The Reluctant Girlfriend (Part I)

© 1992 Melanie Brown

"Before you ask, the answer is no!", I told my best friend Ed, in what I hoped was a stern voice. Ed and I were still friends, even though he was 16 and was in High School and I had another year to go in Jr. High. Most of the guys I knew who were either in or were going to start High School in the fall, were already acting like I didn't exist.

"Whaddya mean, no?", Ed asked in an irritated voice. "You haven't even heard what I was going to ask." He sat backwards in my desk chair and took a bite from the apple he swiped from our refrigerator.

"Eddy, we've been friends since before the 1st grade. You've never asked me to do you a favor that didn't require giving you money, or getting into trouble....or both." From where I sat on my bed, I watched the June morning grow old and itched to get on my bike and head down to the park.

"You got me all wrong, Chris. You're the only friend I got who can help me with this. It'll be easy, you'll only have to do it for an hour, tops, and I'll give you fifty bucks." He tossed the remains of the apple against the wall, and it ricocheted into my trash can.

I figured the park would still be there later and brushing the hair out of my eyes asked, "What could be easy to do and worth fifty bucks, which you ain't got no how anyway?"

"Ah, I see I have the gent's curiosity piqued." Ed rolled the chair closer and his voice took on a conspiratorial tone as he said, "Now this is gonna sound a little weird at first, but hear me out, okay? And don't tell nobody about this, neither."

I nodded and Ed continued. "There's this party, ya know, tomorrow night at Lisa's. I know, I know, whadda I care, right? After all, she just dumped me Saturday. I still ain't got that one figger'd out. But I thought I'd still go to her party with another girl and show her I didn't need her anyway.

"But you know what that little bitch did? She musta called every friggin' girl at school and got them on her side. Not a single one would talk to me, much less go to the party with me!"

"Did you ask Blanche Snoddgrass?", I said.

Ed pretended to poke his finger down his throat and said disgustedly, "I might be desperate, but I ain't that desperate!" Ed paused a moment, then added, "Besides, she said `no' too."

I knew I was going to regret asking this question, but I still said, "So, what's all this got to do with me earning fifty bucks?"

Ed licked his lips and swallowed audibly, and after a few seconds hesitation said, "I want you to pretend to be my date tomorrow night."

I just sat there a moment or two, probably looking stupid with my mouth gaping open. I thought for sure that I misunderstood what he'd said. Then I was sure I hadn't misunderstood and sputtered, "Are you outta your fuckin' mind!?" I was glad my mom was at the grocery store. Otherwise, she would've been in my room in a heartbeat.

Ed just calmly said, "I kinda figger'd you'd feel that way, Chris. But the situation is not without precedence." He leaned back and folded his arms.

I pushed myself a little bit away from Ed and glowered, "Just what do you mean by stupid remark?"

Ed grinned like an idiot. "You couldn't have forgotten the Halloween party at Jamie's last year, when you went dressed as Debbie Gibson. You could've been her twin, and all the girls thought you were soooooo cute. Not to mention that on at least two occasions you helped my sister make dresses by modeling for her."

"Hey, it was Mom's idea that I go as Debbie Gibson," I blurted, and naturally my voice would have to break. "And I helped Gwen with her dresses for a Metallica concert ticket."

"Look, it probably won't even be for an hour. All you'll have to do is look cute and stand next to me. Gwen's already agreed to dress you up. She thinks it'll be fun. Besides, I have enough shit on you, that your parents will ground you 'till you're thirty."

Ed was right. Dad never did know how the leather seats got ripped or where the dents in door came from on his not-even-24-hours old Porsche, had come from. Nevermind the fact that Ed was usually the instigator, my dad would still blame me, because I should've "just said `no'" to Ed's stupid ideas. I was a broken man.

"Okay Eddy," I mumbled. "But only for an hour! You've had some real shithead ideas before, but this one really tops them all! But you better have fifty bucks!"

Ed reached back for his wallet, pulled it out and opened it, showing more than fifty dollars. "Summer jobs are great. I guarantee it'll only be an hour. But listen dude, if you wanna live to see that fifty, don't screw this up. If anyone finds out that you're a guy, they'll kick me off the football team and my life will become a living hell."

