We ate the rest of the ice cream, rotating the spoon back and forth. By the time we did the third rotation she didn’t act quite as creepily as she had and ate normally. Sharing the spoon didn’t bother me that much. We share soda all the time too and it’s not any different. Plus, I knew she wasn’t being a hundred percent honest on the never been kissed thing. When we were ten, the two of us had tried kissing each other. It had ended with the two of us having giggling fits, but besides family, I was the first person she’d ever kissed. It was a one-time thing. One of the many secrets between us that will never be shared with another living soul. Either way, I wasn’t so silly as to be grossed out by Samantha germs.
When we finished, I grabbed her hand and headed out the door. We were already a block when I realized her palm was really sweaty. I looked back to see her face was also beat red. I had never in my life seen Samantha blush this much. I didn’t even know it was possible to blush this much. Was another one of Samantha’s secrets that she suffered from rosacea?
I wondered if Rune was still around watching us. She probably was, but wherever she hide, she hide well. That made me feel a little better that I at least had backup. According to Rune’s plan, I needed to take Samantha to the carnival next. I stopped at the entrance, realizing I needed to use the rest room. Samantha waited nearby and I barely stopped myself from getting in line at the girl’s restroom.
I sighed, instead plunging myself into the guys. There were urinals lining around the walls and all of the stalls seemed to be taken. Well, it seemed like every day was an adventure. I’d seen enough television to know the basic mechanics of using a urinal. It’s kind of like a point and click, huh?
I closed my eyes and stood in front of one of the empty ones, plunging my hand into my pants. Oh god, I could feel it, it was in my hands. I quickly pulled it out and pulled my hand away, trying to avoid looking down. I know it was my own, but I still couldn’t stop seeing it as something profane.
I finished quickly and got out the rest room, shivering. That was the last time I hoped to ever have to do that. When I got out, I noticed several people around Samantha. There were a bunch of guys in their twenties crowded around her. Samantha looked down at her shoes, shifting uncomfortably. Couldn’t those guys see they were making her uneasy? I began walking towards them and I could hear their dialogue.
“Come on girl, why don’t you come party with us.”
“It’ll be fun,” another one said, “We’ll even buy you some alcohol.”
“Please, leave me alone,” Samantha murmured very quietly.
“Don’t be like that, we’re just having fun. You could have some fun too.”
I walked up and grabbed her by the hand, “Let’s go.”
Samantha looked up at me, and the panic in her eyes was replaced with relief. One of the boys reached out and tried to grab Samantha. I pulled her out of his reach and then pulled her behind myself, standing in front of her. This was bad. Some of them looked pretty muscular.
“Stay away from my friend.” I snapped, slapping the hand from one of the guys away.
They seemed to chuckle, trying to circle around us once again, forcing me to back up another step.
“Oh, so you’re a tough guy, huh?” one said.
“A little scrawny nobody like you. We’ll take good care of your girl for you.”
“Well I’ll take good care of your face,” I shot back.
This seemed to make them laugh even more.
“Hey!” a shout came from behind me.
I looked over my shoulder to see a fat, old security guard from the carnival walking forward.
“What’s going on here,” He asked, feeling at his belt for a can of pepper spray.
“Nothing,” one of the guys grumbled, “We were just leaving.”
“They’re not worth it anyway.” Another said.
The group walked away, still talking loudly and making rude jokes. The security guard gave us a nod and I returned a thanks. I pulled Samantha to the ticket stand and got us into the carnival. At least, we’d be safe there. I finally turned to Samantha, and she was looking at me with wide eyes.
“What? What is it?”
“You saved me,” she responded.
“You shouldn’t let those guys get their way like that. You had self-defense courses right. Just yell fire and run or kick them in the balls or something.”
Samantha lowered her head, “I’m sorry. I just froze. They were so scary. Then you came and… thank you.”
I straightened my back, “I wouldn’t do anything less.”
