The Girl for Me
And it went on and on and on, too. And it was breathless. And it was – or at least, it was getting – passionate.
As Kevin nuzzled Dani's neck, she opened her eyes. It felt like he was fondling her left breast, somehow. She looked down to see that, in fact, that's exactly what he was doing. He even appeared to be trying to squeeze her nipple between his thumb and hand. He'd forgotten again. There was no nipple there to squeeze. Dani closed her eyes and sighed. His mouth was grazing just below her ear now, his breathing blowing into her ear from his nose. It was... wonderful, but Kevin needed reminding of something. It might be important.
He took no notice, and began brushing his lips on her earlobe.
"Kev? Hey... Wait a minute... Kevin..."
He came around to face her, and looked into her eyes in that way he had: "into" not "at". His face was still kissing-close, though, not talking-distant. She cast her eyes downward as a signal to back off.
He knew how to read signals. "What..."
"There's... there's nothing there..." she said, looking down at his hand. His eyes followed hers.
"Oh. Oh yeah. Sorry... Here..." he began to slide his hand from her belly up under the top, but she grabbed it before he got too far.
"I think... maybe... that's enough for one night?"
He sat back in the seat and took a deep breath, "Yeah. Yeah, maybe you're right. Uh... hey. Wanna take a walk? There's a little path around the overlook, just under the wall there. Just to stretch our legs?"
"Uhm..." She was a little nervous at the idea. It was lonely and dark out there, and Kevin was obviously, well, getting excited.
"I won't try anything, Dani. Nothing's going to happen tonight. Promise. C'mon."
"Well... okay. It is pretty out..."
They each got out on their respective sides of the car, and Kevin walked over to her's and took her hand. "This way."
A little bit behind him, Dani followed, and looked down at their enjoined hands. It meant so much to her. He'd done it so casually, like it was no big deal, like it was natural. That was a little different from making-out in the backseat, because doing that is what they'd come there to do in the first place. He'd taken her hand like it was just the thing to do. She squeezed lightly, and he squeezed back without saying anything or slowing down, the communication non-verbal but easy. Wow.
He'd probably forgotten again. Damn. That must be it.
They reached a clearing halfway along the path, where they could see the moonlight glancing blue-grey off the mountains. It was absolutely silent – even the crickets were already gone for the coming winter. No breeze rustled the leaves. She came up beside Kevin, touching, and leaned her head against his, and he wrapped an arm around her waist. Neither of them had said anything the whole time.
"What is it, Dani... What's wrong?" He didn't know how he knew. And it didn't even occur to him to wonder about it.
"I'm not a girl, Kevin. Sorry."
She'd might as well have said 'Purple saxophones only bloom in Iceland', it made so little sense. "What? I thought I told you-"
"I know what you told me, and I appreciate it. But I know you'd... like me more... if I were a girl."
"Jesus. You 'know' no such thing. And you call me stupid." Dani was starting to be a tad frustrating about this.
She removed her head from his, and stepped away to face him, "I do NOT call you stupid..."
"You have before."
"Well... that was... I didn't know any better, okay? God, Kevin... do you remember every damn thing I say?"
He did? He actually... whoa. "Uh... well... sometimes I don't mean what I say..."
He chuckled, "And you say you're not a girl."
"You know what I meant."
He looked at her as she stood there, challenging him, and for the first time it occurred to him, Does she even know "what she is"? The question made him think of Dani in a new light. He'd always assumed that she had it all together, that she knew herself, even if she had problems explaining it to other people. What if she didn't actually know? What if she was as much as mystery to herself as she was to him? Well, he wasn't going to be much help there. But then, he didn't care. Dani was Danny was a boy and was a girl, at different times, and at the same time, too. It didn't make sense, but then, it didn't need to. But... how to make her see that...
"Dani – next time we go on a date, I think you should... I mean, don't come... I mean, just come as a guy, okay? You don't have to act like one, just come as one. I want to make you see that it doesn't matter."
"I already know it matters."
Yup. This wasn't going to be easy. Kevin forced his frustration down with a mighty effort - "Will you do it?"
