A Boyfriend for Cindy – Part 1

A Boyfriend for Cindy
Copyright 2020 by Caliboy1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
Caliboy1991@protonmail.com

Part 1

Cole wiped his hands on his denim shorts as he returned the lawnmower to its regular spot. He could feel the bulge of cash in his pockets and he smiled as he headed across the garage to the door leading into the house. The garage was big enough for two cars, but only his sister’s old Honda was there. He was tired, ready to the get rid of the stink of five lawns.
The garage was off the side of the kitchen and the first place he stopped was in front of the sink. He filled up a cup twice with water, washing the dust from his parched throat. Aside from his loud sigh, the house felt empty. His mom’s car was gone– no surprise there. He knew he’d not see his mom until Monday. But he’d expected to hear the sound of his sister, Cindy. Then he spied a ten-dollar bill on the kitchen table.

“I guess I’m on my own for dinner,” he muttered as he passed by the table separating the kitchen from the living room. The TV was on but the volume was low. His sister liked to turn the volume down when one of her friends called. Sure enough, the cordless phone was gone from the charger. Cole would have bet the fifty dollars he’d earned that if he went into Cindy’s bedroom, he’d find the cordless phone on her bed. Assuming she didn’t throw something at him and scream for him to get out.

Cole smiled at the idea his sister would scream at him. His friends with older sisters told horrible stories about them. But Cindy wasn’t like that. While she didn’t like to be interrupted when she was on the phone, Cole could count on one hand the number of times she’d yelled at him. And that was a good thing. Since their mom started dating Dave a couple of years before, she’d taken to spending part of the work week and every weekend with him, leaving Cole and his sister to fend for themselves.

Cole was too tired to care about that. It had been harder when he was ten and Cindy was fourteen, but a couple of years had passed since then and Mom being a part-time mother was just normal nowadays. Cindy had been the one to dry Cole’s eyes when he missed his mom at first. She was in charge when Mom was gone and in truth, that was most of the time. But she wasn’t like his friends’ sisters, lording it over their younger brothers. Cindy could have been a lot worse, she was pretty cool about things, all things considered.

The door to his mom’s bedroom was off to one side of the living room. It was locked. Since dating Dave, she had picked up some nice things. Things she didn’t want Cindy wearing or borrowing. Cole thought the locked door was stupid. Cindy didn’t like Dave any more than he did. She wouldn’t wear any jewelry Dave bought for Mom.

On the other side of the living room a hallway led to Cole and Cindy’s bedrooms. As he neared it, he could hear the shower running in the bathroom he and his sister shared.

“So much for a shower,” he grumbled. Cole was at that age when boys no longer want to smell like a barn yard. He didn’t want to bother his sister, but he knocked on the bathroom door anyway.

Over the sound of running water, Cindy called out, “Cole, is that you?”

“The one and only.”

“Did you get all your yards mowed?”

Cole leaned against the door frame, “Yeah. Mrs. Morrison asked if you were available to watch the twins tonight.”

Cole smiled as he heard muffled profanity. Cindy hated babysitting the twins.

“What’d you tell her?”

Despite the temptation to lead his sister along, the boy said, “That you were busy.”

The water cut off and the shower curtain rustled, “You’re the best. Give me a few and the bathroom is all yours.”

Back in his own room Cole shucked his sweaty shirt into a clothes hamper beside his bed. A chest of drawers sat against one wall and a large mirror hung over it. From the bottom drawer he retrieved a small wooden box. Opening it, he added the fifty dollars to the thick stack of bills. It was mostly Lincolns and Hamiltons, but there were a few stray Washingtons and plenty of Jacksons, too. The last time he’d counted, he’d stashed more than two thousand dollars from all of the lawns he’d mowed over the last year. Shoving the box back into its hiding spot, he closed the drawer and then opened the top drawer and found a clean pair of underwear before turning to look at himself in the mirror.

The boy staring back at him had hair the color of straw. He ran a finger along his angular face, smudging a bit of dirt. His eyes drifted downward, resting on his narrow chest and he signed unhappily. Most of the other boys in gym class were filling out across the chest, talking about six pack abs and the like. Despite all the lawns the boy had mowed, to see his body, one would never know. He ran a hand across his chest; there were no new muscles. He flexed his arm, giving his best Arnold Schwarzenegger impression. No, his arms were still just as scrawny. As other boys matured, he felt like he was losing ground and he didn’t like how that made him feel.

