tagRomanceThe Weight of the World Ch. 02

The Weight of the World Ch. 02

bymdb913©

Chapter 2: Deserve

AUTHOR'S NOTE: As stated at the beginning of Chapter 1, this chapter will have no sex. Live with it.

Speaking of which, Chapter 3 might take a while longer because I reread it a few minutes before submitting this chapter and, well...it sucks. Gotta love hindsight. So, yeah, I'll need a little extra time.

It's not like this story's the best thing ever anyway...


=====================

"So, let me get this straight. You're not even on the market for 12 hours and you've already got a date?"

Sera slid the sky blue sundress up over her curved, naked hips while looking at the blonde sitting on the bed.

"Does that make me a slut?"

Val shook her head in the negative. "Little bit."

"Ugh!" Sera brought the dress up to cover her breasts, sliding her arms in the holes and bringing the spaghetti straps up to her shoulders. "God, I know. But, I really like this guy. He's not exactly the most confident, but--"

"Do you know what you're getting into here?" The tall blonde's voice showed obvious concern for her best friend. "I mean, you haven't even known this guy a day. For all you know, he could be a serial killer or, or a circus freak. He's probably a circus freak!"

"He's not a circus freak," Sera quickly retorted. "And if he was a serial killer, he would have killed me in the middle of the night, wouldn't he?"

"Well, true."

Sera turns to the mirror and checks herself out. "He's just a really sweet guy. Who might have just happened to save my life last night."

"OK, OK."

"There's something else." Val looked at her intently. "He's, sort of--he's REALLY," Val rotated her arm, telling Sera silently to spit it out. "--a virgin." Val's arm froze, her eyes bugged out. "He's never been out on a date."

"Call it off."

"No!"

"Do you remember when I told you about that virgin I slept with a few years ago?"

"Yeah, I remember."

"He wouldn't leave me alone!" she reminded her. "I had to get a restraining order, I had to change my phone number--"

"Well, why did you give it to him, then?"

"I didn't!" she yelled.

"Well, after being with Johnny for so long, it would be kind of nice to be with a clinger. At least with Caleb, I won't have to worry about getting hurt. Last night, I would have done ANYTHING for him under the circumstances, but he still wouldn't do it because it would have been the wrong thing to do."

"But, you're going to do all that tonight!"

"Yeah, but this time it's for the right reason. And besides, it's not even like he's that bad-looking. He's got this beautiful voice. He said my name, and I wanted to kiss him right there. And his smile--." She couldn't help but smile herself, like a schoolgirl with a crush. When she walked out of the bathroom and saw him for the first time that morning, all he did was greet her for the day, but he smiled when he did it. When he flashed his smile to her, her stomach couldn't help but backflip.

Sera turned back to the mirror. Val stood up from the bed and walked up behind her best friend. They both stared at her in the sky blue sundress, both thinking the same thing. Val rested her chin on Sera's shoulder.

"I've never seen someone so hot get so worked up over a fat virgin."

"You mind if I borrow this tonight?"

*RIIIIIIIIING!!!*

"No, it's all yours," Val finished as she went for the cordless on the bed.

*RIIIIIIIII--*

"Hello?" Her tone after 'hello' went from energetically happy to less than somber. It was dark. It was quiet. It was Johnny. "How did you get this number?" Sera turned to her. She knew it was him before Val even had a chance to mouth it. "She told me everything, you sick bastard." "No, how fucking dare YOU!" "My father is a cop. Sera may not want to press charges, but I might!" "So we can get one less RAPIST off the streets, THAT'S WHY!!" "Stay away from her, and don't call here anymore. She so much as whispers your name and my hand touches receiver, you fucking prick." Val angrily pushed the 'OFF' button, threw the phone down on her bed, took a deep breath and brushed some hair from her face.

"Thanks," Sera quietly said. She sat on the bed and looked into space.

"Listen," Val started. "Maybe you shouldn't go to class today. Your Profs will understand when you explain it to them on Saturday." Sera didn't respond. "Come on, get up and get changed. I'm taking you to lunch."

* * * * *

Caleb hesitated at walking toward the very same counter he went up to just that morning. Not that a repeat visit embarrassed him, but because the condoms were behind the cashier. Caleb stared at the line of contraceptives.

"OK, Caleb," he thought. "This is nothing. You've already got the date--there's no reason to be nervous about anything else."

"What kind of condoms am I supposed to get?"