"I guess, if you insist. Be prepared for some stares, though."
"Every time two guys do something in public doesn't mean they're gay, Dani."
"Maybe, but you said I was obvious."
"Uh... you remember that? Well... I didn't know any better then, either."
She'd been shocked to find out that Kevin actually listened to her, now she was charmed to see that he'd been surprised by the same thing – that she'd listened to him. "So... you take it back about me being so obvious, then?"
"I take it back."
She giggled, and pecked him on the cheek. Then she looked at him brightly, half-smiling, with the moon shining off her eyes and hair. Like a picture she was standing there... Kevin remembered a song from before he was born.
"C'mere..." Kevin said, reaching for him. Her. Whatever.
"Okay, I made something for you in my free period today. Here." Danny handed him a ripped-out spiral notebook page, covered top to bottom with neatly-written formulas.
"Sort of. Start copying it."
"Copying it? What for? Uh... okay, you got a copier or scanner somewhere?"
"Yes, I do, but you're going to copy it by hand."
"WHAT? Danny... there's... there must be fifty-"
"Sixty-five. Go ahead and get started. I have to make up a test for you."
"I really think it's a little late for all this cramming... Look, so I'll be a year behind. Who cares?"
"I care, Kev! My god, you really are ready to give up, aren't you... Well, I'm not. You're going to graduate high school whether you like it or not. It's gonna be hard, Kev. These are going to be some long nights."
"Hmm. Maybe we can take breaks and think of other things to do..."
"Kevin – you can just forget about that, at least until after the Maths test. I kid you not, mister, there's no time for it. Start copying."
"You can be kinna harsh, you know that?"
"Jesus Christ! Okay already..."
"Okay. I copied it. Now what?"
"Copy it again."
"And keep copying it until you have it memorized. You may have to do it ten times. Maybe more."
"Yeah. Look, Kev, I know it seems scary, but it's not really so hard. Just keep copying it. After about the fourth time it starts getting easier."
"Forget it, Danny. No way."
"Kevin – who's the smart one here?"
"Well... you are."
"Who is it that's taking their own time to get you through this?"
"And do you ever want go on another date?"
"... All right. Fine. Hey Danny... why do you care? I mean... what's it to you whether I graduate or not?"
Danny sighed. "Just start copying, Kev. I'm gonna go change into my – hey. Wait'll you see what my Mom bought me."
"Whaddaya think? Cool, huh?" Danny said, stepping into the room in her new night-shirt – an over-sized football jersey that came down almost to her knees. White, but with pink hems and lettering.
"Dude! Your Mom bought you a night-gown?"
"Yeah. I know, I couldn't believe it either. It gets worse, though. I think she's going through this whole 'dress up my new daughter' thing... she keeps wanting me to look at catalogs and stuff. You know how long it took me to stop her from buying all my clothes? Now I gotta go through that all over again."
"Whoa... that's rough. Hey, at least ya got something to talk about now. Told ya she'd be cool with it."
"Yeah. I know you did... Uh, anyway, ya like it?"
"It's cute. Kinna long, though."
"You're such a perv. What copy are you on now?"
"Six. I can actually do some of 'em without looking. But Dani... what are the odds that any one of these formulas will be the one I need for a question?"
"You can figure out the others from these. We'll get to that tomorrow. Just keep copying."
"Y'know... you have awfully pretty feet, for a guy."
"Kev - turn around, focus, copy."
"Kevin... geez. You know this stuff. What's your problem?"
"I get nervous during tests, Danny. Always have."
"Oh, real good question. I hadn't thought of asking that one. By golly – yes. Why indeed?"
"It's the time thing, isn't it... Here, let's do it again. And no time-limit. And no one's gonna see it but me, okay? It's not like you'll have to show your Dad or anything."
"Danny... I really hate taking tests..."
"But you enjoyed copying the formulas?"
"Well... I liked it when you were explaining stuff to me. It all makes sense when you say it, but as soon as you stop, I'm like, 'now, what'd he say?'"
"Get started. I'm gonna make up another one, too."
"This is not fun."
