The Best of Friends – Chapter 1
Wendy shifted her book bag from one shoulder to another as she approached the intersection. One of the trolly buses serving the university slowed to a stop near the corner, and she waited as the green and red transport disgorged a half-dozen students. Wendy’s heart fluttered at the sight of one boy. He couldn’t have been older than nineteen, maybe twenty. His blond hair reflected the blistering August sun as he strolled easily along with the others students from the bus. He wasn’t watching where he was going, and Wendy hadn’t realized she was in his way. She tried to dodge him, but the young man still plowed into her and the two of them crashed to the ground.
The young man leapt to his feet and said, “Hey, watch out where you’re going, kid.”
Wendy picked her book bag up and said, “I’m sorry. I didn’t see you.”
“Whatever. Watch out. A shrimp like you is going to be on the tread of someone’s shoe next time.” As he hurried after his friends, one of them said, “Those Chinese students are getting younger and younger, dude.”
Wendy dusted herself off and blinked back a scalding tear. As the student disappeared into the dorm that fronted the road, she said, “I’m not Chinese, asshole.”
The street was empty, so Wendy crossed over and started walking back to her house. Still stinging from the run-in, Wendy fumed, “I’m more of a Texan than you are.”
Given blondie’s flat midwestern accent, he hadn’t been born anywhere close to the mid-sized Texas city where she was enrolled. Wendy’s parents had been Vietnamese boat people, arriving when they were still kids, just after the Vietnam War. By the time Henry and Anh Nguyen married, their own Vietnamese accents had taken on some of the East Texas dialect common along the bayous around Houston. By the time Wendy was in school, her accent was as twangy as any other native Texan.
Being called Chinese didn’t hurt as much as the other insult. Blondie had thought she was a boy. And that stung. While it was true Wendy loved a good chopped barbeque sandwich even more than a bowl of pho, it was equally true at two inches shy of five feet, she was below average for even a Vietnamese woman. Of course, her mom had been just as short and her dad hadn’t been that much taller. And like a lot of Vietnamese women, Wendy just didn’t fit the stereotypical body types a lot of the men in Texas liked so much. While she wasn’t entirely flat chested, she mostly wore a bra to keep her nipples from showing through her t-shirt.
As she crossed over a side street, she glanced back at the dorm on the edge of campus. Just a week into her first semester, Wendy really hoped she would meet some nice guys at college. She’d already decided that she just wasn’t interested in dating Vietnamese men, or any Asian men, when it came down to it.
While she’d loved her parents, Henry held a lot of traditional Vietnamese views about relationships between men and women. While Wendy’s father had doted on her, he had ordered his wife around the house and told her what he expected. Anh had simply obeyed. Wendy refused to settle for such a relationship.
“But how?” she asked herself as she continued along the sidewalk, under the old live oak trees that grew in the yards of the rental houses that were full of students. The white men she met so far hadn’t given her the time of day. And under the sweltering heat of the August sun, she despaired they ever would.
Despite how her father had dominated her mother, Wendy wished she could call her mom and ask her for advice. But that was impossible.
The reason Wendy was a nineteen-year-old freshman on the college campus was because circumstances forced her to take a year off between high school and college to settle her parents’ estate. It had happened the evening of her commencement ceremony. After her parents dropped Wendy off at the school’s official graduation party, Henry and Anh Nguyen had been killed by a driver of a semi-truck on their way home.
Wendy was sweating by the time she saw her house. It was part of a recently constructed quadplex of apartments. Each building held four large apartments, each with three bedrooms. The builders had planned to build a dozen quadplex buildings, but when the economy turned bad a couple of years ago, circumstances forced them to sell what they’d already built, which was two quadplexes and a small, detached apartment behind them, originally intended for an on-site manager.
Wendy owned it all, thanks to the attorney who’d handled her parents’ estate. Walt Benton had been a god-send to Wendy after her parents’ death. He had arranged for Henry’s life insurance and savings to go into a trust for the young woman. He then sued on her behalf the trucking company of the driver who had killed her parents. It never went to trial. The national carrier had settled for a couple of million dollars. That also went into the trust.
Once Wendy decided to attend college, Mr. Benton suggested investing part of the trust in a rental unit near the school. The rent would pay for her schooling. And that was how Wendy Nguyen owned the quadplex buildings she walked past on the way to her little apartment.
She gave an exaggerated sigh as cool air greeted her when she entered. On one side was a small living room, complete with a plush and comfortable sofa and a large, flatscreen TV mounted on the wall. On the other side was a dining room. A small table with four chairs shared the space with a desk. Behind the dining room was a kitchen with new appliances.
