Old Times' Sake


"Aruba! Congrats," I said. "But I told you I don't want to see Becky again, and I don't have a costume anyway."

"You can borrow mine! Somebody's got to wear this crazy costume, dude. Maybe you can even fool Becky! She doesn't need to know it's you."

Well, I've said Mark was immature, and he was. You'll note, of course, that I'm his best friend. I guess that doesn't reflect very well on me. Neither did what went roaring through my mind when he said that, and I'm not proud of what came next. Not at all. But in the heat of that moment, I never imagined it would work. Nor, for that matter, did I imagine I'd want anything to do with Becky -- or her with Mark -- if I saw her again.

In any case, the next thing I knew, there I was at Mark's door with cash in my hand and evil thoughts in my mind. "Glad you agreed to this, dude," he said. "This costume is not to be wasted!"

He had a point. It was a bright green outfit, sort of a tunic and tights, with polkadots of every garish color you could name splashed everywhere and a ruffly cape that would demand attention everywhere the wearer went. The mask was best of all: skin tight, not fake looking like the usual plastic ones, but studded with bubbles to make it look like your face was melting. I couldn't help noticing it would preserve the mystery of who was behind it quite well. "Yeah, you're right," I admitted. "It'd be a shame to let this go to waste."

Back at home, I ate a quiet early dinner and told myself I wasn't really going to go through with it, if I even had the chance to, which I was sure I wouldn't. Naturally I let myself believe what I wanted to believe. I was always so very good at that with Becky. Of course I felt ridiculous putting on the costume, until I remembered this was Halloween in the city -- all sorts of freaks would be out and about -- and with such a great costume, no one would know who it was.

And at least one person would think it was Mark.

The walk to the club was a fun one, actually. Remembering Mark's suggestion about communicating with the jingle bells, I shook them in greeting whenever someone pointed and laughed. The kids loved it, and the parents smiled agreeably for the most part.

Of course, once I arrived at the club, I was hardly out of the ordinary. Aliens and vampires and a Statue of Liberty or two were grooving to the music already and enjoying the free flow of beer when I stepped into the dancefloor.

"Hey, chuckles!" called out a woman I vaguely recalled from the class after mine, who was dressed as Wonder Woman. "You from my class?!"

I shook my bells twice, for no. Of course, she didn't know what two shakes meant.

"You are, aren't you?! Jeremy, is that you?"

I shook the bells twice again.

"Love it, Jer!" called someone else.

"I get it, he's communicating with the bells!" Wonder Woman finally exclaimed. "Two shakes for yes?"

I shook my head.

"Two shakes for no?"

I shook the bells once.

"One for yes?"

I shook them once again.

"I get it! I think! Great costume, whoever you are!" And she was off to find another drink.

Wonderfully devoid of my usual shyness, since no one knew who I was, I dove into the dancing and spent the next hour or so tearing up the floor. I danced with half a dozen or so women, some I knew, some I didn't, but none of them knew me right then! I'd nearly forgotten the whole thing when she finally came onto my radar. I saw her only out of the corner of my eye at first, dressed in a lacy cowgirl outfit, and I did my best to steer my attention elsewhere. But of course I couldn't very well undo my awareness that Becky was in the room.

She wasn't about to let me off that easy either. "Mark!" she called out in drunken glee from behind me.

Oh Jesus Christ, it was working.

I turned around and shook the bells for a welcome. She was grinning broadly, the way she hadn't done for me -- for Andy -- since back when she and Mark were still together. Her costume was adorable, with her chestnut curls bursting out every which way from under her hat and her full breasts taut against the blue denim shirt, and every ounce of my resolve melted then and there.

"So good to see you again!" she called out over the music, and before I could think to stop her she was hugging me. Surely she would somehow be able to feel that I wasn't Mark, I told myself. But evidently she wasn't. "I'm glad you came," she said. "I'd really like if we could all be friends again."

I shook the bells twice -- hey, I thought it was funny.

