Somebody Love Me<br/>Journeys - part 1 of 4

Author: Michelle Sutton
Publisher: Healing Hearts Books
Published: 2013-08-25
Language(s): English
Category: Fiction
Audience: Adult
Genre(s): Women's Fiction, Short Story Collections, Contemporary Read Excerpt >


Chapter One


Summer 1982

The craziness in my life began after my fifteenth birthday. Things really changed for me once I got my first real boyfriend. My values and everything my parents had ever taught me seemed to fly right out the window never to be seen again. A whole new world had opened to me and I wanted to explore it all.

I met Fish right after our first water polo tournament against Frasier Pool. There was something exciting and yet dangerous about meeting a guy from across town who didn't know me or my family situation. I could be whoever I wanted to be around him, and I wanted to be loved more than anything. If that meant changing some things about myself that kept cute guys from being interested in me, so be it.

Before Fish, jumping into the deep end to get my suit wet always gave me a thrill. Responding to the coach by diving into the pool after hearing the start whistle kept me on the alert. Reaching for the ball and tossing it toward the net proved to be one of my greatest challenges. Those were exciting activities, of course, but nothing compared to my affection for Fish. He changed my world.

Up to the day we met, my idea of summer fun had been participating in water sports. I'd always loved athletic activities, but the thrill of winning didn't come close to the excitement I felt when I was kissing a sexy guy like Fish.

The only sweet thing that had hit my tongue before I met him was the raw gelatin I gobbled up for energy during tournaments. It might sound gross, but don't knock it until you try it. My favorite flavor was orange, though red looked much better when I stuck out my tongue.

Anyway, I needed the energy boost from the gelatin to play water polo because staying afloat in the deep end from the waist up for minutes on end is harder than it sounds. My legs were as muscular as a gymnast's as a result.

When I wasn't playing water polo I practiced my synchronized swimming routines. I didn't like diving, though, but I could do dolphin and a variety of other stunts like nobody's business. Because of the degree of difficulty for the porpoise and Eiffel Tower, I often got the highest scores. I couldn't seem to get enough time in the pool until the texture of my hair changed from the constant exposure to harsh chemicals. Even during the winter, the scent of chlorine made me long for a beach towel, and I wanted to head for the neighborhood pool, except it wasn't open year round.

I still can't believe I gave up all of my favorite activities in my quest for true love. But what girl doesn't want that? We've all read princess stories as little girls, and the only thing that changed as we got older was the description of our ideal prince. When I met Fish, he became my Prince Charming and he could do no wrong.

Now I suspect the Frasier Team members were all stoned on pot when they played against us. At the time I'd figured our beating them had simply upped their respect for girls. If nothing else, it showed good sportsmanship on their end. Plus, we were pretty young things, and they were hormonal guys. Need I say more?

Anyway, here's how I met Fish.

I had just slipped out of the pool after our win, and we high-fived the other team like we always did, then grabbed our towels. Most of my teammates were stuck-up, so they snubbed these guys. But I liked the attention and gave it right back. After drying off, I noticed a flock of boys with long feathered hair and tight-fitting jeans had clustered by the chain link fence and were talking to the Frasier team.

Most of the players were still dripping wet and panting, no doubt exhausted by the fact that we had given them some serious competition. They looked cute all flustered and sweaty. The truth was, we'd run those boys ragged. From the smirks and teasing comments they received from peers, I think some of their friends thought it was cool that we beat them, too.

I sensed a few of them checking me out as I strolled by in my maroon swimsuit. A cool breeze wafted in the air, making my chest look a bit indecent. I've never liked my muscular legs, so I wrapped a towel around my waist. Since I didn't have a Speedo suit like the rich girls, I wore one that showed off my cleavage.

My strawberry blond locks made me stand out from the rest of our team. Many of the girls on my team had Italian heritage. Plus, they could afford the expensive suits. The only uniform-like items our city pool provided for our team were those funky caps with ear protectors to distinguish one team from the other.

Several of the guys now stared at my boobs like I had assets worth drooling over. I could swear one guy even licked his lips. Their open admiration made me feel runway-model gorgeous and thinner, though I was by no means fat. I'd tried the anorexia route already, and had given up on it. I sucked at starving myself.

After sharing a few words with members of the other team and their long-haired blue jean wearing friends, I discovered they weren't just good-looking guys who looked like they'd stepped right out of Teen Beat magazine. (Yeah, I still read it, not that I'd admit it.) We all knew what it was like to strive for something better. The difference was most of them came from broken homes and poverty.

I spent several minutes chatting with some guys from the other team, like the ones with muscular chests. I noticed one of them trying to capture my gaze. His staring made me shift my feet and my cheeks burn hot. He had reddish blond hair, like me, and he had a nice, lop-sided smile. He was slimmer than the other guys, but still built.

