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Kim Pritekel & Alexa Hoffman

Part 11

"Are you sure you don’t want me to come in with you?" I turned to Kristine, shook my head.

"Nah. He’ll put you to work." I smacked her playfully on the arm, and opened the door. "Thanks so much for the ride. I’ll see you tomorrow at work."

"Wait, Brooklyn, how are you going to get home?" She was nearly hanging out of her car window, concern etching her face.

"Don’t worry. I’ll make him get off his lazy butt and take me home. Really. I’ll be fine, now get out of here." I tapped the roof of her car, and she smiled.

"Okay. If you say so. Later, chickie."

"Bye, Kristine. Thanks, again."

I turned to face my uncle’s house, shaking my head as I saw that he was letting the grass die, again. Walking around to the side of the house, I unwound the hose, and got the sprinklers going. At least it could get two hours worth of water while I was here for my monthly stop.

"Hey, Uncle Bruce," I called out as I opened the screen door. "Your letting the grass brown again."

"Pah, it looks fine." He looked at me from the archway leading to the kitchen, a beer in his hand. I noticed the small pyramid of cans on the tray next to his chair, then looked at him, arms crossed over my chest.

"Uncle Bruce." He looked away, hating the accusatory tone of my voice.

"It’s hot! A man needs a nice cold one on a day like this." He hobbled into the room, holding onto different pieces of furniture as he went.

"Right," I said, my voice dripping with sarcasm. I began to gather the trash on his tray, finding the empty garbage can near the desk. Why the man couldn’t put his trash in it was beyond me. "How did your doctor’s appointment go?" I asked, beginning to gather trash around the house. "Sorry I couldn’t take you," I called from the bathroom.

"Eh, it went alright, I suppose. They didn’t tell me nothin’ I didn’t already know," he called back.

"Well, I don’t believe that for a second," I muttered, seeing that the bathroom trash was near over flowing. How his wife didn’t kill him before she died I’ll never understand.

Making my way to the kitchen and the main trash, I noted that all the dishes were done in the sink. I turned to see the old man quickly turn away from watching me, pretending to watch the bowling tournament on TV.

I made my slow way over to him, cupping his cheek from behind and kissing the top of his head. "I’m proud of you, Uncle Bruce," I said quietly. "Now why can’t you do that more often?"

"Don’t want to," he grumbled, like an impudent child.

"Well, if that’s not obvious." I heard him groan as he stood, me making my way to his bedroom to change the sheets.

"How’s your hip doing? If it’s giving out on you already, wait till you’re my age." He gave me a toothy grin.

"Well, my leg and arm are fine, but thanks for the heads up." I began to strip the queen-sized bed, Bruce surprising me by moving around to the other side and helping me. See, the thing about my uncle Bruce is that I had no doubt that he was just as capable of doing all the stuff for himself that I did for him, but I think he played helpless because he liked the company.

Truth be told, so did I. He was, after all, my only family left.

"Well, you look like you’re fine now." He tossed the pillows to the floor, taking hold of the undersheet and yanking it off the mattress.

"It’s better. I just got the cast off last week. It’s still tender. And, you’re going to have to give me a ride home. Can’t drive."

"Just like old times, eh?" He smiled at me, his dry, wrinkled old lips nearly cracking with the effort.

"Yes, sir. Just like old times."

"You know, your mother won a bed-making contest once. Damn near made it into the Guinness Book of World Records." He raised his bushy, white eyebrows for emphasis.

"You’re kidding me." I grabbed a set of clean sheets from the linen closet just outside the bedroom door, and returned, tossing an end over to him.

"No ma’am. True story. Your mother always liked to sign up for silly contests and drawings, and the like. Well, one was in the middle of a mall. These people there, see, said that if she could make the bed in under, oh I don’t remember what the time limit was now, but they gave her a certain amount of time, and she could win a trip for two." He smiled. When he started in on his stories, I never knew when he was telling the truth, and when he was mixing up a whole bunch of people’s lives, but I always enjoyed them. Especially when they involved my parents.

"Did she win?"

"Nope. She was a mere half a second off." He snapped his fingers. "Lost just like that." I chuckled.

