Three Kisses, One PastbyYDB95©
"Jack, that's brilliant!" she said, kissing my cheek. "I'll be wound up like you wouldn't believe by then, but think of how much fun it'll be to finally let go after that! Wow."
"Can't wait to see," I said, though I wasn't sure of that. At least I had bought myself two weeks to decide if I really could forgive and forget.
We hadn't even made it to the end of the block past the train station when a passing car stopped for us. It was one of the cafeteria ladies I had worked for the previous semester, offering us a ride. So Christine got to see the holiday decorations of the town from the warm back seat. "You can see why I love college in a small town," I said.
"So thoughtful," Christine agreed, thanking my ex-boss when we got out by my dorm.
"Yeah, thanks a lot!" I agreed.
James was off at a party elsewhere, I knew because he had invited Christine and me as I'd been on my way out the door before, so Christine and I had our second taste of intimacy as soon as we were in my room. I had barely set down her suitcase on the floor before she had me pinned against the wall in a fierce embrace. It took a minute or two before she let me go long enough to take my coat off. "Sorry, I've been dreaming of that all week," she said nonchalantly, also unbuttoning her coat. She looked like she wanted to kiss me, but we both recalled our deal back at the station. "So, mind if I take a shower?" she asked instead. "I'm kind of sweaty from the trip."
"Sure," I said. "You can borrow my bathrobe, and I'll give you some privacy." I turned for the door, but I hoped she would tell me I didn't need to leave.
Sure enough, she did. "It's okay, Jack. I've got nothing to hide with you now." I turned around to ask if she was sure she was comfortable with that, only to see she was already sliding her skirt down around her legs. She let out a shy-sounding laugh, which had me thinking I ought to at least turn my back. But, perhaps sensing that, she said, "Jack, it's fine. In fact, this feels good. Makes me feel like we're closer, you know?"
"Yeah, I guess I do know," I admitted. I sat on my bed and tried not to stare as she pulled off her stockings and top. I tried, but I couldn't resist. She just looked so naughtily beautiful in her underwear, muscular as the Montana cowgirl she had been for a while, yet still undeniably feminine in the abundant lace adorning her panties and bra.
"So now you see, Jack, I'm a girly girl through and through as far as my clothes are concerned, anyway."
"But still not someone you'd want to mess with after dark on Malvern Street," I said with admiration.
Christine had reached back to undo her bra, but now she drew her arms forward and flexed her muscles with a grin. "That's right, I'm a gentle giant," she said. With that out of the way, she finished undressing. When she had at last removed her panties, she stood unabashedly nude before me. "Surely I'm not threatening to you now, am I?" she asked with a smile, not seeming to mind at all that I was ogling her intensely.
"Nope, just beautiful," I said, and she was; her body was taut and groomed and graceful, and I longed to caress her all over. But that would have made it awfully hard to stick to our deal.
She appeared to be thinking the same. "Thank you for being such a gentleman, Jack. And I'm glad you like the view. You're welcome to join me in the shower if you want."
"Thanks," I said. But I didn't. Once she was off to the bathroom, I turned back to the books I had left on my bed, for I had a feeling I wasn't going to have much time for studying again that weekend. Of course I had no luck concentrating on my studies even for those last few minutes, though, as the memory of my first unencumbered look at Christine's body was as fresh and robust as the hard-on I had no time to address. Then there was the knowledge that I would no doubt get another look in ten minutes when she returned.
On her return, Christine wanted to talk about the train ride. "I can see why you like it so much," she said. "I loved the countryside and all the little towns we went through. Can you believe all this was so close by when we were growing up? Even Montana didn't have scenery like that. They have beautiful mountains out there, but that's all they have, no charming little towns to roll through or anything. It was a really serene ride, all right!" She had removed her robe -- or rather my robe -- and hung it up just inside the door as soon as she'd arrived, and then gone on to rummage through her suitcase for her nightgown. So she was stark naked for most of the time it took to go on about the train ride, and evidently perfectly comfortable with it. Finding her nightgown at last -- a nice pale blue one -- she looked up and grinned at me before putting it on. "You look happy," she said.
And I was, for the most part, throughout the weekend. Notice I say for the most part, though.
