tagRomanceThe Scrapbook

The Scrapbook

bywetapap©

First warning, there is no explicit sex in this story. Second warning, this is the third part to the 'Wetap' series. Each sequence has a stand alone story but intertwines characters, actions, and events from the previous stories. The reader will gain a much deeper understanding of the characters and story line if they read and have first hand knowledge of 'Binding Ashes' and 'Wasting Time.' This story is totally fictitious; any resemblance the characters might have to any person living or deceased is purely coincidental. I wish to thank the people who helped contribute to and edit this story, per their wishes, they remain anonymous. No part of this story may be published at any other site without the express permission of the author. © December 22, 2007

**********

'Well crap... ain't... that... great.... It hasn't been fifteen minutes since Steph and Marcie left to go shopping and Ken's already over here ringing my friggin' doorbell.

'Damn it... couldn't he have waited just a little longer?' Mark silently implored. 'All I wanted was enough time to enjoy at least one good cup of coffee in peace and quiet. But nooo... not today.... apparently that's asking too much,' he sarcastically thought while staring at his empty cup.

Only a fellow coffee lover could appreciate the longing Mark felt as he reluctantly slid the pot back into the maker. Then with a deep sigh, he turned and headed for the front door.

On the way Mark couldn't resist humorously thinking, 'It's a damn good thing that son-of-a-bitch is my best friend. Otherwise, I'd stuff his ass in a crate, stamp 'Do Not Open till Christmas' all over it, and ship him halfway round the world... one way... with no return address.'

Suddenly, with a smile, he mentally confessed, 'Ohhh, that's pure bull and I know it. In fact, I can't recall a single soul who's ever been able to get past that eternal optimism of his. With Ken around, there's no such thing as having a bad day. It's been that way as long as I've known him.

'At least I can appreciate why Marcie was so enthusiastic to marry his dumb ass. She almost did cartwheels the day he proposed.'

Mark's smile faded as he begrudgingly admitted, 'Steph on the other hand was a little less stellar when I, uh... suggested marriage. Guess that begs the question, why did she agree to marry me in the first place? Hmmm, considering the circumstances at the time, maybe I should ask, do I really want to know?'

Then he smirked. 'But, I do know... or at least I'm pretty sure that "aggravating my ass to no end" has to be one of Ken's favorite ways to get his jollies.'

Mark chuckled to himself, "I can just picture the big lug impatiently bouncing from one foot to the other while repeatedly ringing my damn doorbell. That wouldn't be so bad if it was the only irritating thing Ken ever did, however... he's got more tricks up his sleeve than a pharmacy has pills." He paused and thought with a laugh, 'Now there's a hell of an analogy since both are delivered at my expense.'

As Mark reached for the door handle, he realized, 'There was only one buzz... that's odd!' His relaxed mood immediately gave way to guarded curiosity, 'Could it be someone else?'

After opening the door, Mark noticed his friend's slumped shoulders, but his only thought was, 'Thank goodness it's Ken. I don't think I'm up to dealing with anyone else this early in the morning, especially before coffee.'

Then his friend slowly looked up and Mark found himself staring at a sad, forlorn face. Caught totally off guard, he realized, 'Never in a million years would I have believed it possible.'

But, having been the target of Ken's warped sense of humor on more than one occasion, he couldn't stop from cautiously wondering, 'Is he putting on an act? Is this some sort of gag?'

Then, as if answering his own questions, Mark knew, 'No... not this time. I can tell from his appearance there's a problem, and it's real.'

Momentarily speechless, he finally found his voice and stammered, "You look like... like... like a man in need of some serious coffee. I just made a fresh pot, how 'bout a cup?"

Ken listlessly replied, "Yeah... sounds good." Yet, his eyes appeared empty and seemed to distance themselves by looking away as he squeezed past his friend while stepping through the doorway.

Unable to think of anything else to say or do at the moment, Mark told him, "Great, make yourself at home while I get the coffee."

Before going to the kitchen he noticed a large paper bag hanging at Ken's side and thought, 'He always grabs a couple of six packs on the way. From his looks, I'd say it's a good thing. It appears we're going to need them, maybe even a few more before the day is over.'

