tagExhibitionist & VoyeurSaturday Night School Ch. 04

Saturday Night School Ch. 04

byjessica_tang_vonharper©

Charlie had always felt like he was invisible at Pine Hills High School. Or, perhaps it was more accurate to say that he felt more like a school employee than a student, invisible in the same way that Daryl the security guard was invisible to the high school kids. Or the custodians, or the guy who maintained the sports fields. Charlie had joined the AV department his first year in high school, and by junior year he was the student supervisor. He was always at the football games, always at the basketball games, always at every event, but he was always there working, and no one paid any attention to him.

Now, suddenly, everyone could see him. The story of the cafeteria incident had travelled quickly around the school and now it seemed like everyone knew what had happened. Everyone knew Michelle had confronted him in the middle of the cafeteria. Everyone knew she had run away crying, and he'd chased after her. They were happy to fill in the rest of the details themselves.

People he rarely talked to now came up to him as if he was an old friend. Jerrod Sanders threw his arm around Charlie in the hallway, leaned in like they were co-conspirators and whispered, "Charlie! What's this I hear about you got something going on with Michelle?" The skateboarders that inhabited the bench behind the auditorium chorused "Way to go, Charlie!" when he walked by.

Myra Tenney and a group of junior girls surrounded him at his locker, with expectant smiles and twinkling eyes, to tell him that they would deliver a message to Michelle if he wanted. Also to share with him an assortment of other rumors they had heard, as if he was part of their gossip ring. His response, "This is between me and Michelle," only caused the girls to giggle and exchange meaningful looks.

He didn't want to talk to anyone but Michelle, but she was now impossible to find. He wandered the hallways, searching for a glimpse of her, even staking out her locker, but she never seemed to be around. He thought maybe she had called in sick, but then he glimpsed her at the end of the day, far off at the other end of the hall, walking with a group of her friends. He rushed down the hall trying to catch her, but by the time he reached where he'd seen her, she was gone.

Charlie had to face Ronni in the AV room. She approached him, looking pensive. "Charlie, did you already ask Michelle Santos to prom?" she asked in a low voice.

"No!" he said. "Look... I know there's some rumors going around..."

"I overheard some boys talking about it." Ronni chewed her bottom lip. "They said you had to choose between Michelle and me and you chose me. Which is good, I guess, but some of the things they were saying about me weren't very nice... like why would you choose someone like me over someone like her. They said you were crazy to pick me..."

Charlie shook his head. "I'm sorry... I hope you just ignored them..."

"I'm good at ignoring negativity, most of the time. But geez, Charlie... when you asked me to the prom, I didn't expect all this drama... I thought we were just two friends going together..."

"I know." Charlie rubbed his forehead, trying to push away the throbbing in his temple. "Here's what happened. I met Michelle on a weekend when we were both at the school, when the school was pretty empty. She was doing spirit squad stuff, I was editing in the bay. We went out a few times. Three times. Honestly, I didn't think she liked me that much. She hardly ever talked to me when we were at school, kinda like she didn't want anyone to know she had gone out with me. So we stopped dating and I thought that was the end of it. But then she got upset that I asked you to the prom instead of her, and she let me know in the cafeteria in front of everyone."

"So... would you rather go with her?" Ronni gazed at him.

Charlie remembered his moment of epiphany the day after Third Michelle. Whatever was going on in Michelle's head, he didn't need to be the one to make sense of it. "I want to go with you. That's why I asked you. I didn't ask her."

"Okay." Ronni nodded. "Have you talked to Michelle?"

"Not yet."

"You should."

"I will." Charlie looked towards the glass window, the window where he had seen Michelle walking naked that first Saturday.

"Girls can be like that, you know," Ronni said. "My brother's ex acted like she didn't care at all about him, until he found a new girlfriend. Then suddenly she acted super jealous. Sometimes girls take it for granted you'll be there, until you aren't, then they get possessive."

Charlie shrugged. "I don't know."

Ronni grinned. "Or maybe she's just crazy."

Charlie chuckled. "Yeah. That could be it."

They laughed.

That night, Charlie sat in his room, gazing at Michelle's clothing which he had carefully arranged on his bed, and he thought maybe he was the crazy one. All he could think about was how he had never seen her wear this outfit. She had discarded the clothing in the back of his car before coming to see him, the day of the Second Michelle. He had never seen her wearing it, and now he never would.