"You and me and Andy. Is he here tonight? I'd really like to patch things up with him."

I shook the bells twice again.

She got that same exasperated-yet-endearing look she always gave Mark when he was acting childish. "So you're only talking with the bells tonight, are you?"

One shake.

"Cute, Mark, real cute. But that's why I fell for you. Listen, I still feel like you treated me rotten, but I'd like to put all that behind us if we could. We used to get along so well when Andy was around at least. He's such a little boy, but I adore him like a sidekick, you know? I know he's in the city. Don't you see him a lot?"

One shake. Every time I look in the mirror, dear.

"Okay, I feel a bit silly pouring my heart out to you like this when you're not even going to say anything in return. Are you at least going to listen and think about what I said?"

One shake.

"Great. I guess that's fair for a party anyway. No time to be getting all serious. It's just, Mark, now that it's been a while and my wounds are healed, it's nice to recall the good times, you know? It doesn't have to be gone forever. And that goes for Andy too. I was really hoping he'd be here tonight."

One shake.

"You too? I'll bet. You guys are inseparable from what I've heard. So has he ever come out?"

Two shakes.

"He has? About time. I don't know why he couldn't just tell me he was gay, it might have saved our friendship. I mean, he told me he was fine with being just friends, but anybody could see he wasn't acting like it. Then he had to go and cut me off cold, I guess because he was so conflicted about women or something. Did he ever tell you why he dropped me as a friend?"

Two shakes. I hadn't ever told Mark about the dance incident.

"It was like, one day he was faithful as a sheepdog, the next he didn't even have the time of day for me. I was like, geez, Andy, wasn't I always there when you needed me? I cared about him! He couldn't take a hint to save his life, but I cared about him all the same."

I was too flabbergasted to bother with the bells, and I had no idea what to say anyway. I had always wondered if she simply hadn't given me a second thought that night at the dance. I guess I was right.

"Anyway, enough about that, Mark," she said, and the grin was back. "Want another beer?"

One shake.

"Great, and then how about a dance for old times' sake?"

She handed me a paper cup with the latest round of cheap beer, and I held it in one hand and the bells in the other and followed her off to a less-crowded corner of the room. Quickly she guzzled her beer down and tossed the cup aside, and I got to enjoy one sight I had envisioned so vividly a few years before: Becky dancing just for me. The tassels on her costume flailed every which way, her long blue skirt swayed enticingly all over the place, and every now and then I caught a glimpse of her bra through her button-down shirt. Her face showed only wild abandon and a sense of welcome for an old friend.

Other friends came and went -- most of them now guessing I was Mark as well, if they expressed an opinion at all -- and our group got bigger and smaller depending on the popularity of each song. After enough time had passed that I almost felt comfortable in my masquerade and pleased with myself for dancing with the enemy, a wrinkle arose that I hadn't anticipated: a slow song. This wasn't junior high, after all -- who slow-dances anymore?

The answer presented itself all too quickly: before I could think of a Plan B, Becky had her arms around me and was swaying to whatever silly love song they were playing. With no choice, I relented and relaxed. Just what was I feeling then? I couldn't have told you then, much less now. All I had lived for just a couple of years before, all that had been cruelly withheld just because I wasn't any good at flirting or something like that, here it was all of a sudden. And I no longer wanted it, at all, except maybe I did. There I was in the arms of someone I had once loved, then hated, and she didn't even know it was me!

I can't deny, she did feel lovely in my arms, just as I had always imagined she would. Her robust breasts felt divine up against me just like I had always imagined they would, and I could nearly sense the joy of the brief reunion in her embrace, even if that joy was meant for someone else. I let myself enjoy it all in spite of myself, until she had to open her mouth.

"You're better at this than you used to be, Mark. No offense, but you used to be so awkward. Now you know just how to hold a woman."

Love is blind. Or worse.

"No offense, but Andy used to be better at this than you. I'm pretty sure we danced together at least once, and all I could think was, here we go again. I'll never love Andy, too big a whiner and more like a brother than anything, but why can't Mark be good at all the things he is?"

