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Walking back down to the old field brought back all the memories, all the wonderful moments of high school. I'd had a better time of it than most kids these days, and I remembered those autumn afternoons spent on the gridiron fondly. I guess the fact that I was the starting quarterback and captain of the team had a little bit to do with it. The memory of those years was running through my mind as I approached the field. There was another game going on today, one with different players and different opponents, but some things remained the same. Youthful enthusiasm, dedication, drive, determination, the hunger to win... it was all still there, out on the field and in the stands.
I stopped down by the end zone and leaned over the waist-high fence that surrounded the football field. This was the same exact field I'd spent four years on as QB. I looked over at my high school team, in a huddle, and had to grin. The QB was wearing my old jersey, #15. Only, instead of my last name written across the back, it said "JENNINGS." I wondered who Jennings was, and if he was any good. I decided to stick around and watch a while.
Looking over at the home crowd, I spotted the cheerleaders working the stands, their short, dark blue skirts swishing side to side as they went through their routines. I had to smile, and then I had to remember.
My breath was coming hard. I chanced a glance over my shoulder. The clock on the scoreboard, and the scoreboard itself, told the entire story. There was less than a minute in the game, the score was 28-0, and my team, the Falcons, were leading. I'd passed for four touchdowns and over 200 yards that day. It was the last game of the season. After coming off a perfect 8-0 undefeated season, I'd taken the Falcons first to sectionals, then regionals, and finally, to the state championships. Well, the Class III-C championships, but it was still the state championships. And we were winning. With less than sixty seconds to go, nothing could stop us. The clock was stopped, and I took a few seconds to catch my breath.
I looked at my teammates in the huddle and had to smile. We'd come far as a group, playing together for four years, first as the Freshman team, then as JV, and finally when we were Juniors, we were all promoted, en masse, to Varsity. And we'd kicked some serious ass all up and down the county. This was our crowning moment. I looked from face to dirty face, uniform to muddy uniform. And then my eyes came to rest on Todd.
His uniform was spotless. His helmet unscratched. The back of my own helmet had sixty-three small football decals on it, one for every touchdown I'd passed, handed off, or run across the line myself. Todd's helmet was bare. In four years of playing football, Todd had been in on exactly six plays. This was his seventh.
Todd was my best friend, had been since the 2nd grade. Todd was a great guy, the absolute heart and soul of the team. Everyone liked him, a few of the guys might even have loved him. He was at every practice, giving two hundred percent, doing everything the starters did, only slower and a little less gracefully. Hell, a lot less gracefully. Todd was a great guy, my best friend, but possibly the worst football player the world had ever seen. The six previous plays the coach had put him in on were all in games where we led by at least three touchdowns, and always late in the fourth quarter. He'd played hard and sweet and honest, but I'd never given him a pass or a handoff. The coach called the plays, and as much as the coach knew Todd wanted to handle the ball just once in a game, he'd always called running plays or passing plays to the opposite side. I smiled at my best friend and he smiled back, excited to be playing in this, the state championship game. Something he would be able to tell his grandchildren about, I thought.
I glanced over my other shoulder and took the sign from the coach. He wanted me to fake a handoff to one running back and give it to the other. I nodded, turned back into the huddle... and set a completely different set of circumstances into motion. We were one, maybe two plays away from the end of the season, the end of our high school careers, the end of a championship year. I was captain and QB. I was taking control.
I looked at my teammates and said it. "Red right 39. Todd." Todd gulped. I looked from face to face, looking for dissent. At least three of the linemen had seen the sign, and knew that I'd changed it. All I saw were warm smiles and knowing looks. They wanted this, too. They wanted to give Todd the chance to catch a ball in a game, make a contribution. He'd earned it, and I knew that my teammates would give their all to make sure that it happened.
We broke the huddle and assembled, Todd on my left, at tight end. The play was simplicity itself. A twenty yard run, then ten in. When he turned, the ball would be in his hands. He knew it, I knew it. He had only to catch it.