Her bedroom and bathroom were through a door between the living room and kitchen. The bedroom took up a bit more than half of the back of the tiny house, and the bathroom took up the rest of the space. Her ‘Uncle Walt,’ as she liked to call Mr. Benton, had outfitted the house and apparently thought she’d need a king-sized bed. She’d laughed so hard when she’d first saw it, she nearly peed her pants. The damned thing practically swallowed her small body whole.
When she’d told Uncle Walt about it, he’d just shrugged and said, “Well, you might eventually need it, once you catch yourself a big strapping Texas boy.”
Now though, as she set her bookbag on a second desk in her bedroom, she headed toward the bathroom. Going with a trend toward showers over baths, the builders installed a shower along the bathroom’s far wall. It had a rain showerhead that covered the middle of the shower and nozzles on the wall that guaranteed you’d get soaked to the skin in the shower. A long, narrow countertop that was punctuated with a sink, and a toilet completed the bathroom’s furnishing.
Wendy took her over-sized t-shirt off and dropped it on the counter. Her bra was wet with sweat, too, so it joined the shirt a moment later. Finally, she took off the rest of her clothes and got in the shower. Even though she’d grown up her entire life in Texas, the walk back from the school had sapped her energy and left her feeling grimy with sweat.
Tepid water drenched her short black hair. She raised her face into the water, enjoying how her body felt rejuvenated. She ran her soapy hands over her torso and felt the slight swells under her nipples. Throughout high school, she’d always felt jealous of girls with boobs that required a B or C cup. Girls with D cups and larger, she didn’t envy, thinking about how their backs had to hurt carrying so much weight. There wasn’t much she could do about her very modest bust. The idea of going under a knife to fix what nature gave her seemed stupid and vain.
As suds slid down the gentle swells of her breasts, Wendy spread her legs and ran her fingers down to her labia and the trail of sparse hair spreading from there. Even there, in the most intimate of spots, her DNA had conspired against her. Wendy had taken after her mother, compared to other Vietnamese women, who were more amply endowed with a thick patch of pubic hair, hers was more like a trail of bread crumbs, not particularly curly, thick or long. And now, the hair was soapy, and it felt like silky fibers under her finger. As she touched her clit, she decided not having a forest of pubes to push through wasn’t a bad thing right now.
When she came down from her orgasm, she thought back to the blond-haired young man who’d mistaken her for a boy. While she couldn’t do anything about her height and she absolutely refused to consider plastic surgery, she needed to do something to catch the attention of boys like him. She played with the small swells under her nipples and decided that she could get a bra with more padding. That would help, at least superficially.
A padded bra was fine, she decided, but it wasn’t enough, not by itself. She ran her hands down to her belly. While she was slender to a point of thinness, she had no muscle tone. Running her hands down to her legs, she felt ribbons of muscles through her skin. These muscles were under-worked, but still there. If she started exercising, she’d start to tone her muscles. She wondered if that might even help with her breasts.
Tomorrow was Saturday. If she really was serious, there was no better time to start.
The end-of-the-day bell rang and Aiden minded his own business as he walked toward the doors to the school from his locker, when three larger kids came from behind and knocked him into boys’ bathroom. He fell on the floor and his backpack slid across the dirty, stained tiles. The school year was barely underway, and he had no idea who these kids were.
The tallest boy, his afro closely cropped to his head, pulled Aiden up by his shirt and pushed him against the wall. “Listen up, bird shit, this is my crib and you’re going to do what I say, when I say it or I’m going to fuck you up.”
Aiden looked at the boy, who was a foot taller than his own four-fix. In fact, he looked like he’d been steeling other kids’ Wheaties for a while now. His two friends stood with their hands on their hips, laughing along with their older and taller friend.
The Wheaties thief gave Aiden a slap across the face, “Got it, Cracker?”
Aiden’s ears rang, and he hated himself for nodding. Hated his mother for abandoning him with his nana. Hated Nana for living in the worst attendance zone in town.
“Good,” WT said, as he pushed down hard on Aiden’s shoulders. As the eleven-year-old fell to his knees, he recoiled against the wall as the taller boy pulled at his pants. It didn’t take much for the ripped and torn jeans, already worn below WT’s hips to slide down. Another tug and Aiden stared at six inches of black cock.
“You know what you’ve gotta do to get out of here without an ass-beating, bird shit, so get to sucking.”
At that moment, the door swung open, and a janitor came through the door, pulling a rolling trashcan behind him. As soon as he saw the three toughs, he yelled, “What the hell?”
