . . . I mean . . . what happened?"

"IT happened," Pat said unnecessarily. "And it was wonderful. He was handsome, the setting was perfect . . . he did everything right . . ."

"But?"

"But I still felt something was off. And I could tell that he felt that way too."

"Like what?"

Pat bit her bottom lip. "Like the fact that even though he's been so wonderful and so cute and so patient and so . . . whatever I needed him to be . . . I don't love him," Pat said. She was ashamed of the words, but couldn't deny them. "I wanted to call you and talk to you," she added, not wanting to offend Keith's best friend. "But stuff at the house is weird. No one knows what to say to anyone. My parents are trying though. Mr. Baker . . . my dad moved Buddy's trophy case into the foyer and . . . he kept asked what each of the awards for. He's trying to get to know his son through me," she whispered. "Mom is trying to overcompensate by smothering me with motherly advice." Pat put her hands on her head.

"Headache?" Gail asked.

"Yeah," Pat replied. She had barely had any problems with her headaches since moving out of her parent's house.

Gail sat down on a stone bench and patted next to her.

"Everything was supposed to get better," Pat whispered, sitting down and putting her head on Gail's shoulder. "But it isn't."

"Welcome to being a teenager," Gail said. "So what are you going to do?"

"About what?"

"Keith? Your parents?"

"I don't know. Keith . . . I would never forgive myself if I hurt him. I don't even know what I want though. I don't want to quit on him," she said. "My parents . . . that's just going to take time."

"Be honest with Keith," Gail pleaded. "He's got a big heart. But you don't have to break up with him."

"How? If I know I don't love him, how can I be with him?"

Gail shrugged. "I don't love Todd, but we're going to stay together until the end of the summer."

Pat stared at her friend. "You don't? Then why . . ."

"He and I agreed awhile ago that we weren't going to be permanent. I mean, he's going away for college and I'm going to UC Springfield. We're not going to be able to see each other very often if we try the long distance dating thing, and we would rather just enjoy each other for now and then end it on good terms than get all stressed out and lose each other even as friends."

"So you're planning on breaking up?"

"Yeah. Who knows, though. Somewhere down the road, we might wind up together again. But we're not going to try to force something when neither of us is all that passionate about it. He's a great boyfriend and the perfect fuck-buddy. That's a good start." She kissed Pat's forehead. "You're eighteen years old. Stop looking for the final solution when you haven't even heard all the problems yet."

"You're wise beyond your years," Pat said. She would talk to Keith . . . tell him everything.

"You hittin' on my woman?" came a soft voice from behind them.

Gail smiled as Sally sat down next to them. "You gotta admit," Gail said, wrapping an arm around Sally and glancing at Pat, "she IS kind of hot."

"I get that," Sally said with a shy grin.

"Okay, now you two are just creeping me out," Pat replied, trying to smile as her headache lingered. She popped a couple of pills from her purse under her friends' watchful eyes.

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A little later . . .

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Keith poked his head into Dr. Martin's office. The school's psychiatrist was sitting behind her desk, looking more than just a little bit tired.

"Got a minute?" he asked.

"Hopefully I've got longer than a minute," Carolyn said with a smile. "Seems like I've got some guardian angels looking after me."

Keith sat down. "You wouldn't have been in trouble if it weren't for us."

"I was in trouble because of young Mr. Brazier. You can't control other people's evils, young man. I wouldn't advise stressing it too much."

"You gonna be okay?"

"Yeah," Carolyn said, leaning back. "I think things will be slow in here for a while until your MTV-short-term-memory-generation forgets about what happens. I'll get a few students. That's what bothers me the most. Mr. Brazier's actions may prevent some people with real problems from coming and talking to me."

"How's Lola?"

"Concerned, but she'll struggle through. She just needs to make it a few more months and she won't be under probation anymore. After that, she'll have some breathing room. I had to talk her out of quitting and finding a job elsewhere. We came up with this arrangement so we could be together, and I refuse to let some little punk . . . sorry, I shouldn't be speaking like that. I don't want to let anyone drive us apart."

"For some reason, I don't think that will happen." He paused. "How . . . how did you know that you . . . you know, loved her?"

Dr. Martin looked over the rim of her glasses. This wasn't really a question about her, but she knew enough to play along. "Sometimes, I think it was love at first sight." She smiled. "The rational part of my mind knows that isn't possible. Love is complicated and takes work. But I remember seeing her sitting at a table in a prison library, brushing her hair away from her face while trying to understand Edgar Allen Poe . . . Sorry. I tend to wax a bit romantic. First she fascinated me, then . . . I just thought about her all the time."

"Is that what it is? Being in love?"

Carolyn looked at Keith. "I was a teenager once. Longer ago than I care to think about. I thought I was in love at least once a week; every time a pretty girl looked my way. It's a lot harder than people think to tell the difference. You have to have experienced both to tell them apart: love and infatuation." She leaned forward a bit. "Are you having doubts about your relationship with Ms. Baker?"