By the time the bathroom door opened, Cole had shucked his shoes and socks. The socks hadn’t made it into the hamper but lay on the floor, along with a couple of other pair. He grabbed his clean underwear and opened his bedroom door. The door to Cindy’s room was closing and the boy caught a glimpse of her backside. She had a towel wrapped around her body and he saw her long legs disappear beneath the towel’s downy fabric.

Cole didn’t bother locking the bathroom door as he stepped out of his shorts and underwear. Cindy was good about giving him privacy. She’d always knock if she needed to do her makeup or hair. There was a long, narrow mirror next to the medicine cabinet she normally used. At the moment Cole frowned as he continued studying his body. It wasn’t just his narrow chest that lagged behind the other boys in the 7th grade gym class. He ran his fingers along his flat stomach and then lower to where he pulled at his scrotum, which was nestled close against the base of his penis. Pulling on the circumcised head of his flaccid penis, he stretched it out until it wouldn’t stretch any more. Maybe three inches, if he was any judge. He let it fall between his legs with a sigh. He hated gym class. He was too embarrassed to shower with the other boys, nearly all of whom were a lot further along.

He stretched the skin above his penis and leaned in toward the mirror. He frowned, not finding even a hint of a stray hair. It wasn’t fair. Most of the boys in gym sported nice pubic tufts over their dicks. But, not Cole.
“Wishing isn’t going to make them come in any faster,” the boy muttered as he climbed into the tub and closed the curtain.

***

Cindy raised her head, enjoying the hot water cascading onto her face. She was looking forward to this evening. The Sadie Hawkins dance was the one time during the school year where girls asked the boys to the dance. And this year she’d asked Jason Wilson only a few days after the beginning of the school year. She had been surprised when he’d said yes, given that he was on the football team and one of the best-looking boys in the junior class.
The two months between asking him to the dance and the day of had been hard on her. She’d been terrified that he’d show up at her locker one day and say,

“Sorry, Cindy, but one of the cheerleaders asked me out and I’m just not that into you.”

But instead, a couple of days ago, Jason had showed up at her locker and said, “Do you want me to pick you up or are you going to do the whole Sadie Hawkins thing and pick me up?

Cindy had already planned every minute of their date in her mind over and over. “I’ll pick you up at six. Is the Olive Garden okay for dinner? My treat.”
Jason’s smile melted her heart and now she only had a couple of hours to finish getting ready.
She ran a finger over her legs and felt a few bits of stubble. She didn’t have much hair on her legs or under her arms, but if Jason wanted to make out with her after the dance, the last thing Cindy wanted was for him to feel a bit of stubble on her unshaved legs. As she ran a razor over her them she heard a knock at the door.

Cindy thought, that’s about right. Her brother had probably just finished mowing his yards. “Cole, is that you?”

“The one and only,” came the muffled reply.

“Did you get all your yards mowed?”

“Yeah. Mrs. Morrison asked if you were available to watch the twins tonight.”

Below her breath, Cindy muttered, “I hate those fucking kids, they’re worse than their damned mom,” Raising her voice, she asked, “What’d you tell her?”

Cole said: “You were busy.”

Cindy gave a last inspection of her smooth legs and turned off the water. As she stepped out of the tub she called out, “You’re the best. Give me a few and the bathroom is all yours.”

She wiped down the mirror next to the sink and tried to strike her most sexy pose. It was one she’d daydreamed about using on Jason. She ran her hands over her breasts and shook her head. She’d been later than all of the girls in her class to start sprouting them, but even now at sixteen, she hated her boobs. Oh, they were the same shape and perfectly formed, if she had been thirteen. She’d seen bigger tits on most of the freshmen girls. The reflection back at her was short, too. She was only an inch over five feet. At least that didn’t bother most of the guys. The tall girls were the ones who usually had the boys tease them about their height.

Still, Jason was going with her to the dance and that’s what mattered. She wrapped her towel around her body and headed to her room to finish getting ready.
It felt a bit naughty, walking down the hall in nothing but a towel. She didn’t really want Cole to see her nearly naked. Before her door closed behind her though, she heard her brother’s door open.

Standing behind her closed door, Cindy wondered if Cole had seen her. It would have just been her backside and the towel covered all of her bits, but still, the thought crossed her mind.

“Enough about that,” she muttered and let the towel fall to the floor. She’d already laid out the clothes she’d wear. She grabbed a pair of lacy black panties and slid them over her legs. She stopped before pulling them up and wondered what Jason would think of her if he saw her sparse hair. Most girls her age had pubic hair that had joined with leg hair on their inner thighs. Most also had a slight trail from their mons upward. She frowned as she ran her fingers through the sparseness. She could feel the curly hair around her labia, but as it spread across her pubic mons, it was fine and strait and not the dense forest that most girls had.