"I bet she was mad."

"Oh, you know it." He grinned. "Luckily you got your father’s temper. Your mother, oh boy," He whistled as he tucked the corner under the mattress. "Your grandparents used to call her the red ant. It was fitting, too. Give me the end of the blanket, will you?"

"Well, it’s summer, Uncle Bruce. Are you sure you want it?" He gave me his version of ‘the look.’ "Okay, just asking."

Maybe my mom wasn’t the only red ant in the family.

* * *

I sighed, tossing the phone aside. This was the third time this week that I couldn’t get a hold of Cody on her cell. Bummed, I decided to try my exercises again. I had had my casts off for nearly two weeks, and was loving every minute of the new-found freedom. I could shower, I could take a nice long, hot bath until I pruned if I so chose, I could walk without a hobble, plus, I could work my clay again.

For now I decided to head over to my inside bike that I’d drug down from the upstairs bedroom. The stationary bike was what I used back when I used to participate in bike marathons. It helped to build my stamina when I couldn’t go out and ride the real thing.

So, it would help me once again.

I had been on it once, stupidly, in the first week after my casts came off, and had to pretty much stop immediately. So, slowly I had built up until I could ride for about thirty minutes at a time on the easiest speed.

Cody had made a bet with me, and a Fletcher never backs down on a bet. I was determined for her to see me on this damn thing if it was the last thing I did.

Taking several deep breaths, I climbed on, adjusting my shorts and my socks, which of course I knew was a way to delay the inevitable. I had never been this out of shape in my entire life, and it killed me now to be so wiped out after only thirty minutes of exercise. Thirty minutes!

As I sat on the bike, my feet fitted onto the pedals, I took another deep breath, determined to make an hour today. If I were to ride the real thing, I had to push myself all the harder.

I set the timer, and flicked on my stereo, the pounding beat of the song that played helping to push me to begin.

"Here goes." I began to push, keeping most of the weight unconsciously on my left foot, but as soon as I realized what I was doing, I stopped, centering myself, and equaling the burden. Re-starting the timer, I began in earnest.

Breathing in through my nose, and out through my mouth, I selected a slightly harder speed, my thighs groaning in protest, but I knew it would be a great pain later, that satisfying pain of muscle being used and pushed beyond normal limits, a wonderful burning sensation. I smiled as I knew that the groaning muscle really notated muscle being made healthy and useful once more.

I wanted to do this so much for Cody. After the accident, I truly thought, in my pity party state of mind, that I’d never ride again, never mount a bike again. I had given one passion up, and I really had no desire to give up another. The way she had stood by me through all this, I owed it to her to ride again. Hell, I owed it to myself.

* * *

I took a deep breath as I got out of Kristine's car, running a hand through my new hair, so soft after getting professional attention. My friend looked at me, having to drive me as I wasn’t allowed to drive quite yet.

"Will she like it?" she asked.

"I don’t know. I’ve been threatening to do this long enough." I gave her a nervous smile, and opened the car door. I reached back, rubbing my hand over the newly bared skin of the back of my neck. It felt so much cooler and had that strange prickly sensation of freshly shaved skin. The hairdresser had done just that to the back of my neck.

Heading up to the porch, Kristine behind me, I reached out and pushed the doorbell. Bouncing on the ball of my feet, I waited, my heart pounding in my chest. I rang the doorbell again.

"No, shit, Sherlock! I hear you!" was yelled somewhere deep within the house. I looked back at Kristine to see her smiling with a shrug. I turned back towards the door, listening.

Thud, thud, thud,

"Jump, jump, jump,"

Thud, thud, thud, Thud!

"Jump, jump, jump, land." I grinned, seeing Cody bounding down the stairs two at a time to finally take a leap off the third from the bottom to land squarely on the first floor. My heart beat sped up as I heard her heavy footfalls heading toward the door, until finally all the locks were disengaged, and it was swung open.

Cody stood there, hair wild, baggy boxers, and a black tank. She looked a little surprised when she saw who had interrupted her sleep, but that was quickly taken over by cool indifference. God, she drove me nuts sometimes.

Then she saw my hair.

