The Outsider Ch. 15bycaligula97236©
Chapter 15 - Two Thanksgivings
Mike and Ruthie stopped in Santa Cruz for smoothies before driving the final part of their trek up to the university. The stop and having a fruit drink improved Mike's mood. He did not exactly cheer up, but instead of being depressed he became more pensive. He did not want to remain in Santa Cruz, but Ruthie could tell that he did not want to go back to the university either. She suggested going to a lookout just north of Davenport.
A few minutes later the couple was standing at a railing that was perched on a cliff hundreds of feet above the Pacific Ocean. Almost immediately beneath them the surf crashed viciously into the rocks. Ruthie commented that the cliff was a result of the subduction zone that extended along the entire west coast of the Americas.
"If it weren't for the subduction zone, this area would be like the Atlantic side...all flat."
"Have you ever been over that way? In the eastern states?"
"Just once, and I didn't make it out to the coast. Just to Washington. There was a field trip for honor students in the district, and I got to go. We got to see all the famous stuff there...the museums...the White House...the Congress, and we met our Representative...and went to see the House Chamber...it was kinda neat doing all that."
"What'd you think of DC?"
"I don't know...I mean...there's a lot of stuff that's kinda neat to look at and I 'spose it'd be OK living there if you had power and money...but I can't picture myself fitting in a place like that."
Mike smiled slightly and hugged her. "I couldn't picture you fitting in a place like that either. Nor me. I know I couldn't handle DC."
"You've been there?"
"A bunch of times. All over the East Coast. My grandparents liked to travel and when it was summer they took us with 'em. We did a lot of family vacations...driving all around...when I was in middle school and the first couple of years in high school...I saw all kinds of stuff...my grandfather was big on US history so we saw DC...some of the old towns in Virginia...Independence Hall in Philadelphia...Amish country...Yorktown...Manassas...all those history places."
"Did you like it?"
"At the time, no. I wasn't interested when I was in middle school, and in high school I was pissed whenever I couldn't be with Lisa. But now I'm glad I did go and got to see all that stuff. What about you? Where all have you been?"
"Just around eastern Nebraska...a little around Culiacan...and of course the road down there and back...a few field trips around Salinas...that's about it. You've gotta realize my parents aren't the sort of people that are curious about stuff...I mean...maybe my dad was...just a little...but not like your grandparents. You gotta remember, my dad barely finished high school and my mom only made it through the sixth grade...so with me it was different."
For a long time they watched the waves crashing against the rocks in the darkness. Finally the cooling air and the discomfort of standing in their formal clothing drove them back to Mike's car to return to the university.
As they crossed the quad and headed back to Ruthie's room, a young woman called out to Ruthie. She rolled her eyes and sighed, because it was Cristina Rosales. Mike could tell that Cristina was elated at finally having accomplished her task of tracking down the elusive Ruthie.
Cristina chided Ruthie for being so hard to find, but she responded with the same answers that she had given her mother, that usually she was in the library until it closed. When Cristina talked about church, Ruthie brusquely responded that she was going to church with Mike, making it seem that was something they had been doing since they met. Mike chimed in:
"We just got back from my church, in fact. That's why we're dressed like this."
Cristina didn't have much more to say. It was obvious that she was not going to be able to recruit Ruthie into her congregation because she already had joined another church. She was disappointed, but she hugged Ruthie goodbye. Mike noticed his girlfriend tensing up as soon as the other girl touched her.
Undoubtedly Cristina would report back to her mother that she had seen Ruthie returning from church with her boyfriend, and that information would re relayed back to Doña Lisette. Ruthie would not have to make up any more lies about church, because her mother would believe anything that Cristina had to say. Doña Lisette mistrusted her own daughter, but the daughter of her friend was a "good Christian girl" and therefore her word could be taken seriously.
As soon at Cristina was out of sight, Mike flashed Ruthie a glance that clearly stated: "I told you..." She responded by hugging him. Yes, he had been right. Thanks to him and his ability to handle Doña Lisette, a major problem in her life was resolved. With the explosive issue of going to church settled, Ruthie could expect to have less stressful conversations with her mother, at least for the time being.