Why did he tell himself in the daylight that he was going to try for a normal relationship with Ronni, when he still had reminders of Michelle hidden all around his room? If he was serious about moving on from Michelle, he should take all of it, throw it in a paper bag and toss it in a dumpster somewhere. Everything. Even his tribute video to her, which he had put hours into. Everything.

He couldn't do it.

Maybe after he talked to her. Yes, that was the answer. He would wait to talk to her, get some closure. Then he'd make a clean break, throw it all away.

***

The next day, he didn't bother trying to hunt down Michelle. Instead, he found Vanessa Watson.

Vanessa was the head cheerleader, and Michelle's best friend. Everyone called her Vampire Vanessa, a nickname she didn't seem to mind. She had perfect teeth, except for her canines, which were slightly crooked, protruding down more than normal. They did look a little like fangs when she smiled, and combined with her raven black hair and light complexion, the nickname fit her well.

Charlie found her at her locker. Alone, thankfully, so he didn't need to ask to speak to her in private. He wanted to deal with as few of Michelle's friends as possible.

"Hi, Vanessa," he said.

"Hi, Charlie." She pulled books out of her locker without looking at him. She didn't seem overly surprised that he was there.

"I need to talk to Michelle. Do you think you could ask her if she'll meet me?"

"I don't know, Charlie... what do you want to talk to her about?" When he struggled to formulate a response, she chuckled. "Can't answer, huh? That's all right. She won't tell me anything either."

"I just need to talk to her."

Vanessa closed her locker door and turned to face him. "You know, Charlie, a week ago I would have said Michelle was my best friend and that we had no secrets from each other. I thought she pretty much told me everything. I believed it right up to the point she stood up in the cafeteria and walked over to you. Now, I'm really not sure if I know her at all."

He kept his face impassive. "Will you ask her?"

Vanessa scowled for a moment. Then she rolled her eyes. "Fine. Tell you what. Give me your number. I'll talk to Michelle. If she wants to talk to you, I'll text you and tell you where to be. Maybe she'll show up, maybe she won't. If she doesn't want to talk to you, I'm just going to text 'sorry', and that'll be it. Okay?"

"Okay. Thanks."

"I don't know what happened between you and her. She hasn't told me anything, so far. But I'll tell you what, Charlie. You're an idiot to turn down Michelle. She's the nicest person I know. I could easily recite a list of boys who want to take her to prom, a long list. Why she wanted to go with you, I have no idea. Just like I have no idea why you wouldn't want to take her. This whole thing makes absolutely no sense to me."

Charlie hadn't intended to tell Vanessa anything, but now he felt like he needed to defend himself. "I found out Michelle wanted to go to prom with me the same time everyone else did. In the cafeteria. That was the first time she ever mentioned the prom to me."

"Bullshit," Vanessa retorted. "You and Michelle have something going. She didn't just spontaneously decide you would ask her. She had a reason to think you would."

"We had something going," Charlie said. "But not anymore." He opened his Calculus textbook to the first page and quickly jotted his phone number in the corner. He tore off the corner and gave it to Vanessa.

"No promises," she said.

"I know."

Half an hour later, his phone buzzed. He checked and saw a text message: "Football stands, top row, after school."

He texted back: "Tell her I'll be there."

"Thanks, Vanessa," he murmured. "Owe you one."

***

He ascended the football stands right after his last class. He looked across the long rows, but he was the only one there. That time of year, the track team used the football field and surrounding track, and Charlie could see a handful of runners already doing warm-up laps. Most of the track team wouldn't show up until later; practice didn't start until an hour after last bell. Charlie made his way to the last row and sat down. He watched the joggers circle the track. They took no notice of him, sitting up there all alone.

Maybe she wouldn't show up.

It was an overcast day. They predicted rain later, and Charlie could already feel a cold breeze stirring the air. He wished he had brought his jacket. He wondered how long he would wait for her.

Then he saw her. She appeared at the edge of the field and glanced up at the stands, quickly locating him. He was the only one up there. She walked to the stairs and started to make her way up to him. She was beautiful, as always, wearing a grey knit dress and black coat, with black leggings. She looked down at the stairs as she ascended them, only looking his way when she reached his row.