Blue eyes widened just a bit, and she stepped out onto the porch, walking around me in a slow circle, taking in the massive loss of hair. Length that had reached my mid-back an hour ago now barely reached the nape of my neck, brushing gently over my ears. I had also had it highlighted so now it was a bright, vibrant blonde.

I wanted to ask what she thought, but didn’t dare. I know she’d be brutally honest with me when she was ready.

"So," she drawled, "looks like a pair of scissors got pretty damn hungry." I could hear Kristine chuckle from near the stairs.

"Something like that," I said, my eyes following her progress as she continued her travels around me. I could almost feel her gaze upon my new look, it was so intense.

"So," she finally said, coming to rest in front of me. "Where are you taking me to lunch?" The corner of her mouth was slightly curved, the start of a grin on her lips.

"So you like it then." More a statement than a question from me.

"Would I want to be seen in public with you if I didn’t?"

"Fair enough." I smiled, turning to Kristine. "Hungry?"

* * *

Running my hands through my hair, for about the millionth time in the last hour, I sat in front of my computer at work, trying to decide which to do next, start a new project or fix the old one for the fourth time today. This new guy they hired was a real idiot. Did he even know how to read? Judging from the mistakes he continued to make, I seriously doubted it.

This afternoon I’d bring Cody over to show her what I’ve managed to do. I still had my old bike from before I got my beloved Murry, so I could show her on a real bike that I could, indeed ride.

Glancing at the clock on the screen, I saw that I was out of here in just under an hour.

* * *

Ring, ring, ring.


"Hey, you." I smiled into the phone, Cody’s voice coming over her cell phone sounding like tin rather than the normal, rich timbre.


"Where are you?" I could hear traffic.

"Um, standing on the corner of Elm and Branson," she said, a large engine passing close by her, nearly drowning out her voice. My brows drew. That was only a few blocks away. I smiled.

"Oh yeah? Is it a busy street?" I laid back against the pillows on my bed, still smiling.

"Nah, not really," she said, playing along as we both knew it was one of the busiest intersections in the subdivision.

"Oh, that’s good. Come over."

"Okay. You’ll have to tell me how, though."

"Well, cross Elm, and then head straight for a while until you reach Laramie." I explained, making sure my directions were slow and clear.

"Hold on, hold on, not so fast," she whined. I grinned. Oh, that was just too cute. "Okay, I’ve crossed Elm." I could hear her panting in my ear, the effort of pushing herself along on her board and talking taking its toll.

"Good, good. You’re doing great, Cody." I put a smile of encouragement in my words.

"Really? Oh, goody!" I heard a really loud noise. "Whoa!" Cody barked into the phone. "Asshole! Watch where you're going!"

"Cody? Are you okay?" I sat up on the bed, my heart flipping that something could happen to her.

"Yeah. Fucker almost hit me."

My eyes closed in relief. "Please be careful, will you? You almost gave me a heart attack."

"You? Be on this end, you whiner."

I smiled as I heard the front door open downstairs, and clicked my phone off, tossing it aside as I jumped off the bed, and headed toward the stairs.

It had felt so wonderful to sleep in my own bed again. The day after I’d gotten my cast off, I’d slept until eleven the next morning just because I could.

Cody nearly ran me over as she headed for the stairs to ditch the bra.

"Are you okay?" I asked, my hand going to her arm.

"Yeah, I’m okay." She ran a hand through her long hair, pushing it out of her face. "I hate that people don’t bother looking where the fuck they’re going."

"I know. Hurry up with that, I want to show you something." I gave her a grin, spanning from ear to ear, and she just looked down at me, a confused smile of her own gracing her features.

"Okay. Give me two minutes." I looked at my watch, she rolled her eyes.

As I waited, I rubbing my palms together, trying to decide where I should do this. Should it be in the driveway? The street? Down on the basketball courts at the park? No, I wouldn’t be able to ride that far. I guess the street out front would have to do.

"So what’s so important?" Cody asked, bounding back down the stairs, childish excitement showing in every bounce.