Ed was always melodramatic, but this time he wasn't too far from the truth. If word of this got out, both of us would be shunned by friends and nerds alike not to mention becoming a target for humiliation. As Mom would say, kids could be so cruel.


My heart was in my throat as I walked up to Eddy's front door. Ordinarily on a sunny summer afternoon, I'd be out riding my bike, or heading for the park to go to the pool. This was one Friday afternoon that was going to be decidedly different.

The plan was simple enough. Gwen would perform the transformation. Ed and I would make a brief appearance at Lisa's party. Lisa would become jealous and want Ed back. Ed would take me home where I'd sneak into my bedroom window which I had conveniently left unlocked and removed the screen.

Ed's mom and dad both worked, but often came home for lunch, so we decided I'd come over at 1:00. We should be undisturbed all afternoon until around 5:00. Ed's sister, Gwen, didn't have to be at work at the movie theater until 6:00 on Fridays.

Gwen had decided to come home over the summer. She and my sister had both been away at the same college, but my sister decided to stick around at college because she wanted to be with some local jerk she'd met.

Feeling like I should be running away, I rang the doorbell. Gwen answered the door. She took me by the hand and pulled me inside and then led me toward her room. Along the way, between giggles, Gwen said, "I've sent Eddy away until 4:00. I figured he would only make things worse for you if he was here. Chrissy, we're going to have so much fun today!"

"Come on, Gwen, lay off! It's bad enough as it is, without you calling me `Chrissy'. And you don't have to be so jolly about it either", I said as she sat me down in front of her vanity table.

For several minutes, she paced around me, biting her lower lip and "hmmmm"ing. She ran her fingers through my long hair a couple of times. Then she told me to strip down to my shorts.

"Well, you don't have a lot of hair on your legs and underarms yet, but what's there's gotta go", she said matter-of-factly. She felt my face. "Smooth as a baby's butt. That'll work out fine."

I didn't care for this at all. I thought again of the threat Eddy had made. At worst, Dad would kill me and at the moment, I couldn't decide which was worse, being dead, or being Eddy's date.

Gwen held up a furry object and said, "I was going to use this wig, but since your hair is so long, I think I'll perm it. Don't get excited, Chrissy, I'm just going to add some wave and large curls to it."

She then dragged me into the bathroom. She told me to take off my shorts and get in the tub. I protested, but she just jerked the shorts off me anyway. I was nervous as hell, and when she looked at my naked body, Gwen said, "This shouldn't be hard to pull off at all. You're just a little fella." Then she started giggling.

Sulking, I sat down in the tub and after she had me suds up, she handed me a razor and told me to shave my legs and armpits. While I was busy with that, she would perm my hair. I had shaved my legs before for my Halloween costume, but not my armpits. They felt sore when I was done.

Over the next several hours, I endured a very humiliating and occasionally painful "transformation". Instead of just putting makeup on me, Gwen insisted I do it myself. She wanted me to be able to make "repairs" to my makeup if need be. She didn't seem to care that I had no intention of "being a girl" any longer than it took to get to the party, say hello, and leave.

She had me try on a variety of dresses, having me walk back and forth and rotate in front her each time. She finally decided on a tight, black, mini-dress. I balked when she handed me the shoes that went with the outfit. The heels were only about two inches, but that was two inches more than I wanted.

"Look Chrissy, Eddy's expecting you to look pretty and sexy for him. And it's my job to see that you do. You're going to spend the rest of the afternoon in those heels, so you can get used to them."

No sir, I didn't like it. Gwen had me practicing walking, standing and sitting while we were waiting for my hair to set. Being a girl was definitely a lot more work.

While Gwen was making a final inspection and fluffing my hair with a blow dryer, we heard the front door open. Gwen set the dryer down and motioned for me to stay put.

"I'll make sure it's Ed. If it is, I don't want him to come in just yet." Then she left and closed the door.

