Bette On It: Weird Adolescence. Senior Year 2003-2004. Excerpt...

January 2004

In the week leading up to the dance, Mark told Robert that Bette had asked him to the Darling Dance and Robert invited them to join him, Hank, and their dates Ami and Sonja at dinner at The Lodge. Bette was happy to go with a group outside her usual group of friends. She still drove her dad's truck and picked Mark up.

The group ate, talked, and enjoyed each other's company. They talked about old times and funny stories. Bette liked seeing Mark light up with Hank and Robert. They were old childhood friends and they acted like happy kids together. After the meal, Ami and Sonja got up to go to the restroom. Bette didn't need to go, but Ami eyed Bette to join them and she did. Bette looked at herself in the mirror and reapplied her burgundy lipstick while the other girls peed and they washed their hands. "I ate way too much. I shouldn't have ordered the steak. I feel bloated," said Sonja.

"I told you to get control top pantyhose. They do more work than you realize," said Ami.

"She's right. They smooth everything out." Bette turned and looked at herself in the mirror. "They flatten out my ass, but I don't have much of an ass anyways. Yet, no love handles; it's a fair compromise for this dress." Bette slapped her own tight butt. "Uh!"

Ami and Sonja laughed.

"I had to wear my new cute underwear. I got a matching set in this great deep purple color," said Sonja. She flushed the toilet and came out of the stall and washed her hands too.

"So it's on with Hank tonight?" Ami asked.

"It better be! It's been a couple weeks of hand and mouth stuff. I'm ready to wreck him!" Said Sonja. "I do this thing where I push on the nerve behind his balls." She mimed with a few fingers, then curled them into a loose fist and made a circular motion. "He fucking loves it; he throws his head back and moans when I do that. But now, I just want to jump him. He's got that sick body from playing baseball. You know he never stops training?" She was almost drooling.

"Hank is hot for sure, I'll give you that. Robert might not be much to look at, but makes up for it with a great cock and by going down on me for an hour at a time. I asked him what he's doing down there and he says he's writing out the digits of pi, the Preamble to the Constitution, or the periodic table. He says it keeps him from shooting his load too quick. I swear you two have it wrong: bang nerds. They take good care of you and they appreciate you." Ami grinned and fanned herself in a lighthearted way.

Bette looked at Sonja with a saucy smile. Ami and Sonja were good friends and Bette had been acquainted with them at best. She was surprised they were being so open with her after such a short period of time. Ami looked to Bette. "I shouldn't say that without knowing the deal with you and Mark. What's that situation?"

Bette shrugged. "I was his girlfriend back in eighth grade. We're just friends now."

Ami and Sonja looked at each other for a second. "No way," said Ami. "I promise you this: they are talking about the same stuff we are out there right now with maps and charts and shit trying to help Mark get you tonight."

Bette scoffed. "I doubt that." She had sudden curiosity, "What makes you so sure?"

"They're guys," said Sonja. "It's all they think about."

She wasn't buying their reasoning. "He's not like that with me. We trust each other. We've talked about those old times. It's not weird like that." said Bette.

"Girl! You look this good." Ami waved her hand in front of Bette. "He wants on."

"Whatever." Bette dismissed with a smile and a red face. "We should go back before they think we all fell in."

Bette opened the bathroom door and walked out holding the door open behind her for the other two.

But Robert and Ami made moves pushing Bette and Mark together...

Robert and Ami were walking up to school Friday morning from her car talking with their arms linked. It was still dark and half an hour before first hour class. A thin layer of ice crunched beneath their feet while they walked. "What's the new intel from Mark?" Ami asked.

"He won't say too much. Something about 'locked doors' with her? I guess she's not feeling so wrecked anymore about the break up, but he won't make a move on her. I don't get it. He's liked her for years. He's never not liked her as far as I remember."