"Come with me." I grabbed her by the wrist, and dragged her out front with me. "Stay." I stopped her on the driveway, then headed back into the house to open the garage door. As I waited, the light of day slowly filling the stifled space, I flexed my fingers on the handlebars of the bike, one leg already thrown over. Finally the door was completely open, and I heard footsteps as Cody walked toward the garage. "I said stay, you nut!" I called out. The footsteps immediately stopped. With one deep breath of good luck, I pushed off with my left foot, wincing every so slightly as my right ankle came into contact with the pedal on the other side of the bike before I adjusted myself, and heaved myself up into the seat, coasting out into the driveway.

"Dude!" Cody called out as I breezed to the end, turning into the street, and carefully pushing with my legs to propel myself. A grin covered my face at her exclamation, which I knew was saved for really intense events for her.

Finding my balance, and my courage, I glanced over at the house to see a smiling Cody running to the street, watching me as I pedaled, slow and easy.

"Look at you go, man!" She dug her hands into the pockets of her cargos, eyes still on me as I began to do small figure eights in the street. An incredible sense of pride filled my chest as I did it. Yes, I was thrilled to be able to do this for Cody who had believed in me from the beginning, but I realized that more than anything, I was proud of myself for not giving it up and overcoming obstacles unlike so many other things in my life.

Feeling I’d pushed it to the limit, and not wanting to be in pain or tired during my time with Cody, I pulled up to stop in front of her. She beamed at me.

"I told you could do it," she said quietly, her eyes intense as they burned into mine. "Shocked yourself, didn’t you?" I nodded.

"Maybe just a little." I held up my hand to show the small space between my thumb and forefinger."

"You know what this means, right?" That half-cocked grin of hers again.

"The bet?"

"The bet. See you at seven?" She raised a brow, and I met her challenge, suddenly feeling ready for it.

"Seven it is. Are you going to pick me up?" I stood, the bike balanced between my legs.

"I wouldn’t have it any other way." She looked at me for a moment, waiting for what, I didn’t know, then turned abruptly, and headed into the house, grabbing her board. Putting her sunglasses on, she grinned at me. "Later."

* * *

Holding the towel around my body, I headed to my closet, trying to come up with an outfit in my mind. I almost thought about calling Kristine to see if she had any suggestions since she’d been to Spunkies, but then changed my mind; tonight I’d go on instinct.

Sliding the door open, I chewed on my lower lip, my fingers wandering over the clothing, feeling textures and materials, not sure what I was after, but knowing I’d know it when I saw it. I looked down at my naked body, only covered by the thin terrycloth, trying to gauge what I could get away with. After all, a lot of this stuff I’d had since college, and lord knows I wouldn’t be able to fit into some of it now.

Then it hit me. A wicked smile on my face, I pushed all the clothing aside, the scraping of the wire hangers against the wood of the pole they hung on, I found it in the back, still covered in the protective garment bag that it had come in.

I felt the weight of the leather, then inhaled it’s musky scent, and laid it gently on the bed. Next I was in search of a shirt to go with it.

I ran the brush through my short hair once more, making sure it shined, then walked out to the bedroom to have a look in the full-length mirror: black leather skirt, just a tad longer than a mini, tight black tank with spaghetti straps, and black leather boots that climbed gracefully up my calves, a three inch thick heel making the muscles in my calves stand at attention.

"Damn," I whispered, shocked at my own reflection that looked back at me with a confidence that I didn’t know I had. I also wasn’t aware that I could look so damn good. I wondered what Cody would think.

Taking a very deep breath, my exposed cleavage rising and falling with it, I headed downstairs after a quick good-bye kiss to my hamsters.

As I sat on the couch, hands in my lap like the proper girl that I didn’t feel like in these clothes, I heard a car pull into the driveway. A quick glance at the clock told me it was seven on the nose. Taking a deep, shuddering breath, I waited for the doorbell. I didn’t have to wait long.

I walked over to the door, and opened it, my eyes trailing up and down what I saw there.

Cody wore black pants, baggy, but fitted in the waist, black boots covered her feet, one of which crossed the other ankle, and it all ended in a tight, ribbed, white tank. Her hair was down around her face, giving her a wild appearance that gave me a shiver. I finally found her face, but her eyes were busy, lips pursed together as her jaw muscles worked, her eyes scanning my body slowly. To my amazement, I didn’t feel uncomfortable in the least at the scrutiny. In fact, I felt a surge of power.