I just sat there for a moment, consciously keeping my knees together. I looked around Gwen's room for a moment and saw the reflection of legs in her full length mirror. Up to this point, I hadn't had much chance to see what had been done to me. I got up to examine the damage.

Quite frankly, I was shocked. Instead of a 14 year old boy, I saw what looked like a 15 or 16 year old Robo-babe. The tight black dress was a perfect fit. With the black pantyhose, black pumps, large silver hoop earrings and makeup, I had a difficult time forcing myself to remember that that fox in the mirror was me.

When the door opened, I almost fell off my heels as I whirled around fearing I had been discovered. I sighed with relief when Gwen came in.

"It's Ed all right. I told him to wait out in the hall until I say to come in." She motioned for me to stand in front of the door. "Now, strike one of those sexy poses I taught you." As I did, she called to Ed.

"Hey dude you take as long to get ready as a real g..." Ed stopped in mid-sentence as he entered the room. He stood there for several seconds, looking me up and down with one of the silliest expressions I've ever seen.

"Holy shit!" he finally managed to say as he walked slowly around me. "Gwen, I can't believe what you did here! You didn't have to cut off any body parts did you?"

"Wasn't all that hard", Gwen chimed in. "He already had delicate features. I just emphasized them."

 "Oh, thanks a lot!" I was hoping she'd say how difficult it was to mask such obvious masculinity.

Looking at me like I was a side of beef, Ed said, "You're perfect. This is just perfect! I can't wait to see Lisa's face when we get to her party."

"What time is this party anyway?", I asked. "I don't want to stay dressed like this any longer than I have to."

"Around 7 or so. But I didn't want to show up until around 8 to give all of Lisa's friends a chance to get there."

"8 o'clock! It's only 4:30 now!"

"What are you going to do until then?", Gwen asked. "You can't stay here, unless you want to introduce your new girlfriend to Mom an Dad."

Now wouldn't that be just peachy keen. There was a pause as Ed pondered this hole in his otherwise perfect plan.

Gwen broke the silence by saying, "Why don't you just go to a movie first? I'll even sign you in so you two can go for free."

 "Take Chris out on a date? No way!"

"So? You're taking Chrissy to a party as your date. What difference does it make? Mom and Dad will be here soon."

"You're right. Okay. There's a movie I've been wanting to see anyway." "Don't I get any say in this?", I asked.

"No." said Ed and Gwen at the same time.

Gwen picked up a small black purse and started dropping items in, like a compact, lipstick and various other items. "Here, Chrissy. You'll need to take this with you." Then she turned to Ed. "You better get going. Mom'll be home any minute."

We walked into the living room and Ed went into the kitchen and started dialing the phone. Gwen and I followed him in.

"Just remembered I need to call Fritz and tell him what time to meet at the arcade tomorrow. He's at work, so I'll just get his machine. It'll only take a minute", Ed said.

As Ed was standing there leaving his message to Fritz, the back door of the kitchen that led to the garage suddenly opened. I turned and to my horror saw Ed's mother come through the doorway.

"Hello!" Ed's mother said pleasantly to me. "Are you one of Gwen's friends?"

Ed almost broke the phone as he quickly hung up the receiver. "Mom!" Ed said excitedly. He hesitated for a moment then said, "I'd like you to meet Chrissy." He put his arm around my waist and continued talking. "We're going out for pizza, maybe a movie and maybe swing by Lisa's party."

"Hi", was about all I could manage to say.

"Pleased to meet you!" Ed's mother beamed. "Ed didn't say anything about having a date tonight."

Ed forced a chuckle and said, "Yeah, well, it was kinda on the spur of the moment. Chrissy is Christopher's cousin from up state. She's here for the summer."

About that time, the front door opened and in walked Ed's dad. Oh Joy! It was becoming more than I could take.

"Hi Dad", croaked Ed. "Gee, this is great, everyone is here at once."

"Hello everyone. Got out of there early for once", said Ed's dad. He hadn't taken his eyes off me since the moment he stepped through the door, the dirty old man. "Gwen, is this a new friend of yours?"