I offered to sleep on the floor that night and let her have my bed to herself. But she wouldn't hear of it, and I fell asleep that night in the arms of my ex-bully. We awoke the next morning to James studying on his bed and trying to give us some space, but he later told me we'd looked adorable there together. He joined us for lunch and just as I had hoped, he and Christine got along terrifically. I also got to introduce her to my buddies from the informal study group I'd been mixed in with on the second floor of our dorm, and even brought her around to my bio lab group at the student union to work on our final project that afternoon. Through most of it, Christine seemed to hit it off with them all. If some of my buddies were surprised I was joined by a young woman I'd never mentioned before -- and most of them were probably wondering why she was dressed like she was fresh from the office while everyone else was in sweatshirts and jeans -- there were few signs of trouble all through Saturday.
Few signs -- but they were there. The first was with Salemberger, the alpha male of our bio lab group. He was throwing his weight around as usual that afternoon, but the others knew how to deal with him. Christine, though, didn't know how his attitude was all bluster and nothing else. "So, since I did all the preliminary research, guys, I think it's best I farm out the parts of the report you're gonna type up," he announced shortly after we had completed our outline.
"Real funny, man," said Laura Rudin.
"Yeah, Laura, but wouldn't you rather not have him type anyway?" added Jon McComb, the joker of the group. "Think of all the mistakes!"
"Good point," Laura admitted, while she and I went over some last minute notations. Most of the others laughed. Christine, sitting uncharacteristically quietly by my side, did not.
Neither did Salemberger. "Jack, maybe you'd rather type it all yourself? I mean, I was doing Laura a favor farming part of it out to you when everyone knows typing is a woman's job."
And out of nowhere, Chris piped up -- not Christine, mind you, but the nasty old Chris, only in grown up clothes. "Who the fuck died and made you boss, asshole? You ain't the professor, you shut your mouth about who does what!"
Laura and the other guys looked shocked at first to hear that mouthful from my demure looking new friend, and then they broke into cheers and applause. "You tell him, girl!" "Yeah, what she said!" Salemberger glared at her, and then slunk off with a fuck-you under his breath. Christine squeezed my arm and winked at me, and I realized the glimpse at her old self had me panicking a bit.
But only for a moment, since Salemberger had certainly deserved it. The others -- who didn't know her history or all that had supposedly changed -- loved Christine from that moment on. "Jack, your new friend is definitely joining us for dinner tonight," Jon announced. "Pizza, in town?"
"Sounds great!" Christine said. "I was hoping to spend some time with Jack's other friends anyway."
Now that the ice was broken, I noticed Christine's vulgar old self bubbling to the surface quite a bit more that evening. I didn't mind at first, mainly because her fresh-from-the-streets attitude went over great with my friends. We got done with the bio report and were off to the pizza place just after dark, and the small talk was of lame school Christmas parties back in the day. "Oh, tell me about it!" Christine hooted. "I got so sick of those, the way you were supposed to give cards to all the kids in your class, even the worst of the nerds!"
"Hey, I was a nerd!" Jon told her.
"So was I!" Laura added.
"And you know damn well I was," I said jokingly, though it was true.
"And now you know how crazy I was about the nerds, then!" Christine said, and that mollified me once again -- mostly. But she wasn't quite done. "Yeah, you used to have to write one out for every kid in the class and they were all supposed to have some little message about what you liked about the kid. The teacher made you do it, but she couldn't make you actually put them in the kids' desks like you were supposed to. The ones I didn't like, I hid them in my book bag and then tossed them in the sewer on the walk home!" She laughed heartily at the memory, not at all apologetic.
"So that's why I never got one from you," I added, drawing laughs from all around and a kiss on the cheek from Christine.
Since playing her nastiness for laughs went over well, I continued to do it all evening, through the pizza and later the three pitchers of beer we all shared at the bar. As the stress back on campus faded away and the others got to know Christine better, the talk got raunchier and looser. Soon I realized my well-to-do classmates were delighted with our tales of Third Avenue School and Pelham Street, and Christine and I regaled them with all manner of tales from the ghetto. "Remember our version of 'Deck the Halls', Jack?" she asked as we stumbled out of the bar.
"We sang it behind the teachers' backs at Christmas every year," I admitted. "Our principal's first name was Michael," I explained to the others. "And..."