"Ready?" I said, blue eyes flicking up to meet my own. She merely nodded. My eyes traveled back to look her over as we walked to the car, the pants fitted just right around a nice, firm ass, the muscular legs beneath hidden inside the excess material.

To my amusement, Cody stopped at the passenger side door, opening it for me. She looked at me as I stepped past her to get in, an unsaid challenge in her eyes.

I accept.

The drive to the club was a silent one, both of us lost in our own thoughts. I would have done anything to know what was floating around Cody’s brain. I know mine was mottled with a slew of possibilities, fears, and anticipation. I was determined to not let Cody down tonight. We’d have fun.

The building was a long two-story, though I think Spunkies only took up the bottom floor. It was painted black, and so were all the windows. Motorcycles were lined up in front of it along with the cars, some people hanging out in front talking.

"Did you bring I.D.?" Cody asked, breaking the twenty-minute silence. I nodded, patting the small clutch purse I’d brought. "Good. Get it out."

I smiled when I saw our bouncer. She was about Cody’s height, but didn’t weigh a minute, her dark hair combed back into a stylish mullet, if those can be stylish, her glasses perched at the end of her nose, begging to be pushed up.

"Hold on," she said, putting a long, narrow hand up in front of us. "I.D. if you wanna drink."

"Not here," Cody said, pointing to herself. The bouncer stamped the back of both hands with a large X. "Thanks, twiggy."

"Fuck you, Cody," the bouncer growled. Cody grinned, slapping the girl on the arm. "Bitch." She smiled, then the smile faded as she was all business again, turning back to me. "I.D.?" I pulled out my license, and she studied it, looking up at me, then handing it back to me. "Have fun, you two."

"Thanks," I said, feeling as though I had just left normal as soon as I crossed the threshold. The place wasn’t huge, but it wasn’t a dinky bar, either. Straight ahead was the bar, painted black like the rest of the place, including all the inside walls and tables. Two bartenders served anxious patrons from every walk of life. I saw plenty of leather, and I’d only been in the place for exactly seven seconds. Chains hanging off belts, clinking as people walked, heavy boots against the wooden floor, black, of course.

The mirror that lined the back of the bar showed me that physically I fit in, but I still felt like I was on another planet. Glancing over to the right, I saw scattered tables and chairs, and then a huge dance floor, loud music with a heavy beat pulsed through me, a throng of bodies thrashing together, fifty spiked heads bouncing together under the black lighting, making the white specks of pain on the walls glow. I looked at those, reading the messages that had been painted, small pearls of wisdom, or just vulgarities, as well as stick figures and even a cross.

Turning to Cody when I felt her hand on my back, I saw that her shirt and teeth also glowed from the black lighting. She was looking at me, and somehow it seemed as if something in her had changed, like her normal veil of protection was gone. Now all I saw was a very alert girl, eyes bright and filled with a confidence I could never dream of.

"You okay?" she said into my ear, her breath causing me to shiver in the heat of all the pulsing bodies. I nodded.

"I think I should start out with a drink." I smiled. She nodded, and her hand left my back only to take my hand and lead me to the bar.

"Hey, cutie," the bartender said, his hair in three tall spikes on his head, colored orange and purple. Cody took the offered hand, their palms clasping in a hardy handshake.

"Hey, Bam Bam. What’s up?" Bam Bam?

"Nothin. Who’s this?" He smiled at me, his nose ring glinting off the neon bar that lined the bar.

"Bam, this is Brooklyn. Brooklyn, Bam Bam."

"Uh, hi." I smiled, taking his hand. It felt odd calling someone a character name from the Flintstones.

"Glad to have you." He smiled again. "What’ll you have?" he asked as he began to fill a tall beer stein with lemon slices and water. My eyes bulged when I saw the water squeezing through the cracks between the slices, the water almost immediately clouded with juices and pulp. "Here you go, buddy." He slid the glass over to Cody, still eyeing me.

"Oh, um, a Corona with lime. But, only one slice." I grinned, glancing over at Cody who was leaning against the bar. She cocked her head to the side.

