Miguel Alvarez leans against the corner outside a pool hall on a muggy July evening in his own 'hood. He's wearing a Knick's basketball jersey that exposes his rapidly maturing yet still wiry arms, loose Levi's, and black canvas Converse on his feet. A Marlboro Red dangles from his mouth, one eye half closed to keep the smoke from wafting in and a navy blue bandana is tied around his head to conceal the now growing out lines shaved into his dark, wavy hair (which were the epitome of cool 5 months ago but are simply beat now) and he skillfully swings around a shiny silver butterfly knife. Flip, backflip, open. Flip, backflip, close. Sure you get cut a few times learning how to do it right. Flip, backflip, open. But you gotta be able to flip one of those babies fast and easy, not only in times of crisis out of need, but also when you're just fuckin around on a street corner and need to look cool. So you take the banged knuckles and nicked palms in your own bedroom, learning and getting it down there so you don't look like an ass on the street.
He's got it down, but it never hurts to practice, and it does look cool. To the chicks. To Javier Santiago who exchanged some words with him earlier, and who struts by now and sees the blade flash under the streetlight and rapidly decides to just keep walking. Miguel glances after him, saying a silent prayer that he just kept going, not the least bit disappointed. Then he agilely flips, backflips, and closes the blade, drops it in his left back pocket, straightens up, crushes the butt of the cigarette under his shoe and slowly saunters inside.
In the backroom of a pizza shop, Rosie Jones hurriedly unties her apron and flings it under a shelf. Grabbing a backpack stuffed with all the necessities she'll need, she hurries to the bathroom. No time on a Saturday night to go home and doll up before heading out, she misses enough in the couple extra hours she's got to be here, and every minute is important on the weekend. So she pushes through the door, falling into a practiced routine of teasing, lining, and spraying. Hair, eyes, lips- tease, line, line. Hair, eyelashes, lips, neck- spray, curl, gloss, spray (different spray.) Then a quick routine of buttoning, zipping, tucking and pushing. Shirt, boobs, tight short skirt- button, tuck, zip. Boots, shirt, boobs- zip, tuck, push (push waaay up.) Nearly every extra dime she makes at this place spent on Miracle bras and Maybelline, a pattern she won't ever stop during her lifetime. Now one UNbutton, a shimmy of the shoulders, and a last glance in the mirror as she smacks her lips and heads out.
It gets replayed at least three hundred times this way exactly in her life. For her, for Miguel Alvarez, for Sarah Johnson in Cleveland, for Brad Washington in Tuscon. Teenage kids and what they do on weekends in high school. From the 'burbs to the city, from coast to coast and the bible belt in between, for decades it's been like this, only clothes changing, attitudes hardening, maybe starting younger, moving faster, getting higher with each year that ticks off the clock. But the concept remains. First the corner hangout. Pizza shop with video games and jukebox. Or a pool hall and parking lot or street corner. The hunt for liquor and ganja completed in the early afternoon. Always someone's big brother, employer, or a corner drunk willing to supply a bottle or two, and if not, someone simply pinches one from home. Always a couple kids in the group already dealing small-time, with enough reserve stash to kick down and get their gang a good buzz. Hanging out for a while, surreptitiously drinking whatever they scored in cups mixed with Orange Crush (that cuts the taste the best you know, be it gin or vodka, whiskey or rum.) Or, if beer is the order of the night, shotgunning it in the bathroom quickly, two at a time, waiting for that buzz to help ease the tedious boredom. As dark hits, huddling in the back alley and toking on the first spliff of the night, all boredom gone now, and the weekend O-fficially commenced.
Then that place gets lame, or wants to close, so they head off to after hours underage clubs. Rowdy subway rides, or driving too fast along too dark roads in cars paid for by corner store jobs or illicit enterprising skills, with too much pride in the fact that THEY can handle the vehicle at top speeds no matter how crushing the buzz. BYOB establishments with flashing disco lights, pumping music, maybe more pool tables, and always more beer, more reefer, more whatever- or what's the point? And they do more of the same, week after week, night after night. Hang out, get high, try to score. The occasional fight thrown in gives added jazz some nights, others are spent watching and giggling as people hook up, break up, and strike out. And don't forget the less obvious, but ever interesting sidebar scenes. Parking lot dramas, always someone TOO fucked up, either puking or out of control, and everyone's joy- back seat blow jobs to gossip about. Every few weekends, a movie thrown in somewhere as a diversion, maybe once a month a trip to a different 'hood, looking for something new, or the random party thrown in here and there which is always IDEAL cause then things don't have to be on the sly.