"Dad, meet Chrissy, Ed's date", Gwen beamed. "She's Christopher's cousin from up state."

"Pleased to meet you!" Ed's dad looked at me like a grizzly sizing up a doe. "Where is old Chris? Haven't seen him lately."

"Who knows", Ed said. "He's just a little kid anyway. Probably out playing with his magic nose goblin collection."

Then Gwen said, "Hey, we should get going. Ed's going to treat us both to pizzas in exchange for me letting them into the theater."

Ed shot Gwen a dirty look, but said, "That's right. We don't want to be late."

Before any of us could make a mad dash to the door, Ed's mom said, "Oh! Chrissy, I have a necklace that would go just perfect with your outfit if you'd like to borrow it!"

"Well, I..." I started to say, then my voice just trailed away.

Then Gwen said, "Oh Mom, yeah! I know the one you're talking about! That'll look so lovely! Go for it, Chrissy!"

"Sounds good, thanks", I squeaked.

As Ed's mother led Gwen and me down the hall, I could just barely hear Ed's dad say to Ed, "Hey Tiger. You've caught yourself one hot little chick! She's a lot cuter than that Lisa Whats-her-name." To think that my life would come to this.

A little over ten minutes later, wearing a necklace that I was now terrified of losing, and after having to have Ed's and my picture taken with us holding hands (I kept wishing I was dead), we were on our way to Pizza Hut in Ed's Suzuki Samurai. Actually it was his dad's second car, but Ed got to wash it. The top was down and the wind was messing up my hair. I kept trying to talk Ed into putting the top up - not because of my hair, but because I didn't want anyone to see me.

Just as we pulled into the parking lot, a group of teens around Gwen and my sister's age, a mix of boys and girls, were already making their way to the door. Several I recognized from their visiting my sister. Gwen made the mistake of waving to one of them, so they stopped and waited for us.

"Hey Gwen", said one of the boys in greeting. "Who's your friend?"

"Hi Stewart. Stew, everybody, meet Chrissy. She's visiting with her cousin this summer. She got bored and decided to go out with my brother. You remember Ed." Ed shot Gwen a withering glare, but nobody noticed.

"Well, if you ever get bored again, let me know!" said Stew, with a toothy grin. Resembling the cast of Beverly Hills 90210, we all started to enter the Pizza Hut. Gwen whispered something in Ed's ear and he grimaced. She seemed pretty adamant and so Ed took my hand as we walked inside. I wanted to throw up.

As we were waiting to be seated, Gwen leaned over and whispered to me, "Sorry, but Ed has to `claim his property' or else these other guys will spend the whole time trying to hit on you. They might still do it anyway." Happy happy joy joy.

Of course we sat with Gwen's friends. At least Gwen thought to place me between herself and Ed, much to Stew's chagrin. The hour we were there passed pretty much uneventfully (thank the heavens!)

I watched Gwen and the other girls carefully and tried to emulate how they ate and wiped their mouths with their napkins. Also, I usually pig-out on pizza, but after the second slice, Gwen would poke me in the ribs if I tried to reach for another piece.

Gwen finally took a look at her watch and saw that she was about to be late to work, so we said our good-byes and left. As we were walking across the parking lot to the car, I asked Gwen, "I saw Stew asking you a lot of questions and looking at me. What was he saying? It was so noisy, I couldn't hear." "Oh, he was just asking about you."

The thought of Stew asking about me made me nauseous. As we climbed into the Suzuki, I asked, "Well?? What did he say? And what did you say?"

"He just asked about you. I told him you were starting high school in the fall and that you were a cheerleader. He'll be at Lisa's party."

"A cheerleader!? Eddy, stop by the hospital first so I can get a lobotomy."

Gwen frowned. "Hey, your sister was a cheerleader."

"I rest my case."

"I'm just trying to help."

"I think you've helped enough."

We drove the rest of the way in silence. I was very conscious of guys in passing cars looking at me and it made me feel very self-conscious. I was also aware of the wind in my hair and the earrings dancing against my neck and the wind swirling around my legs.