She gave me a strange smile, and I noticed that she was looking me in the eyes now. However, her eyes kept fluttering down to my chin and back up. Was there something on my face? We were standing really close together, I realized and pulled away. Samantha seemed to have a look of regret. What was she thinking? She was like some kind of puzzle with these messages.
I took her through the carnival. We rode a few rides. I bought her favorite carnival food, churros, and even managed to win a small teddy bear on the ring toss. Three more times I tried, and failed, to get her to confess her love for something. Why couldn’t she just say ‘I think I’m in love’. This was getting irritating. I no longer thought I’d get her to say it. Even if she did confess she loved something, starting with ‘I think” seemed impossible.
Our feet tired, the pair of us left the carnival. The next stop on Rune’s agenda was the café. Maybe I’d have some luck there, but I doubted it. This whole thing was starting to feel like a fool’s errand. Although, Samantha seemed pretty excited, I rarely saw her with a smile on her face this big. I guess she was having fun. It had been a while since the pair of us had gone out and did something like this. Now that I thought about it, I was enjoying myself too.
“Well, look what we have here. The stupid girl and her knight in shining cotton.” A voice came from one of the alleys.
A group of guys stumbled out from the alley and I froze. It was the same group from before that had harassed Samantha. They looked to be considerably drunker than they had been before. I glanced back at the carnival entrance and realized it was already out of sight. No chance that we could get back for the friendly security guard to protect us.
“Well, how about we get back to having some of that fun.” They laughed as they got closer.
“Samantha,” I grabbed her and brought my mouth close to her ear. “When I give the signal, I want you to run to the café down the street. Get inside and with people that can protect you. I’ll lead them away.”
Before she could say another word I lept forward, slamming my knee into the first guy’s groin. I shoved him forward and he collided with the other four guys, causing them all to fall to the ground in their inebriated states.
I spun around to Samantha, “Go! Now!”
Once I saw Samantha running, I took off in the other direction down an alley. The angry drunks regained their footing and began to follow me. Chances are, as drunk as they were, I could probably outrun them. I just needed to get ahead of them, lose them, and then double back. No problem. Then I realized the alley I ducked down was a dead end. I slowed to a stop, spinning around with my back to a giant brick wall. The guys swaggered forward drunkenly, laughing as they approached.
I felt for the energy and magic that was supposed to be inside me. I could take these guys out easily with it. I reached for, trying to bring the power and vitality in to me. I got nothing. I felt no stronger, and no better. I tried again, taking a step back. Still, there was nothing. I felt completely powerless, this was going to be bad. The guys began to make a half circle in front of me, approaching with the glint of malice in their eyes.
“Stop right there!” a voice shouted from behind them.
The guys turned back. The person behind them was Rune. She pulled off her coat and tossed it to the side, her firey red hair glimmering in the light from the street behind.
“What’s a little girl like you going to do?” one of the guys sneered.
Purple fire exploded from her arm. She walked forward, the flames licking up her arm, but not touching her school girl uniform or her skin.
“Oh my god, I know what she is!” one of the guys grabbed one of the others.
“What, what is that?” Another answered nervously.
“She’s one of those magical girls!”
“Magical girls? You mean, like a witch?”
“No, no, no, magical girls. Like the magical girl in a sailor suit come to save the world. They use magic to fight and thwart evil.”
“So basically witches.”
“Except they are good… and in sailor suits.”
“I am not a magical girl!” Rune snapped, stomping her foot.
The group all turned to Rune, surprised she even talked.
“What my companion meant to say,” I interrupted, taking their attention away for a second, “Is that she isn’t just a magical girl. She is the magical girl. They call her magical girl Rune, the sailor of destruction and love… and she will burn you away!”
I pointed directly at Rune. The five drunkards spun back to Rune. She placed her hand in her head, her other balled in a fist.
“I hate you all so much right now.” Rune growled.
“Hey, can I have your signature?” One of the guys asked.
Rune glared up at the group, and then said darkly, “Yeah, you can have my signature.”
“Yeah,” Rune said casually, walking casually towards them, “It’s my signature move.”
“What kind of move?” The man asked, taking a step back.
