by Joshua Dowland
The tires screeched as they slid along the wet asphalt of the parking lot. Jonathan was in no hurry, but he still insisted on driving like he was. His head bobbed to the loud music blaring from his speaker. The only speaker that worked in the car was the driver's. The other speakers had been ruined long ago. Smoking on his cigarette (Marlboro no.27's were his favorite) he pulled into the parking space in front of the apartment he shared with two friends. He rolled up his window in his usual jerking way and cut the ignition off, causing the windshield wipers to die with a rubbery moan, then fall into place on his car.
He opened the door and got out, surveying the lot for familiar cars. With a flutter, his chest heaved as he saw the grey Honda. A wide grin broke out on his face and a bounce to his step became apparent as he made his way up the sidewalk to the front door of his home. Opening the door without care and waltzing in, he saw the usual cast of characters that frequented his apartment. Giving a low and half-hearted response to the group, "Hey," he immediately walked over to Morgan. "Saw your car out front," he said as he planted a firm kiss on her lips, "How long have you been here?"
She responded with a faint smile, "Since I got off school at noon. Where have you been?"
"Where the hell do you think I've been?" he asked with his voice gaining a few octaves.
"How was work?" she answered, as she got up and followed Jonathan into the kitchen.
"Fine. Except for that bitch who usually gives me shit, it was actually a good day."
"That's good," she said softly as she looked at the ground, her long black hair falling forward which she instinctively pulled behind her ears. She looked up with her large eyes at Jonathan who was opening a can of soda who looked back at her and smiled. She responded in kind with her distinct smile, which if you asked any of their friends made her look like an elf.
"Hey Mumblelina," a voice said behind her as Jordan walked by her, placing his hand on her back as he passed. "Jon, have you got rent money? It's due in a week, you know."
"Aw, shit. Yeah, I've got it. I totally forgot," Jonathan said as he walked over to the dry-erase board and gazed at the list prepared on it.
1. RENT (due 11/01)
4. PICK UP DRY-CLEANING
"All the things growing boys need, eh?" Jordan asked as he chuckled a little and walked out of the kitchen. Jonathan smiled a little, then let out a yelp as a sharp pain blasted his side. He turned around and Morgan was immediately on his side and hugging him. "Is it really neccisary to grab my attention that way?" he asked.
"No," she said, "it's just more fun."
"she'll be the death of you!" a low voice called from the living room. It was Cameron.
Jonathan responded, "Don't I know it?"
Cameron laughed and continued to watch television with his girlfriend, Gloria. Jonathan and Morgan wandered to the back bedroom.
Jonathan, Jordan, and Gloria all lived together in an apartment on the east end of Memphis. Cameron usually spent the majority of his time there or at his dormitory. Morgan dropped by whenever she got the opprotune chance. Both she and Cameron went to the University of Memphis, but she lived about 30 miles east of Memphis in a small town. That's where she and Jonathan met. Their relationship was the product of circumstance and social manipulation. However, where as most relationships that are built so superficially decay within months, they had a strong bond of compliments to each other that made them incredibly happy together. At least, this is how it felt to Jonathan at the time. She made his day every time he saw her. She made the hours go by faster and smoother. He loved to ride wherever this life was taking him.
Morgan saw Jonathan as her cornerstone of social stability. She normally didn't care all that much about anything except the neccesities: school, family, etc. However Jonathan was her ticket to care-free moments spent in the warm embrace of a loving human being. He brought unpredictable fun to her life. They both knew they'd love to be around each other the moment they met.
It was the summer of 2004 and in Morgan's small hometown, there congregated quite the assortment of individuals she called her social circle. There was her sister Anya, Jordan, Gloria, Cameron, Lowell, and several others. The relationships built between them were mostly readily disposable, but it was fun to hang out. Jonathan had come by this group through everyone's mutual friend Alexander, and Morgan had slipped in quietly with Jordan and Anya. Anya was a lesbian and a shallow one at that. The majority of the time she spent with this group of kids was spent looking for a cute girl to flirt with. Anya wasn't a terrible person, nor did she see herself as being whorish. This was just her having fun. Morgan knew this and was content to tag along and watch everyone else have fun.
Lowell and some of his friends, all girls as he too was a homosexual and played into the stereotype of the close-knit group of girlfriends, talked to Morgan. The group included Gloria, her friends Luna and Amber, and others who weren't there at the time. They were talking to Morgan about Alexander's friend from Chicago, Jonathan. They told her that he was really attracted to her and that she ought to at least try to get to know him. What she didn't know was that while she wasn't around, they were saying the same to Jonathan. They told him about the shy, small, cute girl Morgan who had a thing for him. Being the red-blooded horny teenage guy Jonathan was, he leapt at the chance to get inside another cute girl. Their meeting and relationship was orchestrated by bored schoolgirls.
Morgan was standing alone outside Lowell's trailer with several other kids when Jonathan quietly walked over to her. "Hi there," he said.
"Hey," she quietly responded.
"I'm Jonathan," he said.
"I know," she said and smiled. Her smile instantly affected Jonathan. He couldn't quite place his finger on it. The only thing he could later compare it to had to be stories from Ireland of drunken men coming home and being entranced by the faefolk. She was like a pixie who could grasp a hold of his attention and mind instantly, and all with but a smile.
"So..." he said, "Umm, I hear you like me." Jonathan normally wasn't so blunt, but he was entranced. He couldn't focus his thoughts so he let them spill out. Morgan saw his gaze and could tell his mild stupor and laughed.