"...Damn. Didn't think of that."

Caleb put the two two-liter bottles of cola onto the counter.

"Hey, Caleb!" The 50-year-old man in the blue vest stocking shelves was always cheerful, a lifelong optimist, obviously, and one of the only people outside of work and family that Caleb knew by name.

"Hi, Bruno."

"Weren't you in here this morning?"

"Yeah, but I forgot a few things."

Bruno smiled and went back to his stocking. The handsome young man at the counter rang up the two bottles in front of a frozen Caleb.

"That'll be $3.78, please," said the cashier.

"Oh, uhm." If he was ever going to man up, it was now. "Trojan, Her Pleasure. Two boxes."

It was awkward enough for Caleb to blurt that out mindlessly. It was worse when the two men behind the counter stopped everything they were doing just to glare at the young whale of a man. The three stood there for what had to be ten seconds. Someone had to break the silence. Caleb did. Bluntly.

"Please?"

Bruno admittedly snickered a bit when Caleb shook the cashier out of his trance. The two men quietly finished the transaction. "Thank you," Caleb meekly said as he gave Bruno a quick nod and left the store.

* * * * *

Caleb got out his notebook, turned it on and logged in. If it wasn't for the escape of the world within this tiny box, he would probably go clinically insane.

"What the hell was she thinking, telling you that you're going to have sex?! Now you're gonna spend the rest of the night thinking about it! You're a fat man--your heart can't take that kind of pressure!"

What if Sera was just teasing him? What if she didn't really want to have sex that night, and was just saying that to get a rise out of him?

"Yeah, that's probably it. There's no way she could have--"

"Shut up."

"WHAT?"

Caleb looked at the mirror on the adjacent wall. "Enough. Is it really hard to believe that someone could want me?"

"YES! Where have YOU been the past 21 years?"

"I don't need to know about the last 21 years. I just need to know about the last day. I mean, I'm not saying I deserve it--that would make me look the prick. But for Christ's sakes, it's my birthday. Whether I deserve it or not, the fact remains that I'm being given a gift."

"What gift? A date?"

Caleb used the rest of his brain to ponder a response. After one entire, eternal minute, he was able to blurt it out.

"A chance. Sure, it's probably just for this one night. But what if it's not?"

Caleb's mind revved into overdrive. Sera's words pierced into him, his own thoughts haunted him, and he resolved.

* * * * *

The hour approached. After a fresh shower and shave, Caleb put on a white undershirt, followed by his best clothes (not saying much)--his best pair of blue jeans, his only belt, and a sueded light blue long-sleeved shirt that he kept hold of for special occasions. Two drops of cologne later and he was ready to roll.

Well, not exactly.

As he put his wallet in his right pocket, he stared at the two boxes of condoms he had bought that afternoon, now laying one on top of the other on the top of the dresser. He didn't expect to use both boxes--he just liked buying in bulk; he hadn't taken expiration dates into account. Still, he would have been just as uncomfortable buying one box, so it was a moot point. He took the top box and opened it. Pulling out two condoms, he glared at them.

"This is really happening, isn't it?"

"Guess so."

"You ready for this, big man?"

"Do I FEEL ready?"

"Just take deep breaths. You'll do fine."

Caleb clenched the condoms in his fist lightly, closed his eyes and took his own advice, inhaling deeply through his nose before exhaling just as deeply through his mouth. Letting his head hang down off his loosened neck, his thoughts swam. How was he gonna be able to pull this off?

"Just remember--you've already got the date. She already likes you, so be yourself. Make sure to not talk so much; let her lead the conversations and listen to what she says. Look at the eyes, not the mouth or the tits. If you're going to make a quip, make sure it's a quip; don't dwell on thinking too much on what you're going to say. Be funny, but don't be glib."

"Be funny, don't be glib."

"Right."

"What does 'glib' mean?"

"I don't know! I'm YOUR brain--YOU thought it! Just don't fake anything--she knows you're not overconfident, so don't pretend you are!"

"Right, right."

"Oh, one more thing."

"Yeah?"

"Don't talk to yourself. Just doing this alone is creepy as Hell."

"Damn straight."

He put the condoms in his left pocket and went out to the living room, where he glanced at the wall clock: '7:47'. He paced, then he sat. He fidgeted, then he stood up and paced again.

"Calm down!"

"Calm down!" He closed his eyes and took another deep breath, breathing in deeply through the nose and breathing out deeply through pursed lips. He opened his eyes, no more relaxed than he was a few seconds ago.