The defense lined up, and I checked it. They were expecting a run play, or perhaps even for me to fall on the ball and run down the clock. Everything started moving in slow motion. I could see my breath coming in soft white puffs as I leaned over the center and looked right, then left. My eyes met Todd's, and then unfocused a little more, and I saw Lynn standing behind Todd, on the sidelines, her pom-poms forgotten, her hands at her face, looking at her boyfriend.
Lynn and Todd had been going out since anyone could remember. He had asked her out in the seventh grade, when she was... well, not exactly ugly, but she was nothing to brag about. Kind of short, with dirty blonde hair she wore in a listless ponytail. Todd had shyly approached her and asked her to go out with him, and thrilled, she had accepted. They had been together ever since, and were a shoe-in to be named Senior Couple when the yearbook came out later that spring.
Lynn had changed a lot in the six years she and Todd had dated. Sometime over our sophomore summer, she had bloomed. She was gorgeous, tall and lithe and blonde and tanned and perfect. Her high, saucy breasts caught more than one eye as she walked down the hall, and the rear view was even better. Her tight, taut ass was something to behold. The boys had started coming around then, hanging around Lynn's locker, asking her out, trying to pry her away from Todd. To Lynn's credit, she had stayed loyal, remembering when none of the boys would even give her a second glance. Remembering that Todd had loved her when she looked just okay... and she loved him. Todd loved her. And I loved her.
My head swivelled back to stare at the opposing noseguard, and as I called out the count, I remembered...
June 1972 - three months earlier
The phone call caught my by surprise. It was the first week of summer vacation, and I was planning on sleeping in. My summer job wasn't scheduled to start for another week, and Todd was away at summer camp, working as a counselor. My own girlfriend and I had broken up about a month ago, so it couldn't be her.
"'Lo?" I mumbled from under the covers.
"David? It's Lynn." There was something wrong, something in her voice that snapped me awake in a second. "Could you come over please? I... I... oh, God, David, please just come over!"
"I'll be right there," I said, and hung up. I jumped out of bed and threw on a pair of old, faded jeans and a t-shirt. I slid my naked feet into some topsiders and ran down the stairs, grabbing my car keys as I went out the front door. My new car, a '69 Mustang, sat in the driveway, sleek and silent. Dad had given it to me for my 17th birthday a few weeks ago, and it was the love of my life. I jumped in and fired it up, backed into the street and turned towards Lynn's house. It was normally about a ten minute drive. I made in three.
I knew something was up when I turned down her street. Cars were parked everywhere. I parked in a neighbor's driveway and made my across the street. Parked directly in front of Lynn's house was an olive-drab Army staff car. Standing on her front porch were an Army captain, a chaplain, and a woman, probably the Captain's wife. It was a notification team, and I knew instantly what had happened.
Lynn's brother, Kevin, was in Vietnam, with the Army. He was a LRRP (Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol), assigned to the 173rd Airborne Division near Chu Li. LRRP duty was among the most dangerous duty there was. Their name said it all. Long Range Recon; deep into enemy territory.
I ascended the stairs and nodded to the Army personnel. I tapped the chaplain on the shoulder and motioned him over with my chin.
"Yes, my son?"
"I'm a friend of the family's. Actually, a friend of Lynn's. She called me a few moments ago, but I don't know what's happening. It would help me a lot if you could give me some idea. I assume this is about Kevin?" The padre nodded sadly. "KIA?" I asked, and he shook his head.
"MIA. I'm sorry, son."
I thanked him and went inside. Lynn was sitting on the couch in the living room, sniffling softly. I went to her, and she buried her face in my shoulder. I held her and stroked her back as she let it out, the sobs wracking her petite body. After about half an hour she straightened up, ran both hands through her hair and demanded that I take her somewhere... anywhere.
We jumped in my car and we drove out to the country. County Route Twelve is a long, windy stretch of driving with plenty of serene, beautiful scenery. I held Lynn's hand as we drove, more to give comfort than anything else.
