My unpublished manuscript ‘Knowing When You’re Too Young to Grow Up’ chronicles Andrew Brown’s struggle to reconnect with his best friend Pete Goodman as a lurid secret Andrew has never told threatens to break them apart for good.
As I mentioned in “A Reintroduction: The Prologue,” I intend to post edited chapters every few weeks. Here’s a sample from Chapter 9. As always, feedback is STRONGLY encouraged via the contact tab or comments section.
“Man, need to smoke, need to,” Tommy had pleaded and pleaded until he got his way and in the process completely disproved his longstanding contention that weed isn’t addictive.
So here we are in the hallway outside our room where Tommy and Candace are rolling all over each other like marbles. Everyone’s pretty belligerent and giggling from all those bottles of wine.
I can hear a low moan droning on like an old, overworked dryer. Except this one isn’t that old, I think. Thank God Ant’s playing a board game with Large Charley and the nice and ugly kids.
I slide the card into the door.
The light turns green.
On the other side, it’s as loud as a slaughterhouse. And they don’t even know we’re there. Not yet.
“P-E-T-E?” Marie timorously mouths to herself.
It’s Pete, indeed. And his drawers are down to his ankles. He’s bucking Ms. Benevo from behind, her Tiffany necklace in her mouth like a horse’s bridle. And the only mouth that isn’t wide open is mine.
“No fucking way, man, no fucking way!”
Our teacher yelps, trying to cover herself, trying to hide herself, rolling around like a dog on her back, crying out these painful, wounded sounds – trying to do anything to get away from us. But she can’t. And it’s then her students finally see her for what she is, what I have always known her to be.
“Get out! Get out! Get out!” Pete screams. He’s throwing his hands around, grabbing at pants and shirts and bras and skirts, whatever clothes he can throw at us – in vain.
But we just stand there, unable to move – me for my own reasons, the rest of them captivated by this seemingly anomalous student-teacher sexual relationship because they think it only happens on the news, but there’s one happening right in front of them, us, now. And nobody knows what to do.
Ms. Benevo’s not about to wait for us to figure it out. She rushes past us, and we slide out of the way. Each of the girls has a disgusted, protective look on her face. Pete follows, his face lobster red, his eyes chary.
The bathroom door slams shut.
The door locks.
Then, there is nothing.
“Like so AWK-ward.”
Lilly, still reeling from the revelation, ignores Candace. “Of all the – Ms. Benevo, really? – she seems like she has such a stick up her ass. Always pissed.” She turns to Becky. “Didn’t she write you up for an SLV [Skirt Length Violation]?”
“Yeah, she did; my first detention – crazy, I know. I had to call out of work. My manager was not happy, to say the least.”
“So, like he wasn’t sick?”
Lilly shakes her head at Candace. The mimic also shakes her head, not knowing she’s shaking her head at herself. Marie, though, remains silent – her shuttered eyes can’t hide the pain of Pete’s inattentiveness, when so many other guys would’ve paid to sleep with her. But not Pete. Now, she knows why. Now, they all do.
“Ms. Nicholini, I could see that. She’s sad. Even Ms. Johansson with her tight dresses. Never would’ve guessed Pete and Ms. Benevo, not in a million years. She seemed like such an…adult.”
“A really miserable adult,” Becky adds.
“You never expect it,” I say.
Becky gives me a cursory glance. “What?”
“Who really expects teachers to sleep with kids?”
“None of us did,” the little thing says.
“So, like he wasn’t sick?”
“Na, man, he wasn’t sick. And I don’t care what you guys say, I think it’s pretty pimp. That’s like the, like the fantasy we all have. Brown knows what I’m talking about.”
I smirk indulgently, remembering the teacher outside of St. Peter’s in my ear, our little secret, and smack his waiting hand. And Tommy, you’ll never know how right you are, I think.
Lilly’s face is repulsed. “You really are a pig, Tommy. You know that, right?”
“Man, talk about the pot calling the kettle black.”
She scowls a fake, offended scowl. Still, she accepts the joint he’s passing and hits it self-consciously. “Didn’t he date Trish Cunningham for a while? Then, out of nowhere, they’re over after junior prom. Then, nothing?”
“Ialwaysthought…hewasGay,” Marie mutters.
“Na, man, na.”
“I just can’t believe any of this.”
“We were in the same art class last year,” Becky says, trying to piece it all together, to sound like she’s surprised, “Contemporary…I wonder if that’s when it started.”
Close, I think. I was in that class too. I remember the teacher had such an uncomfortable gaiety around Pete; it was almost like a high school girl with a crush on her teacher.
“I guess that’s why he got such awesome grades for–”
“He did get really good grades in that class, that’s right…”
“And the whole time I–”
The bathroom handle snaps down. Everyone turns to Ms. Benevo stumbling out in her ruffled, teal blouse that’s half-buttoned and her navy power skirt that’s on backwards, struggling so desperately to secure her breasts and her pride and failing miserably at both. Not once does she look at us, though. Head down, she walks past us without a word, not even something cliché – a We’ll discuss this tomorrow, kids or a Let’s keep this between us, kids – nothing.
The door opens.
The door closes.
And then, she’s gone.
Copyright (C) 2017 Andrew Chapin