Be Careful What You Wish For


At any rate, there I was secure in my depression. I'd wrapped myself in a warm cocoon of loneliness only to have it shattered one afternoon by the sound of yelling as Ace and Aida screamed at each other. Onlookers seemed to smile a bit and passed right by them. Ace reached out his hand to hit her and before I realized it, I moved.

"Ace, what are you doing?" I asked.

"...Bitch is getting on my fuckin' nerves," he mumbled. He was clearly drunk.

"Dude, there is never any reason to hit a girl," I said. "And even if it was a guy that you were about to hit, there are too many people around here. You could get kicked off of the team. You're also drunk. If your coach gets wind of that, you're off of the team."

"You're right Wayne," he said. "This bitch ain't worth it. I'm going to class."

"Ace, if you go to class and your professor smells your breath you're history. Go back to your dorm and email him that you're sick and you couldn't make it to class. Ask him for your assignments. Then just sleep it off," I said.

He nodded his head and gave me a drunken hug and just walked away.

Aida just stood there the whole time. She looked up at me with her big blue eyes on the verge of tears. "He was...he was going to hit me...again," she said.

I didn't know how to react to that. I also didn't know what to say to her so I just stood there too. The next thing I knew she'd just thrown her arms around me and started sobbing. I know this will make me seem like an asshole, but she smelled really good and felt even better. For the first time in months, my dick let me know that I was human. It was even worse in my case because Maria and I had never consummated our relationship. I was at nineteen still a virgin and control over my urges was a tentative thing at best.

"Wayne...thanks, "she said. She looked at me strangely. I thought for a second that she'd felt my dick pressed up against her. It seemed almost like she didn't know what to say.

"Wayne, we've known each other for a long time," she said. "And I've wanted to tell you how sorry I am about your girlfriend, but we've never really talked to each other. So I didn't know what to say."

"Thanks," I said. "I've been kind of out of it. For two years we just..."

"I guess this is the wrong time to tell you this," she said. "But do you remember the first day that she came to our high school?"

"I remember," I said. "It was the first time you ever noticed me

"It really wasn't the first time I noticed you," she said. "It was just the first time that I'd been close enough to you to see the kind of person you were. You really defused that situation and made it so that everyone could walk away with their pride. I wanted to talk to you after that, but uhm..."

"But uhm what?" I asked. I was really intrigued.

"You know...Maria," she said softly.

"Well it wasn't just Maria," I said. "You were going out with Jack, too."

"No," she said. "It's different."

"How is it different?" I asked.

"Well, if I went out with someone different, Jack would have been unhappy," she began. "But as long as I was upfront with him. It would have been okay. Jack was a pretty good guy. But Maria? Unh uh."

"What do you mean?" I asked. She looked at me and smiled.

"You really don't know do you?" she asked. "Don't you remember Edith?" I shrugged my shoulders.

"Wayne, from the first day that she walked into the school, Maria made it very clear to everyone, that you were hers. She didn't want to be popular. She didn't want to be a cheerleader. She didn't care about classes or clubs. You were it for her. I used to think that the way you guys handled high school and dating was great. You were just a group of friends who all dated freely amongst themselves when we were too young to really settle down. That way you got to really learn about people and what you really wanted in a relationship but also what you didn't. It was different for my crowd because athletes are so competitive and possessive. Cheerleaders are the same way. There's that whole pecking order of equal to equal. The head cheerleader goes with the quarter back or the starting center, no one else will do."

"But then when Maria got to our school, your group changed too. Everyone else in your group seemed to still date whoever they pleased but you and Maria were a couple. And any girl who tried to date you was on her shit list. The thing about it was that she was really evil about it. It wasn't enough for her to put them in their place and let them know that you were hers. Once you got on her list, you could never get off of it. I wasn't brave enough to try. And she didn't care who it was. Do you remember when Ace tried to come over to your table on the first day? I admit that he was being an asshole with his whole, "I gonna go get her and bring her over to our table routine," but she read him like a book and went after him. She went out of her way to humiliate him. Do you remember the things she said about him before you intervened? Remember her cracks about steroids shrinking your brain and your dick? If you hadn't stepped in who knows what could have happened."

