"Shit. . ." Matty growled, jumping up from the ground he'd just barreled into after butchering his landing going down a flight of stairs.
"More like eating it." I teased, unconsciously riding fakie as I watched Matty brush the dirt off of his black jeans.
"Shut the fuck up." Matty gave me a near laugh as he practically jogged to the grass that stopped his skateboard in its tracks. "I'd love to see you do it."
"Pretty sure I can, honestly. I just didn't want to embarrass you." I stopped and picked up my board as I made my way up the steps, keeping sight of him in peripheral. "You know, since I'm a girl and all."
After asking me if I wanted to skate, Matty waited for me to sneak back into my house and grab my skateboard before riding a few blocks to a skate park that was built after people started complaining that kids were getting in the way and damaging property by skating on it. When those nuisances started turning into near car accidents and even more damages, the district was all but forced to build it. The park itself wasn't the fanciest place ever built, but it gave us a place to skate without having to be chased away by the cops everywhere we went.
Pausing as I reached the top stair, I gazed at a Matty who'd been whirling the shoulder he landed on like he was about to throw a softball. That was something I always found amazing about Matty and guys as a whole, it was like nothing ever seemed to physically phase them. Matty just smacked the pavement pretty hard, and while it wasn't the most vicious impact I'd seen him hit it with, it still wasn't weak. But yet he was somehow able to jump right back up and brush himself off like nothing happened. I honestly wasn't sure if it was resiliency or just idiocy at some points.
"Yeah? Then do it." Matty stood back on his board before returning my gaze. "I'll do whatever you want."
"Fine." I dropped my board and hopped onto it, with my back to his eyes. "I want a kiss."
As soon as those four short words left my lips, I kicked myself forward along the paved pathway. There was no way I could've said something like that to his face, so I turned my back to him and said it instead. I got away as quickly as I could because I didn't want to hear what his response was to it, and as much as I wanted to, I didn't want to see the look on his face. I didn't want to know what it felt like to be laughed at by the only good thing I had left in my life, but the need to know what all of those feelings were overrode that.
Of course, like every other person, I had a vague understanding of what love was. I heard people speak about all of their feelings, like how their chests would tighten and their palms would sweat, or how the butterflies would flood their stomach once they kissed the person they had feelings for. But then again, who were my examples? An alcoholic that only came home to sleep and beat the shit out of his wife and a junkie that slept all day and disappeared all night. I was better off watching a TV show, but saying that implied there was enough money around to afford cable.
If I kissed Matty, would I feel any of those things? If our lips met, would I feel the fluttering of those butterflies or the moistening of my palms? Was Matty simply a close friend to me, or did I fall in love with the boy I spent the latter part of my childhood with? Over the last few months, that warmth arrived whenever I was near him and the yearning to get closer was something that never fully left, even when he wasn't around me. The worst part? I had to successfully pull off the nosegrind on the handrail he failed to land, or I would've embarrassed myself for nothing. In both ways.
Turning myself around, I took a small breath while looking ahead as I tried to judge the speed and distance I'd need. After kicking myself forward most of the way to maintain the speed I needed, it wasn't long until the image of the scuffed handrail became clearer. Just as the rail closed in on the left side of my body, I ollied into the air and twisted my hips as the front trucks of the board chimed with the handrail they landed on. Before even I realized it, I was actually pulling off my first nosegrind, the same nosegrind Matty failed to do.
Popping out of the nosegrind and landing on all four wheels, it took me an easy few seconds to realize that I'd just landed it. "Shit. . ."
Matty's laugh knocked me out of my little trance, where I found him right in across from me smirking like a butcher's dog. "You win. Here's your prize."
In a matter of mere seconds, I went from blown away that he was actually okay with me demanding something like that from him to an unexpected disappointment as his index finger rested on the jaw of his left cheek. It wasn't like his cheek was all diseased or something, that just wasn't what I wanted or expected. I'd already hung myself out to dry, so what was wrong with making my feelings clear to him? If that kiss told me I was in love with Matty, then it would've been worth it, but that wasn't my worry. My worry was the consequence of him not seeing me in the same way.
Bouncing off the board and popping it up into my hand, I made the short journey to Matty and cuffed my hand around the wrist belonging to the finger on his cheek before ripping it back down to his waist. As my grip kept itself latched on his wrist, that same warmth cut through my quivering innards like a hunting knife to butter, but the closer my lips came to his cheek, the more real those feelings became. I felt the faint fluttering of those wings, and I felt that ever so slight dampening of my palms as I clenched onto him, but what I never expected to feel was the billions of thoughts orbiting my mind all at once - so many thoughts that I could never begin to put them all in order.