And the same pressures weigh on all of em. The same thoughts, running through everyone's mind. On these nights, they don't fret over grades or past due term papers. They don't worry about college or half-assed shit jobs they're gonna be stuck in. Not on these nights. Just as immediate, just as FELT though, they think: who's it gonna be? Does he like me? Who's drivin me home? If that fuckhead starts a fight, am I gonna get my ass kicked? Will I look like an asshole? Do I look hot enough? Am I cool enough? Do I FIT IN???? Simply because, as it was then, is now, and forever shall be, at that age, that's what matters- being cool. It's the walk, the talk, the clothes, the friends, the car, and above all else, it's the attitude. It's got nothing to do with grades and schools and jobs. If you wanna live the sweet life at sixteen, you don't have to be smart, don't have to be rich, don't even have to be good lookin. You just MUST be cool.
And oh yes, parents, are you listening? These ain't the bad kids. These are the quarterbacks and cheerleaders. These are the chess club geeks and valedictorians. These are the rich kids, the poor kids, and all the ones in between. Shake your head and deny it, but more than likely, these ain't someone else's kids, these are your kids.
Rosie Jones knows she looks hot enough, she don't know if he likes her (probably not), knows she doesn't fit in, knows exactly what everyone thinks of her, doesn't know why.
Chicks are catty with her, probably jealous of her big hair and bigger boobs, shiny lips, and high heeled boots. Probably jealous and nervous that when they land one of the neighborhood studs, or dorks, as their man for a while she's gonna steal him away. That's what she thinks they think.
Neighborhood skank, that's what they think. Lousy slut who'll fuck nearly anyone if plied with enough liquor, not even respecting herself enough to be dating them before putting out.
Miguel Alvarez, he's got the car (personally revved up 85 Monte Carlo with t-tops and metal rims), he's got the ganja- and occasionally better (been low pyramid dealing for two years now), and he's got his posse. He's got cool. For some kids, it's important, for him, it's life itself.
But he's slipping. Always got the mouth, ready to shoot off to anyone with a wisecrack, but maybe lately one too many fights weaseled out of for whatever reason. But mostly, his cool ranking is slipping right now tonight cause he ain't done IT.
Everyone else popped their cherry, some upwards of two months ago, so they say. No one really believes Ricky got Maria to put down last week. But they won't rag him about it till she roundabout hears the news of her supposed services to him later tonight and throws an eye-stinging mix of Orange Crush and grain in his face along with an even nastier mixture of words.
For now though, they're content to bust 'em for Alvarez, taunting, crowing jovially, but it's lacking any humor for Miguel. He coulda, shoulda simply lied a few months back when he gave Nice Rack Rosie a ride home. He was content to receive his first ever highway hummer compliments of her thick, glossy red lips. He coulda just said he did her, no one would've questioned him, cause they've all done her too, so they say. But he wasn't thinking. In fact, he thought what he got was pretty cool at the time, sideswiping a mailbox and fucking up a new paint job due to a momentary loss of concentration on the road not withstanding- because at that point he was simply overjoyed that she felt the swerve in advance and had jerked her head UP instead of biting DOWN.
But that little adventure didn't save him enough face. Hooking up for several weekends with that Maritza chick didn't go too far with them either. Sure, she's pretty, not a skank, and he got plenty of action, just not ALL the action. Feeling her up, her reaching down, but not letting him IN was the bottom line. So now the situation is getting out of control and it's got to be stopped before his reserve tank of cool gets drained dangerously low.
So he surveys the place with concentrated nonchalance, trying to find the best possibility to put an end to all this. Maritza's over there, hanging with some of her girls, looking damn fine in white capri pants so tight that he can read the date on the quarter that she's got wiggled into her front pocket. He's been getting further and further with her, maybe a few lines of coke he's carrying in his front pocket on top of the Orange Crush will be enough to loosen her up for the night. Maybe, but not for sure. And he's just got to be sure. Cause she's in the fold, and he simply doesn't dare lie about it with her the way Ricky's trying to scam Maria. He knows, he just knows she's sweet on him though. Always straightening her back, glancing at him across the room as he simply stands leaned against a wall, looking aloof and sometimes meeting her gaze.
But then the door swings open and in comes Rosie. Teased, sprayed, painted, and tucked Nice Rack Rosie with her boobs pushed up begging to be oogled and her long legs zipped into brand new black pleather high heeled fuck-me boots. Rosie who made that surge go through his cock all the way up his back and caused him to knock that unsuspecting poor mailbox right off it's platform. Rosie who then bent back down, finished the job and actually swallowed -then took a hefty gulp of Orange Crush and...wasn't it vodka that night? Nice Rack Rosie who then subsequently chumped him by going all the way with three other guys since then.