Keith sat back. "Maybe. I mean . . . I still think about her. I . . . this is confidential right?"

"Yes."

He looked around nervously. "Something happened this weekend. Things between her and me . . . it got physical. I didn't take advantage of her or anything," he clarified quickly.

"I don't think you could," Carolyn said with a grin. "I've seen her fight too."

"Yeah. True. Anyway, things seemed . . . not right. Does that make sense? I mean, it felt wonderful and we both wanted it and I still care a lot about her but . . . I could tell. I could tell that there was still something between us."

Carolyn chose her words carefully. "First, I want to remind you that I am in no way officially condoning this type of activity. Sex is a big step and . . ."

"I don't need that speech. We both understood the risks. I need your advice. The stuff you would tell me if I was just a friend."

"You are a friend," Dr. Martin said. "Love sometimes needs to be worked at, but it can't be forced. I know that may sound strange, but it's true. Sometimes you may not understand it because you've never experience something before. But if you have doubts . . . REAL doubts . . . tell her. The last thing Pat needs is to be jerked around. I know you'd never want to do that to her."

Keith gripped his hands together. "I don't get what happened. She's so . . . wonderful. She's everything I should want."

"There's more to love than a check-list. There are intangibles that even I can't guess at. If I had based my love-life on binary characteristics, I don't know if I ever would have wound up with Lola. And THAT is a concept that scares my heart."

Keith stood up. "Thanks Dr. Martin."

"You're welcome. And thank you," she said earnestly. "For standing by me . . . and for standing by Pat. You're one of the people that make my job worthwhile."

Keith blushed a little and made his way to class. He had some thinking to do.

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After school . . .

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This time, it was Pat who found herself waiting for Keith at the front of the school. Things had gone well at lunch, but both had realized that, with all their friends and other students around, it hadn't been the time or place for a conversation about what had happened.

Keith descended the stairs and, despite everything, took Pat's hand as they silently walked to her car.

"So . . ." he started.

"So . . ." she replied. "I'm sorry I didn't call you on Sunday. And don't say it's okay."

"I wasn't going to," he shot back, then calmed down. "I was scared shitless that I did something wrong."

"You didn't. But something WAS wrong," Pat said. "It had to be me because you've done everything right."

"I went too fast," Keith said. "It was too soon."

"I wanted it as much as you," Pat replied.

Keith sighed. For a second, he had been looking for someone else to blame. Now they were both blaming themselves. "What did I do wrong?"

"You didn't!" Pat was pulling at her hair. "You were wonderful. You were passionate but still . . . kind. You're handsome and you're smart . . . I couldn't have asked you to do anything better. Maybe I'm just so fucked up that I can't tell a good thing when I've got it."

"Bullshit," Keith. He didn't want to have to acknowledge what they both knew. "Maybe . . . we're just not . . . God, I hate saying this. It sounds corny." He took another breath. "Maybe we're just not in love . . . or at least the right kind of love. I mean, I still care about you so much and I enjoyed Saturday night like you wouldn't believe."

Pat pulled on his hands and looked at them. Then she met his eyes. "But something was missing. And it shouldn't be. I don't want it to be."

"But it's not something I think we just get to pick."

Pat smiled warmly and gave Keith a hug. She felt . . . relieved. She wasn't going insane. Or if she was, Keith was going there with her. "Why isn't this 'living' thing getting easier? This is your fault you know. I used to be blissfully unaware of the outside world."

"Do you really want to go back to that?" he asked, lifted her chin up.

"Not for anything," she said. She kissed him. It may not have been love, but it still felt pretty damn good.

"So what now?"

"Now . . ." She pondered the question. "You have anyone else you wanna see?"

"Not especially."

"Me neither. Listen, Gail said that she and Todd are together just because they enjoy each other's company. Maybe that's not such a bad thing. Maybe things will turn into what we want."

"And at least we'll get to say we tried." He felt her rest her head on his shoulder.

Pat smiled. 'Damn he smells good,' she thought, kissing his neck.

Keith shivered. "Uhm, just how good of friends are we going to be?"

"Friends with benefits?" she countered.

"I could live with that." This time, Keith started the kiss, and neither was in much of a hurry to end it.

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That evening . . .

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Reginald and Mary Baker were standing near the front door of the house. They were nervous but trying not to LOOK nervous. They didn't know if Pat was going to come home for a second night or not.

When that new car pulled into the driveway, both of them hurried somewhere else. But Pat noticed the drapes next to the front door flutter and shadows scurry on the other sides of windows. She knew what they were up to. She just didn't know how to feel about it. She walked in the front door.

"Honey, is that you?" came her mother's voice from the kitchen.