My coach, Mary Sue Fagliati, pulled me aside. She told me those guys from the other team were bad news and I should stick with people from my own neighborhood. But I figured she was just prejudiced. Most of the guys had Polish last names, but they were Americans like me, even if some of their parents didn't speak English.

The cute guy who held my gaze asked me to hang out with him after that game. Everyone called him Fish, though his real name was Leonard and he had a last name I couldn't even pronounce. He looked nothing like a Leonard, which made me think of Lenny and Squiggy from the television show Laverne and Shirley, so I could see why he used a nickname instead.

His nickname hadn't been derived from the way he kissed, though. I found that out when I met him later that afternoon after returning home to check in with my mom. I ate a late lunch and my stomach was in knots, so I skipped dinner. Instead of eating with my parents, I hopped onto the city bus to meet Fish at the city park. It never occurred to me that going to the park alone in an unfamiliar neighborhood could be dangerous.

Anyway, I figured his nickname had more to do with the fact that he was the best swimmer on their team, and that wasn't saying much. He was about six feet tall and had a slim build, with a sexy, bald chest and nice biceps. Most girls I knew weren't into the Tom Selleck-type of hairy chest, if you know what I mean. I preferred the Leif Garrett look myself, or the Scott Baio "aka Chachi from Happy Days" type.

Fish had a really sweet disposition and was respectful toward me even though he partied a lot with his friends. I always figured those guys would be bad news since they did things like smoke pot, but once I got to know him, I tossed that stereotype away. Cheech and Chong gave these potheads a bad rap, but I formed my own opinions and refused to let some popular movie taint my view of Fish and his cool friends.

After I got off the bus and stood in the park for a few minutes, the sun began to set. I figured I'd gotten there early and decided to wait and see what happened. Worst case scenario I could hop on a bus that went back to my neighborhood. Within minutes he showed up and met me in the park. I liked the fact that he'd come alone. He wore a shy grin and gave me that lop-sided smile I adored. It sounds crazy that I could be so interested in this guy when we'd only met that morning, but I couldn't help it.

He approached me and scuffed his foot on the ground. "You came," he said.

"I did." Offering him my sweetest smile I then added, "I'm glad you didn't forget about me."

"Like that would ever happen." He grinned in response. "I've had you on my mind all afternoon."

"Really?" Now this was the kind of thing all girls wanted to hear, right?

"Definitely." He stepped closer and tipped his head down. His hands rested on my shoulders and I sensed he intended to kiss me.

I held my breath, afraid to move, but intrigued at the same time. When his lips met mine, I just about melted on the spot. His kiss was gentle and sweet, yet it wasn't anything like a brother or friend would share with a girl.

After several seconds of his lips moving over mine, he leaned back and smiled at me. "I've wanted to do that since I first saw you. I hope you don't mind."

"Not at all." My voice sounded a bit breathless and I imagined kissing him again. He must've read my mind because he pulled me close a second time.

He kissed me deeper this time, and I rested my fingertips on his shoulders. I discovered if I tipped my chin up and he bent down far enough, we could kiss without much effort. And boy, did he know how to kiss. He had me hooked.

When he finished exploring my lips, he touched my chin. "Would you like to see where I live?"

"Sure." It never occurred to me that something bad could happen there. Yet if my parents found out I planned to go to a boy's house alone, they'd ground me for life.

He reached for my hand. My heart pounded from the excitement of having a boy hold my hand for the first time. Hopefully I didn't seem too eager.

We walked down the street and turned a corner. Fish pointed to a two-story house and said, "I live in the bottom apartment. My cousin lives above me."

"Oh, that's nice." I swallowed hard. What would happen next?

"How about we sit on my front porch? Does that sound okay?" He glanced at me like he worried I'd say no. I sensed he would respect me, so I went along with it.

We sat on his front porch and talked for a while until the sun had set. When we ran out of things to talk about, he started kissing me again. I loved every minute of it.

In fact, I thought I'd found true love. A sexy guy wanted to spend hours kissing me, and he would rather hang out with me than with his friends. That had to mean something, right?

Somebody Love Me ~ Journeys - part 1 of 4   by   Michelle Sutton   |   See Bio >
Book 1 of 4 in the Journeys Series.
Fiction making an impact on real lives...

Melissa "Missy" Houghton is on a quest for true love, but she's looking in all the wrong places. She abandons her favorite activities in her pursuit of something better. Something that will give her life significance. Something that will bring her hope.

When her first boyfriend turns out to be a huge disappointment, she opens her life to more possibilities, only they aren't any better. In fact, Missy finds herself trapped in a situation that skews her view of people, and shreds her ability to trust. The resulting pain doesn't inhibit her search, but it may taint her choices and ultimately cost her more than she's willing to pay.

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