Maritza, maybe, probably not though. Rosie, probably, but if not, he looks twice the ass cause she does fuck everyone else. But she probably will, why wouldn't she? A few cups of Orange Crush, keep the blow in his pocket and save a few bucks, and get these assholes off his back, for good.
So he walks over, tongue loosely set on the corner of his open mouth- a habit he cultivated as a little kid, it'd slip out when he'd concentrate over math problems at the kitchen table with him moms in the background cooking dinner. It got him hassled and picked on a bit out on the streets when he'd be looking really hard for the ball to come at him as a young boy. Cause then, in the pre-Jordan era before tongue wagging was vogue when he was a kid, it was a decidedly dorky habit. But now, since His Airness heightened it to an art form it's become a trademark of cool, and, with his rapidly increasing age and growing physique, it's a subtly sexy idiosyncrasy.
Sauntering over to her, purposely avoiding the chica across the room he was casually flirting with one minute ago, he offers her his cup. (Start 'em off right away, every dude knows that. It may cost a little money, take a bit away from your own buzz, but the more booze you pump into 'em the friendlier they get.) She takes it, sniffing briefly before raising it to her high gloss lips and taking a sip. Sipping hesitantly at first, slight grimace on her face at the harsh dry taste, she looks up at him watching her and gulps harder, recognizing the taste poorly concealed with the faint taste of orange fizz.
"Grain?" She asks, offering to pass the cup back to him.
"Nah," he waves it off, his own head already slightly fixed for now. "Yo, have some more. Yeah, Ricky boosted it, you know, his brother had it left from some party or somethin. Used it on fruit, I dunno."
She nods, sipping again, snapping her gum hard between gulps since obviously the Crush can't work its magic when the proof climbs above 80. "So, what's goin on tonight," she asks, scanning the room.
Shaking his head, answering cool, "Nothin'. Bored."
Shrugging, "Same shit, just like, tired of it, this is beat."
"So do something else," she offers coyly.
"I was thinkin 'bout it. I was thinkin 'bout it. You, uh, you wanna go somewhere?"
Scanning the room again, she's not looking for other options, merely taking inventory of who's seeing her right now. Who's going to see her leaving with him, Miguel Alvarez, hoping, knowing it won't really escape anyone's attention even if they act disinterested, then she answers. "Sure, just lemme get some smokes first." And she takes another big gulp from the cup, draining it, hands it back to him, "Why don't you refill this?"
She's got a half pack. But she'll go through 'em quick drinking hard stuff, and she plans on being gone for a while, long as possible. Plus she can't resist making one walk through on her way to the machine, not the least bit deterred by dropped jaws and vicious stares from the cool trio of chicas in the corner. So she digs into her purse, culling change from her last purchase of Lee press-ons and drops a buck fifty into a machine that's emblazoned with underage warning stickers that aren't yet enforced. Then she turns on her skinny black high heels and clicks towards the door that Alvarez is standing at. They walk out of it while he determinedly ignores the crestfallen look that moves across Maritza's face ever so briefly before she covers that up with snort of disapproval.
So Rosie smirks as she climbs in the Monte Carlo and sees the long scratches across the doors that haven't been repainted yet and settles herself onto the rich leather bench seat as he hands her a fresh full cup of liquid that has a faint orange tint to it and smells like ingestable napalm. She sips at the cup, occasionally passing it over to him and notices that he's hitting it pretty hard before handing it back and she's stunned with the realization that he's actually nervous. And that insight serves to only make her like him even more. Cause she does like him you know. She's had her eye on him for months now, thought she had made some progress and was heartbroken when he ignored her afterward instead of asking her out again. But one of his friends put the moves on her then, she didn't even have to go after him. So her focus shifted cause she even if she does like Miguel, and even at such a young age, she's grounded in reality- so she thinks, and realizes that taking something is better than nothing so she takes what she can when she can. That other guy didn't work out so good, and she had her chances with a couple other guys too, but still always kept one eye out for, and on, Miguel.
She sees something different in him. He's wild all right. But he's not crass like the other guys, not as vicious either. She thinks it's sweet that when fights break out he mostly tends to step back, thinks that shows and proves his inner sensitivity. And he's no doubt better looking than most of them, smaller, not as tall, and kinda on the skinny side, but really sinewy and a little cut already. And when he looks at her, as he does right now while passing the rapidly draining cup back, his eyes don't leer at her. They're softer, and she just knows that he's not putting those on, that they ARE sweeter and deeper and they see her, not just her boobs and another blow job.
She doesn't ask where they're going, doesn't really care. She just takes another gulp of what mocks Orange Crush and loves the warm feeling in her belly, not just from the liquor, but also from excitement. And most of all, she watches him as she gets giddy in the head, loving how he's drawing on a cigarette, hitting it hard, sucking deeply and then nervously flicking it repeatedly out the window as he exhales giant plumes upward, out the open t-top toward the warm, starry July sky. Cause she just knows he wouldn't be anxious if he didn't like her.