We arrived at the theater without incident and with only a minute to spare for Gwen. Gwen signed us in and at her insistence, Ed bought me a soft drink and box of popcorn that we could both share.

During the movie, even though we sat in adjacent chairs, Ed sat as far away from me as possible. That was okay. I was sitting as far from Ed as I could.


I was starting to feel really sick. Ed had parked the Suzuki in front of Lisa's house. Well, as close as he could get. There must have been thirty cars crammed around Lisa's house. Yep, Lisa really knew how to throw a party and her parents probably hated her for it. I know I did.

"Okay Chrissy. It's show time," said Ed. "I'm not so sure this is a good idea after all."

"Gee Eddy, and I was so looking forward to the party. But if you don't want to go, hey, who am I to argue? Let's go home." I reached over and turned the ignition back on.

"Sorry dudette. We're here. We might as well go through with it." Ed turned the ignition back off and removed the key. Then he smiled his evil grin. "If the reaction to you so far is any indication, Lisa should shit bricks when she sees you."

He paused a moment then said, "If you could, flirt a little with that football jock she's started dating."

"Flirt with a football jock?! No way!" I sputtered.

"Way. That should really get her riled. And don't yell. Geez, you're supposed to be my girlfriend."

"That's right. I should be screaming at you."

Ed opened his door and said, "Cut the crap and let's get this over with."

Ed shut the door and started walking towards Lisa's house. I just sat there. It took him a moment to notice I wasn't with him. He turned and said, "Well? Aren't you coming?"

"Aren't you going to open the door for me?" Without thinking, I pulled the compact out of my purse, opened it and checked my makeup in the mirror.

Ed raised his arms in frustration and muttered, "Women!"

As we turned up the sidewalk, I suddenly noticed that I had gotten comfortable with the clothes I was wearing. That really bothered me. Then I became aware of the clicking sound my high heels were making on the sidewalk. Then Ed looked over at me, arched his eyebrows, coughed uncomfortably, then put his arm around my waist.

We stood in front of the door and Ed pressed the doorbell. I clicked my heels three times and said, "There's no place like home...There's no place..." then Ed pinched me and told me to shut up.

As the door cracked open, we were suddenly blasted by the latest top 40 chart buster at a decibel level exceeding a 747 at takeoff. Silhouetted in the door frame was a girl with long blond hair and a short dress. There was a pause for a moment, then the girl stepped forward into the glow of the fading sunlight and said, "Eddy? What a surprise."

"Hi Lisa," Ed grinned. "I wouldn't miss one of your parties!"

He pulled me closer to him and added, "Lisa, meet Chrissy."

Lisa looked me up and down and said, "Eddy, how could you ask Gwen to talk one of her friends into coming with you?"

As Ed retold my story for the fortieth time, I sized up Lisa. I'd seen her before of course and had always thought she was a babe and a half. Now I couldn't figure out what Ed saw in her.

Ed finally said, "Well, Lisa. Are you gonna let us in or what?"

Lisa frowned but said, "Sure. Come in. Just don't fall in the dip this time." I wasn't sure, but if looks could kill, I would have been a greasy spot on the porch.

Ever the gentleman, Ed held the door open and let me enter first. I was dreading this moment from the first time Ed made his proposition. But I've never been so overwhelmed by mixed feelings before at just entering a room. I was both terribly embarrassed and I surprised myself by also being elated when just about every boy in the room turned to look at me. And they smiled. I didn't know whether to be thrilled or hurl.

Being a little too polite, Lisa told me where to leave my purse and asked if I wanted a soda. My throat felt dry and so I said I would. Too bad it was just soda. This was the first time I wanted to get drunk. Then I looked around and saw all these guys looking at me and decided maybe getting drunk wasn't a good idea.

"Chrissy!" rang a voice out from the noisy crowd. I looked up and saw Stew hurrying over to greet me. I felt sick. He took me by the hand and said, "Hey, come on and meet the guys. They're all dying to meet you!"

