For once, he had no desire to take the few minutes to relieve himself of his problem. He wanted to go back to sleep, to the dreams he was having.
He could still smell her perfume on his shirt. He'd refused to take it off for bed last night and left it on his bed today, wanting to smell her. It wasn't cheap stuff either, probably Chanel No. 5 or something way out of his price range.
It smelled nice though, and he believed it was part of the reason his dreams were so vivid and intense.
For someone who'd never kissed a guy before, she sure took to it easily enough.
He'd known her for years. In elementary school and the first year of middle school he wasn't an outcast. His house wasn't as nice as hers or anything, not even close. It had been a decent house, though. His parents had taken care of it as small as it was compared to the houses of some of his friends. He had friends, too, got along with lots of people. Even people like Claire. He wasn't Mr. Popularity, getting invited to every birthday party in the class or anything but he didn't stick out like a sore thumb.
His dad had always had a short fuse, but it had never been directed at him until his dad lost his job. He lost it because of an injury that prevented him from doing much of anything else since the only thing he was capable of doing was manual labor. Things hadn't fallen apart right away, but it hadn't taken long.
His mom joined in on the pity party because her comfortable (for her) life was being kicked to the curb.
The lawn stopped getting mowed. The garden his mother had kept withered and died. The paint started peeling – inside and out.
John got forgotten about for the most part. So, he acted out to get whatever attention he could from them.
John, seeing what alcohol did to his parents – and as an end result to him. He'd turned to pot. He'd tried other, harder, things too over the years. He didn't like what things like acid did to him. So, his experimentation with most other things had remained just that. Experimentation. A one or two time thing of trying out of curiosity.
Claire had been one of the people who'd stopped noticing him when he started showing up for school in clothes that either looked like they hadn't been washed or had seen better days.
He noticed her, though. She was hard to miss. Popular, but always keeping people at arm's length. As if she didn't completely belong with them.
She noticed him now, though, and he was going to do everything in his power to be sure she didn't stop noticing.
He went through some trouble Monday morning to look decent. He was quiet as he left, careful not to disturb his parents who were sleeping one off.
She was waiting where she said she would be down the street from his house. He couldn't chance his parents seeing him with her. They'd view her as some sort of meal ticket.
He slid into the passenger seat, leaning toward her for a kiss. Dreaming of her all weekend left him with the need to assure himself she was real.
"Morning, Princess," he said, breaking the kiss.
"You're very punctual."
"Thanks," she said. "I think."
"No, it's good. I like that in a woman."
"You do, huh?"
"You bet," he said. "So, how about we play hokey. Maybe go back to your place instead of school."
"John, I can't."
"You can, you just don't want to."
"I'd get in trouble again."
"See, and that's my plan. You could serve detention with me again this weekend."
"Why would I want to do that?"
"Just think how much fun we could have right under Vernon's nose without Andy, Brian, and Allison in the way? Our parents would never know."
"Is that all that you think about?"
"I'm an eighteen year old guy. What do you think?"
"I'm going to school."
"Goodie two shoes."
"Yeah, yeah. Don't drink. Don't smoke. I know the song."
"Except she does smoke."
"Yeah well, there's more of what I had on me Saturday if she wants to smoke again."
Their week continued that way. He'd dream about her each night, get in her car each morning, and kiss her as if he didn't have images in his mind of doing more than that.
He'd never really thought of girls like that before. Contrary to very popular belief, he wasn't getting laid at every turn. Sure, he was interested, but he was too afraid someone would be put off by what his father did to him. Or they'd feel so sorry for him that they'd want to get the police involved. He didn't want that. He had lots of girl friends, but none he'd ever admitted how bad it was to.
The pictures Claire saw? They were all girls he hung out with in various capacities. Some he kissed, some he did a little more with, and some he just hung out with. They gave him their pictures. Who was he to say no?