She pulled the silky panties up. Cindy didn’t think Jason would care about her pubes if things got that far. At least she hoped not. She slipped her dress over her head and once it was on right, she looked at it in the mirror on the wall. The dress was a gorgeous purple. It was shorter than her other dresses, but her mom wasn’t around during the weekend to say anything. She twirled around and liked how the dress made her feel; Almost sexy. But something wasn’t quite right, yet. The dress had a padded bra already built in, but the padded assumed it would have more to work with than Cindy had, so she stuffed a couple of tissues inside the dress until she looked right.

She had plenty of experience. She’d been stuffing her own bras since her freshman year. She smirked at the girl in the mirror. She was an expert.

***

Cole felt much better after his shower. As he ran a comb through his hair, he could still smell the strawberry scent from his sister’s shampoo. He liked the smell. Content with how neatly he could style his wet hair, the boy took a final look at a patch of the mirror he had wiped clear before opening the door. As he stepped from the bathroom, Cindy’s door swung open. The only thing Cole wore was his clean underwear.

“Yikes,” he yelped as he rushed down the short hallway and into his room, where he closed the door.

A whistle came through the door, followed by a soft chuckle. “Naked boy alert,” Cindy giggled.

A smile creased Cole’s face. When he’d been much younger, Cole frequently followed up his baths by running through the house naked. Every time his sister had seen him, she’d call out, “Naked boy alert.” But Cole had outgrown that long before Mom met Dave.

“Not true, Cindy. I had on my underwear.”

There was a knock on his door. “Got a sec?”

Cole fished a pair of boxer shorts from the chest of drawers, “Yeah.”

He was pulling them up over his briefs as the door opened. His sister wore a purple dress that ended several inches above her knees. It must have been new, as Cole couldn’t remember seeing her wear it before. His friends were always telling him that Cindy was hot, but he’d never thought of her that way. After all, she was his big sister. But seeing her stand in the doorway in the dress, he had to admit that she looked really good.

“Hey, Goober, eyes up here,” Cindy said, snapping her finger.

His face beet-red, Cole managed, “Nice dress.”

Cindy spun around, giving him a chance to admire it from every angle.

“Uh huh,” Cole stammered. “You look pretty in it.”

Cole felt his Sister’s eyes on him as though trying to decide how to take the compliment as she said, “I left you money for a pizza. I’m picking up Jason and we’re going to the Sadie Hawkins dance this evening. I should be home by midnight, so don’t wait up.”

Cole sat on his bed and leaned back, “Jason Wilson? You’ve been talking about him all year.”

Cindy’s cheeks grew red, she stuck her tongue out, “Shush. And not a word about me only getting date with him because girls get to ask guys to the Sadie Hawkins dance and I asked him right after the start of the school year.”

While Cole happily stuck his tongue back at his sister, he hoped she would have fun at the dance. The last time she’d come home from a date, Cindy had been in tears, cursing one of the boys in her grade and men in general.

Cindy turned to go, “Don’t throw any sexy parties while I’m gone.”

Cole grabbed his pillow and thew it at the door. The expression had been one their mom had used when she had started dating Dave whenever she had left Cole and Cindy home. Except for the sexy part. Cindy had added that when she started going out with her friends starting this year now that she had her driver’s license.

The teenager dodged the pillow. “Gotta head out.”

***

After final look in the mirror, Cindy grabbed her keys and opened the door. Cole was heading to his room from the bathroom in just his white cotton briefs.
For the briefest of moments, Cindy thought her brother looked cute, but she set the thought aside as ridiculous, after all, he was only twelve. But the moment reminded her of when they’d both been a lot younger. Cole would run around naked after Mom had given him a bath. A much younger Cindy had laughed, pointing at his miniscule boy parts and screamed, “Naked boy alert!”

Now, Cole yelped and raced into his room and closed the door.

As the boy’s door closed in her face, Cindy laughed, “Naked boy alert!”

His high-pitched voice came from the other side, ““Not true, Cindy. I had my underwear on.”

Cindy knew she needed to get moving, but she didn’t want to leave without letting Cole know she’d be home late. She knocked, “Got a sec?”
“Yeah.”