Wednesday – the day before the test.
"Kev... I've been thinking, maybe you should... quit football?"
"Already did. Dad's gonna kill me."
"You already did?"
"Yeah. I'm not the only one. David McDougal did too. He's cramming just like me."
"Well... good. But wow. I thought you were pretty into it."
"I was. But, y'know, ya gotta have priorities. It's a game. Really, it's been more like work than fun, lately. Coach is an asshole."
"But he wins."
"Ain't worth it."
"Yeah. Maybe I should quit, too."
"You don't have to just because I did, Danny. You like it, don'tcha?"
"Well... yeah... Won't be the same without you there, though."
"Keep at it, Danny. But don't go in for it next year, I say."
"The truth is, Kev... uhm... I'd kind of rather be with you..."
"Aww. You're such a sap."
"I knew you'd say something like that. Okay. So, think ya got Conic Sections down?"
"Conic Sections are coming out my fucking ears, Danny. I eat parabolas and shit obtuse angles."
"Don't be gross."
"Are the tests getting any easier?"
"Well, yeah, now that I've seen 'em about a hundred times each. But you're not timing me."
"You're finishing in an average of half an hour now, Kevin."
"Just stop worrying about the time. You got all the time in the world. I know it sounds weird, but if you just sorta act like it's true, then it becomes true."
"You may pick up your pencils... now. Begin."
Fuck. I fucking hate tests. Name... Date – what the hell IS the date, oh yeah. I wonder how much time is left? Fuck man... look at all these fucking pages. There's no fucking way. And I'm wasting time thinking about it, too. Fuck fuck FUCK! I'll never finish. All right, to hell with it. I got all the time in the world, huh? Fine. I'll just do what I can. Fucking tests.
Forty-two minutes later:
Huh? Last page? Well, let's look at those ones I skipped. I wonder how much time is left? Ohwell, when he says stop, I'll stop.
Ten minutes to go:
Well, Christ. I guess I might as well go through 'em all again, see if I fucked up anything obvious...
Two minutes to go:
How come everyone's still workin' like that? Damn, people – it wasn't THAT hard. Well, I guess I could look at that natural logarithm one again... nothing else to do... Lessee. If I took the log of both sides – wait a minute. That would equal 1. Damn, that simplifies things, dunnit... okay...
"Danny! I passed!" Kevin yelled through the crowd around the bulletin-board.
"You did? Seriously? That... that's great, Kevin! Uh... can I see you in here for a second?" Danny opened the door to a deserted classroom and went in without waiting. Kevin followed him wondering what the hell was going on.
Once inside, Danny slammed the door and bear-hugged Kevin so fast and hard that he lifted the bigger boy off the floor.
"EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! I knew you could do it! I knew it! Kevin! EEEEEEEEEE!"
Kevin recovered himself and began to laugh, "Jesus Christ, Danny..."
"Shut up and let me be happy for you! EEEEEEEEEEEE!"
"Yes, ma'am. I guess this means I owe you a Pizza-Hut..."
They ate at Pizza-Hut, rented a movie, and sat up on Danny's bed to watch it. Eventually, they snuggled. But that was all. They fell asleep. It had been a long series of long days, after all.
The next state-wide test would in History, and Kevin didn't have a problem with that. It was basically just reading, and seeing how people used other people to further their own goals. While he found it distasteful, at least he could intuit what was going on. People – especially those in power – have always been greedy, self-serving, assholes. Once that was understood, it was really just a matter of who screwed-over whom and how.
Perhaps because that was the area of his night-time studies now, it didn't really come as a surprise when he was kidnapped.
He was walking towards his car in the school parking lot. An old station-wagon with tinted windows was parked in front of it. As kidnappings go, it was a simple operation – two men in ordinary clothes simply grabbed Kevin as he was winding between the cars, shoved him into the station-wagon, and drove off. He tried to put up a fight, but the men were trained. He didn't have a chance.
And Danny, on his way to meet him, saw it all from a distance.