No, there was no long-ago dance we had shared that I had forgotten. I couldn't have forgotten such a thing if you paid me! I could only guess at what other bizarre memories she might have created for herself, or why. But she was right about one thing: I could have danced with her better than Mark did on the rare occasions she could get him out on the floor at all. I took no offense at her calling me a whiner, as I was long past being capable of any hurt at her hands. Nothing could have touched the feeling of watching her dancing with that other guy while I ate my heart out on the sidelines that night.

"Anyway, it's nice to see you've learned something since then, Mark. This Randi gal is lucky." Pulling back now, she poked me in the chest. "I hope she appreciates the work your old girlfriends did on you!"

I couldn't resist. The beer cup being long gone, I poked her back, right between the breasts. Despite my lust and love having long since given in to hate, touching her there felt great, soft and supple as my finger disappeared into the fabric and then into her robust chest.

"Uh!" she grunted. "I see you haven't grown up completely!"

A fast song kicked in just in time, and I began dancing playfully around her now, enjoying the view but not trying to touch her again.

"Mark!" she called. I shook the bells at her, randomly now, as I was tipsy and she hadn't figured out the one for yes, two for no anyway. "Mark!" She grabbed my hand in both of hers and silenced the bells. I don't know why I heeded her touch and stopped dancing, but I did. Looking her in the eye now, I recognized the unmistakable tilted head and crooked smile she always used when she was about to demand her way on something. "Mark, let me offer you something." She beckoned me toward her so she could whisper in my ear, and I leaned in. "Let's do it, Mark, just once for old times' sake. In there."

I shook the bells randomly. I didn't know what else to do.

"In there," she repeated, pointing at a door marked 'Employees Only'. "It's the supply closet. If they don't see us go in, nobody needs to know. Come on!" She took my free hand and, after a quick look to see no one was paying attention, yanked open the door and pulled me in after her. Among the million different thoughts going through my head just then, I was vaguely aware that she knew exactly where the light switch was -- had she done this before?!

As if she had read my mind (or Mark's mind?), Becky gave me that same smarmy grin again and explained, "Yes, I've been in here before. Don't act all surprised, Mark, remember you were my first but I wasn't yours." I already knew that, though I had never much cared. Becky wasn't done, in any case. "You know, Mark, I felt used when you broke it off, like you'd only ever been using me for sex, but you know what? You also taught me to really love sex. You know what an addictive personality I am, Mark." As she explained all this, she pulled me up close against her, with a stack of cardboard boxes at her back, and played with my chest with both her hands. "All I'm saying is, don't be so surprised I've done this before."

I nearly pointed out that I hadn't said I was surprised, but I stopped myself just in time and just jingled my bells instead.

"So," she said, stepping back and unbuttoning her blouse. "Do you miss this?"

One shake!

"So do I," she said, pulling her blouse off now and standing proudly in her bra before me. She looked just as lovely in that state of undress as I had always imagined alone in my room. She took my hands in hers and then placed them on her breasts, and they felt just as wonderful as they looked. Recalling how I'd hated her for a time, I didn't want to like the sensation, but I did. "I'll be frank, Mark, you weren't the best I've had. But since you were the first, I still have a lot of fond memories. I learned a lot from youuuuuuuuuu..." Her voice trailed away at last as my hands did the magic I had always imagined them doing to her.

Mind you, I wouldn't have minded hearing more details of how Mark hadn't been any good in bed. But what came next was even better. "Ohhhh, Mark, you've gotten a lot better at that! Wow, wish you'd had a magic touch like that before!" Her nipples were hard now and she was wriggling happily at my touch. "God, Mark, wow!" She reached back and unhooked her bra, and tore it away as quickly as she could. "Kiss'em, Mark, please...I'll bet you're better at that too!"

