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Chance... as in "Take a..."
a short story by Janee A

I pulled the comb from the back pocket of my cutoff blue jean shorts and stroked it through my long silky hair. After the day at the swimming pool, my hair was finally dry and it shone a funny coppery gold in the late-day's sun, a little blonder than before, i thought, as i caught my reflection in the window of a parked car.

I was walking the same path i had taken earlier that day, back to the same park. This time i was alone though, having left my sister to her friends and their endless cheerleading practice routines. I was fifteen and she was about to turn thirteen, but suddenly I felt like i was more than two years older than she. 

This night I'd bolted my pot pie, hurriedly dried the dishes, and dashed out the door with barely a goodbye to my folks, who had already begun their nightly martini-fest. In the summertime, when the storm windows were put away for the screens, i was as free as the breezes that blew through the house.

 I heard the cheering from the softball field well before i reached it. I cut across the playground, I half-skipped past the monkey bars which knew me so well. I caught myself and resumed my nonchalant stroll. I smiled past the familiar swings, my gaze climbing to the top of the shiny steel slide which used to be so very high, but which seemed somehow shorter now. 

I strolled easily past the bike rack over to the fence behind home plate and clutched the wires. Some nights i had ridden my bicycle to the park, but tonight was far away from the world of my six year-old 26" Schwinn.

I looked around. Wives, girlfriends, and daughters cheered their men from the bleachers. My eyes scanned the field, stopping at the second baseman. Tan and rugged, his pants fit him just right. I looked at his hands and imagined them tearing at my shirt, his face contorted as he looked greedily at my young body, teeth clenched in determination to take what was his birthright.

I shook my head to restore reality. I looked around, blushing, suddenly almost wondering if the people in the bleachers were cheering my daydream. 

I stepped over to the concession stand. "Small Coke, please," and i put down my dime, I unwrapped my straw, depositing the paper into the can before i poked the straw down into the Coke. I took a few quick swallows to cool down before I realized that i was not alone there.

My eyes trailed up his solid, tanned, muscled body. I thought he was taller than any man i'd ever stood next to before. His wavy and very dark hair brushed the neck of his white working man's T-shirt. His eyes sparkled in a deep, dark, magical blue. I blinked. He was still there.

"Hi there!" His voice flowed around me, drenching me in its watery coolness.

Suddenly, I was twelve again, my stepfather's friend cajoling me... "Here.. look right into my eyes... Atsa way! You need to make him want you!" Tony had said.

My heart thundered in my chest and my hands shook, but, as if i were taking a test, I answered the big man in a clear voice, my dark green eyes sparkling as they met his. I imagined that Tony would have been proud. "Well hi, yourself."

"Come here often? I haven't seen you here before."

I took a sip of my Coke and then looked up to the man, before my tongue broke free. "Well I come here a lot but i was gone for a week...  but i'm back now so i'll be coming over here more. ... Yes i do come here a lot..." I managed to break myself off before i could do any real damage. I brought the straw to my mouth, my tongue lingering against the end of the straw, and i looked into the big man's blue eyes before i took another sip. 

"You go to I.U.?" he asked, his eyes fixed on the insignia on my shirt.

"Yes...  um yes that is . .. that is where i was for a week.. i was at a camp there for a week... That is where i got this shirt... Yes..  yes," I stammered weakly before i made myself shut up.  I smiled to him, my eyes holding his in a way that I hoped would override any idiocy that might come from my mouth.

I brought my right hand to my side, my elbow out, and i smoothed my shirt down against my narrow waist in a movement that, combined with my eye contact, this man would certainly find disarming.

"Let's go on over to my truck. Let's talk over there." 

I smiled coyly as i continued the game. "I'm supposed to meet some friends here in a few minutes," I lied, my long lashes batting twice over my green eyes as i let him fall into them. I swigged down the last of my coke and deposited the cup ceremoniously into the trash before i looked back to him.

"Come on. Just for a minute."  He began walking, looking back to me once before he continued on. 

"Do it!" The voice seemed real, booming to me from the other side of my brain. It felt as if i had no choice.

The big man turned and was startled to see me alongside him. I giggled.

The truck was bright white and tall. As we got closer, I saw that there was another man in the cab, and I hesitated.

"Come ON."

The man's truck was parked in a long line of vehicles on the bank overlooking the softball diamond. It was a perfect vantage point if it were a bit cold or hot or ... "Jim, get me a beer!"

Jim emerged from the truck holding out a can of Bud which the big man took and ripped the tab from in one swift movement. My eyes followed the tab as it fell to the ground, and then I bent to pick it up. The men were leaning on the hood of the truck, laughing and looking at me when i came up with the tab. I grinned with feigned uneasiness, looking around as if to see what was the object of their laughter and said, "What.. what?"