So for him to want someone was completely foreign to him. To dream about her also foreign. He'd wondered a time or two what was wrong with him that he wasn't interested in closing the deal. Never had he imagined it would be her who made him take an interest. He wasn't sure what to do about it either. To wake up hard because of her was something else. And it was always because of her.
He'd never had a girlfriend before, not for lack of believing in that type of relationship. He just wanted what he knew was out of his reach.
Until this weekend.
If she knew how often he'd thought of her as his life collapsed around him to what it currently was. Well, she'd probably freak out.
The questions he'd taunted her with?
He'd imagined her doing those things (or having them done to her) more than a couple of times over the years. He'd never stopped to consider his imagination exceeded her experience.
If anything, she should understand about jumping to conclusions and being incorrect. She had boyfriends over the years. She didn't go to dances by herself. Who would think she'd never done anything with the guys?
On Saturday, he showed up for detention. He actually brought a lunch with him this week. He wasn't counting on Vernon being fair to him as far as bathroom and lunch breaks went. He only had been last week because other – important – people were there.
He was more than a little surprised to see her there.
She frowned a little at the worn brown paper sack when he set it on the table.
"Lunch," he said, knowing what she was thinking was inside of it.
"Oh," she said. The bag had seen better days, so he could see why she thought it held something else.
"What are you doing here?"
"I'm not sure really."
"For some reason I can't explain I offered to come help re-organize the card catalogs today."
"I see," he said, glancing at the clock.
"Maybe Mr. Vernon won't show up."
"He'll be here. Trust me," John said.
"I'm surprised you sat next to me."
She'd given him a ride to and from school every day this week. He kissed her every morning. Not the type of kisses he wanted to give her after his pretty involved dreams about her, but they were better than nothing. So, he'd sort of taken it as a given he should sit next to her when he saw her sitting here. Isn’t that what couples did? He’d never been a part of a couple before, but he was an observant guy to know that was what was expected of him.
"Why?" he asked.
He frowned. Had he done something during the week to say he wouldn't want to sit with her if he could? They had no classes together, not even lunch.
"Just am," she said. Then he felt her foot brush against his ankle. It had to be intentional because they weren't sitting that close to each other.
"You know. He's not going to let us shut the door this time, right?" she said.
"Probably not, but he's not going to sit in his office all day either. Besides, I'm betting if you're here to organize the card catalog that's going to be my project for the day, too. That means we'll be out of his view," he said, gesturing to the card catalog in question.
"You're going to help me? You are the one who messed the cards up."
"It was just one drawer, but I suppose. It might take a while to finish, though."
"Because I plan on taking a lot of breaks for more enjoyable things, Princess."
She blushed then.
"I'm not coming here every Saturday until school lets out."
"I know," he said.
"I could pick you up when you're done, though."
"Sure," she said.
She shrugged. "I don't know. Whatever you want."
"That's a tall order."
"Anything you want that I'm willing to do."
He chuckled. "You weren't willing to kiss anyone before last weekend."
"I know," she said, blushing again. She did that quite a bit he noticed and he was curious why.
"He's coming," John said, hearing footsteps he knew well as Assistant Principal Vernon's in the hallway approaching. "Try not to get me in any more trouble today, Princess, okay?"
She scoffed and was stopped from saying anything in response by Vernon entering the library. She was smiling, though, so evidently knew he'd been teasing her.
“Well, isn’t this cozy,” Mr. Vernon said upon entering the library. “I’m surprised he sat so close to you. Be careful he might rub off on you.”
“That is my intent, Sir,” John said dryly. He glared at her when Claire kicked his shin under the table.
“Okay, so the assignment for today is to straighten the card catalog that somebody managed to get out of order,” Vernon said glancing knowingly at John. John simply shrugged, rolling his eyes at the Assistant Principal.
“Pity, too, I bet some of those books were on the high priority check out list.”
Claire stifled a laugh, but John caught the smile.