I did as I was told. Her breasts weren't quite as round or supple as I had always imagined and her nipples were quite a bit smaller. But I had no complaints, and of course neither did she. As I took my turn kissing each one and caressing the other with a free hand, she lost herself in pleasure, and her moans were just as delightful as I had always imagined. I got that much right, at least. I was grateful for the loud music just beyond the door, as she was louder than I had dared imagine. As I enjoyed her responsiveness, I realized I was glad I'd never guessed how loud she could be; that would have made my jealousy all the worse back then.

"Got it, Mark! A small one!" she yelped between short breaths. "Stop. Wait a minute." She hoisted herself up onto the stack of boxes behind us and pulled her skirt most of the way up. "Got a condom?"

Two shakes. Maybe that was my own safety valve -- I had thought about bringing one.

"Hope you've learned more about using your fingers, then," Becky said, reaching up under her skirt to pull her panties down. I had only the most limited view of her womanhood from my angle standing before her, but I was more interested in touching than looking right then. Given her state of agitation, I figured Becky was of the same mind. And so there I found myself, in bizarre disguise, with two of my fingers in my worst enemy's vagina. And it felt beautiful, in spite of what I wanted to think of her. Evidently she thought it felt beautiful too, for she was soon arching her back and wiggling her hips as best she could from her perch on the boxes. "Oh, Mark...do it, baby, yes! God, you're a lot better at this too! So much gentler than before...thank you...Oh!!!!" She was rubbing my arm to encourage me, and I could feel her rubbing growing harder as she got closer.

I was sad -- ashamed of my deception, and lonely because I still couldn't share the moment with her like I'd always imagined doing -- but I couldn't deny Becky looked and sounded beautiful when she was lost in the throes of orgasm. She rocked hard and clutched my arm at the big moment, and let out something approaching a scream, only the music outside easily drowned her out. When she stopped shuddering, she held my arm in place and said, "Just leave your fingers in for a minute. Old times' sake." Then she gazed into my eyes, and for a moment I was terrified that she'd recognized me. Evidently not, though, because after a few seconds she added, "Thank you, Mark. Beautiful. You've learned a lot since then."

She slid off the boxes and stood up, and reached for her bra to put back on. "Now you," she said. "Fair's fair, and I miss blowing you, believe it or not." She reached for a zipper on my pants; luckily there wasn't one, although she did get a grip on my hard cock. "Looks like you're ready for it anyway!" she added.

Two shakes. My fingers might have fooled her but my dick never would. I couldn't imagine Mark and I were that much alike. One look and she wouldn't know it was me, but she would know it wasn't Mark, which meant she probably would guess it was me.

"Oh, Mark, don't expect me to believe you've become that generous!" Becky teased. "I know you!" She reached between my legs again and tried to pull my tights down.

Another two shakes, and I backed off. I was beginning to panic now.

"Mark, come on! Just a quick one!" Now she looked annoyed. "Are you afraid, is that it?" She was still in her bra, and I backed off towards the door and put my hand on the knob. "You wouldn't do that!" she snapped. "Christ, what is it with you all of a sudden? You're so much better at giving now, why don't you want to get a little? Why should you have all the fun anyway?"

Why should I have all the fun? Hadn't she had at least two orgasms on my watch? I kept my hand threateningly on the doorknob while she stood half-dressed before me.

"Okay, I get it, you always were a tease," she said. "Cute, but I am going to have my turn with you, Mark. You didn't think I was going to bring you in here only for half a fuck, did you?

One shake.

"Go ahead and keep your hand there if you want." She gathered up her skirt and knelt before me on the floor. "You know that kind of crap is what I always loved about you anyway, so boyish and wonderfully unpredictable," she explained as she tugged at my tights again. "If I wanted a gentleman, I'd have gone with Andy instead. That little boy worshipped the ground I walked on, and I could have had him any old time I wanted, and he never would have left me like you did either. Hell, we could have been married by now. But he'd have bored me to death."

Just as she found the waistband of my tights and hooked her finger in, I jerked back and flung the door open.

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