Kevin was taken to an office-park near downtown. An office-park? He wasn't hooded or tied, either, his only restraint was the two thugs walking on either side, holding his arms. More like police than criminals. That's when Kevin began to realize that things were probably not what they seemed. What kind of kidnappers worked out of an office?
He wasn't surprised when he was shoved into a well-appointed office and found Uncle Keith sitting there.
"I should have known", Kevin said. It was just he and the old man in the office now. Kevin had never been there before. He strolled up to one of the glass-enclosed book-cases and examined the knick-knacks in silence, just to piss his Uncle off.
"Word is you're quitting football, and failing classes. True?" Uncle Keith's voice was severe – but mixed with something else Kevin couldn't quite make out.
"True enough. Don't worry, I'll graduate from the damned school though. Tell Dad 'tough shit' about the football part."
"From the grades I have here, I don't see how it's possible for you to graduate. The state exams will-"
"Yeah, well I just passed the one I was worried about," he said, opening the door to one of the bookcases, "This is nice. Is it real? Looks Aztec or something."
"Incan. Please put it back, it's an artifact I picked up in-"
The clay figure fell from Kevin's hand onto the inlaid granite floor and shattered. "Oops."
"That cost me twenty thousand dollars, Kevin..."
"Shoulda got two, then." He went over to another case, crunching pieces of Incan history under his shoes.
Uncle Keith was rather astounded at Kevin's behavior. Usually the boy was a fawning sycophant - "yes, sir", "no, sir", "what can I do to get on your good side, sir". Now he was just plain arrogant. Of course, he had reason to be upset, what with the faux-kidnapping and all. Still, it wasn't what he'd expected of Kevin. He couldn't decide whether it was a good thing or not. Was Kevin just another teenage jerk-off, or had he discovered his balls, somehow...
"Your father and I think it's time you grew up, Kevin. Take responsibility. Learn how to knuckle-down. Quitting isn't part of that."
"Neither are my father and you. I'll be eighteen in a month, y'know. Whatever you're gonna do, you'd better do it quick."
There was obviously going to be no frightening Kevin into submission, it appeared. So this was going to be a new experience, then. Uncle Keith needed more information.
"Tell me – this test you were so worried about... what was the subject?"
"Maths. This doesn't look Incan..."
"Olmec. Kevin, don't-" another figurine crashed to the floor before he could finish the sentence.
"Whoops. I'm a real butterfingers. Sorry."
"Mind telling me how you passed the Maths exam, Kevin? This says you're failing your math course miserably."
"I have a tutor. A good one." Kevin picked up yet another figurine – it looked like a boar's face on a man's body. "Olmec?"
"My dear nephew, if you don't-"
Suddenly, the office's double doors slammed open - "KEVIN!" Danny yelled, "There you are! I've called the police so... uh..." Uncle Keith was staring at him. "Uh... Uncle Keith... uh... hi..."
The two thugs came up behind Danny, twisting his arms behind him, "Sorry about that sir – he's a fast one, whoever he is. C'mon son, let's have a little chat outside, eh?"
"Wait. Just a moment, gentlemen," Uncle Keith tried to put the pieces together. Dani? No, surely this boy was... a twin brother? No, no, whoever it was knew his name. Had called him 'Uncle Keith', even. The boy could only be Dani. But why was she dressed in the male-version of the St. Augustine's uniform? Some weird sort of sexual role-playing? She didn't strike him as that kind of girl...
"Oh... Oh dear. Oh dear me..." Uncle Keith said, nearly laughing, "No, uhm... Thank you for your services, gentleman. I believe... I can handle it from here."
"You sure about that, sir?"
"Yes. Yes, I'm sure. You may release D – uh, the young man. Please close the doors as you leave. Thank you."
Kevin and Uncle Keith continued staring at Danny as he stood there wide-eyed in front of the doors, wondering what he should say now. Finally, he settled on "Uh... I really did call the police. I didn't know that this was..."
"Ah, yes. Thank you for reminding me, Dani. That is – what should I call you?"
"Daniel. I guess."
"Daniel then. I should take care of that. Please, have a seat. Kevin, you too."