"Remember when we asked her about being a cheerleader? Everyone was talking about the way she did those dives into your pool. She'd have been a great cheerleader. But she resisted any and everything that could have possibly come between you two."

"Is that bad?" I asked.

"Maybe not," she said. "But maybe giving both of you a chance to experience someone else would have been good for you."

"I guess," I said. "All I know is that I miss her. I feel like a chunk of my heart is gone without her."

"Wayne, I know this sounds awful, but I really mean it," she began. "You do have other friends if you need someone to talk to."

"I know," I said. "But it just seems to be easier to sit there in my apartment and grieve or sulk or whatever you want to call it." Then I noticed that she was staring at me wide eyed.

"Okay, what did I do now?" I asked.

"Wayne, you have an apartment?" she asked.

"Yeah, I couldn't get into the dorms at the last minute," I said.

"Wayne, do you realize how over crowded the dorms are?" she asked. "My room has four girls in a space that was designed for two. Do you have any idea of how noisy it is, or how chaotic that is? I can barely find the room or the time to study there."

"I guess I am kind of lucky," I said.

"Wayne, you have a lot of life left," she said. "Try to enjoy some of it. If Maria really loved you, even half as much as you loved her, she'd want you to go on living for both of you." I nodded my head and waved good bye to her as I started off towards the class that I was late for.

It was roughly a day after that conversation that things started to change. I was sitting on the couch in front of my fireplace reading a chapter for one of my classes. I had a bowl of popcorn and a cold beer, although at nineteen years old, I was technically not old enough to be drinking it. But shit, it was my apartment, so I made the rules.

I heard someone knocking on my door so I got up and answered it. I opened the door and there stood Aida looking at me.

"I was debating," she said smiling.

"I thought you were a cheerleader," I said. "Wow, cheerleader and debate team member. That's a great combination."

"No," she said. "What I meant was that I was trying to decide if you were an asshole or just out of practice." I looked at her like she was crazy. And she started talking again.

"There are a bunch of your friends from high school at this school too," she continued. "So I asked a bunch of them about you. Every single God damned one of them thinks you're a really good guy. They said that even though you're pretty fucking rich, you're a normal guy. Most of them also think you're a nice guy. So I figured that you're just out of practice."

"What am I out of practice at?" I asked.

"Dealing with women," she said, walking past me and into my apartment.

"I mean you've dated some in your younger years, but for the past two, which were really the most important ones, you were pretty much taken," she said. "So you're out of practice at interpreting the signals a woman gives you."

"No I'm not," I said. "I just never learned that."

"So how did you know when Maria wanted something?" she asked.

"That was easy," I smiled. "We didn't play games like that. If she wanted something she just told me."

"Well yesterday, I hinted around about how lucky you were to have all of this space to yourself," she said. She turned around giving me a view of that impressive body. I had to admit that in terms of pure physical beauty, Aida was far prettier and built much better than Maria. "Of course that was before I saw it. This apartment is beautiful. I guess I was expecting you to say something like, "Well, if you ever need a place to study, Aida," she said trying to make her voice sound like mine. She looked me in the eyes.

"But you never invited me," she said. "You never even told me where you live."

"Sorry," I said. "Maybe I am out of practice. And that isn't just dealing with women; that's called manners."

"No harm done," she said. "I'm here now." She looked at the fireplace and the popcorn and my half-finished beer.

"So what are you doing?" she asked. I held up my book.

"I have three chapters to read before class, day after tomorrow. I was reading tonight and tomorrow I'll answer the questions at the end of the chapter."

She looked around the room. "You were sitting on the couch, right?" she asked. I nodded.

"I don't want to disturb you, so I'll take the chair," she smirked. "I like beer too you know." That evening wasn't what I expected. We barely spoke. Aida read her chapter and I read mine. Except for our eyes meeting a few times, we could have been in different buildings. When nine thirty rolled around she stretched and thanked me for the use of the room.

"I though you said your building's curfew was eleven," I asked curiously.