"Don’t knock till you’ve tried it," she purred.

"Fine." I grabbed the glass, wrapping my fingers around the handle, and took a drink, doing my best not to choke on the potent lemon flavor. Cody chuckled.

"Now," she leaned down, her face five inches from mine. "You can knock it."

"Gee, thanks." I took my beer, grabbing my purse when my hand was batted away. Cody tossed some bills on the bar, and again I felt her take my hand, leading me to a quiet corner. Well, quieter.

"So," she said, sipping from her water, smacking her lips together "What do you think?" She indicated the bar around us. The place was filled with light as the door opened, and a group of skaters walked in.

"Yo, Code!" One of them, a tall, skinny guy with blonde dreads and clothes that nearly made him disappear, walked over to her, taking her in a short, one-armed hug, then gave her a big, toothy grin. "How you?"

"Great, dude. What’s up? Where’s Ferris?"

"Aint here. Got busted up at the creek."

"That sucks. Well, catch you later, uh? Busy." She patted my hip, making me start as I’d just started taking a drink of my beer, but I said nothing. The group walked away, and I turned to Cody. I was surprised for some reason, but not unpleasantly so. She sipped from her drink, then looked at me.

"Let’s dance," I suggested, taking the stein out of her hand, and setting it on the table next to my beer. She grinned, and nodded. It was my turn to take her by the hand, finding us a nice place on the floor, that danced in light as lights from above twirled and sent different colored lights flashing everywhere, making patterns on the floor and walls.

I had never heard any of the music before, but it sounded like it was great to dance to, heavy, rhythmic beats and lots of guitar.

Cody looked down at me, a cocky grin on her face as she began to move, her body graceful and fluid as she caught the beat, and let it roam rampant through her. I followed suit, keeling up with her, letting the music take me wherever. Though this was not my normal place, and certainly not my normal people, it was Cody’s and certainly she felt at home here, so I did, too.

Because of lack of space, our bodies were close together, nearly touching, a knee or something coming into contact every now and then, but for the most part, only our eyes were connected. I saw that challenge in hers again, and it made my body respond, wanting to test my boundaries tonight. I had never felt so alive, nor as daring.

We danced for what must have been close to a half hour, sweat pouring down my body from the exertion as well as the temperatures in the place. I put my hand on Cody’s arm to stop her.

"I have to pee," I said into her ear. She nodded.

"Be careful," she said into mine. I drew my brows.

"What? Why?" She leaned in close.

"This place is cool, but sometimes, you know, there are some real assholes who are looking for prey." My eyes got huge.

"Oh. Warning heeded."

I made my through the crowd, seeing the neon sign at the back that said Shit Holes.

"Nice," I muttered, entering the dark hallway that I hoped would end in the restrooms. I could make out the forms of couples either just taking a break, making out, or even having a heated argument.

Finally finding the door marked Babes, I pushed it open, and looked around. The walls were painted a deep pink, verging on the brink of fuchsia. There were three stalls, two of which were currently being used. A woman stood at the bank of matching pink sinks, combing her hair, then applying lipstick. Her reflection checked me out, and I hurried into the middle stall, cursing the fact that the doors stopped about two feet from the floor, and I could easily see over them when I was standing.

Managing to jam the slide lock into place, I piled as much toilet paper onto the seat of the toilet as I could, terrified of what had been there before me, and finally sat down.

I listened to the chatter around me, the women in the stalls on either side of me talking over my stall.

"Shit, I can’t believe he did that," girl to the left said.

"Tell me about it. He’s such a prick," agreed girl on the right.

"We should just leave here and screw each other." My eyes bulged, and I brought my hand to my mouth to stop my laughter.

"God, no shit." Both toilets flushed, and their stall doors opened. They continued to talk as they washed their hands, then did something, I wasn’t so sure I wanted to know what, and finally left.

Washing my hands in the Pepto sink, I headed back out into the club, looking for Cody. I went to the dance floor where we’d been dancing before, but she wasn’t there. Brows drawing, I looked back over at the bar and our table where the drinks stood undisturbed. Finally I spotted the glowing white tank, and it was dancing with someone else.