"He's being careful. He's being smart. It's barely been two weeks for her. She's was with Ozzy for months. They were friends for years. I mean, I don't know Bette much, but I've seen her in classes and stuff. You went to middle school with her. Hell, you went to elementary school with both of them. You know them better than me. You were around them when they had to break up. You said they only did because they had to. What's keeping them from getting back together?"

"Like you said: it's only been a couple weeks for her." He squeezed Ami's arm. "I know the moment I saw you were in a good mood and single, I had to make a move on you." He turned his head and smiled at her. She turned her head and smiled back.

"You were so confident. There was something so refreshing about you. You weren't trying to show off or impress anyone. It felt like you weren't even trying to impress me. You had this attitude of this-is-what-I-want-and-I'm-going-to-ask-for-it-and-if-not-who-cares," she said sweetly

"I don't know if I call it confidence or just not caring what people think."

"You seemed to care what I thought."

"That's because you're thoughtful. I watched you get better and better at helping people in the tutoring program and test prep over the last couple years. You were selfless, sweet, and sexy. I couldn't stop myself when I heard Troy broke up with you."

Ami stopped them on the sidewalk and looked around. "I swear if it weren't 15 degrees out and there weren't people within 30 feet of us, I would pounce you in that arbor vitae grove right now."

"My parents work until six tonight."

She grabbed his back pack straps, pulled him close into her, and whispered into his ear through his knit hat, "I am going to ride you while reciting English vocab words and definitions."

Robert whispered back, "I'm going to write out the digits of pi on your clit until you cum three-point-one-four times."

They looked at each other and kissed deeply. A student drove by, honked, and yelled from their window, "Get a room!"

Ami and Robert gave the driver the middle finger while kissing, but only hers could be seen since she was wearing gloves and Robert was wearing mittens.

After school that day and having sex until the two of them were drained; Ami and Robert got dressed and tried to make themselves look casual in the living room of Robert's house. "I almost forgot to tell you. Mark came and found me before seventh hour today. You're not going to believe it: Bette asked him to the Darling Dance," said Robert.

"No fucking way," Ami said wide eyed and shocked.

"Yeah! I know!"

"And you waited this long to tell me?!"

"I was trying to remember pi to the 200th place for most of the day, thank you, you're welcome."

"Yeah. The lovin' was great. You have a fantastic dick. All my friends are jealous that you can make me cum at the drop of a hat." She said quickly affirmed. "But tell me what happened! What did he say? What did she say?" She asked excitedly.

Robert grinned, giggled, and shook a little. "Okay, okay. So when they first got together, it was in 8th grade after a dance."

"You told me that already," she interrupted.

Robert gave her a playful glare. "I know that. It was the Halloween dance. They were both dressed up. He told me she had been feeling bad and dancing made her feel better. He asked her to dance first. By the end of the night, she was asking him to dance. And then she gave him his first kiss and make out too."

"Okay," she said intently and a little concerned.

"Sound familiar? Bette feeling bad? Dancing making her feel better? And asking Mark to dance, to the Darling Dance?"

Ami got wide-eyed. "No! You think she wants on Mark? Already?"

"It's entirely possible."

"What did he say?!"

"He said yes, of course. He said he wanted to jump out of his shoes when she brought it up. He said he kept telling himself to remain calm and casual through her talking about it."

"Was there anything else? Come on. You gotta have more details than that!"

"Maybe you can figure it out for yourself" Robert got a sly grin on his face, "...when they join us for dinner next week before the dance!"

Ami squealed and pounced on Robert on the couch kissing him. "You are too damn good. I so hope they hook up. It's so fun getting people laid!"

"You know one of those people could be me for round three, right now."

She reached down and started undoing their pants and Robert unhooked her bra under her shirt. She got a heated look on her face and spoke through gritted teeth, "Abhor, to hate. Accede, to yield to. Adulterate, make worse by addition."

The following Saturday, Ami and Sonja were getting ready for the Darling Dance together. They had their dresses hanging on Ami's closet door and they stood in front of the dresser mirror with a couple lamps adjusted for them to do their make-up. "Are you sure you don't want a pair of control top pantyhose? I bought a two-pack." Ami offered Sonja.