After pouring the coffee, Mark was a little bewildered to turn and find his friend sitting at the table and couldn't help wondering, 'Why?' Since, 'The recliners in the family room are much more comfortable!' Suddenly he remembered, 'Oh yeah, the beer, he probably wants to put them in the fridge.'

Shrugging his shoulders, Mark said in a joking manner, "Ok, the kitchen it is. Now tell me... what's kicking your goose this morning."

In the ensuing silence, he set the cups on the table and took a seat across from Ken.

Even though the bag was now resting on the floor, his friend still had a tight grip on the handles, keeping it close at his side. Then leaning forward, with his free hand Ken retrieved his coffee. But instead of drinking, he just set it down and stared into the dark contents as his fingers began to slowly rotate the cup.

To the best of his memory, Mark couldn't recall ever seeing him appear so... out of it. Lightheartedly he added, "It may be an old cliché, but you really do look like you've just lost your best friend."

Ken never looked up. But from deep in his chest came a quiet sigh as he barely whispered, "I may have."

Mark's forehead wrinkled with concern as a growing sense of uneasiness immediately began to develop in the pit of his stomach. In another attempt to lighten the mood, he teasingly said, "Ok Ken... want to talk, or is this one of those manly things you have to work out for yourself?"

The short but lengthy pause that followed put a chill in the air, clearing away any final hopes of lifting his friend's spirits. The deafening silence was suddenly disrupted when he reassured, "Ken, you already know... but, I'm here if you need me."

A few moments later, the once again quiet but tense atmosphere was finally ended when his friend raised his arm and set the bag on the table between them. Mark had been so distracted in his anxiety over Ken's demeanor that he had already forgotten about it.

But now, staring at the bag he somehow knew that instead of beer, it contained the reason for his friend's strange behavior. Without saying a word, Ken laid the bag on its side, reached in, and pulled out a scrapbook.

After a slight hesitation, he spun it around and shoved it across the table to Mark, who asked in a surprised voice, "What's this?"

Red faced, his friend angrily replied, "I found the goddamn thing last night in Marcie's closet. She had it damn well hidden and after looking inside, I understood why. Go ahead, take a peek. Believe me, you'll have no problem understanding why I'm so fuckin' mad I could scream." The tone of his voice left no doubts... the contents wouldn't be pleasant.

"Ken... are you sure I should see what's in here?" He felt compelled to ask. "It might be best to keep this just between you and Marcie."

"I've never been more... sure of anything in my life. And no, I need you to look at it before I decide how to deal with her. I've been at a loss ever since I discovered the damn thing," his friend answered despondently.

Mark raised his eyebrows while pausing a few seconds to study the cover. It wasn't new, but he could tell it had been well cared for in spite of signs it had been handled often.

Finally, with a breath of resignation, Mark shrugged his shoulders and opened it. With a gasp he immediately recoiled in shock. The photo had literally jumped out at Mark as he found himself gawking in utter disbelief at a picture of 'Tony.' It caused the skin on the back of his neck to crawl as a deep flush spread over his entire body.

He desperately wanted to say something, hell, Mark wanted to scream. But after taking a few moments to calm down, only ended up silently pleading, 'OH GOD KEN... not this, please... not Marcie... AND NOT HIM.'

It had been almost five years since he'd seen that arrogant and demeaning smile. Personally, Mark wouldn't give a shit if he never had to look at it again.

Absentmindedly, he rubbed his forehead and took a sip of coffee while fighting a losing battle with his own memories. Mark hated it as his mind flashed back to the year before his marriage, flooding his brain with mental pictures of his wife and Tony. At the same time, he was desperately trying to resist his own thoughts as they made an exerted effort to recall Steph's version of the events.

**********

When not in class or at a sports practice, 'Anthony' could always be found sitting on 'the perch.' That's what the students called the low wall at the school's main entrance.

Normally he was surrounded by fellow jocks as they checked out the girls entering and leaving. But today Tony was alone when she came walking by. "So, you're one of those?" He popped off.