And he doesn't talk either. He just concentrates on the road cause he's not about to hit another mailbox, or worse, and his head is humming hard already. Buzzed for sure, not drunk though. Just enough. Just perfect to give him the guts to do what he has to, swimming and pulsing exactly right to be loving it too. Trying to figure out a first move, he curls his lips around the smoke one last time. Winking one eye closed to avoid a waft from sneaking in and irritating his cornea he then uselessly flicks it twice before dropping it outside altogether as he exhales the smoke and tries to inhale enough courage. Still unwilling to take his eyes off the road, he reaches down and flips on the radio, pushing in the tape that's there because he ripped out that new CD player two days after he got it cause the fuckin thing just kept skipping every time he hit a pothole and that's just -not- cool.
The clear, smooth bendy notes of Santana help fill the air immediately and he looks over at her with furrowed brows and acts casual as he pulls the car over into an empty parking lot and asks, "You like Carlos?"
She barely registers the question cause her heart is beating so hard, but she pulls it together through the haze of her buzz to stutter out, "Uh, yeah, sure."
"Yeah, he rocks. You, uh, mind if we like, pull over for a minute, that grain went to my head."
"Sure," she answers. Sliding toward him, making it easy on him, she quips, "Wouldn't want you hitting another mail box."
He grins at that, lips parting across crooked teeth and collects his cool again. He licks his lips, then leaves his tongue there, at the corner of his mouth as he looks at her. All big hair, red lips (he remembers those lips-oh yeah), big gold dangly hoop earrings, and just below her face, that great rack that's practically begging to pop out of her low cut shirt. And he's thinking, hesitating, just about ready to go for it, knowing he HAS to go for it, and an uninvited thought hits him as his eyes travel over her long curled lashes, 'Damn, she IS cute.' And so then he WANTS to go for it, and just as he's about ready to go for it, she leans in and kisses him.
They lower their lids and start softly, but that grain is running through both of them, making their heads hum and hearts pump twice as hard already. He's distracted at first, her lips all slippery, an almost waxy taste on them, but that starts to wear away, and then her mouth opens a little and he gets the first taste of inside. And they can taste the grain, no hint of Crush, on each other. Both of them had been drinking and smoking, so it tastes good. Really good, so he slides his tongue out further and gets a charge as it brushes against hers. Suddenly, they're both sucking, moving, deep kissing each other, all tongue, all lips and breath. He knows, he knows he's got her already, it's gonna happen. And she knows, she knows already that she's got him, he wants her, and it's gonna happen. And as they both think that, that sends a second charge through them. And precisely then, from the speakers overhead Carlos lays down one of his bent blue notes that stands the hair on the back of their necks up, makes their breath catch, and makes them both squirm with pleasure a little bit.
She runs her hand down, starting at his shoulder, pressing firmly on his wiry arm that's clinging around her waist and is rapidly pulling her closer to him, closer. His other hand, it's on her neck, but moving down, steadily, while he still keeps tonguing her mouth. When his hand moves lower, resting at the crest of that big swell, she actually twists her mouth away and moans at the touch, simultaneously dropping her hand to his crotch and pressing there. And that makes him nearly lose it, because suddenly now, he's not just knowing he's going to get it, but actually feeling the first physical contact. And it's good, really good, he can feel himself getting hard under her hand, and she feels it, feels him stiffening against her hand while he kisses her again, hard kisses, deep and wet and breathy. It's making her brain nearly spin, and he's getting a bit dizzy, the booze, the excitement of it all, Carlos starting to fall into a decadent rhythm above them. Feeling her chest rise and fall, rise and fall against his hand, and her hand, rubbing a little now, all he can say is "Ahhhh...fuck," against her cheek cause it's so good and it's just killer cool.
One hand of his, trying to rove through all that stiff sprayed hair, giving up, moving down, across her cheek, but getting caught there too. Haphazardly positioned pinkie finger stumbles, caught in the loop of her big gold earring. Rushed, hurried, he yanks down anyhow, trying to get it free, just wanting to get on with it, keep this going.
A jolt of pain hitting her lobe, she lurches under him and instinctually yelps in protest. She stiffens, he presses on, a lackluster "sorry," thrown out in between pets and hot kisses on her throat. One hand on her shoulder, he presses her to lean back again, force her back to relaxation. He's throbbing now, the kisses, knowing, sure of how close he is, feeling that he's gonna get it for sure.