To my absolute surprise, I felt angry, and extremely jealous. God, why does this girl bring out the jealousy in me?

I headed over to her, checking out the girl she was dancing with, and as I got closer, I realized they were talking, too. The girl was definitely a Goth, her long, black lacey skirt flowing around her mid-calf combat boots. Her pale skin was disrupted by the dark slash that was her heavily lipsticked mouth, and two dark rings around her eyes from the make-up.

It was obvious that they were just friends, but still, I didn’t like it.

Damn, I had no idea I looked so good in green.

I walked up behind Cody, feeling a little spice enter into my step as I reached out, wrapping my arms around her waist, pressing my body into hers, grinding my hips against her in rhythm with the music. Her body stiffened, and I could see the Goth looking at me curiously, a smirk on her face.

I moved my hips, slowly, sensually from side to side, my hands releasing their grip on her, and sliding so they were on either side of her hips. I felt her body begin to move with mine, her conversation with the other girl forgotten. She gave Cody a sly wink, then moved off into the crowd.

I felt my hands slide up the rough material of the cargo-like pants, feeling the pockets as my hands moved over them, my fingers playing with a button as they passed. In turn, hands moved back to rest on my own hips, her body pulsing with me. I could smell her sweat as well as the scent that was Cody, her head moving to the side, my nose feeling the smoothness of her neck.

The music seemed to disappear as she moved, turning around in my arms, electric eyes looking into mine, a bit of black hair sticking to the side of her neck from the thin sheen of sweat that covered her body.

Cody’s hands stayed on my body, fingers splaying out to cover as much of my hip as was possible, our bellies rubbing together as we continued to sway though the song was fast and furious. It didn’t matter. Then Cody stepped away, but just long enough to reach for the hem of her tank, and yank the shirt over her head. I watched, wide-eyed, eyes hungry as she revealed the gray and white sports bra, nipples erect from the exertion and the heat, her stomach completely flat, the shadows of the muted lighting highlighting the muscle and form as she moved, tucking the tank into a back belt loop.

I took a deep breath, never feeling my body like this before. Part of me was terrified, having no idea what was happening here, or what I was supposed to do, or what I’d be capable of, for that matter. Yet, part of me felt more alive than I ever had.

Hands were on me again, a knee between my own as Cody bent down, taking me with her as she began to grind. My hands slid over her skin, my head falling back, eyes closed as the deep thump of the music began to invade me. I felt warm breath on my neck, but could only arch my head more. A small groan escaped me when I felt soft lips at the base of my throat, but they were quickly gone, a phantom touch.

Slowly my eyes opened to see Cody looking at me, part in wonder and part in fear. I understood those sentiments, and smiled.

"Let’s get a drink," I said in her ear. She nodded, taking my hand, and leading me back to our table.

My body thrummed as we weaved our way through all the people, my pulse pounding in my ears, stomach in my throat. God, I, I can’t even begin to understand or explain how I felt. It was just an incredible tempest of emotion, all swirling around to make one jumbled mess.

I got another beer, the last bit of my first one gone flat. Cody ordered another water, though less lemon in it this time.

"Want some?" I asked, holding up the bottle for her. She grinned at me, one brow raised.

"You’re trying to contribute to my already rampant delinquency?"

"Yeah, pretty much." I gave her a wicked smile.

"Cool." She took the bottle, taking a long swig. I watched how her throat worked as she swallowed, the long, smooth skin inviting.

Turning back to our table, I leaned against the wall, no chairs near us. I needed a mental break for a moment. This place, the clientele and atmosphere was getting to me. There was a small part of me that couldn’t wait to get back home to the world that I knew and understood.

"Here." I turned back to see Cody holding out the Corona. I took it, taking a huge gulp, my body dehydrated from the intense dancing and body heat that surrounded us like a fire.

"Want another?" she asked, nodding at the bottle. Between the two of us, we had nearly finished the beer. I nodded. Cody disappeared, headed to the bar.