“The kind that involves jamming a fireball up your ass!”
“Ar-are you coming on to me?”
My eyes closed as the waves of heat hit my face. There were a couple of noises of scuffling, several loud thuds, and a considerable amount of screaming. When it finally died down, I opened my eyes. Rune stood, the purple fires wrapped around her arms starting to dwindle. The guys were on the floor. They didn’t look too burned up considering.
I ran towards Rune with my arms outstretched. She tried to take a step back in alarm, but I gave her a big hug regardless.
“You saved my life; I was so worried when those guys had me cornered.”
“Be careful, I haven’t got rid of my flames yet and they will burn-” Rune frowned, looking down at my arm.
It was wrapped around his arms, which still had some flame. The flame licked around my skin, but I realized that it wasn’t hot at all. The flames almost seemed to encompass my arm along with hers, as if they were welcomed. I gave her a reassuring smile.
“John? Where are you?”
I grabbed Rune and pushed her against one of the walls. She tried to say something but I put my hand over her mouth, keeping her quiet. The voice was Samantha’s, and I couldn’t have her walking in and seeing this. Even if I could explain Rune, I couldn’t explain the fiery mess below. I pressed my body up against ruins, trying to make the pair of us look like we were just one with the wall. I realized Rune was breathing hard and I turned to her.
“What is it?” I asked, whispering near her ear so Samantha wouldn’t hear.
“Will you back off? You’re too close.”
“Don’t be such a baby,” I responded. “I don’t want Samantha to catch us.”
Rune began to squirm a little bit, her body rubbing against me. She smelled like that delicious cinnamon smell I had grown used to. It didn’t have the edgy, manly smell. That was replaced with something softer and a little sweeter. Then I realized exactly how close I was to Rune. I mean, sure it was Rune as a girl, but it was still Rune. The sexy, attractive boy with those rippling abs and that sarcastic personality. Here I was, my arms wrapped around her, my mouth inches from her lips. She was blushing too, which was a little odd.
Rune opened his mouth to say something, suddenly her eyes popped. Her mouth twisted and her look turned into a glare.
“What?” I asked.
“What… the hell… is poking my leg.”
I blinked, “What?”
“Please don’t tell me that is what I think it is.”
I looked down, “Oh…”
“Gross, gross, gross, gross, and get the hell away from me,”
“No! Stay right there, I don’t want that thing wagging all over the place!”
“Get away from me! Can’t you keep it in your pants Jane?”
“Well, what the heck am I supposed to do with it. It’s just doing it on its own. I’m not encouraging it!”
Rune finally managed to push me off, taking a few steps back, and then brushing of her skirt and shivering.
“What do I do with it?”
“What do you mean what do you do with it?”
I pointed down and Rune turned her head, closing her eyes.
“I’m not thinking about sex, why’s it still hard?” I demanded.
“That just happens sometimes.”
“Well, what do you do when that happens?”
“I don’t know, just use a book or something.”
“I don’t have a book! And that doesn’t solve the problem, anyway. It’s still there.”
“Will you point that somewhere else?”
I made a fist and punched it. That turned out to be a mistake. I fell to the ground, the pain throbbing through me.
“Yeah, that was a really stupid thing to do.”
“Why does it hurt so badly?”
“Just take deep breaths, you’ll get through it.”
“I feel like throwing up.”
“I know it sucks.”
“And it’s still hard!”
Rune scratched his head and sighed, “Yeah, its persistent isn’t it. How about try peeing?”
“Just go pee.”
“Here, you’re a guy, it’s an alley.”
“No, ew, gross.”
“Will you just go? You’re already burning time. You don’t have enough time to go to the café, so it’s right to the park and you need to make it happen, or end of the world. Remember, wrath of my father?”
I sighed, moving over behind a dumpster and unzipping. “This really sucks you know.”
“Yeah, it’s not my idea of a perfect date either.”
“Hey, it’s working!”
Rune shivered, turning away, “I’m going to go. Samantha went left, follow her and get her to say the words.”
“We never speak of this again.”