The big man winked at Jim and they both grinned at me. Again, i said, "What?" and giggled.

They just laughed. Jim was a reddish man, one whom the sun did not treat well. His skin was freckled and his curly hair was red. He struck me as rather a wrinkled little man, though he was close to six feet tall, and likely less than 30 years old. Not an unattractive fellow, but he certainly did not have the appeal that the big man had. Not close.

I turned to the big man. "So what's your name?"


"What?" I'd heard him. It was just a name that was new to me.

"Chance.... As in 'Take a...'," his eyes smiled mischievously to me. " And what would your name be? Mmmm should we guess, Jim? I'd say Susie. Wake up, li'l Susie, wake up!" And they laughed.

I fiddled with the beer tab. Jim looked at me as if i were a side of beef hanging in the coldroom at Gould's Meat Market and sang, "Love grows where my Rosemary goes." His eyes were still on my shirt as i brought my hands to my sides, pressing in my shirt to my waist and at the same time bringing my elbows back as if i were stretching, bringing my barely-blooming chest forward ever-so-slightly.

"Ooooh i think it is getting hot out here! Let's get in the truck!" Chance held the driver's door for me as Jim hopped in on the rider's side.

I stood rooted there, my eyes fixed on the blue vinyl of the seat. Chance finished his beer and squashed the can, tossing it into the back of his truck with a jarring metal clatter. "Gimme another one, Jim!" and without taking a breath, "Go on, get in." He spoke firmly.

I could see the cooler by Jim's feet and i watched him peel the fourth Bud from the plastic sleeve. He handed it to Chance as i stood between them, blocking the doorway. I looked to Chance and said, "No, really, I can't." I was almost pleading.

"And why not?" Chance toyed with me.

"I just can't."

"C'mon. We'll just listen to some music and drink some beer. C'mon."

"No, I really can't. I really have to go," I said weakly. Then i felt my face go hot and i knew that i was going to get into the truck.

Chance handed me a keyring with a big plastic yellow flower  and his keys. "Here. Now you hold the keys and you'll know that we won't be going anywhere."

I looked at the keys and then at Chance. "Take a chance." He winked, and I grinned, poked the keys into the pocket of my shorts, and hopped up into his truck. Chance got in beside me and closed the door.

Suddenly in the closed truck,  i smelled the beer, and in that same moment, Chance leaned over me, his mouth on mine, his tongue probing me, having its way inside my mouth. I tasted his beer. I brought my hands up around his neck. Oh yes.. that beer taste...  oh god yes.. his frenzied hands on my little breasts. I arched my back bringing them out toward the eager hands ...Oh god yes ... the beer taste as he sucked my tongue hard into his mouth. 

"Oooh you gotta try this sweet cherry mouth, Jim."  I looked to Chance for a second and he nodded and spoke low to me, "Just do him like you did me. Go on. I share with my friends." Chance took my shoulders into his big hands and turned me towards his friend.  My eyes closed and Jim took me just as Chance had, tongue swirling deeply into my mouth, sucking mine out into his mouth, hands all over me.. many hands now, it seemed, on my breasts on my legs.. .. My shirt was untucked now, a big hand  unzipping my shorts, pulling my legs apart,  fire through my breast. My thoughts were useless; any protestations i may have had were silenced completely  by Jim's urgent, dizzy, beer-soaked mouth.

A car engine started and revved loudly very close to us, startling Jim into letting go of me.  I sat upright and straightened my clothes, looking warily around, wondering if we had been seen, my face hot and flushed. Everyone around us was leaving and i sensed my exit window closing.

I glanced at my watch and it was 8:55. "Aaack! i have to go! I have to be home in 5 minutes!" I lied. I felt my heart thundering in my chest.

Chance said, "Just wait a minute."

"No, no! I have to go!" There was desperation in my voice. I picked up Chance's keys which had dropped onto the seat between my legs and handed them to him.  "Please, really." My voice was earnest.

"Okay hon.. but here," and he took the yellow plastic flower keychain off his keyring and gave it to me. "Keep this and think about me." I kissed him and Jim each very quickly and Chance got out of his truck. I scrambled past him and ran until i was out of sight of them. I cut across some yards and was home. 

"So who won?" My mother looked almost at me from the couch, her vision clouded by her customary evening of gin. Vern snored in the LazyBoy. 

For half a second I didn't know what she meant. "Pless's Autobody. Well, g'night!" I took the steps two at a time and, on the way up,  I distinctly heard cheering as i thought, "I won! I'm still undefeated!"  

my other adult short story, "Field Day"