“No talking, no funny business, no moving from the card catalog area until I come get you to give you a break.”
“Yes, sir,” John said.
“Excuse me, Mr. Vernon,” Claire said, raising her hand.
“What is it?”
“I’m sorry, but do those rules apply to me since I volunteered to come help with the card catalog?”
“Yes, they do. You’re here on my time so you’ll follow my rules while here.”
“Okay,” she said.
“Now get to work,” he said. “I’ll be in to check on your progress to be sure you’re not slacking off.”
“I’m surprised he didn’t tell us he’d crack our skulls if he caught us slacking off. That line is one of his favorites,” John said once Vernon had left and was settled (presumably) in his office. “If I had a dime for every time he’s said that to me I’d be able to buy a pack of cigarettes by now.”
“Why do you do that?”
“Antagonize him? He’d leave you alone if you stopped.”
“Maybe I don’t want him to leave me alone. Maybe I secretly like his attention. Maybe I secretly like him.”
“Ew,” she said. “I think I just threw up in my mouth a little.”
“Don’t worry, Princess. I only have eyes for you.”
She rolled her eyes.
“Were you really going to bail on me if he said you could?”
“Well, no, I was just curious what he’d say. I mean, I’m not here because I got in trouble.”
“And no one found it odd you just suddenly volunteered to be here on a Saturday?”
“No,” she shrugged. “I do good things. You’d know that if you paid attention.”
“Oh, I pay plenty of attention, Princess.”
“Stop calling me that. He’s going to hear you.”
“Yeah? And if I called you Claire he’d know something was suspicious.”
“You don’t call girls by their names?”
“Not ones like you, no.”
“Hmm,” she said.
“So, how long do we actually have to work before we take a break?”
“I don’t know. How am I supposed to know when he’s going to come back?”
He chuckled, shaking his head. “Princess, you wound me. Not his break. Our break.”
“Oh, I don’t know.”
“Well, I guess I’ll play it by ear then.”
“Okay then,” she said.
“Nice sweater, by the way.”
“Thank you,” she said, sounding surprised at the compliment. He’d been itching to touch it since she’d taken her jacket off just before Vernon came into the library. It looked real soft, he put odds on the fact it felt amazing to touch.
“Sure,” he said, sliding out of his coat. “Let’s get this party started then, shall we?” He stood then and pulled her chair out for her.
“Did you fall and hit your head this morning or something?”
“That. What you just did. Where’d that come from?”
“What? I can be nice when I want to be. With eight hours alone with you, well basically alone with you. Vernon will leave us alone because he’s under the impression you can’t stand me. So, trust me when I say that I want to be very nice to you today to see if I get more than kisses.”
She rolled her eyes. “You are so crude.”
“Evidently you like that in your men, Princess. I haven’t seen you kissing anyone else this week.”
“Of course I haven’t kissed anyone else this week.”
“Well, then, you’ve made my point for me.”
“Why do I bother?”
“I’m just that irresistible, that’s all.”
“That must be it,” she said, following him to the card catalog area.
They each took a drawer and sat on the floor with it. He sat next to her.
“God, this is going to take us forever.”
“Says the guy who caused the problem to begin with.”
“Did you volunteer to complete the project or just work on it today?”
“I’m not really sure.”
“I don’t think we’re going to get done with this today even working straight through.”
“I don’t think so either.”
He set his drawer beside him, slid hers out of her hands and reached over to set it on the other side of her before leaning in to kiss her.
God, he’d dreamt about her all week. The kisses she gave him in the car just left him wanting more. They were nice as kisses went, but he knew from their time together on Saturday that she could do so much better.
She parted her lips before he did and he chuckled softly into the kiss.
“Shut up,” she murmured.
“Aye aye, Captain.”
He took advantage of her being into the kiss and thus a bit distracted to reach for her sweater. It was as soft to the touch as he’d figured. Cashmere or something he bet. He could understand why the stuff cost so much if it felt this nice. He worked a couple of the buttons open, groaning softly in surprise at the fact she wasn’t wearing anything but a bra underneath.