"No," Sonja said confidently and firmly. "If Hank's going to see me in my full glory tonight, I don't want to have those weird lines on my stomach and waist."

"If you're giving Hank your full glory he won't care what you look like, trust me," Ami snickered. "Speaking of full glory, with Mark and Bette coming with us, Robert and I have been working on getting them back together."

Sonja applied a layer of eyeliner, "What? Why? Didn't she just break up with Ozzy over Christmas?"

"He's Robert's best friend. They used to date. They would look so cute together. Mark deserves some happiness, and I think Bette could be the one to give it to him, in more ways than one, you know? It's so fun to get people laid."

"How can you be so sure they're even going to have sex? And tonight?" Sonja asked.

Ami plucked a couple eyebrow hairs without flinching, "Because Mark likes her. And Robert and I have been helping him."

"How?"

"Little things. Bette had told him he needed a red tie to go with her outfit. She wants to coordinate, so we helped him pick out an all-black suit that looked good on him. I vetted his colognes for him. Robert told him to clean and scrub his room, bathroom, and change his bed sheets. Robert helped make him some mix CDs of mood music; music that she would respond to, music from middle school. Old memory music. And buy condoms and lube. All he needs is a reason for her to go in the house after the dance."

Sonia applied mascara, "Those aren't little things. You guys are diabolical."

"Oh, we are not done. You and I still have work to do."

"Me? I barely know Bette. I think we had a couple science classes together. And I'm the only person who sides with her when she and Josh S get to yelling at each other in Government class on hot topic subjects."

Ami opened her lip liner, "Ooh, that's good. That means she might trust you more. We need to make her believe Mark is going to be interested in her. He's been super careful about keeping his distance. He hasn't made a move or flirted even or flirted with the idea of flirting. She needs to have the idea that he's interested in her. And if she isn't already, she needs to consider it."

"Remind me not to ever wrong you. Seriously, diabolical."

Ami applied her lip liner, "I only use my power for love and good."

Hank and Robert picked them up in Hank's car. Robert and Ami sat in the back seat and whispered a little about Bette and Mark. Robert told her how excited and nervous Mark told him he was. Ami told him that she told Sonja that she is going to be helping feel out what's going on in Bette's head. "Her dress: what she wears, that's going to be a huge hint."

"And what about you? This sleek, silver, one-shoulder strapped dress? What is this supposed to tell me?" Robert asked with a little suggestion in his tone and running his fingers in her palm.

"Oh, I'm already yours," Ami dismissed with a big smile. "I just liked the dress."

After the meal, the girls all went to the restroom together. When the ladies' restroom door closed Mark spoke low and excitedly, "Oh my God, Bette looks so awesome in that dress. It looks like she painted it on it's so stretchy and tight!" He held his tie near the circle pin. "And she brought the moon and star jewelry. The flowers are called moon and star too. That's gotta mean something, right?"

"She didn't order food with garlic or onion either," Hank said in a sing-songy voice. "And watch to see if she grabs mints on the way out the door."

"She doesn't seem nervous at all. She's always been chill, though." He pointed to her spot at the table, "She ate, and not like a little bird. When she laughed, she snorted. She's comfortable. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not," Robert had a little concern to her voice. "Is it possible she sees this whole night as a friend thing?"

Mark fidgeted with his ring. "Jeez. It's possible. I don't know. I want to touch her so bad. But I'm not going to be the first one to make a move, you guys know that."

Robert gave Mark's arm a little punch and spoke sarcastically, "Huh? I wonder if you're going to have a nonchalant way of touching her tonight. Hmm? Like dancing or something?"

Mark ran a hand through his hair and saw the girls start to walk back from the restroom, Bette first. "I just gotta be careful. I can't mess this up again. I won't." He exhaled through puffed cheeks.