Still, she deeply resented that her mother would not take her word, but would believe anything Cristina had to say. She did not see the irony that she had lied to her mother over the last two months about church and, therefore Doña Lisette had been very right about not trusting her. Even now, she was not telling anyone the truth; it was just that Mike helped her come up with a more convincing cover story.
Because it was Thanksgiving week, there were only two days of classes before the long weekend. By midday Wednesday Davenport's student population had cleared out and the campus was almost totally deserted. The afternoon was fairly warm, which gave the couple the chance to do something that Ruthie had wanted to do for several weeks, a series of nude pictures of herself posing around the Davenport campus. Among the places they visited were the center of the Quad, where she posed in front of a couple of the dorm buildings. From there they went to the fountain at the Student Center and recreated the poses she had done for Halloween night, only this time in broad daylight.
From the Student Center they walked along the main street of campus. She slipped off her dress and posed naked, but quickly put it back on when Mike saw a car coming. Because it was likely the driver saw her, they scurried behind the economics building. Once Mike was sure the driver of the car had not stopped, they walked over to Lot Econ-A and Ruthie stripped down again. She sat in her "private spot", but then walked out into the middle of the parking lot and struck some very naughty poses with a couple of parking meters.
As the afternoon wore on Ruthie became more daring. They returned to the deserted Student Center and went into the main reception area. She stood in the middle of the room and struck a bunch of poses. She sat in the expensive leather chairs and climbed on the reception desk. She got on her elbows and knees and lewdly exposed herself to Mike's camera lens. She hurriedly slipped on her dress when Mike heard someone coming up the stairs. It was a member of the cleaning staff. The woman gave the couple a suspicious look, but fortunately had not come up quickly enough to see what they were doing.
From the Student Center, they went to the Political Science Building. The building was officially closed, but Mike knew that a side door was always left unlocked for any graduate students who needed to get in after hours. The moment they were inside, Ruthie took off her dress and her shoes. Mike pushed the clothing into his backpack. Completely unencumbered by bothersome cloth, Ruthie walked through the entire building with Mike following her and taking dozens of pictures. As always, she loved the feeling of the cool air on her bare skin. They entered every classroom that was unlocked, and their adventure was documented with at least one picture in each room. Ruthie climbed on desks and wrote naughty messages on chalkboards. She posed by various windows that overlooked campus, leaving no doubt to anyone familiar with Davenport State University where the photos were being taken.
As the photo shoot continued, the couple became more brazen with what they were doing. They narrowly missed being caught by a professor and a TA who were walking down one of the hallways. Mike stood in the hallway taking a picture of Ruthie as she was coming out of a classroom. Just an instant before she would have emerged into the main corridor Mike saw the other two coming up the stairs. He quickly motioned Ruthie to get back into the classroom. She stood against the wall next to the door while the professor approached Mike and peeked into the room. The instructor asked him what he was doing.
"I'm doing a project for the art department. I'm getting some still-life studies of the classrooms."
The professor suspiciously looked at Mike's camera.
"Well, unless you cleared it with the front office, you're not supposed to be in here."
"Please...I just need a few more shots, and I'll get out of here."
The professor thought about it and responded:
"I'm going to my office to pick up some papers. When I'm done, I expect you out of the building. Take your pictures and get out."
Mike stepped back to pretend he was taking a picture of the classroom door, then took a shot of the empty hallway. The professor and the TA disappeared into an office.
Mike stuck his head into the classroom, where Ruthie was standing against the wall and breathing heavily.
"Yeah" Mike opened his backpack and pulled out Ruthie's dress. "Here you go. Let's..."
Ruthie ignored Mike and stuck her head out the door. When she saw that the hallway was empty, she ran out towards the stairs. Panicked, Mike pushed her dress into the backpack and ran after her. She stopped on the landing and grabbed the railing. Her heart was pounding, but she was ready for more risk and more adventure.