Stephanie couldn't believe the most popular and seriously gorgeous senior in the entire high school had actually spoken to her. But she knew exactly what he was referring to, and was determined to make him say it. So in a sarcastic tone, Steph fired the question right back, "One of what?"

Tony humorously mocked, "You know damn good and well what, a 'Wetap Brat.'"

"You mean a 'Wetap Kid,'" Steph replied, stopping to turn and face him. With a scowl she added, "That's what they call us."

Mimicking her scowl, Tony jokingly retorted, "Not in your case. That face and attitude definitely belong to a certified brat."

Steph's expression slowly gave way to a grin, then a smile just seconds before melting into the sweetest sounding laughter he'd ever

heard. Tony didn't realize his imitating had continued until he found himself laughing with her.

"Ok," he said, "as of now, you're the 'Brat.' I've made it official... if that is okay with you?"

"I... think... not, I'm kind of partial to Stephanie or Steph if you don't mind," she replied.

"Suit yourself, but there's no way I can let you hang with me as Tony's Stephanie," he informed her, "or as Tony's Steph either. Sorry, but that's not gonna happen."

'Oh my God,' she suddenly realized, 'he's asking me to be his girl.' Then embarrassed and red faced, asked, "Does that mean you would be Steph's Tony with my friends?"

"Doesn't mean anything but.... Meet me here after last hour and I'll give you a lift home, Brat," he grinned at her.

Smiling, she nodded her head and replied, "I'll be here."

Steph was flying high. She had just become what every female student in her high school would die for, 'Tony's girl... I can't wait to tell my friends. They'll never believe it... I don't believe it.

All at once it dawned on her, 'Oh wow, this is tooo much, with only two months till prom, I'll be guaranteed "prom queen." But,' she also realized, 'that's only if I can hang on to him.'

After her final class, Steph was making a beeline for the 'perch' when she noticed Mark waiting for her in front of their school bus. They had been on and off sweethearts since grade school. Though in between at the moment, he was still her best friend and had been from the first day they'd met years ago when little kids. Since they were the same age and both their fathers worked at Wetap, they'd virtually been raised together.

Steph looked the other way while passing by him. There was no way she wanted to face Mark at the moment.

He knew Steph too well not to notice, 'She's avoiding me on purpose.'

After turning to board the bus, Mark waited patiently for the aisle to clear as the younger kids took their seats. 'It's only a matter of time before Steph tells me what's going on. She always does.' That simple fact comforted him, even brought a smile to his face, but finding out was a lot quicker than he suspected.

Shortly after plopping into his usual seat at the rear of the bus, everyone started chattering and pointing towards the student parking lot. Mark turned just in time to see a very familiar looking convertible pull out with Steph sitting in the front seat next to Tony.... 'So much for the idea of asking her to the prom,' he thought to himself.

Feeling more than a little dismal, Mark noticed all the other kids had turned to look at him. 'Why wouldn't they? After all, she and I have been sitting together on this bus everyday since the beginning of time.'

Of course Mark couldn't notice, but the others did, his smile was gone. He leaned back against the bus window and closed his eyes, in case they got a little too misty. It wasn't healthy to be a male in your senior year of high school and let anyone know, or even think, you would cry over anything.

**********

'Prom night and the queen's drunk, that's what it is and that's what she is,' Mark thought as he glanced across the room at Steph hanging onto Tony's arm. Actually she was almost lying on him while they were standing up.

Mark shook his head and turned his attention back to his date for the evening. Ever since he'd asked Kasey to the prom, she had been a nervous wreck.

Although not a Wetap kid herself, Kasey certainly was in love with one. And had been from the very first moment she'd laid eyes on Mark in the fifth grade.

For the past few weeks, her biggest fear was the world would come to an end. She just knew something was bound to happen that would spoil her first and maybe only chance to go on a real date with him, just the two of them.

Now that her dream fantasy had finally come true, Kasey asked, "Are you sure? I want to have fun, but I want it to be a fun evening for both of us... after all, I am here with you."

Her dance card was overflowing. Mark wasn't surprised. She was one of the most popular girls in school, not to mention one of the prettiest.

"Absolutely, now get out there and wiggle your ass," he joked with her.