“You’re killing me, Princess,” he murmured, finding her neck and kissing her there. He nipped lightly at the skin just at the collar of the sweater. He slid his mouth a little further, pushing the sweater aside a bit as he did and sucked a little harder. Her hand slid to his head and he thought she was going to stop him. She didn’t, though, instead drawing him against her neck even tighter, tilting her head a bit for better access.
There was that perfume again. It clung to her, but not in the overwhelming way so many girls wore their perfume. It was far more subtle than that. He hadn’t even really smelled it until he’d gotten this close to her. He knew he was going to have one hell of a dream about her again tonight.
He reached into her sweater, sliding fingertips over the swell of her breast lightly. She’d let him do this Saturday, but only for a minute and then she’d stopped him. She hadn’t been mad, or at least hadn’t seemed mad at him for trying. Hopefully she wouldn’t be today either.
He stopped kissing and sucking at her neck then.
“Come here,” he whispered, noticing already there was a pretty good mark there. He couldn’t help but admire his handiwork.
“I am right here. I can’t get any closer.”
“I beg to differ, Princess. My lap would be much, much closer and a hell of a lot more convenient.”
“And Mr. Vernon?”
“I’ll hear him,” he said.
“Trust me, I don’t want to get caught any more than you do, Princess.”
She slid onto his lap, arms going to his neck. “You don’t want him to see you with me?”
“No, I don’t want him to see you with me. You don’t need the stigma of that dragging you down the last two months of school.”
He went back to kissing her neck, hand back in her sweater. He was more than willing to take what she was giving him. Whenever she said enough he’d stop, but until then he wanted more physical knowledge about her to add to his dreams.
He worked his hand into the cup of her bra, groaning softly at the feel of her peak already hard and erect without him having done anything to her there. She pulled his head away from her neck now and he expected his hand to be next, but she left that there bringing her mouth to his.
“You’re listening for him?” she asked. Her mouth was centimeters away from his, very distracting but he was willing to find out how good he could be at listening for something else while having a good time with her.
“Yes,” he said.
She pressed herself into his hand, encouraging him to touch her more and he did. He used his other hand to work more of the sweater’s buttons undone, parting it as he went. God she was soft, softer than he dreamed that was for sure. She fit in his hand perfectly, though. He loved the feel of the weight of her in the palm of his hand, her peak practically straining in an attempt to get even harder against his thumb’s attention.
He broke the kiss this time, breathing heavily. He closed his eyes for a second to collect himself.
“I think that’s a pretty good break.”
He chuckled softly.
“And you think I’m crude. I’m not sure what more you were expecting, Princess. Me to try and get you to go at it with me right here on the library floor?”
“I don’t know,’ she said, reaching for her sweater to close it a little.
“Let me,” he said, working the buttons he’d just moments ago undone.
“Why are you doing that?”
He shrugged. “Because I like touching you?”
“I like it, too.”
“That is very good to know, Princess. Now, quit distracting me so we can get our work done. I’m on a tight schedule, you know?”
“Me? Distracting you?”
He leaned in and kissed her, drawing her closer to him to deepen it once he was done buttoning her sweater again.
“Princess. You have to understand that half the shit I say is sarcastic or a joke. Trust me when I tell you this type of distraction is more than welcome.”
“I like the sweater unbuttoned better.”
“I can’t keep it like that!”
“Because I don’t have anything on underneath it.”
“You have your bra.”
“I can’t just let that show.”
“Why not? We could tell Mr. Vernon you got hot.”
“Like he’d buy that.”
“He’s pretty gullible and he’d never in a million years believe you’d let me unbutton your sweater.”
“I just did.”
“And button it back up like the good guy I am.”
“Are you going to unbutton it again?”