Ami approached the table behind Bette and looked to Robert making eye contact with him. She smiled, nodded, touched her cheek, and pointed to Bette with her eyes. Robert looked to Bette and saw how red in the face she was. Ami sat down and whispered in Robert's ear, "The seeds have been planted." She kissed him above his ear to hide her secret.

Robert turned his head and whispered back, touching Ami's thigh, "We need to get them to touch. Subtly, nonchalantly."

Ami got a chill up her spine. "Mphf! Nonchalant. You know what vocab words do to me." She reached for her purse on the back of her chair. "I got an idea." She pulled out her disposable camera. She addressed the table, "Hey guys, I haven't taken any pictures yet." She turned to Sonja and Hank. Sonja rested her head on Hank's shoulder and wrapped her arms around his chest; Hank held one of her hands. Ami clicked the camera and spun the camera wheel. She turned to Bette and Mark. "Bee, Mark get closer, you're hardly in frame together." Ami glanced slyly to Robert from behind the disposable camera. Robert hid his reaction with a sip of Coke. Bette and Mark looked at each other and skootched their chairs closer together.

"Put your arm on the back of her chair. You look like American Gothic just sitting there," Robert suggested.

Bette stood up a fork and made a playful glare and laughed at her prop joke before setting the fork back down. Mark put his arm around her chair and got a heart-felt smile on his face. Bette tilted her head slightly towards him and got a sweet smile on her face. Ami clicked the camera and spun the wheel. The pair started to separate. "Wait, one more," chimed Ami. She stood up, turned the camera so it would be a portrait instead of a landscape. "You guys mind if I try something?" She peaked out from behind the camera.

Bette shrugged, "Sure."

"Bee, lean your temple on his cheek. Mark, put your hand on her shoulder." Ami pointed her hand to direct them. Bette and Mark were looking at her, Hank and Robert eyed each other; Hank looked down and bit his lip to keep from laughing. Without instruction, Bette put her fingertips on the hand close to Mark on his jawline. Mark smiled bigger, closed his eyes, and tilted his head a little more towards her. Ami could not tell if Mark's movement was from the pressure of Bette's hand or Mark's desires, either way, she paused a moment to let them savor the moment before clicking the camera. "Great. That looked great," Ami said honestly.

Bette casually dropped her hand and moved her chair back. She spoke spiritedly, "It's 95% good lighting, make-up, and clothes. I usually don't look great in pictures, too pale. I was this close to getting a spray tan, but I was afraid of it turning out weird."

Ami and Robert glanced at each other and Mark; the sweet, romantic moment that was captured in the photo was quickly broken by Bette whether she knew it or not. When Bette wasn't looking, Mark still looked to them and silently mouthed the words, "Thank you." Robert gave him a quick nod.

They all met up at the dance and had a good time passing their disposable cameras around to each other and taking pictures and dancing. Ami, Robert, Hank, and Sonja kept subtly encouraging Bette and Mark to pose together. Mark's interest in her read all over his face, Bette seemed to miss it every time.

"How does she not sense it?" Sonja asked Ami. "They need to hurry up and play a slow song. Maybe she'll get a hint that way." They looked over and saw Hank break dancing; Bette stepped up to him and started to pop and lock in his face when he was between moves.

Ami cheered on Bette and snapped a picture of her. "She must have some idea, right? I mean, what's this display?" Bette did the worm to the group's surprise. "Is this supposed to be sexy? Impressive?"

Sonja snapped a couple pictures with her camera of Hank dancing, "It's working for me. It might be working for Mark," she said excitedly.

Bette did the helicopter move, "I'm not sure if it works that-" Ami cut herself off when Bette landed in a split and made a salacious face at Hank, Mark was right behind him. Ami snapped another photo, "Okay, that might be working. She's working it."

A little while later, the DJ finally played a slow song; Ami and Robert swayed, turned, and talked. "What do you think is happening?" Ami asked, glancing at Bette and Mark dancing. Mark gave Bette a spin; they appeared to be smiling and talking.