"Hi, Michelle." His voice sounded muted, as if the still air swallowed the sound.

"Charlie." She sounded tired. She sat down near him, leaving a gap between them.

They sat in silence, gazing at the empty field. Finally, she spoke. "Glenn Mack asked me to the prom. I said yes."

"When?"

"When did he ask me? Or when did I say yes? He asked me before I heard you were going with Ronni. I said yes yesterday."

Glenn Mack was a football player. Tall, handsome, athletic. The type of guy someone like Michelle would be expected to go to prom with. The type of guy Charlie thought she would go with in the first place.

"Did you really think we would go to prom together?" he asked.

"I don't know. I thought you would ask, at least. I mean, I didn't know if you would want to go at all. But I thought, if you did want to go, you'd want to ask me..." She looked down. "It doesn't matter."

"I never thought you'd want to go with me."

"You didn't ask. Why'd you think I wouldn't want to go with you?"

"Because I thought you'd want to go with someone like Glenn Mack." Charlie rubbed his forehead. "We spend our time in different circles. We don't hang out with the same people. You don't talk to me, you don't even say hi to me. You pass right by me in the hall like I'm not there."

"You do the same to me," she said quietly. "You don't talk to me. You walk by me and don't look at me. You told me we were a secret."

"Aren't we a secret? I thought you didn't want anyone to know..."

"I never said we were a secret. You said it."

Charlie looked at her. "Really? We're not a secret? You think we should tell everyone what we do in the school on the weekends?"

"No. No! Of course not." She frowned. "It's none of anyone's business. But just because we don't tell anyone what we do, that doesn't mean that I thought you and I were a secret."

"Well, what does it mean then?"

Michelle didn't answer for a moment. Then she said, "Daryl knows about us. He thinks I'm your girlfriend. Remember? You introduced me as your girlfriend."

The corner of Charlie's mouth twitched. "You don't really think of yourself as my girlfriend, do you?"

Michelle looked at her black boots, propped up on the seat in front of her. "No..." she whispered.

"After that first Saturday... I tried to talk to you in the hall. I thought you'd be glad to see me, or something. I saw you and I said hi, and you walked right by. I tried again later and the same thing. Walked right by. Like you didn't want anything to do with me."

"I was shy."

"You were shy?" He stared at her. "Two weeks later, you came up to me completely naked and sat right in my lap. You didn't seem shy then."

Michelle twisted a strand of her hair around her finger. "I didn't know what to say to you. You caught me walking around the school naked! And instead of running away from you and getting dressed, I stayed naked and I just kept going. I even went outside with you... and we walked to the locker room... then we had sex..." She bit her lip. "I didn't really know you. I hoped you wouldn't tell anyone... but I didn't know you enough to trust you yet. I didn't know what there was between us...or if there was anything! Or if it was just something that had happened that went out of control, and would never happen again. I guess I wanted you to tell me what it meant. Because I didn't know. I didn't know what it meant." She took a breath. "I guess I thought you would chase after me. When guys like me, they chase after me. They'll ask me out and even if I say no, they'll ask again, and again..."

"I guess I don't know the rules," Charlie said. "I didn't know I was supposed to chase after you. I didn't think I had to. I thought that Saturday had already made us close. We had sex. That meant something to me."

"What, and you think it didn't mean anything to me?"

"Did it?"

"How can you even ask that!" Michelle glared at him.

"You acted like it never even happened." Charlie hunched over.

"No, YOU acted like it never even happened." Her voice was starting to rise. "You know what I did? I came back to you, and I gave myself to you. I came to your AV room and I sat in your lap like I belonged to you. You wanted to take me to the locker room so you could have sex with me, and I went. Then you wanted to have sex with me again on your car, and I did that, too."

"Michelle... keep your voice down..."

"And then you acted like that never happened! So I came to you again, and I gave myself to you again. Completely, absolutely. I was naked, on my knees, with your dick in my mouth, trying to make you happy while you were working on that stupid play!"

"I never asked you to..."

"I guess Ronni says hi to you when you pass her in the hall. Is that what it is? Is that the difference between me and her? I've let you fuck me, what, four times? But she says hi to you in the hall. So that's why you'd rather be with her. Of course! It all makes sense now."

"No! That's not why."