Opening the door, Cindy caught a flash of white cotton as her little brother pulled a pair of boxers over his briefs. He crossed his arms and ran his eyes from her feet up to her hair, lingering on her dress for several seconds before Cindy snapped her fingers and said, “Hey, Goober, eyes up here,”
Cole’s face turned every shade of red as he sputtered, “Nice dress, Sis.”

With their mom spending so much time with Dave, away from the house, Cindy had been forced to spend more time with her brother than a lot of her friends. Enough time that she could read his moods like a book. She felt flattered at the genuine compliment, so she took a moment and twirled around in the door way, letting the boy admire the dress.

“Uh huh,” Cole stammered. “You look really pretty in it.”

Cindy flushed at the second genuine compliment. Cole thought she was pretty? That wasn’t something she’d ever thought about before. Realizing that Cole was gazing back at her, Cindy said, “I left you money for a pizza. I’m picking up Jason and we’re going to the Sadie Hawkins dance this evening. I’ll be home by midnight. Don’t wait up.”

Cole leaned back in his bed, “Jason Wilson? You’ve been talking about him all year.”

Cindy’s cheeks grew red, she stuck her tongue out, “Shush. And not a word about me only getting date with him because girls get to ask guys to the Sadie Hawkins dance, and I asked him right after the start of the school year.”

Her brother reverted to what she’d expected as he stuck his tongue out at her.

Cindy turned to go, “Don’t throw any sexy parties while I’m gone.”

She laughed as Cole tossed a pillow at the door. As she hurried for the garage, she also laughed. When Mom had started dating Dave, she’d always say “Don’t have any parties while I’m gone.” Cindy couldn’t explain why she’d thrown sexy into the mix, but it had been worth it to see her brother’s response.

***

The jet on the TV screen was paused in mid-flight as Cole flecked a few crumbs from his chest and flipped open the Domino’s Pizza box. He eyed another slice of pepperoni, wondering if he could find room for another slice. Pizza had lots of carbs and if anything would help him bulk up, he decided another slice would only help. He glanced down at his bare stomach. He was at a loss where the food had gone. His belly was as flat as ever.

He shoved another bite into his mouth as he watched Maverick race across the screen in an F-14. Since its release a couple of years before, Cole loved watching Top Gun. There were few pleasures in life better than sitting in just your boxers, watching an awesome action movie while eating pizza. It didn’t hurt that this was one of his favorite movies. He was so engrossed that he didn’t hear the clanking sound of the garage door opener. But when the door to the garage slammed shut, Cole bolted up from the couch, sending the Dominos box crashing to the floor.

Cindy stood next to the kitchen table, tears smearing her mascara. A glance at the clock on the VCR told Cole that something was wrong. It was way too early for his sister to be home.

“What’s wrong?” he blurted.

Cindy wiped at her eyes, “Men are fucking pigs. That’s what’s wrong.”

Dropping her purse on the table, she came over to the couch. Sniffling, she said, “Mind if I have a piece of pizza?”

Cole sat down and picked the box from the floor, offering it to his sister. The teenager sniffled and a cry escaped her lips as she dug out a piece and sat down.
Cole felt his sister’s closeness as her bare knee touched his. She still looked great in the purple dress, even as tears streaked her face, ruining her makeup. He knew Cindy was hurting and it bothered him that his stomach turned butterflies as he thought about how close she was to him and how pretty she looked in the dress.

He tried not thinking about how soft her knee felt. “What happened?”

“What happened is that Jason is a dipshit asshole.”

Cole turned the TV off and leaned in toward Cindy, his arm pressing against hers, “Mmhmm.”

Cindy chewed on a bite of pizza and after gulping it down, continued, “After I took him out to eat at the Olive Garden, where I ate barely a bite because I didn’t want him to think I was a pig, we got to the high school gym. The dance was already going and lots of girls and boys were dancing. When I turned to ask him to dance, he had left me under the damned basketball goal. He was talking to stupid Pam Becksworth.”

“Mmhmm,” Cole offered. He’d heard his sister complain about Pam Becksworth before. She was a cheerleader and one of the most popular girls in school. So, naturally, Cindy hated her.

“When I got over to them, Jason told me that he’d changed his mind and that he was going to stay at the dance with Pam. That bitch. She just smiled at me, all smug and all.”

More tears streamed from Cindy’s eyes as she leaned her head on Cole’s bare shoulder. “First Darrell dumped me on our first date and now Jason ditches me for Pam Fucking Becksworth. What’s wrong with me?”