Aiden didn’t miss a beat. He slid between WT and another boy, grabbed his backpack and slipped past the janitor. As soon as the bathroom door closed behind him, the small boy bolted for the door, running as fast as his legs could carry him.
When he burst out the front door of the school, he didn’t stop, but kept on pumping his legs as fast as his feet could carry him across the old, broken concrete in front of the school. He managed to stay on his feet as he ran toward the pedestrian tunnel that ran under the highway that separated the school and the housing projects from the local college and the older neighborhood that was slowing giving way to more student housing and upscale developments.
Aiden finally slowed to a walk as he passed one of the college’s dorms that sat on the edge of campus. He liked walking past the campus. A majority of the students were girls, and the boy enjoyed looking at how they dressed as they dealt with the oppressive Texas heat.
He crossed a few more side streets; the houses became older and showed their age more. Many of the old homes were rental properties, full of students looking for cheap rent. Here and there, developers tore down derelict old houses and built new, expensive apartment complexes. The boy was nearing his nana’s house when he became aware he was closing the gap between himself and an Asian kid with short, jet black hair. He saw the Asian kid the previous day when he’d been walking home from school.
There were hardly any kids in the neighborhood. Most of the homes were rentals, unlike Nana’s. The kids on the other side of the highway were mostly black and Hispanic. And in an intermediate school ninety percent minority, a short, skinny white kid like Aiden might as well wear a sign that said ‘pick on me.’ Maybe this other kid attended the same school.
Before he could catch up, the Asian kid crossed the street, heading toward a new quadplex of apartments. Aiden’s heart sank as he saw the Asian’s profile. Because of the short hair, narrow frame and short stature, he’d assumed he’d been behind a boy. But the Asian’s chest had a hint of definition that made him realize his mistake. He was likely a she.
Aiden slowed down as he made his way home, dejected. After the terrible experience at the hands of the Wheaties Thief (WT for short) and his pals, Aiden didn’t want to go back to school. But what choice did he have? He was only eleven years old and Nana would make him go back, of that he was sure.
The house he shared with his nana was old. To hear her tell it, she had been born in it back when the college was much smaller and the neighborhood full of working-class people. The neighborhood had changed, the working-class people had given way to poorer families renting the homes once owned by factory and mill workers. In turn, as the college’s enrollment grew, landlords slapped lipstick on their pigs of houses, raised the rents and rented to students.
“Aiden, is that you?” A voice called out as the boy came through the door.
He didn’t stop as he headed to his bedroom. He wanted to be alone. There was nothing his nana could do to make his situation better. Nothing.
Closing the door behind him, he collapsed onto his narrow bed as tears he’d been holding back ran down his cheeks. His mom had left him with his grandmother a few years ago, when she entered a drug rehab program. Aiden had stayed with his nana after his mom signed herself out of the program and disappeared. If she had gotten clean, then the two of them could have moved somewhere, somewhere better than here, he thought. Then he wouldn’t have to go the hellhole of a school.
He pulled his shirt off and used it to wipe his eyes. He leaned against the battered chest of drawers and stared at the cracked mirror attached to the back of it. The face staring back of him was thin and pale. His blonde hair was an unruly mop on his head.
Like WT, most of the boys in the intermediate school were taller and stronger than him. At four feet and six inches tall, Aiden might not be the shortest, but he was close to it.
There was a knock at the door, “Aiden, I left you some food in the refrigerator. I’m heading over to the bingo hall for a couple of hours. Just warm it up when you get hungry. And don’t forget to do your homework.”
“Alright, have fun,” Aiden said as he heard his Nana’s footsteps and the thump of her cane as she headed toward the front door
He unfastened and pulled off his jeans, revealing pasty white legs against an old pair of spiderman briefs. When he heard the front door close, he slipped his underwear off and headed toward the bathroom. After what he’d gone through, Aiden wanted a bath; something to wash away his feelings after his run-in with those boys in the bathroom.
He closed and locked the bathroom. More out of habit than anything else. Nana sometimes thought he was still a little boy and would come in without knocking if he left it unlocked. He glanced down between his legs and his little penis may have been one reason she still thought that.
Once he’d filled the tub up with some warm water, he soaked for a bit. He let his thoughts go back a few weeks to when he’d attended Brian’s slumber party. The other boy had been one of his best friends throughout elementary school, and when Aiden received the invite, he was excited. The birthday party had been small, only five boys. And two of them, the Jackson twins, hadn’t been able to stay the night. Only Aiden and another boy named Derrick had stayed the night.
