Keep a Close Watch on this Heart of Mine

Previously, on A Young American…

To start at the beginning, go here.

We played a few rounds of glass chess while little Wendy played cards. “What is that, anyway?”  Theresa asked, nodding at my drink.

“It’s an Italian Soda, mixed with a little Orange and Cherry flavor. You want to try some?”  She nodded and I gave her the rest of my cup.

“Wow.” She said, “That’s very sweet.”  Wendy looked up sharply at her mother, “No, I’m not talking to you.” She said, bending down and picking her up.

“So, Theresa,” I said, “Now that you’ve manipulated me into a first date, is there any way I can interest you into a second one?”  She laughed while Wendy played with her finger.

“You haven’t even told me how old you are.”

“What are you worried I’m not of age?”  

“No, it’s not that.” She said, “I don’t know. Kinda weird for me to date someone so much younger than me.”  

“And just how old are you?” I asked, “You can’t be more than 30.”  

“I’m 32.”

“Three degree guarantee.” I said, referencing my weatherman’s catchphrase, “Besides, my last girlfriend was 28, and she was about as mature as one could be.”  

“You still haven’t told me your age.” She repeated.

“I’m 25. I’ll be 26 at the end of July.” Wendy laughed, as if what I said was funny.

“When I was 18 you were 11.”

“And when you’re 40 I’ll be 32. There is a cap on the ‘too young’ stigma.” She stared into my eyes. “So about that second date.”

“Well, this weekend is little Wendy’s birthday, and it wouldn’t be right not to have at least one guest.”  Wendy’s smile widened as she tilted her head back, matching her mother’s stare.

“As long as I don’t have to bring a present.” I shrugged. We sat and talked in front of the fireplace until Wendy fell asleep.

“All right, well we’re going to go home. I’ll see you this weekend, then?”  I nodded. We exchanged numbers, and a good night kiss, then I waved goodbye, walking to the porch swing while they drove off. That was the first time in a long time that I hadn’t got past first base on the first date. I sat on the porch for another 30 minutes before Jason came out, “Hey man, I’m about to close up. You want anything else?”  

“Sure, I’ll take another. And one of your famous Blueberry Muffins chief!”  He smiled and went back inside, only to return a few minutes later with my request and keys to lock the doors. He wrapped a scarf around his neck and sat next to me.

“So, how’d it go with you and Theresa?”

“It went.” I said, “Got invited to a birthday party.”  

“Nice! She comes in here a lot. She’s good people.” He sighed, “So what’s been up, man?  I heard you up and moved to the big apple.”  

“Yeah, I still don’t know why it’s called that. I just needed to get out of here. This town was starting to eat me alive.”  Speaking of, “Hey you remember that girl I used to date?  Britney?”  He thought for a moment, and then nodded. “She still around?”  

“Naw, sorry man. She moved out maybe a year ago?  A year and a half?”  Right around when we broke up, I thought, she must be off at some other college somewhere. I wanted to apologize for how things ended, but I was fooling myself if I thought I could get some kind of ultimate closure that everyone hopes for in breakups. “I’ve gotta get home.” Jason said, “And I’m gonna have to turn this light off. The boss lives right down the road and if she saw me leave this on I’d get a talkin’ to.”  

I nodded, “Hey it’s no problem.” Jason hugged me again.

“Come see me before you leave again. Maybe we can hang out and do some shots or somethin’.”  

“Sure, that’d be fun.”  Jason turned the light off and left me alone on the dark porch with only a streetlamp from the small parking lot across the street: that and the embers from my cigarette. I sat there as it burned thin and eventually faded before getting up and taking my new car back to Janis’ house. I pulled out the spare keys she had given me the night before and almost unlocked the door, but decided to check the bedroom before barging in. Coop may be balls deep in her. I crept to the side of the house only to find that I was right.

I heard faint moaning and through the window I saw Janis riding Coop as hard as she could. He seemed to be sweating profusely, despite being on the bottom. I was hoping for a heart attack to strike the pathetic British bastard, but alas, they just kept fucking. After awhile I got bored and horny at the same time, and left to finish some business at an all-too-familiar gas station.