"Damn."

"Try again."

Caleb closed his eyes and hung his head. He slowly drew in oxygen through his nostrils, trying to get the same kind of therapy he got several minutes previous. He held the air in for two seconds, allowing his lungs to fill properly, then began to breathe out, allowing it to crescendo until his lungs were empty.

"Well, it worked a little."

"Maybe you should masturbate."

"WHAT?"

"Yeah, you know, like in that movie, 'Mary' something. Ben Stiller's worried about his date with Cameron Diaz, so his friend tells him to go clean the pipes, calm his nerves."

"Yeah, then the cum hangs from his EAR. 'Member that part?"

"When has that ever happened to you?"

"Look, even if I wanted to, I don't have the time. I've got, what, ten minutes?"

Three distinct knocks reverberated from the door throughout the apartment.

"Not necessarily."

"OK." One more deep breath.

"Caleb!" The all-too-familiar voice from outside the door didn't help him too much.

"I'll be right there," he promised. He walked to the door. With every step, he rethought what it was he was about to do, but his legs just wouldn't stop. He stared at the door for a second.

"I couldn't have a fucking peephole!"

He grabbed the doorknob and slowly turned it.

"SMILE!"

Caleb opened the door, a warm smile on his face.

"Hi," he somehow said.

"Hey!" Sera worked the sky blue sundress that she had tried on earlier in the day. Her pure white sandals and handbag accentuated the look, so did her million-watt smile.

"You look amazing," he told her.

"Thanks. And look at you, stud. For a shut-in, you damn sure know how to clean up."

He blushed at the compliment before realizing that the color of her dress looked awfully familiar. He looked at the dress, then at his own shirt. Her brain clicked before she looked down at her own dress. They both chuckled.

"I guess we both had the same idea," he mused.

"Great minds really DO think alike."

"What's that got to do with ME?" Caleb silently questioned.

"Ready to go?" he asked. Sera nodded her head, and he followed her out into the hall, closing and locking his door behind him. They walked side-by-side to Caleb's car several yards away, his modest red Escort parked at the curb. He opened the passenger side first, allowing Sera to step in. He closed the door, allowing himself to walk around to the driver's side. In less than a minute, they were on the road.

"So," she started. "Where're we going to eat?"

"Ever been to Malcolm's?"

"Are you kidding? I love it there! You like it, too?"

Caleb hesitated. "Well, I've sort of never been there. It's just really popular, and I always recommend it to our guests. I just never bothered."

"Well, you're gonna love it. The food is awesome, and they book some really good entertainment sometimes."

"Yeah, I think Rhyne McCormick's gonna be there tonight. Is that OK?"

"Yeah, I like him. I mean, he's not an all-time favorite or anything, but I won't run away when he comes on."

Caleb laughed, and suddenly a calming feeling came over him. Maybe he could do this.

* * * * *

"You were right, that was fun."

"I told you."

"The food was great, too."

She nudged him in the shoulder. "Maybe next time, you'll believe me."

"Hey!" He nudged her back, making sure not to use too much of his weight. "So," he hesitated. "Where's this club of yours?"

"It's a short walk up this way." The two started to walk off the meals that they just finished. The knowledge that his virtue would be lost by the end of the night still lingered, but it was very faint. The music and food helped alleviate much of the pressure that he'd felt prior to the date, but he obviously still had plenty of pent-up nervousness in his system. A question popped into his mind as they headed up the sidewalk adjacent to the parking lot where they had parked, but he never got the chance to think further on it.

"Caleb, can I ask you something personal?"

"Sure, I suppose. Can't guarantee I'm gonna answer, though."

"Oh, I understand that. I was just curious," she hesitantly prodded. "Have you been big your whole life? I mean, I knew fat kids when I went to school, but they turned out OK. They had friends, they dated."

"I wish I went to YOUR school. The kids I went with were ruthless. I was always the biggest guy, so I was the biggest target, I guess. Things REALLY got bad in my sophomore year."

"What happened in your sophomore year?"

"My boss."

"You met your boss?"

"No, right in front of us--my boss."

A tall, good-looking man in his late twenties walked up to the pair.

"Harry," Caleb exclaimed. "What're you doing here?"

"I'm getting my supper. Felt like going out. What're YOU doing out?"

"Walking off my supper."

Harry nodded, then glanced at the young lady a couple feet to Caleb's right. "Oh, I'm sorry, miss--we're in your way."