Reaching, pawing, pressing into her urgently. "Yeah, baby, com'on," he pants into her mouth. One hand, fumbling with the front of her shirt, trying to get in. Under the shirt, over the bra, roughly, squeezing at the soft flesh while the other one pushes at her thigh. His hand's there, just below her skirt, right on the soft smooth skin of her firm thigh, but he's not stroking it, not enjoying the soft skin, doesn't even notice how nice it is, he's just trying to move that leg over, allow himself room to scootch closer, tighter, between her legs. Cause he's throbbing now, he's so fuckin hot and his chest is pounding, his head is way dizzy and yeah he wants this- bad, but most of all, he still just has to do this, he's gotta be cool.
Leaned back, distracted by her still sore ear, the seatbelt behind her digs into the small of Rosie's back. "Wait, wait," she whispers, trying to maneuver to the side, get away from the painful metal, take a minute to breathe and get the pain in her ear subsided.
Groaning, a mixture of heat and annoyance, he pushes even more on her leg, pushing himself against her even more. She's unable to slither sideways as he leans in tighter causing more discomfort for her. So she tries to ignore the little pains, knowing she wants this, and she kisses him back a few times. Concentrate on that, on the reality of him leaning into her, him kissing her lips, feeling his warm breath in her good ear. She knows he wants this, that he wants HER. Knowing mostly, that he feels what she does right now, he's itching for her, his stomach in knots. She allows him to push her leg even further to the side, get his hips situated more closely with hers. But that extra pressure brings another sharp dig into her back, and she squirms in protest to that.
Unable to ignore it any longer, she tries to move again. But she's trapped by his weight upon her, "Hold on, uhhh," she croons quietly, trying to gently push him away. He doesn't hear it, or ignores it, whatever, he just presses into her more, kisses more, knocks his forehead against that gold earring again as he laps at her neck, sending another jolt of fresh pain to the tender lobe. Cause he can't stop, don't wanna stop, knows what the guys would think if he stopped now, and that is what this is all about.
"Wait," louder now. "Just, Miguel, please," panting, her body no longer able to respond to his touches, wiggling not with desire but in an attempt to escape.
Pressing his mouth against her neck, kissing there, up, down, shifting his weight again, he tries to get her to lie down. Her ear throbs, and the digging is still there, right in the small of her back, getting worse by the second, so she pushes her hands against his chest, forcing him away, struggling to remain upright, "Jesus, stop it Miguel," she squeaks, nearly panicked, just controlled from yelling. "Just, stop!"
And he does. Sitting bolt upright, spitting the word out, "What?" Temper ablaze, eyes with no concern, no passion in them at all. "What the fuck, huh? What the FUCK?!"
Wincing inside at his harshness, she squirms again, sitting upright, finally getting that awful pressure off her back. "You was fuckin hurtin me man..."she starts.
Jumping in, offensive, "Hurtin you? Fuck that, HURTIN you?"
"My ear, asshole, you ripped my earlobe," she accuses, pissed that he's angry. Raising a hand to gingerly catch her lobe between her thumb and forefinger, she can feel a slickness, but can't determine if it's her blood or his saliva, still washed upon her ear and neck.
"Shit. I said I was fuckin sorry, come ON," he leans toward her again.
"Just, hold on..."
Under his breath, "Fuckin cocktease."
"What the fuck you just say?"
Turning, fiery now, "I shoulda known you was jerkin me around."
"I ain't jerkin you around."
"Then let's DO this, man."
"I got, I gotta fuckin bloody ear, a goddamn THING stickin in my back, will you just wait."
"Fuck this, fuck -you-."
"Take me home Alvarez."
Stunned, jaw dropped, adrenaline still pumping through him, he gets even more defiant. "I ain't takin you nowhere."
"I wanna go home."
"You are a cocktease." (And you're gonna make me look really fuckin stupid to the guys, cause THEY all had you and I can't get you.)
"Take me home, NOW."
"You wanna go home? Fine, like, go home," he leans over her and releases the door handle.
Her face burns crimson now, realizing he's serious. He's making her get out and WALK, for fuck's sake. She gathers her purse, taking a beat, waiting to see if he'll change his mind.
"Get the fuck OUT!" He's not changing his mind.
She looks at him again, wondering what he'd do if she just sat there, demanded him to take her home. But she's pissed off and wants away from him anyhow, and he's not even looking at her, he's just way pissed off and staring straight ahead. And she's not gonna beg, that's for sure, so she climbs out onto the street, and then turns around. "You're a fuckin asshole," she says flatly, slamming the door behind her. Other than that, she's speechless as she watches him actually throw the car in gear and peel away, leaving her behind with the faint smell of burnt rubber.
He cruises up the block, still pissed off but already starting to think as Rosie stands alone in the dark parking lot, alone, at 11:30 PM.