Afterward I realized I was all revved up with no place to go, but luckily I had a lot on my mind and the middle of America was probably the best place in the world for a midnight meandering. I wandered around the town, and suddenly felt my stomach gain weight rapidly. This town looked exactly the same as I had left it, but it felt different. As if body snatchers had invaded. The town either moved on without me, or vice versa. Either way, I couldn’t live here again. Things had changed, and although it wasn’t said, I could feel I wasn’t welcome.

Towns like this have a habit of trying to suck everything in, but if anything or anyone managed to break that hold and escape, the next time they returned the storm was over. The only hint that it was ever there is the strong gusts of wind trying to push them away. Still, I was pretty fond, or at least interested, in Theresa. I was gonna stay and see how we played out before making my final flight out of Kansas.

Until then I needed somewhere to stay. I drove to the nearest motel, knocking myself out as soon as I hit the pillow. I woke up the next morning and drowsily unwrapped the complimentary soap in the shower. When I finished I just stood there for a while, watching the water drip off of my elbows, chin, dick, and hair. I became so dazed, almost hypnotized, that I didn’t even hear someone enter the hotel room. The bathroom doorknob turned and I swung the curtain open. A woman screamed briefly before she started laughing.

“Jesus you scared the shit out of me!”  She was very young, had to be under 20, but hopefully not too far under, because just me standing there naked would be enough to put me on the sex offender’s list. I saw her take more than just a peek when I reached for the towel and wrapped it around my waist. “I’m from housekeeping.” She said, still staring, as if she could see right through the towel.

“Yeah, I noticed.” I said, snapping my fingers. She was wearing deep blue scrubs and her blonde hair was pulled back, but she somehow she still managed to look attractive. She moved her eyes up to mine. “You mind giving me like another half hour?”  

“Yeah, okay. Sure.”  She didn’t move from her spot.

“Okay then. Please leave now.”  She backed up and almost into the wall before she finally left. She must have never seen a dick in real life. I was glad to be her first. I went for a fresh set of clothes before it occurred to me that I forgot to get the suitcase from Janis’ house. I put on my dirty ones and drove over there, hoping Coop had left.

He hadn’t.

When I rapped on the door, the smug bastard opened it, “Why hello, Logan.”  

“Hey, Coop. Janis here?  I came to get my things.”  

“No, I’m afraid not, my boy.”  He said. I stood at the door, “Is there something else I can help you with?”  

“Yeah, let me in so I can grab my shit.” I said.

“I don’t know if I can do that.” He stepped outside and shut the door behind him.

“All right, look. I’m gonna make this pretty simple. You’re 40-something. I’m 25, and I’m not out of shape. So believe me when I say that if I have to go through you to get inside, I will.”  He chuckled, then pulled out a fucking pipe and packed it.

“What? Are you gonna tell me a story?”

“I’ll tell you something, Logan.” He lit his tobacco and took a few puffs before continuing, “It’s people like you that bring this country down.” Oh here we go. In a way I was glad my half assed high school comment had stuck with him all these years. “You’re people are brutal, invasive, and greedy. That’s all you ever were and that’s all you ever will be.

I’m here teaching in the education system to try and change that, as small of a difference I might make. I might teach a future President. Now,” He bent down slightly, “that being said, there’s one thing that the mix of violence and selfishness have seemed to concocted that is more perfect and ripe than any other country.”  

“Yeah, and what’s that, teach?”  He leaned in close and for a moment I thought he was going to try to kiss me, “The American girl.”  My fists clenched. He was taking his fuck fest with Janis last night and throwing it in my face, but I wasn’t going to give in.

Not to a comment like that anyway.

“So, what?  Fucking Janis was like your crowning achievement or something?”  

“It wasn’t ‘like’ my crowning achievement. It was my crowning achievement.”  

“Oh, you dick.” I grabbed his collar and threw him down the steps. He fell face first into the concrete, and the pipe knocked out one of his front teeth before pressing on the back of his throat. I rolled him over and stood on his stomach. I knelt down and pulled the pipe out of his throat while he turned his head to cough up the tooth, and a little blood.