Deck the halls with balls of Michael, fuck-a-la-la-la, la la la la! Tis the season to be fucking, fuck-a-la-la-la, la la la la!
"And you never got caught?" Laura marveled.
"Never," Christine confirmed.
And our bastardized version of "Nuttin' for Christmas" was an even bigger hit with the gang.
I stuck a tack up my teacher's ass, Somebody snitched on me! I made my sister take off her dress, Somebody snitched on me!
Halfway back to campus, we walked past the town square. There had been another snowstorm that afternoon and the park was glistening with fresh snow. Along with the aluminum Christmas trees on every telephone pole, it looked like something straight out of a movie. It was too much for Laura. "Guys!" she called out. "Snow angels!" Before anyone could agree or disagree, she was on her back in the snowdrift and waving her arms back and forth. The guys all followed, and so, to my surprise, did Christine.
"You sure you want to do that in a skirt?" I asked.
"I can do anything in a skirt now," she laughed, once again in her haughty old hometown accent, and then I saw she could indeed play in the snow just as well as the rest of us could in our jeans. So I joined in as well, lying just past Christine and exulting in the dark beauty of the night sky just above the Christmas lights of town.
"So romantic," I murmured, enjoying the colorful glow against the night sky.
"Don't you get all sappy on me again, Jack," Christine said. "That's why you always used to get your ass kicked back home, don't you know that?"
And I kept my mouth shut to enjoy the last few minutes of lying in the snow.
I couldn't very well take Christine to task over her nasty comments in front of her friends, of course. And by the time we'd made our way back to the dorm, she felt too delightful on my arm for me to keep up my irritation. If her wet stockings were uncomfortable in the chill, she made no complaint, and once we got home we were holding onto one another comfortably in our tipsy fog. When we finally got back to my room, we enjoyed our first shower together, but still nothing too hot and heavy. We had agreed to wait, and we managed to stick to that. But she certainly looked beautiful in the steamy hot water. And so once again I had seen behind the curtain but allowed myself to be lulled back into submission.
Sunday was less eventful, if only because we both had to study, and Christine was once more her demure new self through the long hours of sipping coffee at the student union. So my reservations about the day before were mostly forgotten -- mostly -- by the time I walked her down to the station to catch the last train. But she sprung another unwelcome reminder of our past on me just as I was leaving her at the platform. "So," I said, "Two more weeks until I'm back and then, you know what!"
"I've been meaning to ask you, actually, you remember my friend Heather, don't you?"
"How could I forget?" Heather and Dara had been Chris' best buddies. Dara was the toughest girl in class and all the boys were a bit afraid of her. The worst she ever did to me was mouth off a bit now and then, but I was always aware she just might slug me and make me cry in front of everyone yet again. Heather had never been violent, but her own trademark had been always telling me I was ugly. Which stung especially hard coming from her, because I had once had a crush on her. She'd always been beautiful -- plump and blonde with big eyes -- but she'd been as nasty as she was attractive. "Yeah," I continued, "I remember you said you still saw Heather and Dara now and then."
"Right! Good memory, Jack. Anyway, Heather works at a spa downtown now, and sometimes after they close she lets Dara and me join her in one of their Jacuzzis. So relaxing, especially when it's cold out like this! Anyway, I told them I've been seeing you, and -- "
"No!" I interrupted. "Christine, they were always so nasty before."
"I know, I know, Jack, and that's just it. They'd both love to see you again and apologize." Her serious face now curled into a smile. "And they'd like you to join us in the Jacuzzi. You'll be totally welcome, and I think they'd both like to tell you in detail how they know they were wrong about you, just like I did."
"Talk about entering the lion's den," I said.
"Were we really that frightening to you?!" Christine looked like she wanted to laugh, but to her credit she didn't.
"You have no idea," I admitted.
"I think I know how we can set you at ease, then," she said. "So can you take the train out next Friday, after classes? Be there by six or so?"
"Just how are you planning to set me at ease?" I asked.
"That'll be our surprise," Christine said with a grin as the train pulled in. "Trust me, you're going to love it." She kissed me on the cheek and picked up her suitcase.