"Yeah. I could say the same thing," she said while grinning. She normally didn't talk so freely with people. Much less new people she had literally just met, but for some reason she felt instantly comfortable around Jonathan's presence. It soothed her. Perhaps it was his suave personality, she asked of her self, but she realized that Jonathan wasn't exactly the smoothest operator. No, it was more of an instinct. An animal magnetism had taken over her and she wanted to attach herself to this young man.
Within two hours, they were in Jonathan's green Saturn (which at that time still had three working speakers) kissing and fooling around. They were outside McDonald's while everyone else was inside. Jordan and Lowell sitting together with Lowell barely being able to keep his eyes off Jordan as Jordan coversed with Cameron whose arm was wrapped snuggly around Gloria who was in the midst of eating. They could hear the people who worked there laughing as they realized that the skinny white kid who asked them for mints was making out with an even tinier white girl in his car parked in front of the entrance.
Inside the car, Jonathan and Morgan stopped and simply held each other. Basking in the warmth of their bodies.
"Oop! Eyelash," Morgan said and pressed her right index finger's tip to Jonathan's upper cheek. She pulled it off with a stray eyelash from Jonathan's eye stuck to it. She smiled and placed the hand in her coat pocket.
"What're you doing, saving it for later?" Jonathan asked with a look of amusement.
"Maybe," she answered and giggled then kissed him again. He was eager to return the kiss.
About half an hour later, Jonathan and Morgan reentered the McDonald's. Morgan's hair was a mess. The cashier up front said, "You still need a mint, homes?"
Jonathan answered, "Go fuck yourself," and Morgan laughed.
Morgan sat down next to Lowell with Jonathan sliding in immediately after and placing his arm around her.
"So what are we doing next? Back to Lowell's?" Jordan asked.
"Oh, please. So over it," Lowell responded with a sigh. Lowell propped his elbow up on the table with a smoldering cigarette in his hand. Cameron gave him his heavy eyelid nod.
"Hey Lowell, mind if I bum on of them?" Jonathan asked. Lowell sighed and rolled his eyes, bringing out the pack. He removed one cigarette and handed it to Jonathan with a lighter. "Thanks," Jonathan said. He lit the cigarette and puffed on it. Meanwhile, Morgan intently stared at Jonathan's complexion, running her fingers along his skin. She grazed her fingernails across his arm and watched how white the marks left behind were and how easily his skin flaked off.
Jonathan and Morgan came out of Jonathan's bedroom. As usual, Morgan's hair was in tangles. "Cameron," Jonathan said, "got any weed?"
Cameron enthusiastically responded with a grin and playing with what he wished were dreadlocks on his head, "Oh yeah." At that everyone got up and walked to the kitchen table. Cameron tossed a plastic bag onto the table filled with green leafy nuggets. Jonathan pulled out his hand-blown glass pipe.
"Morgan, you smoking?" Jonathan asked.
"I don't know. Does it hurt?" she answered.
"Look, I'll blow you a shot gun. You don't have to take it from the hit."
"All right," she said with a sigh.
"Yeah? Yeah!" Jonathan exclaimed.
"All right!" Cameron casually called out. He and Gloria giggled. Jonathan then passed the burning pipe to Jordan and smoked it with as much faux dignity as he could muster. He placed his right leg on his left one and straightened his back into an unnatural recline. Jonathan then pressed his mouth to Morgan's and exhaled his lungs' worth of smoke into hers. She instantly started choking and holding her throat.
"You okay?" Jonathan asked with some concern. Morgan held onto the table and grimaced while swallowing several times and gasping. Everyone started laughing.
Eventually the pipe was thoroughly smoked and everyone's eyes were closer to being shut almost completely.
Cameron said in a long drawn out voice, "Jon, man. You got chink eyes." He gave a goofy chuckle at that while Jonathan simply smiled and nodded. Morgan started slinking her head around with her eyes closed and groaning. She layed her head on the table and slid her forehead along the table.
"What the hell you doing?" Jonathan asked. Just then, his eyes widened and he proclaimed, "Oh my God! Morgan's stoned!" Jonathan and Jordan looked at each other with open eyes and mouths and silently laughed. Morgan continued to groan and mumble.
"Are you okay?" Jonathan tried to ask without busting out laughing. Morgan gave a high pitched "Mm-hmm." At that everyone busted out laughing.
"Come on,"Jonathan said, still chuckling. He led Morgan up who was staggering back to the bedroom where the flopped down on Jonathan's make-shift bed. Morgan started giggling and climbing on Jonathan. "Mmm, I love you," she mumbled.
"Okay," Jonathan replied with a grin.
She licked his cheek and into his nostril.
"What the fuck are you doing?" he asked frantically rubbing his nose. She laughed. "You're so weird," he said.
"Do you think my sister's hot?" she asked, out of breath.
"What kind of question is that? She's not even into guys," he aasked, stil recovering from the lick.
"Oh, I figured you'd like that," she said with her pixie-like smile.
"No, I like you." he said, holding her sides as she straddled him and ran her hands over his chest.
"That's good to know," she said, lying her head on his shoulder and moaning. "Mmm, I want to take you apart and put you back together."
"Do what?" he asked, bewildered.
She giggled. "I want to take you apart piece by piece and rebuild you from the ground up. Make you perfect all over again."
He smiled. He didn't really know what else to say, but somehow, what she said worried him.