Pat smiled a little. Her mother didn't even cook anymore, and the only time she was ever in the kitchen was to get a glass of water after playing tennis. She had probably run in there as soon as Pat got home.

"Yeah, it's me."

"How was . . . how was school today?" her father said, emerging from the study with his book in hand. Pat wondered if he realized he was holding it upside down.

"It was okay," Pat said. There was a moment of silence. Pat sighed. Maybe she needed to treat this the way she had dealt with Keith. She just needed to talk to them. She looked from her mother to her father. "I'm sorry guys. I know you want this to be easier, but I don't know how to make it like that. The care is nice, but this isn't about buying me stuff."

"I know," her father said, as humble as she had ever seen him. "I don't know how else to start."

"Maybe . . . maybe we could go to counseling?" Mary suggested.

Pat chuckled. "Mom, I think I've had enough counseling for one lifetime. But I have to admit, it helped."

Mary took her daughter's hands. "You shouldn't have needed it. You should have been able to talk to us."

"I will," Pat said. "I just don't even know what to talk about anymore."

"How about your headaches?" Tobias said, emerging from where he had been eavesdropping. No wonder he and Gail had hit it off.

"How long has that been going on?" Mr. Baker said.

Pat glared at Tobias. "A couple of years," she sighed. "Dr. Martin told me they were probably due to stress and . . . not getting enough sleep or eating enough."

"I'm sorry I pushed you so hard," Reginald said gloomily. This was new territory for him. He never had to apologize to his soldiers for pushing them. "You . . . obviously you don't have to train anymore or anything you don't want to."

"Don't just let me off the hook," Pat said. "If this is going to work, you've got to treat me like a real daughter. That means SOME structure . . . just structure with some room to breathe. I WANT to train Dad. I just thought maybe I could just do Hapkido for a while. I like the weapons stuff. And I've been exercising, just . . . just not until one o'clock in the morning. Dr. Martin and the guys at the hospital said that the headaches won't be as much of a problem if I just have some downtime."

"Okay," Mr. Baker said. "I think that sounds fair."

"And . . . and I want you to go with me to the Special Olympics event on Sunday," she said firmly, looking more at her father. "I know you're trying to understand Buddy, but I can only tell you so much. All those guys that showed up and visited me at the hospital had stories about Buddy," she said, her eyes welling up with tears. Just because the hurting was getting less didn't mean that the hurting was gone.

Mr. Baker nodded. "I think that sounds like a good idea," he said. Then he cleared his throat. "I didn't want to bring this up, but . . . have you thought about what you want to do in the Fall? Since West Point is out . . ."

"I don't know. I'm just getting used to the idea of my life being more . . . mine. I don't know what I want to do with it."

Her mother appeared deep in thought. "This summer . . . she said slowly. Why don't you travel? I mean, go see the country or . . . or maybe Europe?"

Pat looked nervous. "Would . . . you want to go with me?"

Mr. Baker looked at her and chose his words carefully. "We can't take off for the whole summer," he said, "but maybe we could start it off with a family vacation, then you could spend some time traveling on your own." He grimaced. He may be new to being a 'regular' father, but there were some things he hated . . . like trusting his daughter's boyfriend. "You could take that Keith fellow . . . we'd pay for it of course. Or maybe a couple of friends, if you promised to keep expenses within reason."

"Dad, I told you, it's not just about money."

"I know," he said. "But you said you needed to find your own way. How can you do that if you don't see what's out there?"

Pat's eyes shot open. "Dad . . . that made . . . sense!"

"You don't have to sound SO surprised."

Pat smiled, and it lightened her parents' spirits. "Let me think about it and ask Keith . . . and the others."

"About . . . Keith," Reginald Baker grumbled, straightening his spine. "I think . . ."

"Dad, it's a little too early for you to start telling me who I can and cannot date," Pat said. She wasn't inclined to share information about recent changes in her and Keith's status.

"I wasn't going to," her father said defensively. "If you can promise that you're BOTH done with your patriarch bashing ways," he added, rubbing his nose, "then your mother and I would like you to invite him over for dinner. We'd like to meet him under more civilized circumstances.

Dread welled up in Pat's brain. Her boyfriend? Meeting her parents? There was some sort of genetic-level reaction that any teenaged girl had at that very thought.

"And you can invite your other friends as well," Mary said. She had been young once. Despite Reginald's revisionist history of the event, her parents really hadn't liked him the first time they met him. Or the second. Having other people around might make things go more smoothly.

"How about Friday?" her father said. "Your uncle has decided to make ANOTHER visit out here and he might like meet everyone . . . like this."

"Okay. I think that will be . . . fun." Pat gave her father and mother each a hug. It didn't feel as awkward as she expected, then she started towards the stair. Then she stopped and hugged Tobias before skirting up her room and her bed in her home.

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byEvil Alpaca© 32 comments/ 31741 views/ 11 favorites

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