Even through all of those thoughts, I still ventured into that uncharted territory for no other reason than confirmation. As much as I feared the consequences of Matty's rejection, confirming my feelings was something I wanted and needed to do. If I was "in love" with Matty, then I didn't want to feel the regret of letting him end up with some other girl while I was made to watch on the sidelines. Those feelings, regardless of all the good or bad outcomes, were something I needed to answer for myself. So, I did just that. I took matters into my own hands and gave myself the answer I was searching for.
Coming to a standstill just as I reached his cheek, the hand clutching onto his wrist snapped up and let the tips of my fingers turn his head just a quarter to his own right, where his lips collided with mine. Right in that microsecond, in between the intense scent of body spray and the faint taste of oranges, something inside of me erupted. The warmth I always felt within Matty's touch was lukewarm compared to this, like room temperature water set next to lava. Within those slow-churning seconds, my blood all but reached a boiling point, a blistering heat that made me feel like I could've gone up in flames at any second. I didn't know any words for all of the indescribable feelings that blasted through me, but the one thing I knew for sure was that I liked it.
That was when it all burnt to ash in the blink of an eye.
As I slowly lost myself in the art of sucking face with Matty, a hand swiftly wormed its way into both my jeans and underwear before it slithered its way in between my legs. Without anything close to a second thought, I ripped myself away from Matty and spun with my skateboard in both hands before smashing it into the person who, for all intents and purposes, felt me up. My eyes just as quickly fell to the ground, where they met a guy with shoulder-length blonde hair on the concrete, donning a bloody nose and a right hand sheltering a left.
Lifting himself up from the ground, he glared right at me with no sign of veering. "The fuck, you crazy bitch?" he nearly shouted, prying his right hand away from the left to shove me with it. "You probably just broke my fucking hand. What the fuck is wrong with you?"
"Fuck you." I shoved him back and stepped forward, delivering a second one. "What the fuck is wrong with you? You just shoved your hand down my pants, asshole!"
"It was a joke. Fuck, even if it wasn't, don't you think it hitting someone with a skateboard is a little overboard?" He looked at Matty. "Damn, Matty. Put your bitch on a damn leash if you can't control her."
This was Shawn Underwood, one of the lucky people who were born into everything they needed. He had the money, subjectively good looks, and a family that cared for his well-being. In other words, he was the complete opposite of me. While I was fighting to just survive, he was deciding which video game he wanted to buy that week. I had nothing, he had everything, which explained his entitled logic. Clearly, consequences weren't something taught to rich kids. Why? Because money solved everything. Problems with the law? Money. Need to keep someone's mouth shut? Money. That laundry list only grew longer with each passing day.
Slowly losing what little composure I had left, I chomped back. "Since when is doing something like that a joke, you fucking pervert?"
"I don't know. I kinda figured if I showed a poor chick like you a bit of attention and threw some money your way, you'd get on your knees and blow me like the whore you should b-"
Shawn was interrupted with a heavy right fist to his sharp jawline, but it wasn't my fist. The fist that collided with Shawn belonged to Matty, whose blurry figure shot right passed me and ended what was one of the more hurtful sentences I'd had aimed at me in just the time it took to flip a coin. The problem with the fist that Matty threw at Shawn was that it wasn't the only one. After the first and second, the third and fourth barreled down on him, but Matty hadn't stopped there either. He let them rain down like a damn meteor shower, and he showed no sign of faltering.
As I lunged forward, I looped my arms around Matty's shoulders and exerted every last ounce of strength I held trying to rip him away from an already battered Shawn only to be thrown off like a piece of toilet paper stuck to his foot. Rushing myself back up, I looked around for anything to stop Matty before he beat Shawn into a coma, but was left with just a single option. That option was using Matty's weight against him and shoving him forward, off of Shawn and likely into the pavement himself.
Planting my foot into the ground, I sped towards Matty and bashed my shoulder into him, sending him off of Shawn and onto the side of his body. As I looked up to make sure Matty was okay, my eyes caught his blood-soaked knuckles, which carried me back to a just as bloody Shawn wheezing on the pavement. Looking around us for any witnesses, I took a deep, sharp breath of air in and exhaled it just as deeply before speeding towards our boards. I leaned over, picking up the skateboards as my eyes shot towards Matty.
"Let's go."ns 220.127.116.11da2