I looked over my shoulder at Ed, hoping he'd come to my rescue, but he was leaning against the wall, talking to Lisa. I got to meet the guys and the girls. I had my story down pat by now and was able to lie convincingly. Actually, I was starting to have fun. I floated from group to group, the girls accepting me as an equal and guys slobbering over themselves. One part of my brain stared in shock disapproval as I found myself flirting and giggling.

I didn't really pay attention to it at the time, but one guy there was not only watching me, but was watching Ed talk to Lisa. This guy, who towered above the other guys and looked like a wall of muscle, finally walked up to me and introduced himself. Except for the fact that I wasn't supposed to know him, his introduction was unnecessary. He was "Tank", the star football player and Lisa's latest squeeze.

"Hey babe", he said after introductions. "Let's dance." I looked up at him and felt very tiny. He could kill me with a spit ball.

"S..sure." was about all I could manage.

There was a clear spot (sort of) in the middle of the room where some other kids were dancing. Tank cleared a spot for us and we started dancing. I was just glad it wasn't a slow dance. We danced for several songs, then he wanted to sit down and talk. We sat on a couch, and Tank sat close and put his arm around my shoulder.

"What's a fine babe like you doing hangin' out with a slime ball like Ed?" Tank is no Fred Astair.

"Well, I've only just met that slime ba..I mean Eddy." I swallowed hard before continuing. "He seems like a nice guy to me."

"Look at him." Tank pointed to where Ed was talking to Lisa. "He's spent the whole time here talking with Lisa. He's ignored you completely." He ran a finger down my cheek and said, "Now, if I was with a babe like you, I wouldn't be ignoring you."

I'm sure Tank thought that that statement would make me incensed against Ed. Actually, up until that moment, I had been having too much fun being popular to even think about Ed. I glanced down at my dainty lady's watch and was shocked to see we had been here for almost two hours!

Tank was pulling me closer and was starting to nuzzle me. I said, "I want to dance!"

Tank frowned, but helped me up and we stepped back out on the "dance floor." We danced as before for the rest of the song that was playing. Then a slow song started. Tank pulled me to him and put his arms around me. We started swaying back and forth. He put his head down next to mine. I tried to disengage myself, but Tank is a big guy. Then he placed his hand on my butt and I felt something wet on my neck! I tried harder to push myself away.

"Tank, stop it", I tried to whisper to him. He just held me closer. "Tank, please...don't", I said a little louder.

Suddenly, Tank let go and I stepped back. There was Ed. He had pushed Tank around and was looking really pissed.

"That's my girl, ass hole!" Then he pushed Tank back.

"You little shit...", Tank started to say as he took a step towards Ed.

I yelled, "Eddy!"

Tank took a swipe at Ed and missed. But Ed landed one solid punch on Tank's jaw and Tank fell back on the couch. Everyone stood there, staring with disbelief. Nobody, and I mean nobody, had ever decked Tank.

Ed took me by the arm and said, "Come on Chrissy, this party's a drag." He led me through the crowd of kids standing around to the door. Lisa's expression looked as though someone has skewered her with a hot poker. Without a word, we left Lisa's party.

"Thanks Eddy", I said softly.

"Shut up", snapped Ed. "It wasn't your ass I was trying to was mine! I told you to flirt with Tank, not pick him up."

"I didn't! I..."

"Just when I thought I might have talked Lisa into giving me another chance, you had to start coming on to Tank!"

"I wasn't! I..."

"Do you realize what would have happened to us if he had started fondling you? What's wrong with you?"


"Shit! Now Lisa thinks I care more about you than her!"

Before we got to the Suzuki, we heard running footsteps behind us. I was sure it was Tank coming to finish off both of us. Ed turned around, but I couldn't.

"Hey Ed. Where you going?" It wasn't Tank. It was just one of Ed's friends.

"I dunno. I guess I'll just take Chrissy home. The night's kinda ruined anyway."

Ed's friend said, "Don't do that. That party was getting dull anyway. A bunch of us are going to go to Harvey's. Why don't ya come too?"

Harvey's was a teen hangout, with a dance floor and loud music, video and pinball games. Ed always referred to it as a training bar.

