Chapter 3.10 – Stud

She awakens in a dimly lit room with the steady chirp of a heart monitor somewhere behind her.
 
After straining to pull together bits of random mental images, she gives up. Her insides hurt and her head throbs. She can feel the grip of heavy bandages around her torso, and the tightness of stitches underneath them. It is then that she realizes she is in a hospital bed …but why?
 
She assess the damage by flexing various muscles. Her legs and arms seem fine. But her midsection screams when she tenses her abdominal muscles. The pain is searing, and a blur of incomprehensible images swirl around in her head. It has the same effect as turning on a radio tuned to static as loud as it will go.
She sobs as the unbearable pain in her gut and the pounding pain in her head continues to build. She then mercifully blacks out again to the deafening white noise of her mind.
Melissa Bateman has had a crush on Mark Barimen since the time they were kids. Things were a little bit different then. His sisters Deirdre and Clare, although younger, had been the “Pilot” and “Co-Pilot” of the close-knit group. When anybody spoke about either of them, it was understood that they also included the other by default; it had always been “Deirdre and Claire”. It had also been the same for “Mark and Charlotte”. It was rare to see one without the other nearby.
 
She can clearly remember the birthday party where they all celebrated their teen birthdays together. When Mark kissed Charlotte, her heart sank into her stomach, but she tried to keep her mood upbeat. She went home and cried that night; giving her mother a crash-course in raising a teenage daughter.
Having spent the better part of two weeks together with Mark, Melissa is beginning to learn that the old saying “the wanting is better than the having“, seems to have some real meaning. She is starting to see what had frustrated Charlotte to the point of breaking up. Mark is insensitive, callous, and abrupt. He rarely smiles, and seems to drag along a dark cloud of gloom everywhere he goes. She has tried different ideas to cheer him up, and just as his mood lightens, she can see the happiness drain right out of him. The will to fight is visible in his eyes every time he witnesses a bully harassing a weaker kid, or somebody stealing, or vandalizing the school. It is as if he lets his anger swell at the fact there are bad people in the world.  It is this complexity that draws her to him, she realizes.
 
She has basically thrown herself at Mark. But he acts as if he barely notices her “in that way”. She can’t count the number of guys who have asked her out on dates, called her, and propositioned her with less than wholesome offers. Even Jayson Marcone, the school’s star athlete, has made his moves on her a number of times. Her friends say she’s crazy for chasing after Mark with a guy like Jayson wanting her to be his girlfriend. But Mark is every bit the athlete as Jayson. He is fit, tone, and could be a complete stud in sports if he bothered to try.
 
She has wanted Mark as her boyfriend even as a child, and she isn’t going to let go so easily. Using extreme patience, she has started learning how to redirect the profound angst that fills Mark.  Whenever she sees a situation that will likely set him off, she announces herself with a loud whistle using her thumb and fore-finger. Even if it is the fear of Mark and his reputation as a viscous fighter that ultimately diffuses the situation; the victory is in the fact that violence was not needed. He has started to use the strategy himself, gaining pure pleasure in bullying the bullies.
 
She and Mark have kept things mostly friendly, until one afternoon when he surprises her with a passionate kiss in the hallway at school. She finds herself spontaneously kissing him back as she begins to feel all “funny” inside. Wide-eyed and breathless, She asks what has him in such a great mood. A rare smile has found its way onto his face. And when he answers that just seeing her makes him smile, her heart nearly melts. She begins to finally ask him to go steady with her, but she is not able to finish.
 
Jayson comes out of nowhere and rushes Mark, stiff-arming him into the lockers. With an ego almost as big as his biceps, Jayson threatens Mark to stay away from “his girl”. Melissa can see the rage in Mark’s eyes and pleads for him to let her handle it. But it is too late, and Jayson is caught off-guard as Mark starts throwing punches. Jayson tries to use his wrestling skills, but he underestimates Mark’s quickness and surprising strength. Mark quickly trounces Jayson in the school hallway as teachers and students gather to investigate the commotion. Mark misjudges Jayson as well, and in short order, the star athlete is upon Mark again for a second round. He tackles Mark into the lockers, causing Mark to yelp in pain.
 
Melissa can sense the change in Mark immediately, and he can see only red as he launches at Jayson with unhinged fury. He beats on Jayson, throws him head-first into the lockers, and then continues to beat on him. It takes three adults to finally pull the boys apart. Jayson is reeling from a deep gash on his forehead where Mark had driven him into the lockers.
 
Through her stream of angry tears, Melissa shouts at Mark to “grow up”. Deirdre stands next to her with arms akimbo and Claire close behind. They watch together in dismay while Jayson’s injury is treated and Mark is taken away to be disciplined.
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9 thoughts on “Chapter 3.10 – Stud

  1. oh dear. I wonder how Mark is going to manage wall this unbridled rage in him. The poor guy. =(

    Also, how exactly did you manage to create that whole “school” scene? I’m assuming you didn’t do it inside the school itself, so how did you manage to recreate the whole area? And how long did it take? (It looks like it took quite a bit of time.)

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  2. I used a backup copy of my main game (I usually do when I have to stage scenes). It was actually a very basic “L” structure with a bunch of doors that lead to nowhere. I used re-colored wine racks as lockers when I learned they were stackable. I made a couple of random “teachers” and the school jock, then moved everybody in together and let them go at it.
    I have to say that Deirdre and Claire have become my favorite characters in this chapter, and they came through big in this post (IMHO).
    I’ll take a screenie of the “school” lot and post it here when I get home from work.

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  3. Awesome school scene!
    Im really fearing for Mark. I dont know where he is getting all this rage from and Im hoping that he can figure out a way to channel it into something more positive. I feel for Melissa too, seems that she really likes him and he just doesn’t appreciate the attention that girls in general (Charlotte included) give to him.

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