Now, before any of you think me a cad and assume that I made moves on my best friend's long-time girlfriend when she was vulnerable, let me just say here that I may have been a normal, hormonally-charged horny teenager back then, but I wasn't that much of a cad. I was just there for her, when she needed a friend. As the weeks went by, we spent a lot of time together. She and Todd still wrote, and Todd wrote me a letter thanking me for being there for Lynn when he couldn't. He'd wanted to quit his summer job and come home to be with her, but Lynn had insisted that he stay. Todd needed the money for college, and Lynn had me there for... comfort.
Neither of us was sure when it started. She slowly became accustomed to the fact that her brother was missing in action. The crying jags lessened, and she started to smile and laugh more. The first time I made her laugh after the awful news, she stopped in the middle and looked stricken. I took both her hands in mine and told her softly that it was ok to laugh, ok to have some fun, that Kevin would want her to go on with her life. (I was always careful to refer to him in the present tense.) "Never forget him, Lynn... but live your life." She thanked me, and kissed me on the cheek, and I forgot about it.
About eight weeks after the awful news had been delivered, towards the middle of August, Lynn and I were spending most of our free time together. We went to the movies a few times, and out to the lake once or twice. I enjoyed her company, and she mine. She was a funny, intelligent girl, sexy as all hell. I can still remember how she looked in that bikini... and later, how she looked out of it.
How Lynn and I almost came to make love in the back seat of my car up at the lake is still a little cloudy. I knew from Todd that Lynn was a virgin, and that she was saving herself for her husband. Even in the aftermath of the sexual revolution, some girls still wanted to present their husbands with an untouched body. Apparently, Lynn was one of those girls, and it added, somehow, to her sexiness. Knowing (also from Todd) that she loved to neck and that she'd let him touch her nubile breasts through her top, but never underneath, listening to Todd's accounts of her growing excitement and horniness under his hands had always turned me on. I'd been silently rooting for Todd to wear down Lynn's resistance and finally make love with her. For me, at that time, it was a foregone conclusion that they would marry after college. After all, they were applying to the same schools.
Lynn and I were up at the lake, one of the last weekends of summer before Todd was to return. She got all sentimental on me, thanking me for being there for her when she needed it, for being her friend. She was sitting in the passenger seat, turned slightly towards me, and I could see the crotch of her bikini stretched tightly across her mound. So tight, in fact, that the fat lips of her pussy were creating a channel in the material.
I leaned over and was planning to kiss her on the cheek, like I always did, when Lynn turned her head at the last minute and our lips met for the first time. It was a soft, lingering kiss, one that slowly grew in heat and passion. The shared experiences of the last two months surrounded and enveloped us, and before we knew it, we were necking like long-time boyfriend and girlfriend. Her arms came around my neck, and she pulled me against her, forcing my body on top of hers. My hands went to her hips, her soft, silken hips, and then around her back. We were sort of half on our backs, half on our sides... my hand gently cupped an asscheek and tested its firmness with my fingers.
Her buttock was perhaps the most perfect female teenaged butt I had ever felt, and I never wanted to let go. I pulled her against me, and she could feel my warm, aching need pressing into her belly from inside my swimsuit.
Suddenly, Lynn's mouth opened against mine, and I felt her tongue licking at my lips. I opened my mouth to hers, and we started Frenching deeply, adding more fire and passion and heat to the kiss. One of my hands came up and cupped a breast; I expected her to stop, and half of me knew that I'd grabbed her tit for exactly that reason. I was hoping that she would break away and slap me, tell me to behave myself, and then the moment would be over. But I wouldn't be honest if I didn't admit that the other half of me wanted to feel her breasts for the sake of feeling them, that I'd always wondered what it would be like to feel and taste her delicious looking, saucy little tits.
Surprising me, Lynn groaned into my mouth and pressed her body harder against mine, crushing her right tit into the palm of my left hand. My thumb worked the nipple softly, slowly, arousing it to a hot, hard point in a matter of seconds. And then instinct took over. Unlike my friend Todd, I had enjoyed the pleasure of a woman, two women, in fact. I knew what to do. I'd fucked both my previous girlfriends, but I knew instinctively that this was not a fuck. I was going to make love to Lynn, and her to me, and it was going to be one of the most special moments of both our lives.