As boys that age have a tendency to do, the three of them ended up naked, measuring their dicks. Aiden had been happy to not have the smallest dick. That misfortune belonged to Derrick. While they were still naked, Brian told them he had learned something new from one of his cousins, and asked the other boys if they wanted to see.
Aiden had been curious, so he’d readily agreed. And before he knew it, Brian was jerking off in front of him. In no time at all, Aiden and Derrick got in on the fun when their dicks grew hard as they fondled themselves. It hadn’t been the first time Aiden had tried rubbing himself. Even in the fifth grade, a lot of kids were pretty knowledgeable, educated by older siblings, cousins and sometimes even uncles. But this was the first time he’d managed to have an orgasm. Even if it had been dry. What a shame Brian and Derrick ended up at one of the other intermediate schools.
And since the sleepover, now that Aiden knew what to do, he played with his dick until it grew hard, stretching out to a bit more than three inches. Once his dick was hard, he used some soap to help things along and for a few minutes as the fap-fap-fap sound echoed in the bathroom, Aiden forgot about school, forgot about bullies like WT and just enjoyed the ride as his stroked his cock.
He didn’t last long before his dick spasmed and jerked in his hand and he had the most incredible feelings wash over him even if nothing came out. But all too soon, the moment passed. He still had to get up on Monday and go back to school, and all his problems would return.
As he toweled off, he felt his legs. He ran pretty fast when he’d ran home part of the way. His leg muscles were sinewy under his skin. If he could run fast enough, he might be able to get away the next time WT and his gang try to catch him.
Still, as he dried his hair, he knew that wishing wasn’t the same as doing. If he wanted to be able to outrun school bullies, he needed to exercise. One good thing about the changes to the neighborhood, if he decided to go running, then he’d not likely run into any of the other students from his schoo.
He thought about it as he finished changing and thought about it some more when he was supposed to be doing some math homework. Finally, about the time he heard Nana come through the front door, he’d decided. He was going to start exercising. He would start running in the morning.
Wendy stretched her legs in the quadplex’s parking lot. She almost went back inside. It was too damned early to be this warm. Still, compared to the hundred-degree scorcher forecasted for the afternoon, it was mild, still in the mid-eighties.
She stretched her shoulders, feeling her old green high-school tee-shirt twist with her body. She had thought about wearing a bra, but at this ungodly hour, who else would see her? And even if they did, it wasn’t like there was much to see. The green cotton did a good enough job masking her modest swells. Like the rest of her work-out clothes, her shorts were the same ones she’d worn in high school. Since her parents died, she had never given two thoughts to working out and until she could go shopping, she’d make do with what she had.
It was barely eight in the morning when she stepped onto the street. Most of the college students had stayed up until one or two in the morning last night; They wouldn’t stir until close to noon, if then. She started walking as she tried talking herself into a jog. She passed by the open field next to the two quadplexes she owned; the field a reminder of the previous developer’s failure.
She’d just convinced herself to pick up her pace when she saw a boy walk out of one of the more run-down houses on the other side of the street. Like Wendy, he wore a tee-shirt and shorts. Unlike her, when he reached the street, he started to jog slowly.
Wendy matched his pace and found that it was easy going for her, as she felt the cushioned insoles on her sneakers with every step. As she matched the other jogger’s pace, she noticed he was shorter than her. With very few exceptions, most of the houses in the neighborhood were rented to college students, and she was pretty sure that the other jogger was too young for college. He might be a teenager, but she doubted it. Still, the morning sun reflected off his blond locks in a way that Wendy found pleasing.
Wendy saw they were approaching a four-way-stop. To go straight would take them into a part of town that was even more run-down than the old rental-houses around the collage. Most of the students considered it a ghetto. While Wendy found she enjoyed the pace the young jogger set, if he continued straight, she didn’t think she could bring herself to follow him.
The jogger cut across the street, crossing over to the side Wendy was on just before reaching the intersection. Wendy was so focused on trying to decide if she would take a left at the intersection or do something stupid, like crossing the street. She didn’t realize the younger jogger was approaching, and they reached the corner at the same time and ran into each other.
Wendy fell into the grass on the corner lot and landed on her backside. The other jogger fell back into the street, also landing on his butt.
The grass cushioned Wendy’s fall, and she bounced back to her feet as the other jogger sat next to the curb, wearing a dazed expression. She hurried over, “Are you alright?”
He gradually nodded his head, “Yeah, I think so.”
Wendy extended a hand. The boy was younger than she originally thought. He couldn’t have been more than ten or twelve years old. She said, “Here.”