"You know what? I don't even want to know why." Michelle set her boots back down onto the metal flooring, causing a rattle to vibrate through the stands. "You take Ronni to the prom. I hope you have a good time. I hope you treat her better than you treated me."

"Michelle..." he started, but she was already on her feet and walking away. He thought about chasing her, but the truth was, he didn't really know what else to say. He watched her walk down the stairs, watched her until she was gone.

"Bye, Michelle..." he whispered.

***

"You ever eat anymore, Charlie?" Greg asked him.

Charlie took a moment to register that Greg was talking to him. He looked down at the fork he'd been using to scratch at his mac and cheese. He stabbed one of the noodles and brought it to his mouth.

"Glenn Mack and Cody Scolari," Greg said. "Is that who you're looking at?" The two football players sat together on a table in the corner of the cafeteria, laughing about something.

"Yeah."

"Those two guys should go to prom together," Greg said. "You never see one without the other."

Charlie stabbed another piece of macaroni. "No. Cody is going to prom with Vampire Vanessa. And Glenn is going with..."

"With your Michelle. Yeah, I know. I was just joking."

"Vanessa and Michelle are best friends. Cody and Glenn are best friends. It's a perfect fit. Two cheerleaders, two football players. The popular kids. Isn't that how it is in all the movies?"

"You regretting you didn't ask Michelle?" Greg asked.

Charlie shook his head. "No. Why would I? I'm going with Ronni."

"Right."

Charlie pushed his food around with his fork, staring at his plate silently. "I just regret how I handled it," he said finally. "I could have handled it better."

"Yeah?" Greg asked, too casually. No doubt hoping Charlie would finally tell the story of what had transpired between him and Michelle.

"Yeah. I should have talked to her more. I just assumed... I just made too many assumptions. I should have just talked to her." Charlie shook his head. "I guess it doesn't matter. It's all the same in the end."

***

Charlie lay in bed, staring at the ceiling. It was early evening Wednesday, and he was wondering if he should go in to the school on Saturday. Michelle wouldn't be there, of course. Or maybe she would be, but she wouldn't talk to him. Probably, she wouldn't ever talk to him again.

Under his bed, he still had his treasure trove of Michelle's things. He should get rid of them. Bundle them in a paper bag and toss them into a dumpster somewhere. Or, even return them to Michelle. It would be awkward, but maybe she deserved to have her things back. Did she wonder where she'd misplaced her vibrator?

He felt very tired all of a sudden. Tired of everything. He closed his eyes, surrendering to his weariness.

In the dream that came, he sat by himself on a school bus. The bus was full, and he could hear the chatter of teenagers around him. The bus wasn't moving, but he knew it would move soon. Outside, he could see the bus waited in front of the high school.

Someone came up the steps onto the bus. It was Michelle. She wore a frilly pink dress that seemed too fancy for the school bus. Michelle stopped, standing at the front of the bus next to the bus driver. She looked up the aisle uncertainly, as if not sure where to sit.

The bus driver was a middle-aged woman with short hair. "Clothes off, honey," the woman barked. "Whores don't get to wear clothes on the bus."

"She's not a whore," Charlie whispered, but Michelle immediately complied with the bus driver's command, reaching around to unzip her dress. She pushed it down her body until it fell at her feet. Underneath, she wore a black bra and panties, and she stripped these off as well, her eyes downcast. Now naked and shivering, she gathered up her clothing and pushed them into a black box which sat behind the bus driver.

Michelle lifted her eyes, gazing into the interior of the bus. She looked even more anxious now, her eyes darting from seat to seat, looking for an empty space, and the raucous crowd showered her with catcalls and laughter. Charlie waited for her to see the empty seat next to him. He knew that was where she would sit.

She began to make her way slowly down the aisle, and as she did, those she passed reached for her greedily, fondling her body as if she was public property. A hand reached out to squeeze her breast. Another hand slid over her backside. Michelle took a step forward, and a blonde girl reached between her legs to dig a finger into her. Michelle grimaced, but endured these violations without acknowledging them. She continued down the aisle.

The boy in front of Charlie twisted around, and Charlie recognized Cody Scolari's freckled face grinning at him. "What a whore!" Cody smirked. "You see her?"

"She's not a whore," Charlie said louder, but Cody didn't seem to hear.

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byjessica_tang_vonharper© 44 comments/ 115320 views/ 93 favorites

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