My hands went to her neck, and I undid the knot holding her bikini top on. It was dark and deserted at the lake, but the moonlight gave me enough to see by as her top fell away to reveal two breasts, perfect as only a teenager's can be, full and firm and round. They were stark white in contrast to her tanned chest and abdomen, and the difference really turned me on. Hadn't someone once said to me that white meat was the best part?
I dropped my lips to her breasts and circled one full, hard nipple with my tongue, taking it gently between my lips to suck and lightly bite. Lynn's fingers wrapped themselves in my hair as she tugged me tightly to her breasts. I went from one to the other, giving as much equal attention as I could manage.
"Oh.... David.... this feels so good," Lynn moaned. I just grunted in response... and then I lifted my head, looked into her eyes and kissed her softly, almost brotherly, on the lips. "Are you sure?" I asked.
Lynn stared into my eyes.
"We're going to make love, aren't we?" she asked in a small, scared voice.
"If we keep this up, we are. But if you want to, I'll stop right now. I'd be full of shit if I said I never thought about doing this with you. I've been attracted to you for years. But..." I drifted off.
"Todd is your best friend," Lynn said softly. "And he's my boyfriend." I just nodded. Lynn kissed me again, and then buried her face in my neck, her hands lightly stroking my chest. My arms went around her back, and we held each other for about two minutes.
Finally, Lynn pushed away from me, only a little, and then kissed me again, hungrily, like a woman would. "David," she said, "This is probably not going to make much sense. What Todd and I have is... separate from you and me. I love Todd and you can believe that. But, in a way, a different way, I love you, too. Not the way a girlfriend and boyfriend love each other, not romantic love, but love just the same. A special love. You were there for me when I needed you. You spent all your free time with me this summer. You helped me get through one of the toughest things in my life. I would have fallen apart without you. When Todd comes back, he and I will still be going out, and you and I will just be... over. It wouldn't be fair to Todd to, well, share me with you. This is my way of saying... thanks."
"You could have gotten a card," I teased, and then grew serious. "Lynn, it does make sense. You feel very close to me right now, very special and loved and protected, and I'm glad that I could do this for you. But this is something special, something you should share with Todd, or the man you're going to marry. I love you, kiddo. Not in the way that a boyfriend loves a girlfriend, or a husband loves a wife, not even the way a brother loves a sister. The way two very special friends love each other. I'll always be here for you, Lynn. I'll always be your friend. Even if Todd and I aren't friends, which is pretty hard to believe, you and I will still be, because we've shared this night, this moment. Even though it's not going to end the way either of us planned, it will still be special, because we both realized that we love Todd more than we love each other, because we both know that we wanted to do this -- but we didn't. We stopped in time." And with that, I picked up her top, retied it around her neck, gave her one last, soft kiss on the mouth, and sat up.
We were silent on the drive home, both of lost in our thoughts. I was sure that I was going to kick myself in the morning. When I dropped Lynn off, she got out of the car and walked around to my side.
"Walk me up?" she asked, and I got out and followed her. At her front door, Lynn took my hands and put them on her waist. "David, you have no idea how much I love you right now. What you said, up there, in the car, goes double for me. I'll always be your friend, and I'll always be here for you. All I can say is that the girl that gets you is going to be the luckiest girl I know. You're a very special guy, David, and I don't want you ever forgetting that." And then we kissed one final time. Softly, gently, on the lips, the passion overriden by tenderness. We hugged, and Lynn let herself in.
Todd returned six days later.
October, 1972 - The Game
I saw Lynn standing there, on the sidelines, her pom-poms forgotten, hands at her mouth. I caught her eye, and she smiled at me for a half second before turning her attention back to Todd, back to the man she loved. Some of the other cheerleaders had teased her at first, for dating the guy who was essentially the team loser. Lynn had defended Todd so ardently and, yes, viciously, that they had backed off. No one was looking at her as she watched Todd. They were working the crowd, the other girls taking up Lynn's slack as she watched perhaps the final play of Todd's high school football career.