"I think I'm touching you're butt and you're not even paying attention," Robert asserted.

"I noticed. I just-I just love getting other people fucked so much," Ami almost whined when she said it.

"You know we could be the ones getting fucked."

"Oh," she scoffed. "That's a given." She pulled back a bit from him and gave him a look he knew well. Ami jumped up and wrapped her legs around his waist and he held her tight. She kissed him aggressively and didn't even notice that Sonja snapped a picture of them doing so.

The evening was getting late and the group had been dancing almost non-stop. "Hey Bette, come get a drink with me," Sonja asked. Bette and Sonja excused themselves from the rest of the group and went and got some water. Bette had two cups to Sonja's one. "Are you even tired?"

"Not really. I live for this. If I had a reason to get dressed up and go dancing every week, I'd love it."

Sonja listened and prodded a little, "It's nice having a date who dances well, isn't it? Hank. Mark. And they're so hot!"

"I told you, it's not a date!" Bette picked up a third cup of water and finished it quickly. "We're just friends." Bette walked away from Sonja back to the dance floor.

Sonja went back to the floor and found Ami. "Hey! I said Mark was hot and she only denied that this was a date. She didn't deny he was hot." Ami looked at Sonja with a dropped jaw. "And she drank three cups of water. I think Mark has a way of getting her in the house. We just have to keep her out of the restroom for the rest of the night." Ami grabbed Sonja around her head and kissed her on the mouth. Robert snapped a photo of them when the girls kissed.

The end of the night came and the ballroom lights began to come up. Bette and Mark hugged his friends and thanked them for a good time. "I'm so glad you let me hang out with you guys tonight. I hope we can do this again," Bette said into Ami's ear as they hugged.

"Oh, anytime." Ami opened their embrace and looked up at Bette. "We are seriously up for double dating when you two are."

"It's not like tha-"

Ami interrupted and spoke sweetly and sincerely, "Bee, look at him." Bette glanced over to Mark smiling and laughing with Hank and Robert. "It's okay to feel whatever you're feeling. I spent all of last year with Troy. I think I was broken up with him for a week when Robert asked me out. None of this is an accident."

"What did he do?" Bette asked.

"Nothing wrong. Nothing aggressive. Nothing but be your friend, right?"

Bette had a strange look on her face, "Right."

Ami left Bette in her confusion. Bette stood dumbfounded for a second. Robert approached her, "Thanks for asking Mark. We used to talk about what this kind of thing would be like when we were kids, believe it or not."

Bette shook her head, "What? What was that?"

Robert smirked at her and let out a little laugh at her daze, "Do you believe in fate, Bette?"

"I'm beginning to think there is no such thing," she said blankly.

Robert laughed. "Whether there is or not, I think tonight was meant to be. This was fun."

"Yeah," she said in an exhale.

Robert walked away from her and put his arm around Ami and headed to the stairs. "I think we've done all we can for them," he said to Ami.

Ami turned back to see Bette and Mark putting on their coats and talking. "Do you think we pushed them too hard? I mean, I wasn't exactly subtle at the end."

"Nah." He squeezed her which turned her back around and kept walking. "Besides, they won't do anything they don't want to do. Mark may be cautious and a little shy, but she isn't."

Ami smirked, "Yeah, you've told me. You said he calls you two minutes after something happens with them and she leaves his house."

It was just before 1 AM and Robert was re-zipping his pants and Ami was taking a sip off a 20-ounce bottle of Sprite she had in the center console of her car when they heard the buzzing. "Who could be calling you now?" Ami asked.

Robert looked at his Nokia and hit the green 'send' button. "Hello?...You did?!...What did you do?...She said that?...She did WHAT?! Fuck, that's hot. Great...Yeah...We'll talk in the afternoon. Bye." Robert hung up his cellphone and looked at Ami with a big smile on his face. He leaned over and kissed Ami. "Mission not accomplished, but mission successful."