"I had to take three buses to get here," she smiled. "And I don't want to be out very late, alone."

I put my jacket on and told her I'd drive her home. She just smiled at me and nodded her head. "Okay," she said. "Your friends were right. You're a nice guy after all."

Aida didn't let up. She was back the next night. She knocked on the door and smiled at me. "Uhm, can I get my spot back?" she asked. I nodded and she hesitated, she didn't just walk in. "There's just one little thing," she said.

She reached around and pulled another girl into the light. The girl was slimmer than Aida and taller. She wore glasses and looked really studious. "This is Heather," Aida said. "She lives in the dorm next to mine. She can't get any studying done either and she's pre-med. The good news is that she has a car so you won't have to get up to drive me home."

Heather barely said anything. Aida took up her station in the chair and looked at me. "Where's the fire?" she asked. I lit the fire and handed her a beer. Heather opted for juice and looked around the room. I was sitting with my feet on the couch and she just sat at the other end and the three of us settled in to do our studying.

The couch was long, but it wasn't so long that Heather and I didn't over-lap when we stretched our legs out. There were several times when our legs brushed each other and we looked up. After a while, Aida noticed this and started watching us.

Just before they left they both thanked me. Heather grabbed my hand and shook it, smiling at me. "I got so much reading done," she said. "I've never been able to do that at the dorm." Over the weekend I went home. But Monday, they were back to study. Things seemed to be tenser between them though. The first thing I noticed was that Aida gave up her chair for the couch. Heather didn't seem to be happy about it, but she buried her head in her book and started reading.

This time it was me who didn't get anything done. All I had on my mind was Aida and how soft her skin was and how great she smelled. She looked up several times and smiled at me. I was so busy trying to look at her over the edge of the book I wasn't reading, that I missed all of the subtle signs.

Heather and I had made incidental contact several times during the previous hours long study session. Aida had slowly inched her legs closer and closer towards mine and once they got there she never moved them away. Even through our pants the constant contact gave me the biggest hard on ever and I could tell that not only could she see it, she enjoyed doing it.

The next evening Aida showed up alone. "Heather didn't need to study?" I asked. She shrugged her shoulders and came in.

"You don't have to drive me home," she said. "I can take the bus."

"Aida, driving you home isn't a problem," I said. "I'd much rather drive you, than have you running around at night by yourself. Plus it's really cold out there."

She smiled at that. And put her books down. She had another bag with her and she went into my small kitchen and started looking through the cabinets. She finally found the plates and put two out. She looked at the stove and finally decided to forgo it. She put a bowl into the microwave and called me.

"I just thought it might be nice to have something to eat before we started to hit the books," she said. "Even in college we can't live on microwave popcorn and beer."

After dinner, she surprised me again. I expected with Heather not there that we'd go back to our previous arrangement. I took up my usual spot on my couch and she crawled over me into her spot. We settled in and started to read, but looked up at each other every few minutes. Every time our eyes met she smiled.

"So how's Ace doing?" I asked.

"Fine, I guess," she said. "I saw him a few days ago."

"That's good," I said.

"Why is it good?" she asked.

"I just meant that it sounds like you guys have worked everything out," I said, looking back at my book.

She pulled my book back down and looked at me. "Wayne, Ace and I aren't together anymore," she said.

"Oh, sorry," I said.

"Why?" she asked.

"Well it's never good when people break up," I said nervously.

"You haven't seemed to mind," she said smiling.

"Huh?" I said. I just didn't get her point.

"Wayne, I wouldn't be coming over to study with you most nights if Ace and I were still together. I don't know what people think and I don't care much, but I'm not that kind of girl." Then she pulled her book up and started reading it. I could see her smiling and looking at me out of the corner of her eye. Apparently, she'd given me some kind of message.

Later that evening, when it was time for me to take her home, she started talking again. "Wayne, are you going home again this weekend?" she asked.

"I hadn't really decided yet," I said. "Why?"

"Just wondering," she said. I started the car and she bit her lip. I could tell she wanted to know something.

"Spill it Aida," I said. "We are friends after all. You can ask me stuff. The worst I can say is no. and since you seem to be my only friend, except for Heather, of course, I'll probably do it."