"Take my picture."
"Are you crazy? Get your clothes on!"
"No! You take my picture, or I'm not moving."
Mike knew better than to argue with her when she was in one of her "adventure moods", so he dutifully took out his camera and took two pictures. As soon as the second picture was taken, she finished running down the stairs. She paused at the door, waiting for him to catch up.
"I'm gonna run to the Rec. Center. You got a decent zoom on that camera?"
"Then follow me out."
Mike's mouth was dry as he followed Ruthie to the door. He was terrified the professor was watching through the window to make sure he was leaving the building. If so, he would be treated to the sight of a very naked young woman running along the back sidewalk. However, he knew that with the mood she was in, Ruthie was going to be reckless and the more distance they put between themselves and the Political Science Building, the better. Ruthie exited onto the sidewalk and ran towards the Rec. Center, her bare bottom jiggling in the bright afternoon sunlight. As best he could, Mike followed her with his zoom lens and took several pictures before running after her.
He caught up with her at a small door that lead into the locker room area of the Rec. Center. He expected it to be locked, but when Ruthie tried the doorknob, it opened. Without saying another word, she went in. There was no way that she was ready to quit. Now she wanted pictures of herself in the campus athletic center.
Mike was not as nervous in the athletic center as he was when he exited the Political Science Building. They did not have to worry about running into any professors, but still what Ruthie wanted to do was risky. She darted into a room with several old workout machines and a bench press. She got onto a step-master and started working the steps. Mike took several shots of her before she changed over to the running machine. At that point he told her that he wanted her to run for several minutes before he started taking pictures, because he wanted her to "work up a good sweat" to make the shots as good as possible. He did want to take convincing pictures, but at the same time he figured that if she was running on a machine she could wear herself out and wouldn't be running somewhere out in the open where they were more likely to get caught.
Ruthie was gasping and soaked with perspiration before Mike told her to quit running. He had taken nearly 30 pictures of her on the treadmill and had to change the battery in his camera. It seemed that having her stay on the running machine worked, because she calmed down and no longer wanted to streak through the rest of the Rec. Center. They sneaked into the men's locker room, where he took several more pictures of her in the shower. She dried herself with paper towels and finally was content to get dressed. They returned to the side door and exited the way they came in.
When they returned to Mike's room, they both took off their clothes and downloaded a total of 320 photographs into both of their computers. A lot of the shots were really good. Ruthie hugged her boyfriend and congratulated him as a photographer, while he congratulated her as a model. The experience had been a real rush, especially for Ruthie. Already she was thinking about the next time, where they could do another photo session that would be really daring.
"You know what I'd really like would be to do this in a city...you know like...out in the open..."
Mike thought about Ruthie's idea.
"I 'spose we could do it in San Francisco sometime. Maybe around the Castro District. We can look into it."
She hugged him again. When she realized he was totally hard, she massaged his penis for a few seconds and then dabbed some lubricant into her vagina. Before they went home for Thanksgiving, she'd reward him for fulfilling one of her fantasies. A moment later she was on her hands and knees on his bed, as he vigorously thrust into her.
The fun ended a few minutes later when Ruthie's uncle showed up to take her to Salinas for Thanksgiving. She reluctantly went with him, not looking forward to the prospect of spending four days stranded at her mother's apartment. Mike was equally sorry to see her go, but at that point each would have felt uncomfortable spending Thanksgiving with the other's family.
Ruthie's ride back to Salinas was awkward. She would have preferred to have Gerardo or Rosa pick her up, because at least with those two she could have a conversation. Her uncle was a pure machista from Sinaloa and his 22 years in the US had not changed his outlook in the least. He was much less Americanized than her cousins and held views about women and family relationships that Ruthie found extremely offensive. Among other beliefs was the fact that he did not think women should go to college, which had made the semester very difficult for Rosa. By sheer determination and force of character she was attending community college, but with no support from her father at all.