Cole barely avoided flinching when a hot tear landed on his chest. It slid across his skin, barely slowing as it passed atop one of his nipples and continuing south until it hit the hem of his boxers. He didn’t know what to say. Clumsily the preteen slid his arm around his sister’s shoulder and drew her a bit closer.

Through another sob, Cindy managed, “Thanks, Cubby.”

It was an old nickname from when they were much younger. According to his mom, Cindy had called him that when she had been in kindergarten. Like a lot of nicknames, it stuck for a while. But Cole hadn’t heard her call him that since Cindy had been in middle school.
Cole’s eyes were downcast as more butterflies fluttered in his stomach. He searched for something to say that would make his sister feel better. The purple dress didn’t cover Cindy’s knees. In fact, the dress rode up a bit, exposing her upper leg, which was pressed against his own bare thigh. Trying to ignore the feeling in his stomach, he said, “Nothing’s wrong with you, Sis. Like the Cowboys, you’ve just had a spot of bad luck.”

Cindy giggled through a sob. “I thought you didn’t care about sports.”

“I may not, but I’d have to give up my man-card if I didn’t know how bad the Dallas Cowboys suck this year,” Cole quipped as he shifted his gaze from where their legs touched.

“If I were you, I’d tear that damned man-card up. All the men I know are fucking assholes.”

Cole cringed at Cindy’s anger. Her luck had been a lot worse than the Cowboys, he decided. At leas the Boys had won two of the first six games this season. Cindy had struck out every time she’d come up to bat. Cole might have known who the Cowboys were, but he didn’t realize he’d mixed up his sporting metaphors.

“I hope I’m not one of those men who’re fucking assholes,” he finally said. Neither he nor Cindy normally swore, at least not at home or around each other, and the profanity on his lips felt dirty in a way he enjoyed.

Cindy’s arm snaked around his back as she gave him a half-hug. “No, you’re not.”

Cole slid his eyes to see his sister’s expression, “A man or an asshole?”

Cindy squeezed his shoulder, “Asshole.”

The way she said it, Cole wasn’t sure if he was calling him an asshole or saying he wasn’t one. But the smile through her tears was answer enough.
No more words were spoken as they held each other. Eventually, Cindy stretched her hand and ruffled Cole’s hair, “It’s getting late. I’m gonna head on to bed. Thanks Cubby.”

With that, Cindy headed down the hall. Cole watched until she disappeared from view. Her dress swished back and forth until Cole was alone. His butterflies were going crazy as he found the remote control and turned his movie back on. He didn’t pay much attention to the last half. He couldn’t stop thinking about her smooth skin and a purple dress.

***

Cindy stood in tears as Jason put his arm around Pam Becksworth, “Thanks for Dinner, Cindy, but Pam is who I really wanted to come with and now that she’s ditched her date, I’m going to be with her the rest of the dance. No hard feelings, alright?”

She wanted to flip him the bird and tear Pam Fucking Becksworth’s hair out, but in addition to the chaperones who were watching them, Pam also outweighed her by thirty pounds. Instead, she spun on her heels and ran back to her car.

It was still early by the time she got home. She didn’t really want to deal with anyone, even Cole at the moment, but she couldn’t see waiting in the garage until midnight. God, Jason was such a damned loser. What had she ever seen in the douche?
As her rage got the better of her, she stalked into the kitchen and slammed the door.

Cole shot up from the couch with a surprised expression, “What’s wrong?”

Realizing that tears were leaking from her eyes, Cindy dabbed at them, “Men are fucking pigs. That’s what’s wrong.”

She dropped her purse on the table and came over to the couch and saw a box of pizza on the floor. She hadn’t eaten much at dinner; she’d been so nervous. How could she actually have cared what that asshole, Jason had thought about her?

She was famished. “Mind if I have a piece of pizza?”

Cole sat down and picked the box from the floor, offering it to his sister.
Cindy opened the box and realized her little brother had excellent taste in pizza. She ripped a piece off of the half-eaten pie and sat down beside Cole. Angry or not, she really didn’t want to be alone right then.

As soon as she bit into the pizza she started feeling a tiny bit better. Her brother’s closeness kept her from feeling so alone as she sorted through her feelings.

After a couple of more bites, Cole said, “What happened?”

Her anger at Jason welled up, “What happened is that Jason is a dipshit asshole.”