Danny looked from Uncle Keith to Kevin over by the bookcases. Kevin was smiling, but with that same hint of evil he'd had in his eyes when they'd first met.
"Danny! My hero!" Kevin shouted, and went over to the other boy and put his arms around him, "You saved me from my Uncle's evil clutches! Oh, how can I ever repay you? Wait. Maybe like this?" Kevin proceeded to plant is mouth right on the other boy's surprised face. And stayed there, grinding their lips together, pulling Danny tight with his arms, stroking his pony-tail with his hand. Putting on a show for Uncle Keith. That oughta shock the old man.
Then he took Danny by the hand and they both sat in burgundy-colored leather chairs in front of the desk. Uncle Keith had just finished explaining to the police chief about the "kidnapping", while watching the two boys kiss. He carefully sat the phone on it's cradle and contemplated Danny and Kevin in front of him.
He contemplated for a long time...
"So, would this be your tutor, Kevin?" he eventually asked.
"That's right" Kevin said, trying to pack as much challenge into those two words as he could.
"And you passed the Maths exam, you say..."
"He got an 86!" Danny said, unable to hide his excitement about it, even under these conditions.
"An 86? Well, well. No cheating?"
"No!" both Danny and Kevin said simultaneously.
"You see what, exactly?" Kevin read evil meaning into everything the man said.
Danny said through clenched lips, "Kevin!"
Kevin looked over, "What... We don't need to be polite to this old fart anymore, Danny, he's just gonna-"
Still smiling at Uncle Keith – as though that would keep him from hearing – Danny said, "Shut the hell up, Kev!"
"Kev!" Danny kept smiling the whole time.
Kevin shut up, but slumped in his chair, sulking.
Uncle Keith observed it all closely. It seemed incredible, yet all his instincts told him it was true. This was the person to turn Kevin around. Already had turned Kevin around, apparently. This was the person who found Kevin's balls... Daniel. Dani.
Intriguing, unexpected, and certainly unusual, too. But most of all, amazing.
He was just about to break into a grin when his phone rang. He picked it up without taking his eyes off the two boys.
"Hello- Yes, he's here now. No, I don't think it scared him. At all. I'd appreciate it if you didn't call them 'thugs', Robert – they're bodyguards. Yes. Yes. No. Robert – I think he has better things to do than play football, I don't understand why you're so obsessed with that. No. No - in fact, I think he has matters well in hand."
Danny and Kevin exchanged glances, and Uncle Keith continued talking to Kevin's father -
"I think you jumped the gun, Robert. No, I'd say you're going to have a hard time making him do anything at all. Yes, I see. Well, you do what you think is right, brother-of-mine. And I will do the same. Yes. Goodbye, Robert."
Even across the expanse of the desk, Kevin could hear his father continuing to rant as Uncle Keith hung up on him.
Kevin was sitting bolt-upright in his chair now, trying to figure out what the hell was going on. It almost sounded like... Had he mis-read Uncle Keith so completely?
"That was your father, Kevin."
"Yeah. Uh... Yes, sir. You... you didn't tell him-"
"Tell him what? I can't think of anything he needs to know... Can you?"
"Uh..." Kevin said.
"Daniel – I apologize for the charade of kidnapping my nephew. I never thought it was a good idea in the first place. I hope I'll be able to make it up to you, somehow."
"Uh..." Danny said.
"Now Kevin," Uncle Keith said, opening a drawer in his desk, "things may go... poorly... when you get home. You are only my nephew – not my son – so there isn't much I can do about it. I'm sorry. But I can do this," he handed a key-ring across the desk, setting it in front of a still-stupefied Kevin. "It's one of the apartments I keep in town for important guests. You may feel free to use it if you... need to."
"You... uh... Thank you. And... sorry about the... stuff..."
"Really? Well good... Then we've established that you 'owe me'." Uncle Keith finally did chuckle, "Perhaps I may ask a favor of you one day. In the mean time," he got up from his chair and stretched his legs, "I believe I'm in the mood for barbecue. Or perhaps Thai. Would you two care to join me?"
Again, Danny and Kevin just said, "Uh..."
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