"No, no, Harry," Caleb said, suddenly remembering his manners. "This is Sera. She's, um--" He couldn't bring himself to completing that sentence. Harry wondered for a second before Sera looked at Caleb, then wrapped herself around his right arm.

"I'm his date."

Harry smiled at Caleb. "I'll be damned. Good for you, Caleb!" Caleb shrugged and looked down. He wasn't used to hearing those words. Harry held his hand out to Sera, who promptly shook it. "And, hey, you got it right the first time, too." Sera couldn't help but giggle. Caleb, however, looked almost disappointed. "I'll see you at work next week, huh, Caleb?" Caleb dejectedly nodded as Harry passed him.

"Nice guy," Sera stated. Keeping hold of Caleb's arm, she looked up to see that his demeanor had gone from happy to somber. "What's wrong?"

"I don't blame you if you fall for him. He's got a different girl in his room at the hotel every night. I guess he's just got a way with charming women."

"Oh, Caleb!"

They turned to the yelling Harry, who was a bit of a distance away now.

"Happy birthday!!"

Sera looked confused. Caleb looked pissed.

"Shit," he muttered.

"Your birthday's coming up? When?"

No point in hiding it now. He sighed exasperatingly.

* * * * *

The club was packed, loud, and REALLY mobile. Those that were on the dance floor were moving their bodies to the wordless beat. Some of them were proving that the human body was a beautiful instrument of art with their movements; others were proving that the human body was a clumsy jalopy of a thing that didn't deserve limbs.

The gorgeous Serenity and the bulky Caleb walked into the veritable rave with the utter inability to hear themselves think. Sera kept her hand clasped within Caleb's, making sure they didn't lose each other. As she walked Caleb to the bar on the far side of the mammoth room, she thought about how much she enjoyed his company. Caleb was very talkative about his past--for a guy who didn't grow up with a friend in the world, he damn-sure had the family to make up for some of the loneliness. He always lived close to his grandparents, and his mother and sister were both active. The only reason he seldom joined them was the fact that he had a hard time making himself known. But once past introductions, Caleb proved himself to be quite the people-person, and any doubts that she may have had about him being a good man instantly vanished once she let him get on.

And then, after he spent ten minutes talking about himself, he made sure to stop so she could talk herself. She, like him, grew up around loving family, but she had to move away upon entering college. When both she and Val, her closest friend since middle school, got accepted to Penn State, she was overjoyed. Her family only lived about 150 miles away, but they were the longest miles she ever had to drive when holidays came around. At first, she lived with Val in the dorms, but quickly into the year, she met Johnny at the nearby mall. A few months later, she was moved in, which is when all her troubles started.

But that was the past. This was the present. This was her date's birthday. And ten minutes after they arrived, they were seated at a table that was somehow unoccupied, and Sera made sure to sit directly next to her date.

"Why didn't you tell me it was your birthday?" Serenity queried.

"I didn't think it was important," Caleb shyly answered.

"Not important!? It's your fucking BIRTHDAY! How old are you?"

Caleb paused.

"C'mon, Caleb, how old?"

Caleb finally responded. "Twenty-one."

Sera's jaw made like the Bodies and hit the floor. "And you didn't think that your 21st birthday was important?"

"Well, I knew I wasn't going to be a drinker. I'm just not that kind of guy. And frankly, I don't like my birthdays. I hate it when people make such a fuss about me--it just seems like a waste of time, and since they're wasting it on ME, it's my fault that they're doing it."

"Caleb, people are going to do that. I mean, on your birthday, you have to expect that people are going to treat you a little differently."

"But I hate being treated differently. I'm used to how I'm treated."

"And besides," Sera mentioned. "It's not your FAULT that I'M here. I'm here with you because I really, truly want to be. And whether you think it or not, I'm having a really nice time, and that's because I'm here with YOU."

"Sera--"

Before he could finish his thought, the song ended and switched to something a little slower. Sera's ears perked up while her hand grabbed Caleb's wrist.

"Come on," she popped in. "Let's dance."

"Are you kidding!? I can't dance! I've never done it before!"

"It's a slow song; there's nothing to it. You just shuffle your feet back and forth."

Caleb took a few more seconds but, to Sera's elation, he finally relented, standing up. They moved to the nearest corner of the dance floor and got close. Sera grabbed Caleb's wrists, lifted them to her waist, and rested his palms on either side.

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