“I was thinking maybe later in your car.”
He ran the back of his hand over one of her breasts, her peak still hard from him touching her.
“Maybe I could be talked into doing it sooner.”
“Good,” she said and he laughed softly.
“I should be asking you if you bumped your head or something I think.”
“You want me to feel you up?”
“I like it, okay?”
“Hey, it’s more than okay. Maybe later in your car you can take it off altogether.”
“Where are we in my car?”
“Here in the parking lot or where?”
“Oh. Uh, I don’t know.” He’d parked a few times, but none of those places seemed right to take her to.
“You don’t know.”
“Not off the top of my head. I’m sure there’s a parking lot somewhere we could find. Let me think about it.”
“Okay,” she said, sliding off his lap and returning her attention to her drawer. He did the same.
Mr. Vernon came in on and off throughout the day. If he noticed how close the two of them were sitting or that Claire’s lipstick was almost nonexistent now when it had no reason to be given she wasn’t eating or drinking anything he didn’t say anything.
“You are dismissed for the day,” he said at four o’clock. “I’ll see you back here next week, Mr. Bender.”
“Looking forward to it, Sir.”
“I’ll bet you are. It’s just you and me next week.”
“I can’t wait,” John said, sliding his coat on.
“Thanks,” Claire said when he reached over to help her with hers. Vernon noticed that.
“I had no idea you actually had manners, John,” Vernon said.
“I don’t know what that means,” John said. Claire glared at him as she wrapped her scarf around the collar of her coat.
“Get out of here,” Vernon said.
“You don’t have to tell me twice,” John said, following Claire out the doors that led to the library. He reached for her hand, but she drew hers away.
“What?” he asked.
“He might see.”
John sighed softly, but he imagined there was truth to that.
“What are you going to come back next week or something?”
“I don’t suppose I could talk you into no bra?”
“And again with the crude.”
He chuckled. “Wear a snowsuit for all I care, Princess.”
“You wouldn’t care?”
“More challenging to get you out of those layers without Vernon catching on, but I think I’m up to the task.”
“Why’d you park over here anyway?”
“It’s where I always park,” she said when they made it to her car.
“You know there’s no one at school today but us, right?”
“I know. It was just habit. I shut my car off and realized what I’d done but I wasn’t going to start it again just to move it a little bit.”
“Gotcha. Well, next week, park a little closer to the door, will you?”
“Next week I’ll make you walk home,” she said.
“Aww, you love me, Princess, you know it, you wouldn’t do that to me.”
“Where to?” she asked, but she avoided looking at him. Interesting.
“I guess home.”
“What?” she asked. “I thought…”
“Yeah, as much as I want to. I do, too, believe me. We should go home.”
She frowned. “Did I do something wrong?”
“No, I’m trying to do something right for a change.”
“You can still go without the bra next week, I wouldn’t complain.”
“I bet you wouldn’t.”
He chuckled softly, tugging her to him for a kiss.
“I wouldn’t complain much about anything you did,” he said before opening her door for her.
“Thanks,” she said, sliding in and starting the car while he got in on the other side.
“Now if you wanted to go to Pete’s or something for a dog or something we could do that.”
“You’d rather eat?”
“No, I wouldn’t rather eat. You don’t want to know what I’d rather do, Princess. You accused me of being crude earlier. Those were tame compared to some of my thoughts about you. So, let’s get something to eat and we can end the night without you thinking I’m an asshole or waking up tomorrow regretting things I don’t want you to regret doing with me.”
“You say that, and I believe you mean it, but I’d like to see where this goes so I don’t want to fuck it up before finding out.”
“Huh,” she said.
“I know, right? So, next week, you’re not really going to leave me to that card catalog by myself are you?”
She sighed softly. “Probably not.”
“See, you are the goddess I knew you were.”
“You’ve never said you thought I was a goddess.”
“Haven’t I? I guess I’ve only dreamt about saying it then.”