He took the offered hand and let her pull him to his feet. As the girl let go, in the back of her mind, she noted his hand was slightly smaller than hers and smooth. As he dusted at his shorts, he said, “Sorry ‘bout that. I shoulda been looking.”
Wendy shook her head, “No, I should have been paying attention to where I was jogging.”
The boy checked his legs for cuts and scrapes before raising his face so that Wendy could clearly look him in the eyes. His lips turned into a half-smile and he had the bluest eyes she’d ever seen. The kind of eyes she’d expect to see in a Hollywood movie, not on some kid jogging in the neighborhood. “You’re jogging, too?”
Wendy nodded. “Yeah, I’m trying to get in shape.” The boy’s expression was disarming, and she found herself asking, “What about you? I figured most kids would sleep in on a Saturday.”
His smile widened a bit as he said, “I wish. I’ve gotta get in shape. Gonna be jogging as often as I can.”
Wendy nodded, “Yeah, me too.”
His eyes shifted as he glanced at her. Not just at her face, but at her. He glanced down at his old shoes before glancing back into her face, “Ah, I was gonna go left here, head back around college. If you…”
The boy didn’t go on. He glanced down at his shoes again. Standing so close, she could see that she’d been right. He was definitely just a kid. Definitely not a teenager. Maybe eleven. Still, Wendy found his hesitancy kind of cute.
She grinned and said, “Yeah. I’m going that way, too.”
His smile returned and a moment later, she was jogging alongside the boy. They didn’t talk as they jogged. In fact, they were a bit more than a mile into the jog when he slowed to a walk. Wendy was glad. Her leg and calf muscles were screaming at her.
The boy was panting as he said, “First time. Outa shape.”
Wendy sucked in a breath of air as she managed, “Me, too.”
As they walked along the side of the street, Wendy said, “I’m Wendy.”
She liked the name; it seemed to fit his smile.
A few steps and he said, “Are you in college, Wendy?”
“Yeah, what about you? Freshman?”
Aiden giggled. “No. I go to school at Travis Intermediate.”
Wendy liked the sound of his cherubic laughter. “So, you’re an eighth grader?”
He shook his head, still smiling. “No, I’m in the sixth.”
As they turned onto a street that would eventually curve back onto their street, his lips spread into a grin, “Did you skip a few grades and go to college early?”
The boy shrugged, “You don’t look old enough to be in college.”
It was Wendy’s turn to smile. “Thanks… I think. I’m nineteen.”
Aiden tripped over his feet and nearly fell as he said, “No, way. I figured you were fifteen or sixteen.”
Wendy shook her head, “Why’d you think that?”
Aiden’s cheeks colored a bit as he said, “Well, you’re Asian and I figured that meant you were really smart and had gone to college early.”
Wendy wanted to laugh. “God, no. I’d like to think I’m pretty smart. But I never skipped any grades.”
Aiden’s pace slowed; his eyebrows scrunched up as he appeared deep in thought. “I guess that explains why you talk kinda funny.”
Wendy laughed at that. “How’s that? I sound just like you.”
The boy caught back up and matched pace with her, “Exactly. The only Asians I’ve ever seen talk all foreign-like.”
Wendy shook her head at the boy’s ignorance, “I was born in Saint Luke’s hospital in Houston. I’m as American as you. Most of my friends were just like you.”
“Just like me?” Aiden said.
Wendy offered a little smile, “White as Mrs. Baird’s bread.”
In fact, her accent had been one thing about which her parents had teased her when they were still alive. She would drag out her vowels, like most other native Texans. But to Wendy’s ears, she just sounded normal.
They jogged a few hundred more yards before slowing back to a walk as they neared the quadplexes. Wendy knew she’d be sore in the morning. She’d read that taking a day or two off between runs, at least at first, allowed the body to heal. She stopped in the quadplex’s drive, “That’s it for me, today.”
Aiden’s hair was plastered to his forehead and his shirt was wet from his sweat as he bent over, taking a deep breath. “Yeah. Me too.”
As the boy started walking toward his house, Wendy said, “Thanks for letting me join you, Aiden. See you next time.”
He turned around, walking backwards along the sidewalk, “Cool. I’m gonna be back out here Monday morning ‘bout six thirty.”
Wendy nearly groaned. Her first class was at nine on Monday. Normally she’d sleep until eight. Before Aiden turned back around, she waved, “We’ll see.”
She headed inside. She was hot and tired, and it wasn’t even nine yet.
Copyright 2021 – Caliboy1991
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