There was little time for me to obsess about Heather and Dara for the rest of that week. Finals were coming. But when the thought did bubble up, I had to admit the chance for a reconciliation like I'd had with Christine was appealing. Something about getting up close and personal with a couple of other ex-bullies was a turn-on of sorts. I wasn't sure why, but that didn't stop me from buying a ticket back home. (Mom had no suspicions about the timing; I think she figured I just wanted a breather before finals, which I did. Neither did Christine give me a hard time about spending the night at home instead of with her. We had our deal.)
I also wasn't sure what Christine's planned "surprise" for making me feel safer with her friends would be. But though I had my guesses, I certainly never imagined what the answer turned out to be. I'd have scarcely allowed myself to even imagine that!
There was no inkling yet of all that when Christine met me at the station that Friday evening. "Welcome home, baby!" she said, throwing herself at me in a fierce hug. "Ready for the surprise?"
"Well, no," I confessed. "Halfway here on the train, I remembered I hadn't packed any swimming trunks. Maybe we can go by K-mart and buy a pair."
"No need," she said hastily. "I, uh, have a pair in my bag here."
"You have a men's swimsuit handy, do you?" I couldn't help laughing, a nice antidote to the nagging nervousness I'd been feeling about venturing this close to my old neighborhood.
"Long story," Christine said. "Don't worry, I'll explain everything if you don't figure it out."
"I don't see how I'd figure that out," I said as we stepped outside and got in line for a taxi.
Christine only laughed and squeezed my arm as we settled ourselves in the cab, and I concentrated on her rather than the too-familiar streets that were soon going by. She was wearing a lovely black sweater and full skirt, and the demure act was back in full force for the time being. "You okay?" she asked as we delved deeper into our old neighborhood.
"Well, it's a bit creepy," I admitted. "I haven't been back here since Mom left, and I can't say I missed it."
"I know the feeling," Christine assured me. What she said next was supposed to ease my nerves I'm sure, but instead it made things worse: "Heather and Dara can't wait to see you!"
"Are you sure about that?" I asked as the taxi pulled up by a building that had once housed my favorite drug store when I was a kid.
Christine wasn't fazed by my concern. After we'd paid the driver and entered the building, she took my hand and guided me into the elevator, and reluctantly I let her do it. "They've changed just like I have, Jack. I'm telling you, one reason why they want to see you is to apologize."
"As well they should," I said bluntly.
"I agree, Jack. Trust me, they want to make things right. And just think, you'll be getting to share a Jacuzzi with three women who were always nuts about you!"
"They liked me too?" I wasn't as surprised as I probably sounded, though. "Was that your surprise that you mentioned last week?"
"I think most of the girls did," Christine said. "You really were such a sweet kid, Jack. But no, that's not the surprise."
"Dara was always such a tomboy," I said. "I'm having a hard time imagining her in a swimsuit."
Christine responded only with that naughty grin of hers.
"What's that mean?" I asked when she didn't say anything.
The elevator doors opened, and Christine stepped out. "Let's just say you still won't be seeing what Dara looks like in a swimsuit. Or Heather or me either." With a shy laugh she led me down the hall, and I had only seconds to ponder what she had just revealed before another woman emerged from a doorway at the end of the hall.
She was a cherubic blonde with an eager grin on her face, dressed in a white bathrobe and, from the look of it, nothing underneath; and she hugged Christine and then turned to me. It took a moment to place her, but I did. "Hello, Heather." I said it politely, but that did not come without effort.
"Told you he was cuter than ever, didn't I?" Christine said.
"You sure did," Heather replied, eyeing me with what appeared to be a hungry look. "Jack, it's great to see you again!" She opened her arms for a hug, but all I could recall was all the times that same voice had addressed me with "You're ugly!" and all the times she had backed away if I had walked within three feet of her.
"I..." I stammered. I don't know what my face might have looked like at that moment, but from the change of Heather's expression, it couldn't have been a very pleasant look.
Heather dropped her arms, and didn't look put out. "I'm sorry, Jack. I can understand if you don't want me to touch you. I was such a little shit with you when we were younger."
"We all were," Christine agreed.
"Thanks," I said. "I mean, I'm sorry, too, Heather. It's just that, for so many years, every time I heard your voice, you were saying..."