For Ruthie there was another issue that made her uncomfortable around her uncle. Six years before, when she got off the plane that completed her trip from Lincoln to San Jose, he was the very first person she saw in California. She was totally terrified of what was happening and was in tears, but during the drive from San Jose to Salinas he showed her no sympathy whatsoever. He seemed extremely distant and foreign to her, which was not helped when he became impatient with her for not knowing how to speak Spanish.
Now that she knew how to speak Spanish the two could communicate much better, but he still thought that she was wasting her time and family resources by attending the university. Talking to the brusque Sinaloan reminded Ruthie that, whatever her faults, at least her mother understood how important it was for her to get out of Salinas and continue with her education as soon as she graduated high school. Doña Lisette knew full-well that her own choices in life had been severely curtailed by her lack of education, so she was determined that her daughter have the chance to study and get a better job.
As soon as she was back in her mother's apartment Ruthie faced the usual grilling about church, but now that she had a church that she was attending Doña Lisette's questions were much less confrontational. Just the day before, she had received the happy news from her friend that Cristina had run into Mike and Ruthie as they were coming back from the service. She was more curious about Mike's church than anything else and listened with interest as Ruthie described the old hymns and the structured worship. Ruthie emphasized that her boyfriend grew up in his parents' church and knew the service by heart. She left out the detail that she and Mike were by far the youngest people sitting in a dwindling congregation. Finally the topic passed and Doña Lisette was satisfied, at least for the moment.
The next day Ruthie and her mother walked over to her brother's house. Throughout her years in high school, Ruthie usually enjoyed holidays, which always were celebrated at her uncle's place. It was a chance to briefly escape the quiet dreary life she led in her mother's apartment and a chance to enjoy decent food. Doña Lisette always liked cheap simple food, but her uncle and his family enjoyed much more elaborate meals. Their backyard boasted a brick grill and a large deep fryer. There were coolers full of Coke, beer, and tequila; and usually a table full of bread, tortillas, sopapillas, and ice cream.
On that day the backyard blared with Mariachi music and a cloud of greasy steam was rising up from the yard's newest addition, a deep fryer specifically for turkeys. Ruthie quickly linked up with Rosa and the two cousins compared notes on their experiences in college. Gerardo showed up with his very pregnant wife. Several family friends showed up and raided the ice chests for beer. The dinner promised to be the usual boisterous affair with people coming and going...and drinking...
Ruthie tried picturing Mike trying to mingle among the crowd and really couldn't. She didn't enjoy crowds either, but on holiday dinners normally what she did was stick close to Rosa while the two young women waited for the food to be ready and for Gerardo to slip them glasses of tequila.
Ruthie noted that Rosa seemed very apprehensive. She had noticed that over the weekend at Mega-Mart as well, but did not have the chance to ask her what was going on. It wasn't until the cousins were sitting alone with plates of fried turkey on their laps and glasses of tequila hidden behind their backs, that Ruthie finally had the chance to get an update on the happenings within the family. Not much had changed in the three months that Ruthie had been away, with one very big exception. In hushed Spanish Rosa pointed out her younger brother Alex:
Ruthie was surprised, because her youngest cousin had been in the back yard all that time and she had not even realized it. His appearance was radically changed from the last time she had seen him, most notably by the fact he had shaved his head. He was with a couple of other very tough-looking teenagers and several girls. Rosa did not need to explain anything more, because Ruthie had seen enough during her years in high school to know what was going on. Alex's appearance and behavior clearly indicated that he was a "wannabee" for one of the town's main gangs.
"Dad's in total denial about this," commented Rosa. "I mean...he's looking at Alex's bald head every day...and he won't accept that what it means is Alex wants to be a gang-banger."
"What's Alex saying about it?"
"...that he's shaving his head because he thinks it looks cool. Yeah...it looks cool alright...if you wanna be a gang-banger."
Rosa and Ruthie watched Alex and his friends flash some gang signs. Then the group disappeared around the side of the house. Rosa glanced at Gerardo, but her older brother was distracted by his wife.