Cindy felt a touch of warmth in her chest when her little brother turned off the TV and leaned in until their arms touched, “Mmhmm.”
The teenager resisted an urge to hug her brother as his concern deeply touched her. It would hurt, but she decided to tell him exactly what happened, “After I took him out to eat at the Olive Garden, where I ate barely a bite because I didn’t want him to think I was a pig, we got to the high school gym. The dance was already going and lots of girls and boys were dancing. When I turned to ask him to dance, he had left me under the damned basketball goal. He was talking to stupid Pam Becksworth.”

Her brother added another, “Hmhmm.” It left little doubt that he didn’t think much of the slut who’d stolen her date.
“When I got over to them, Jason told me that he’d changed his mind and that he was going to stay at the dance with Pam. That bitch. She just smiled at me, all smug and all.”

Baring her soul stung and Cindy couldn’t stop the tears from spilling down her face. Feeling the warmth of Cole’s sitting so close made it feel the tiniest bit better and she leaned her head on his shoulder.

She couldn’t believe her terrible luck with guys. Since the beginning of the year she’d been shot down twice. And it wasn’t even November yet!

“What’s wrong with me, Cole? First Darrell dumped me on our first date and now Jason ditches me for Pam Fucking Becksworth.”

More tears fell. She knew that her kid brother wouldn’t be able find the right words, because none existed, but it still felt right to unburden herself. Then she felt a hand reach around and grab her shoulder as Cole slid closer so that he could hold her.

Why did she cry harder when the boy had done the one thing she’d needed more than any advice he could have given?
She blinked as she watched one of her tears land on his bare chest. It rolled across one of his flat nipples before racing toward his lap, where it disappeared into the blue fabric of his boxers.

Feeling as though she was sitting with the one person in the world who understood her, Cindy blubbered, “Thanks, Cubby.”

The boy gave another squeeze. She hadn’t called him Cubby in a long time. She’d started calling him that when she was in kindergarten. Colton hadn’t been as fun nor as easy to pronounce as Cubby, so that had been her nickname for him through middle school.

As she struggled to get control of her tears, Cindy wondered what was going through Cole’s mind. Before she could find something to fill the tear drenched silence, her brother said, “Nothing’s wrong with you, Sis. Like the Cowboys, you’ve just had a spot of bad luck.”

Cindy giggled until she hiccupped. Her brother wasn’t good at sports, in fact, the boy hated watching sports. “I thought you didn’t care about sports.”
Cole joined in the giggle, “I may not, but I’d have to give up my man-card if I didn’t know how bad the Dallas Cowboys suck this year,”

Cindy doubted her twelve-year-old brother really knew what a man-card was. “If I were you, I’d tear that damned man-card up. All the men I know are fucking assholes.”

The silence lingered as the teenager rested her head on her brother’s shoulder. Finally, Cole said, “I hope I’m not one of those men who’re fucking assholes,”
Cindy found the profanity endearing. Neither of the them normally swore around the house. It’s not something their mom would have approved of, as if that mattered anymore. She slipped her arm around Cole’s neck and gave him a little hug, and whispered into his ear, “No, you’re not.”

Cole seemed to shrink in on her as he asked, “A man or an asshole?”

The boy was sensitive about his size. Cindy knew he was one of the shortest boys in his class and she knew it drove him crazy. So, she squeezed his shoulder and said, “Asshole.”

Cindy continued letting her brother hold her until the clock on the TV said it was getting late, so she ran a finger through Cole’s short hair and said, “It’s getting late. I’m gonna head on to bed. Thanks Cubby.”

***

A couple of days later Cole stood at the sink washing the dishes from the dinner that Cindy had fixed. As he handed her a plate, she placed it into dishwasher. She hadn’t said much since returning to school the previous day. There hadn’t been any more tears since the weekend, not that Cole had seen. But he could still see pain in her blue eyes.

He handed another plate to her, “How was school today?”

Even to his young ears, the question seemed trite and wrong. Like something Mom would say. As if thinking about her would conjure her, he heard his mom’s voice from the other room. As if spending the last five days with Dave wasn’t enough, she was talking to him on the phone in the living room.
Cindy took the plate. “Could have been worse. At least today Pam didn’t tell everyone that she’d stolen my date.”

“Wow, she’s a bitch,” Cole muttered. He didn’t want his mom hearing him swear.

“And all men are pigs,” Cindy said. She jerked her head toward the living room, “As if hogging her time Dave keeps her on the phone. He’s as bad as Jason.”

Turning the water off, Cole wasn’t sure if he agreed. Dave may have stolen their mom for most of the week, but he passed along some cash each week so that there was always food in the house and money for pizza on the weekends. To Cole’s thinking, it was a decent trade, given how little interest his mom had in either him or Cindy.