His veins are still bubbling, a combination of anger, lust, and alcohol all still seeping through his body and his head. What the fuck was he thinking? His moms would kick his ass if she caught wind of the shit he just pulled. Sighing with resignation he comes to a stop at the end of the next block. Can't go back to the corner yet, not without Rosie. Then they'll all know he didn't get nowhere and he'll be the ass of the night. Maybe he'll catch a buzz, chill out for a while, calm this throbbing that's, well, everywhere. As he fishes in his pocket, he starts to think of the lies he could tell. But he knows, he just knows that Rosie won't keep her mouth shut about this. He could lie and tell 'em he banged her and took her home, but she might run her mouth the next day and then he'd be twice the fool. Nah, ain't gonna work. So he pulls out a nice fatty and turns the car around the corner, rolling his eyes at what he's gotta do now.
Rosie stands there looking around, looking down at those goddamn spike heeled boots on her feet and notices her unbuttoned shirt. Quickly fixing herself and looking around, she starts to decide. 30, maybe 40 blocks from home. And these boots are already pinching her feet, they aren't functional for fuck's sake, they're fashion. So, being grounded in reality, she decides to not even bother attempting it and bends down and unzips the pleather beauties, resigned to hiking it home barefoot. As she straightens up and takes her first few steps, she suddenly feels a chill run up her back. A slight breeze seems to strip all the warmth of the grain out of her system, stealing right along with it all her bravado and maturity. All of a sudden, as she starts walking, she doesn't feel like a hot, tough neighborhood chica anymore. She feels like a scared sixteen year old kid who's not in her part of town and has to walk home alone in the dark in bare feet because the guy she's had a crush on for 6 months just told her to fuck off and stranded her here without even looking back. Running the back of her hand across her mouth, stripping away any last remnants of high gloss lipstick, but especially removing any lingering taste of him, she then straightens her back, clutches her boots, and starts her long lonely walk home.
That's when the Monte Carlo with the scratched door pulls to a stop alongside of her. She stands there, looking at him blankly. Inwardly, she's still pissed off, still a little scared, but mostly washed with relief now, and refusing to show him any of that.
"Get in," he says flatly, leaning out the window.
She hovers for a moment, thinking about it, deciding. He was such an asshole, just cause she wanted him to hold up for a minute. He told her to fuck off. He left her here alone. Then she glances up the road quickly, that's one hell of a long walk though. And it's dark out, this ain't her 'hood. And, he DID come back. Sure he was pissed off, his motor was running, he was in high gear, he just, he just wanted her soooo bad. So he was frustrated. But he came back. He didn't leave her here alone, right? That proves he does care about her. So she casts her eyes down and wordlessly steps back into the humming car.
He keeps his eyes straight ahead, raising a rather fat joint to his mouth and toking long and slow on it, sucking sharply with the final breath. "You wanna hit this?" He offers and passes her the burning joint, his way of making a peace offering.
What the fuck, she figures, it's his way of apologizing, so she reaches over with her clawlike painted press-on nails, hitting it nice and deep. Pungent and powerful in her throat, she lets out a customary stoner snort, trying not to exhale as she passes it back to him. He smirks as he takes it out of her hand, then hits again himself, holding, holding, refusing to exhale, finally the smoke erupting out of his lungs with a forceful coughing spasm. Grinning over at him, Rosie plucks the tight wrapped joint from his fingers as the coughing begins to settle and hits it again herself. Holding it in, she speaks through closed lungs to him, still grinning, "Cough to get off, baby," then starts to giggle a bit, heavy smoke pouring out of her mouth. It's hit her already, she's high, so she knows he's got to be stoned outright as she passes it back to him again.
She watches him closely to make sure, noticing how heavy his eyelids are, how his mouth has curled into a hint of a satisfied grin. How his hand reaches over slowly to take it, deliberately. He finally meets her gaze for the first time since she stepped back in the car as he passes the now tiny end back to her. Even with the long nails, her nimble fingers are able to grab hold of one side fluently enough as he sits there simply grinning at her. Closing one eye to focus as she pulls the last useful hit from the weed, she gazes back, again admiring his handsome looks. All heavy lidded now, almost sleepy looking, his eyes glisten even darker than usual. His long lashes sweep up and down with every slow blink and for the first time that she's ever seen, his brows aren't the least bit knit together or drawn into lines of concentration or worry. He looks stoned, for sure, but he looks relaxed. Picking a stray piece of stem off her tongue, she suddenly becomes aware of how she must look. She knows she's high, she wonders if her eyes are bloodshot yet. Then she uses her now heavy tongue to lick her dry lips and realizes they're naked. So she flicks the tiny roach out the window and starts to fumble with her purse, looking for her customary red to gloss up her still puffy lips.