“Damn.” I said, “I guess you were right all along.”  I got off of his stomach and pressed my foot on his collarbone, “You know this is the easiest bone to break in the human body?” He tried to push my foot off, but I pressed harder. “I’ve heard that it can break if you walk too fast into a door. I guess yours must be pretty strong. Probably all that British Badass flowing through you. You got yourself a regular James Bond Bone.”

“You know,” I continued, “I’m not a good guy. I know that, and you know that. But I’m certainly not a bad guy. I don’t steal from anyone,” the sound of him gurgling and coughing occasionally overlapped my speech, but I didn’t mind. “I don’t use women to prove a point or make someone jealous. All I do is fuck the ones who wanna be fucked, for as long as they wanna be fucked. I also don’t fuck under age girls, no matter how much they want it. But anyway, that doesn’t matter.”

I bent down, “You’re a bad guy. All of this could have been avoided if you had just stepped…the fuck…aside.”  Coop was nice enough to let me finish my speech before punching me square in the balls, which shot up so high I’m amazed a bell didn’t ding. I toppled to the ground and he started kicking me in the stomach, right where I speculated that my balls went. Janis pulled onto her front lawn at that moment, nearly running Cooper over.

“What are you doing!?” she screamed. She ran up and pulled him off of me, and he fell to the ground. Janis helped me up. “What the fuck is wrong with you Trevor!?” Ha-ha. Trevor.

“He was trying to break into your house, Janis!”  

“Break in? He has his own keys!”  Cooper began to stutter, but then smiled in an attempt to appeal to her soft side, probably unaware of his missing front tooth.

“Janis I didn’t know, I’m sorry.”  I bit my lip wide open trying to contain my laughter.

“Get out.” She said. He didn’t move until she said it again. He ran off like a little girl.

“Mind if I grab my bag?” I asked, voice a little hoarse from my testicles taking refuge. She grabbed my arm and pulled me inside. Before I knew what was happening she was scanning me for cuts and bruises. “Relax.” I said, pulling her hands off my face, “I’m fine. You should see the other guy.”  She laughed that sweet little laugh.

“Sorry about that.”  

“Don’t be. You knew what kinda guy he was.”  

“Oh, you’re such a victim.” She smiled.

“I fuckin’ am.”  I replied, putting a cigarette in my mouth. She took it out and tossed it aside before I could light it.

“That shit makes your breath reek.”  

“Yeah, but I make up for it by looking awesome.”  She pet my head.

“I’m glad you’re not hurt. Wouldn’t want that pretty face of yours to be damaged.”  

“Oh, I can handle it.”  She pulled me in and hugged me tightly. I held her close and kissed her. Our last kiss,  “I’ll see ya around.”

“I doubt that very much.” I nodded and grabbed my suitcase, then drove back to my hotel to change into something fresh. The rest of the day was spent watching TV, and I got a text at about 10 PM from Theresa.

Wanna meet up at the high school tomorrow to get Wendy a cake?

Sure, what time?

12:30.

One thing I learned long ago was that it sucks to have to wake up, no matter what time it was. So, on the rare occasions where I needed it, I set my alarm to wake me up an hour or so before my actual time, that way I could actually be awake and not a walking zombie. Ten AM rolled around and my radio alarm popped on to Little Lies by Fleetwood Mac.

I preferred to wake up to radio alarms. It was always something different. I got in my car by noon and drove to the high school. It felt just like when I attended. I remembered driving to school for the first time and how cool I felt getting out of my own car. When I arrived it wasn’t that hard to spot Theresa. She was in the middle of the parking lot standing outside her car and holding Wendy.  She whispered to Wendy, “Who’s that?  Do you know him?” as I approached them. Wendy reached out for me, “Do you want to hold her?” Theresa asked.

“I don’t know, I’m not that good with kids.”  

“Oh, come on. It’s not that bad.”  She handed me the kid and I held her under her armpits. She stretched out her arms like she wanted a hug. I granted her wish and she cooed like crazy. “Aw, she likes you.” Theresa said, as if we were talking about a pet.

“Yeah. Hey, let’s get goin’ huh?”  She nodded and we got in the car. I tried buckling Wendy into her seat but it was too confusing. Theresa took over while I sat and waited. “You ever read In Cold Blood?” I asked as we drove off.

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