Cindy put some detergent into the trap on the dishwasher door and turned a knob. “Promise me you won’t turn into an asshole like Jason or Dave.”
Cole turned around, leaning his back against the sink. “I promise,” although he had no idea how he would keep it. Changing the subject, he added, “Are you going to the football game this Friday?”

Cindy gave a curt shake of her head, “I was. But not now.”

Cocking an eyebrow, Cole looked out the corner of his eye. “Really? You’ve gone out almost every week since school started. Gonna hang with me, eh?”
Cindy leaned back against the sink, too and butt bumped him. “Gross,” she said in a high pitched, little girl voice. “I don’t want your cooties.”
Hearing his mom’s voice droning on, Cole gave his sister a one-finger salute, safe that his gesture wouldn’t be seen by another other than Cindy.
In a voice that only Cole could have heard, Cindy leaned in until her mouth was just a few inches away from his ear. “Fuck you, you Goober.”
Cole couldn’t help smiling as he saw the same smile on her face. She added, “What’d you have in mind? More stupid Tom Cruise movies or Red Dawn, again?”

Shaking his head at how well his sister had him pegged, Cole said, “Well, no.”

“What’d you want to do, then?”

Cole had been thinking about what his sister had said after her last failed date since Saturday. She had been treated horribly and she deserved much better. But he worried she would think he was being stupid if he said what was on his mind.

Finally, he stammered, “Well, uh, I was thinking that if you’re not going to the game, that I could take you over to Red Lobster. Maybe watch a movie you’d enjoy afterwards.”

He could feel his sister beside him. She had grown still. He had to strain to hear her voice, “Are you asking me out on a date?”
Gently returning the butt bump from a moment before, Cole said, “I don’t want you to think all of us guys are assholes. You deserve a lot more than that. I know you like Red Lobster and I thought it’d be fun.”

Before he’d finished, Cole knew his voice carried a note of defensive hesitance. He was sure Cindy would laugh or worse, maybe even give him a frog hit on his arm.

Cindy leaned against him, “That’s the sweetest thing. You don’t have to do that, Cubby. I’ll be alright.”

Letting a sigh of relief slip through his lips, Cole patted his sister’s shoulder. She didn’t sound upset. “I know you’ll be okay, Sis. But I want to do this for you.”
Cole scanned his sister’s face for any hint of rejection. Into the growing silence he said, “Is that okay?”

Nodding, Cindy bit her lip as she leaned against Cole. In a hushed voice, “Thanks.”

***

Cindy mutely put a plate into the dishwasher. Since returning to school yesterday, she’d felt empty and alone. Even as she helped Cole with the dishes, she just wanted to crawl into her bed and pull the covers over her face. She’d vowed after Saturday night that her brother wouldn’t see any more tears. That didn’t mean she hadn’t cried herself to sleep, though.

But it was easy to take the dish Cole handed her and put it in the dishwasher. Easy was good.

Cole handed her another plate, “How was school today?”
Cole seldom sounded like their mother, but right then, he’d never sounded more like her. Which was funny because their mom was in the living room. Tuesdays was one of those days when their mom stayed at the house and at least pretended she cared about being a mom to a teenage girl and a preteen boy.
Still, it wasn’t Cole’s fault. A glance at her brother almost made Cindy smile. His face was writ with concern.
Eventually, Cindy answered, “Could have been worse. At least today Pam didn’t tell everyone that she’d stolen my date.”

“Wow, she’s a bitch,” Cole muttered.

Cindy smiled at how low he’d pitched his still-high pitched voice. If their mom had heard him swearing, she’d have been off the couch and riding their asses.

“And all men are pigs,” Cindy said in voice barely above a whisper. She jerked her head toward the living room, “As if hogging her time on the weekends isn’t bad enough, even when she’s home Dave keeps her on the phone. He’s as bad as Jason.”

Cindy resented her mom’s frequent absences and blamed Dave for turning her interest away from her and Cole. Parents weren’t supposed to do that. As she grabbed a box of dish detergent the girl vowed she’d never turn out like her mom.