Seeing her retrieve the tube and take off the cap, his slow moving hand is eventually able to catch hold of her wrist. Thinking for what seems like an eternity, he's finally able to string together a few words to try and convey what's on his mind through a mouth that seems determined to trip over itself. "Wachyu doin?" He asks, licking his lips, swallowing, trying to get some moisture going in his dry mouth.
Nodding at her hand, he repeats the question, this time a bit clearer, "What're you doin? Don't do that."
She looks back at him for a long time, then snorts a half giggle, face lightening suddenly to a grin, "I'm just puttin on some lipstick."
"Yeah, I know, don't. You look good."
"I said you look good, you know, you don't need it."
She just looks back at him blankly for quite some time again, all leaned back in his seat, his face a picture of ease and body seeming to sink into the seat, grinning at her. She realizes his hand is still on hers, and then finally her mind computes what he just said and her heart thumps once, very hard. So she leans back, melting into the seat herself, laying her head back and looking up at the stars in the sky and simply remarks, "Huhm." Not a question, not an exclamation, just a note of understanding.
He just keeps slowly gazing at her through thick glassy eyes. Stretched out on the seat next to him, fucking barefoot and shit. He smirks at that, ballsy chick was gonna actually walk home- barefoot. His eyes travel up her legs, a smooth soft line, so easy on his heavy eyes, and they lead him up further, up to the now very subtle, very slow rise and fall of her chest as she breathes. He lingers there a minute, then follows the curves up more again, to that tiny bump just below her neck, and then her neck, stretched out with her head leaned back, remembering the way it smelled when he was licking there before, all like a pepperoni ball spritzed with Charlie from the local Rite-Aid. How it curves, then flows out to her jaw, her chin, her face. She's just gazing up, stoned as hell, he can tell, she's not even aware he's looking at her, his eyes inspecting those full lips. Mailbox lips, he thinks out of the blue and chokes back a threatening chuckle.
He goes up higher, follows her cheekbone to her ear, and in the faint light he can see that big gold earring still dangling there, and then he notices it. It's torn all right, the ear that is. The earring's hanging dangerously low on her lobe, what used to be a hole that it was slid through is now a dangerously long slit, somewhat concealed by bits of dark red blood drying there. And then, like a hammer hitting, he gets it. All giggles gone now, he realizes for the first time what went down, and that it wasn't cool. Swallowing dry and hard, he looks away as he replays it the best he can in his head. She didn't even freak out or nothing really, he thinks. That had to hurt too. His sister, she'd a slapped the shit outta him if he did that kinda damage to her, then she'da locked herself in the bathroom for a half hour and gone on a big crying jag to top it off. Rosie, she just, she just asked him to hold up for a minute. Brow worrying together again, he averts his gaze and just stares blankly out the windshield again.
Turning his head quickly (which is quite a feat at that point), he tells her, "You oughta take that earring out."
That jolts her out of her trance and she lifts a hand to the ear she had forgotten about. It -is- sore she notices again. Wincing as she gently pulls the clanky hoop out, she inspects it for a second and sees some of the red staining it, then resignedly plucks the matching one out of her other ear and throws them both into her purse with a frown. Clearing her throat, she then waits a beat, not sure of which sentence is going to come out, but the eternal phrase of teenagers pops into her head, helping her choose- 'What the fuck'- and she makes the move. She gambles. What the fuck, he came back. What the fuck, I've liked him a long time now. What the fuck, he got me good and high. What the fuck, he seems docile now. What the fuck, why the fuck not?
"So, I look good, huh?" She questions quietly, ever so slightly inching away from the window, and that pesky seatbelt, and towards him.
He lets a long, heavy second pass, licks his lips and then answers honestly, "Yeah, you look real good baby, real good." Then he peels himself off the seat and slowly leans into her again, softly this time, carefully, almost sweetly, and places a genuine sincere kiss on her lips.
And that's how it goes this time around. Still good, still electric. But hands are slower, not pawing this time, merely petting. The rushing and throbbing is tempered now. Slow and languid, the grain evaporated and the weed keeping it all hazed, dazed, and concentrated. Not pushing, desperate, racing to get to the next obstacle and finish. Enjoying it this time, feeling whispers and strokes, bending to the other. Doing things that feel good, cause they wanna, not just cause it's what's expected, or what's cool.
It does feel good, it feels so good, the kisses, the touches, the tightness in his stomach this time around from desire more than anxiety. It's slow and fast all at once, like a video played at three quarters speed, out of synch with everything else, but in synch with each other. They're hushed and hot and high. Hands are more relaxed, maybe a bit more deliberate and careful, maybe the buzz making them feel and appreciate the little things more. Cause that's where he is now, right there, with her, feeling her soft skin, wanting her, feeling her hands and mouth on him, not distracted, not thinking about his posse back at the corner and doing this for them.