"Well, if you're going home, I just thought I might like to go home too. And if you're not going home this weekend, I was wondering if you might want to go to a movie or something."

I turned my head back to the road. "Is the idea of going to the movies with me that bad?" she asked. "You did say that we were friends."

"Don't be silly," I said. "It's just that. Well...there are a couple of things."

"What couple of things?" she asked.

"Well, you're like some kind of goddess. Why the hell would you..." I began.

"Don't start that shit," she said. "I'm a person. If I was all that hot, Jack wouldn't have just joined the army and left. Do you know what he said to me after all the time we'd been together? No wait...After the prom we ended up, well...I gave him my virginity. Do you know what he said afterward?"

I pulled over and looked at her. "Are you sure we should be talking about this?" I asked.

"Hell yes," she said. "He said and I quote, "Okay then."

She looked at me and I could see tears forming in the corners of her eyes. "He called me the next day to tell me that he was leaving. He wanted to get to the camp early so he'd know the layout and where everything was. Apparently, officer's training is very competitive. Do you know what he said to me before he left?"

"I was expecting some long, drawn out speech where he talked about what we meant to each other after going together throughout high school. Or some sensitive words to make up for the shitty reaction he'd had to the precious gift that I'd already begun to regret giving him the night before. He said, and again I quote, "Well, bye."

"Some fucking goddess," she said. I reached over and hugged her as she continued. "And Ace, he's tons worse. The first day that I got to school here, he just walked up to me and said, "Jack's in the army now. I guess it's just us."

"I saw US as being FRIENDS, but he seemed to think of it more like he'd acquired me by default. And by acquired, he seemed to think that we were supposed to have all the benefits that went with any relationship. He even told me that he knew I'd had sex with Jack. I guess Jack spoke more to him about us having sex than he did with me. I guess I'm some kind of hand me down, because Ace never treated me like I meant anything to him. I think you saw some of that. And you need to know something, Wayne. That look I gave you back in high school when you claimed that I noticed you for the first time. If Maria hadn't pounced on you, I'd have done a lot more than notice."

"What I noticed was a person, who risked getting into a bad situation himself, to provide a way out of a bad situation for two other people. Sure, maybe you were trying to calm Maria down, but you also gave Ace a way out. Because after the cracks she made, he'd probably have hit her and gotten himself expelled from school. Or you and he could have ended up fighting over it. But you kept a cool head and everyone walked away from it with their dignity intact. I never forgot that. But it was just never the right time to talk to you. She watched you like a hawk."

"And there's the other reason that it's probably not a good idea," I said.

"Wayne, I hate to sound like a hard ass about this, AGAIN," she said. "But she's gone and you have to keep on living. She wouldn't want you to be miserable. So as one friend to another, let's go to a movie."

And we did. The movie was only a start. Before too long, we were spending all of our time away from classes together. Aida was a very honest woman, so she shared with me what had actually happened with Heather. After seeing Heather and I rubbing legs on the couch, Aida had simply not invited her back. Nor had she invited any of her other friends who wanted to study.

Studying together was still one of our favorite things to do and Aida often brought food that she'd cooked for us to eat together. The next turning point for us came just after Thanksgiving break. We'd gone home for Thanksgiving and had each met the other's family. My mom and dad loved Ai, especially my dad. I think they read more into the relationship than there was. When I tried to explain to my mom that we were only friends; my mom looked at me like I belonged on the short bus.

"I let your father think that same thing," she said.

Ai's parents were drawn to the same conclusion. They acted like I was already their son in law or something. When we got back to school after the Thanksgiving break, things ramped up for us. We often went out if we weren't studying and whenever we walked anywhere we were pressed against each other. The biggest change came one night when it snowed. We'd been expecting a blizzard. There were storm warnings posted all over the place. Ai had me pick her up to come over and study anyway. I reminded her about the storm warnings and she told me that she was sure they were wrong. She said that the weather people didn't know their asses from a hole in the ground.

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byStangStar06© 116 comments/ 192994 views/ 70 favorites

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