I figured Ed would turn down the offer, but instead said, "That sounds good. Sure, we'll meet you there."

"Eddy!", I said in a shocked whisper. "Are you nuts?"

"Maybe." He started leading me back to the Suzuki. "Did you see the way those guys looked at me?" I shook my head. "For the first time, those clowns were looking at me with respect!"

I waited impatiently as Ed tried to unlock my door, which wasn't locked (and the top was still down). "Eddy...I don't want to go to Harvey's. I want my $50 and I wanna go home! My feet hurt."

Ed jumped into the driver's seat without opening the door.

"Sorry babe. But I have to go bask in my glory! That wuss Tank had just better watch his step from now on!"

"Eddy, I'd be careful if I were you. Next time, Tank might not be drunk, tired from dancing and trying to give someone a hickie."

"Naah! He's toast."

I was feeling pretty miserable as we drove off. I never would've thought that I'd be the cause of two guys fighting. It was awful. This was taking much longer than planned and the party had been a disaster. I felt some tears well up and when I wiped my eye, I saw the black smear on my finger. I opened my purse and started digging around for a tissue and my compact.

We drove in silence, and in a few minutes we arrived at Harvey's. From the looks of the parking lot, ol' Harve was raking in the cash from us poor, jobless teens. The place was packed. Ed and I stood in the entranceway for a few moments surveying the mass of pimpled humanity. I was no longer self-conscious about how I looked and had become complacent about being mentally undressed by all these pubescent perverts.

Someone called out, "Hey Ed!" and we turned in the direction of the pinball machines. A group of guys gave Ed a thumbs up. You could actually see Ed's hat size increasing.

"Come on, let's dance!" Ed said as he pulled me to the dance floor. As we danced through the crowd, people who just yesterday wouldn't even have wasted spit on Ed were greeting him like life-long friends. Girls told me how lucky I was to have a guy like Ed. I started to feel sorry for Tank. All this time, I'd thought he was popular.

We danced several times and during the slow dances, I was starting to feel kinda dreamy. I had always been considered a dweeb, but now I felt intoxicated by all the attention I was getting.

After we had finished with a dance session, Ed looked down at his watch and said, "Guess we better get, if I'm to get you home by midnight."

"Do we have to?" I whined. "I'm having too much fun!"

Ed grinned, "And you were the one who didn't want to come. But I think we'd better go."


We were both silent on the way to my house. The events of the day kept playing through my head and I kept finding it hard to believe any of it had actually happened. I just sat there and enjoyed the summer night as the wind blew through my hair. Ed put the radio on the classical music station. I think they were playing the Bee Gees.

Ed pulled the Suzuki to the curb in front of my house and turned off the ignition. He looked out the windshield a moment then said, "Well, I certainly had a good time tonight."

I was looking at my hands in my lap, then looked up at Ed as I said, "Yeah, me too." Then I looked back down at my hands.

Ed moved closer to me and in sudden horror, I thought, oh no! He's gonna kiss me! There was a long pause, and I was shocked to find myself thinking, oh no! He's *not* gonna kiss me! I looked up at Ed and then his lips were pressed briefly against mine. At first I thought I was seeing stars, but as Ed pulled away, I saw that it was just a passing car. Ed smiled shyly, looked into my eyes, then kissed me again. Longer this time.

It was a kiss like no other. There was a flood of contradictory emotions. I've kissed girls before, but they had been nothing like this.

Ed finally pulled away, slowly, and began an intense study of the steering wheel. He said, "Well, I guess I had better get home."

I looked at Ed for a moment, not sure what to say or do. I said, "Okay, Eddy. I really enjoyed tonight."

"Yeah, me too."

We told each other goodnight, and I got out of the car and watched Ed drive away. Feeling both giddy and dreamy, I walked up to our front door, opened it and went inside.

I'm not sure, but I think it was the expression on my dad more than the one on my mom that belatedly reminded me of my plan to sneak back in through my bedroom window. My dad sputtered a few times in a vain attempt to say something. My mom didn't even try.

It was a Maalox moment.

The End
© 1992 Melanie Brown

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