And then, before he even has time to think about it, it's happening. They're half dressed, laying down sprawled across the seat, and next thing he knows he's trying to get inside her, she's guiding him, but he can't. And he wants it, so bad now, he just needs it, and he's trying and he can't- and through the dazy high of his clouded head and pulsing body, that brings a sudden realization. So Miguel stops for a second again, looking at her under him, feeling her one hand clinging tightly to his neck, the other now pressed against his chest, probably feeling his heart beating. Her chest, rising and falling, beautiful and perfect, so soft- and *her* dark eyes, looking back at him, trusting him with this. She's wanting this, he knows, but scared too. So he kisses her again, and again. Then, he whispers in her ear, quietly telling her to hold on, swiftly pushes hard, and he does it. He's in.
She bites her bottom lip and holds his shoulders even tighter, choking back a gasp of discomfort. He feels her whole body tense, so he's momentarily still for her, letting her catch up. Cause his head is absolutely swimming again with the sweetness of how it feels and he wants her to have that too. She breathes out, exhaling long and hard, relaxing again, and that's his cue to start. So he does, and she does too, and then it slowly just keeps getting better, still harnessed a little, dragging it out as long as possible.
And when it's over he just completely falls down into her arms, catching his breath along with her. She's doing fine too, arms still around his shoulders, eyes closed and listening to him breathing in her ear, cheek to cheek. When he leans over and kisses her again, soft and slow, even after the deal has been closed, she swoons and thinks she really could just die.
Fumbling awkwardly with clothes, neither one knows what to say, so they smirk a little in between buttoning and zipping, suddenly feeling very shy. They don't speak on the way back to the corner either, just content to quietly mull it over by themselves and pass a Marlboro red back and forth, sharing one even though she has a whole new pack.
When they get back to the 'hood, Ricky and a couple other guys are standing outside. He parks about a block away from 'em, then turns to her, still not sure of what to say. She looks back sheepishly, trusting those warm brown eyes more than ever.
"Hey Alvarez!" They hear Ricky call from up the block. He turns and looks at them walking toward his car, then back to her again, still all soft and a bit hazy. He knows the truth now. He knows a lot now. But what would they think?
So he lowers his eyes and turns away, opening his door and stepping out to greet his 'migos with a hand shake. She starts to climb out of the car, still not getting it, then sees them, walking up the street together as she's left back there. Then she hears Ricky say it, part of it, "...NAILED her..." and the whooping and high fives commence as they keep travelling up the block.
She stands there, dumbstruck, waiting, thinking he'll turn around any minute, do something, SAY something, come back over to her, grab her by the hand, kiss her in front of them, walk inside with her on his arm. Bring her another drink, something. Anything.
But he doesn't. Then she gets it. And her heart thuds very hard, dropping, draining all her physical strength down to the concrete.
Pulling back together quickly, she grabs her purse, straightens her back, and uses a very brisk pace to click her heels against the pavement and go home.
Miguel, he's the king of cool again for the night. It's HIS night out, especially when the tables get turned on Ricky and he ends up wearing that vicious Orange Crush mixture compliments of Maria. He could call the others out now too. But he doesn't. It's one of those unspoken agreements, like how they let him slide every once in a while when he don't have his blade and he steps off from a fight. And especially because it doesn't really matter. Cause now he knows, really, what's cool. And what's not. And how sometimes, like right now, he played it right, so they think he's cool, but that what he did, truly is not. But that's not what matters to him, the reality and what is. What matters is what's percieved, and what's accepted by the group.
And Rosie? Well, she climbs the steep narrow steps up to the apartment she shares with her mom, thankful that she's out for the night. Cause if she was home, she'd ask Rose what she's doing home so early, tell her she should be out having fun, making friends. Rose would just have to quietly tell her she's tired, or not feeling well, cause you can't ever say it out loud, not even to your moms, you just can't admit that you truly are not cool.
So she climbs in the shower to wash the stickiness from her thighs, finally actually feeling like the sleazy skank that everyone always said she was. Gulping mouthfuls of warm water, she knows that even a gallon of Orange Crush and whatever couldn't get the sour taste out of her mouth right now. And the next day, she clings to a few shallow desperate hopes that he'll have a change of heart, maybe at least call her and say something, cause Rose is totally unaware that two hours after she dragged her broken heart home, Miguel was cuddling in a corner with that Maritza bitch from across the street. Naturally, he never calls. Cause by their rules, that wouldn't be cool.
And as we all know, for Miguel Alvarez, that's what matters the most. That doesn't make him unique or original. It's just a fact. Because as it was then, is now, and forever shall be, you just gotta be cool.