(page 9 of 9)
I bend over at the waist, trying to stretch my quadriceps. I’m pretty flexible, so I can palm the ground.
“Wow,” Holly says. “You’re pretty limber.” Her tone of voice is surprisingly seductive.
“Thanks,” I say, still catching my breath, a little dizzy from the night before, dehydrated. I’m thinking about walking back to the house, that is, unless Holly offers to give me a ride.
“Did you enjoy the party last night?” I ask, trying to think of a way to tell her I saw her leaving the house earlier this morning and from there warn her about Mick’s disease.
Holly blushes, smiles to herself like she’s got some kind of big secret, and I’m pretty sure I know what it is. “Oh, it was an interesting evening. I’ll say that.”
“Yeah, it sure was.”
I’m still stinging with embarrassment for all that went down, but I’m not afraid of Holly. Actually, I feel kind of superior to her.
“I had never seen you get drunk before,” she says, teasing. “I like you better sober.”
Standing in the sun, my sweat is starting to dry, and I’m beginning to feel overheated, exposed, like I could wither and die right there. I burp, and almost vomit, the taste of warm, stale beer at the back of my throat. I turn around and spit, then I feel unsteady on my feet, wavering in place.
“You don’t look well,” Holly says. “Do you need a ride?”
For some reason, I feel like I have to tell her before I accept her offer, like it would be some kind of bait and switch to let her take me home and then tell her she might have slept with a guy who has some kind of sexually transmitted disease. I lean against her Suzuki Samurai.
“Holly, I need to tell you something,” I say.
She smiles at me, all warm and presumptuous. “It’s okay, it doesn’t matter to me. I still think you’re a great person.”
“What do you mean?”
“You know, about you’re being gay. It doesn’t matter.”
Now, I’m starting to get pissed. “I’m not gay, goddamn it.”
Holly’s eyes get big. Her lips form an O of surprise. She shifts her Samurai back into drive. The vehicle makes a little lurch forward, but she doesn’t drive away.
“I know what you did last night, Holly. You slept with Mick, and there’s something you need to know…”
Before I can tell her about Mick having VD she drives away, tires spitting gravel and liquidized tar. I almost fall down, but I maintain my balance. I pour the rest of the water Holly gave me on my head, and I start jogging, hoping the water will invigorate me. By the time I get back to the house, I’m almost delirious. I run to the bathroom, strip off my clothes and jump into the shower. I turn on the water, letting it cascade all over my body, filling my hands so I can drink over and over again. I don’t dawdle like I usually do. I don’t watch the drain. I just turn the water to the coldest setting I can get, wishing it would get colder, ice cold, numbing me.
By the time I get back to my room, Kelly is gone, but in her rush to leave I see she left her underwear on the floor, a pretty pair of silky, red panties. I get a stapler from Rodney’s desk, and I staple the panties above the doorway of my closeted enclosure, in plain sight, so everyone can see.