As she turned the dishwasher on she said, “Promise me you won’t turn into an asshole like Jason or Dave.”
The dishes done, her brother turned around and sat up on the edge of the sink. “I promise. Hey, are you going to the football game this Friday?”
Before this Saturday, she’d planned on going to cheer Jason on. Now, she gave a curt shake of her head, “Not anymore.”
Cole leaned forward, resting his hands on his knees, “Really? You’ve gone out almost every week since school started. Wanna hang with me, eh?”
Cindy joined her brother on the edge of the counter top sink and bumped into his butt. Giggling, she said in a high pitched, little girl’s voice, “Gross, I don’t want any of your cooties.”

Cole glanced toward the living room, where they could hear their mom’s voice droning on. Then he raised his middle finger and winked.
In a voice that only Cole could have heard, Cindy leaned in until her mouth was just a few inches away from his ear. “Fuck you, you Goober.”
Cindy couldn’t explain why she enjoyed the smile that spread across Cole’s face at their banter, but she decided that if she wasn’t going to go to the game that there were worse ways of spending a Friday night than hanging out and watching movies with Cole.

“What’d you have in mind? More stupid Tom Cruise movies or Red Dawn, again?”

The boy’s face grew solemn and he shook his head, “Well, no.”

“What’d you want to do, then?”

Cindy could practically see the wheels turning behind his baby blue eyes. After a long moment, the boy stammered, “Well, uh, I was thinking that if you’re not going to the game, that I could take you over to Red Lobster. Maybe watch a movie you’d enjoy afterwards.”
What? A voice in Cindy’s mind screamed. Was her kid brother asking her out? She looked at him out of the corner of her eye and saw the pensive look on his face.

Whatever she said, the last thing she wanted to do was to shatter his self-confidence. He was already the brunt of too many jokes by the other boys in his class.
Looking at the kitchen’s linoleum flooring, Cindy whispered, “Are you asking me out on a date?”
Cindy felt him return the butt bump from earlier as he said, “I don’t want you to think all of us guys are assholes. You deserve a lot more than that. I know you like Red Lobster and I thought it’d be fun.”

As Cindy heard the plaintive and defensive tone in Cole’s voice, even if she thought the idea of him taking her out was silly, she didn’t have the heart to tell him no. No, she wouldn’t hurt his feelings. While she wasn’t ready to go out on another date with anyone, for Cole she decided that silly or not, she’d wouldn’t say no.

“That’s the sweetest thing. You don’t have to do that, Cubby. I’ll be alright.”

A sigh of relief escaped Cole’s lips, and the boy reached over and patted Cindy on the shoulder. “I know you’ll be okay, Sis. But I want to do this for you.”
In a hesitant and trembling voice, he continued, “Is that okay?”

Nodding, Cindy bit her lip as she leaned against Cole. In a hushed voice, “Thanks.”

***

It was Thursday night. Except for soft music playing in Cindy’s room, the house was quiet. Dave had come over earlier and picked up Mom. Cole knew he’d not see her until next Monday or Tuesday. Between Mom’s grocery run earlier in the day and the hundred dollars Dave had left on the kitchen table, he and his sister would be fine.

Thinking of Cindy brought a round of butterflies to his stomach. He closed his homework and went over to his closet. He rummaged until he found his church clothes; a white oxford shirt and navy-blue pants. They hadn’t been to church in several months, so he wasn’t sure if they’d still fit. He stripped down to his underwear and donned the pants and shirt. He let out a silent whoop when he found they still fit. After the week she’d had, he really wanted to make Cindy’s night special, and old blue jeans and a polo shirt just wouldn’t do.

He stripped back to his underwear and carefully hug the clothes back on their hangers. Standing in front of the mirror that hung over the chest-of-drawers, Cole took stock of his narrow, scrawny frame. Any elation he’d felt at how well his clothes fit died with an unhappy sigh. Despite his blond locks and blue eyes that ran in his family, none of the girls in the 7th grade gave him a second look. Why would they? He hadn’t even reached five feet in height yet. He might have been eighty-five pounds, soaking wet. Nearly all the other boys were taller and didn’t look like they’d skipped a grade.

No, that wasn’t quite fair. Cole had seen some of the sixth graders and a lot of them were taller than him. Shaking his head, he pulled his underwear to down to his knees, and as he’d done a hundred times before, inspected his family jewels. Still not even a lonely downy strand of hair. But as he held his penis head, the butterflies in his stomach turned to a tickling and tingling sensation and before he knew it, his flaccid penis was no longer flaccid. Now it pointed straight up at his smooth belly. He held it down and let it go, watching it bounce up and down. As far back as he could remember, sometimes he’d get an occasional stiffy. He didn’t realize they were becoming more frequent.

He pulled his underwear back up, turned out the light and went to bed.

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