I sat on the edge of the table, needing to give my ankle a bit of a rest before we started round two. Turning back to the direction where Cody had went, I saw her talking with Bam Bam, grinning like a fool, she gave him some money, and headed back to me with a beer. She saw me watching her, and raised the bottle in salute. I smiled. That smile fell right off my face when I saw an emaciated porcupine saunter up to her, grabbing Cody’s attention. I could see them talking, laughing, pounding each other on the back like old buddies.

My blood began to boil. Could we never get away from T.J.? I could not stand that girl. I was not the type of person to dislike someone easily, if at all, but that one was a first for me. The sight of her made me want to strangle something, mainly her.

I edged off the table, looking around to see where I could go, and opted to go back to the bathroom. I didn’t want to be around her, and knew I couldn’t be unfair to Cody. She had every right to have other friends, and it seemed she definitely did here. All night long someone was either coming up to her to chat, asking her where they could score, something.

I pushed open the bathroom door, nearly smacking into a woman that looked suspiciously like there was a man under that dress, apologized, and headed for the sinks. I leaned on the pink porcelain and looked at my reflection. I barely recognized my own eyes, wild and dark from my anger, jealousy, desire, whatever.


Desire? I leaned in closer, the sink moaning under my weight. I stared into my eyes, seeing their green depths, and wondering what was going on with me. I had been enjoying dancing with Cody, far too much, actually, and yet somehow it just didn’t, I don’t know. I just didn’t seem to be enough. I didn’t know what I wanted, what more I could possibly get from her. I knew that once we got out of here, Cody would crash at my place, and unless she worked tomorrow, we’d probably spend the day, if not the weekend, together.

I craved her presence, her attention. I knew that I had gotten more out of her than the average bear, hell, than most people in her life, and I relished that fact. It was sick, but when Rhonda would complain to me about how aloof Cody was, or how she wouldn’t talk to her, I knew deep inside that she talked to me, and that I knew her dreams and worries.

She trusted me somehow. My face darkened. I wasn’t about to give that up to T.J.

I barely recognized myself as I walked out of that bathroom, a definite plan of action on my mind as I moved through the dark hallway, the thumping beat of the music and noise of the dance floor getting louder.


I sucked in a surprised breath as I felt someone grab my arm, fear piercing through my resolutions as my back was pinned to someone’s front.

"Looking for a mamma, little girl?" was whispered into my ear. I smiled, my hands feeling the familiar pockets all over the pants, then sliding up to feel the bare skin of a hard stomach.

"Yeah. You offering?" I teased back. Cody let out a low chuckle into my ear, her arms wrapping around me, pulling me in tighter to her warm body. I rested my head against her shoulder, my hands resting atop her forearms. I watched as people danced just outside the entrance to the hallway, bodies grinding together, or heads thrashing to the near unintelligible words that were being shouted in the song.

"So, what do you think?" she asked, warm breath on my neck.

"I like it," I said, and I meant it. "It’s really different than anything I’ve ever seen before, or known. You know?"

"Yes, ma’am. Definitely different than anything I’ve ever known." I felt that hot breath on my neck again, and for a moment I wondered if we were talking about the same thing, but then I realized, we certainly were.

We stood there for countless minutes, me leaning back against Cody who leaned back against the dark wall behind her. Her thumb reached up and caressed the side of my hand, the touch warm and soothing, making me feel very secure and safe in a world so far from my own. I sighed, completely content.

"Ready to go dance again?" she finally asked. I thought for a moment, unsure if I wanted to give up my warm little cocoon, but then nodded. I took her hand in mine, and we headed toward the craziness once again.

Finding a place, I turned to Cody, and she took me in her arms. There was a great song playing by Lita Ford and Ozzie Osbourne, "Close My Eyes Forever." Slow, but still rockin’.

"This song’s a little warped, you know?" I said, snaking my arms up to clasp my hands behind her neck. She nodded.

"That it is. Gee, babe, die for me," she said, impersonating Ozzie Osbourne’s nearly incoherent speech. I chuckled, pulling her closer, Her arms tightened around my waist.

As we danced, I wondered what tomorrow would bring. Would tonight affect the friendship that we had built over months? I knew that some interesting borders had been crossed here tonight, and wasn’t sure what to think of it. I didn’t want to think about it.

We had tonight, and after that, we’d deal with it.


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