As the waiting admirer whisked Kasey off to the dance floor for the next number, Mark decided it would be a good time to check and make sure Steph was ok.

While approaching their table he noticed she almost appeared asleep with her arm resting on the table and her head lying on her hand. As usual, Tony was engrossed in some sports topic with fellow jocks.

"Steph," Mark tried to get her attention. Getting no reply, he spoke a little louder, "Steph."

Silence fell over the group, everyone turned to see what the problem was. She finally raised her head and looked up. "Why hello Mark, are you and Kasey having fun?" Steph asked.

With everyone's attention focused on him, Mark felt uncomfortable, but continued, "We're actually having a very good time. At the moment she's working off her dance card. I thought it might be a good time to ask you for a dance."

She seemed a little surprised, but said, "Well I'd love to... and I will, if you clear it with my guy. Ask Tony. If he says it's ok, then I'm all yours."

With a disgusted look Mark shook his head and started to turn and walk off when Tony, who would never consider him a threat, suddenly said, "Sure, why not. That's what we're here for. Since I'm tied up at the moment, you two go ahead and grab the next dance."

Even though Mark held the school's highest grade point average, he only spiked about an eight on the overall social calendar. Tony on the other hand not only set the bar for the school's social status, but owned the curve as well, peaking at a full ten plus.

Reaching out his hand, Mark had to help Steph up and out to the dance floor. Now he was really concerned about how much she'd been drinking.

It was a slow song and as they started dancing Steph laid her head on his shoulder. As in the past, Mark was still amazed at how natural it felt to hold her, but knew that for her part, it was only a result of the alcohol.

With everyone staring at them and out of respect for their prom dates he said, "Steph." As she raised her head, Mark asked, "Are you okay? I hope Tony hasn't been drinking too much to drive you home safely?"

Steph laughed, "He's fine and it wouldn't matter anyway. We're walking from here to one of the all night parties being held at the big hotel down the street. Aren't you and Kasey going? There are several to choose from," she said, her voice bordering on the verge of slurring.

When he returned Steph to her table, Tony said, "Ahhh... glad to see you brought my girl back in one piece. It's time for me and her to show off some of our own moves."

Mark politely nodded and returned to his table to join Kasey for the next dance.

**********

The next day, Steph woke up feeling like shit. Her hangover was so bad she would swear her head was splitting open.

Still in her prom dress, Steph lay on her bed trying to pull herself together. Her memory was fuzzy as her mouth.

Finally stripping out of her dress, Steph stumbled into her bathroom. After splashing some water on her face, she grabbed her toothbrush thinking, 'This gawd awful taste has to go.'

Feeling slightly better, except for some tremendous bladder pressure, Steph stepped over to the toilet and started to lower her panties. 'What the fuck,' she thought while staring at the bloody, gooey mess soaking the crotch.

Confused, Steph gave an exerted effort to recall what the hell happened last night. 'Let's see, Tony picked me up to go to dinner before the prom. He had a bottle in his convertible and we started drinking on the way. After dinner there was more drinking. Once we were at the prom, Tony slipped the bottle in and was spiking our drinks.'

Shaking her head, she strained to remember, 'Oh yea. After the prom, we stumbled over to the party. More drinking and dancing, it was a good party.' At that point it was getting difficult to recall the events, Steph realized she had been totally shit-faced. 'I do remember being in the convertible, oh yea, I remember being out by the lake. What were we doing in the back seat? Oh god... sex, we had sex. Oh fuck, semen... and my virginity, that's all it can be.'

Panicked, Steph turned on the shower and jumped in with panties in hand. After a couple of minutes she had rinsed them clean.

Steph let out a sigh of relief just before panic set in again as she realized, 'That means I had his sperm in me all night long.' Her head hurt so bad, it was almost impossible to think, but Steph knew she had to.

'My period ended a couple of days ago... that should make it safe. God I hope so. I can't afford to get pregnant, it would ruin everything. Graduation is only four weeks away. Oh great, I'll be on my period during the most important event of my life.'

All of a sudden, another thought brought tears, 'My first time and I don't even remember if I enjoyed it.'

**********

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