Rosaline: Hyperactive Summer

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Chapter 5

It was way too early; for R-Kelley at least. He had been averaging sixteen hours of sleep a day since the summer began, and even though this unnaturally early rise had cut into his hours, he was confident he'd be able to catch up on them later. And it wasn't so bad. R-Kelley was a man that could enjoy a cool, early morning walk on the beach purely for the serenity of it. It was five o'clock. The sun was awake, but like the beachgoers that would later enjoy the ocean air at a more reasonable hour, the high waves were still slow in getting out of bed.

"Do, do, do raindrops, do, do, dee, do, I know, do, do, dee, do, do, won't defeat me…" R-Kelley sang softly to himself.

Accompanying the dark-haired boy was his furry, four-legged friend, Bro Dog. Walks in the virgin sunlight were certainly not typical for R-Kelley and not for Bro Dog either. Their promenade on the white sand had been ordered by Frankie, who had grown tired of doing all the housework. He granted R-Kelley the ability to avoid doing any house cleaning, but in return the laidback teenager would have to take care of Bro Dog by himself. Walks, baths, feeding, and all the rest were now charged to R-Kelley.

"Hey," a blonde girl called to him from a distance. R-Kelley walked to where she was standing on the concrete sidewalk that lined the edge of the sand. He smiled and greeted her.

"You do know that dogs are not allowed on this beach, correct?" she said curtly.

"I can't say I was aware of that fact, no," R-Kelley responded, "I'm R-Kelley."

"Is this your dog?"

"Uh, sort of."

"What do you mean 'sort of'?"

"Well, he could be my dog. But then again, he could belong to several other people too. It's pretty vague," R-Kelley said, rubbing the nape of his neck as he thought about it.

"Right; well I just wanted you to know before the cops came around. Bye," the blonde girl said. She waved unenthusiastically before turning around and jogging off. Her blonde hair was tied back in a ponytail that bobbed as she stepped. She wore white gym shorts and a black sports bra, as well as tennis shoes and black gloves without fingers.

R-Kelley smiled and waved casually, commenting to Bro Dog that she had been a very nice girl. R-Kelley began walking down the sidewalk in the opposite direction that the girl had gone, his bare feet numb against the cold concrete. Later in the day, the sun would make the concrete hot to the touch. And it was at this thought that R-Kelley suddenly stopped in his tracks. His face was blank and he remained frozen for several moments. Bro Dog looked up at him.

"Ah! Bro Dog, do you know who that was?" R-Kelley gaped as he spoke. "Wait, come back!" He called as he ran after the blonde girl. The golden retriever followed at his side, barking as they sprinted.

The blonde girl pushed the glass door open and stepped into the dimly lit lobby of her apartment building. She returned the greeting from the lady working behind the desk and began climbing the stairs as she undid the Velcro on her gloves. She was stopped, however, at the sound of the desk manager explaining that dogs are not allowed in the building. The blonde girl turned around to see a teenage boy with long, black hair standing in the lobby, wearing only a tattered orange bathrobe and a backwards cap.

"You again," she said, going back down the stairs. "Is there a reason you followed me home?" She was a little suspicious.

"I know who you are!" R-Kelley beamed excitedly. "You're a lifeguard."

"Yeah." The girl paused for him to continue, but he said nothing. "It's not a secret."

"You saved my friend's life," R-Kelley finally added.

The blonde girl thought for a moment before saying, "That bitchy girl is your friend?"

"No, you're thinking of someone else," R-Kelley said, "I'm talking about the tall, tan girl."

"I've only saved one person's life this summer. And that girl was, in fact, a bitch."

"Mishy, please watch your language," the clerk said from behind the counter.

"Don't lecture me, Granny," the blonde girl threw back.

"You're so mean to your grandmother," R-Kelley added.

"She's not my grandmother," the blonde girl straightened up and wiped stray pieces of hair from her forehead. "And my name isn't Mishy. I'm Michelle Sorsa. You can call me Michy. What did you say your name was again?"

"I'm R-Kelley. I just wanted to thank you, is all," R-Kelley said as he shook Michy's hand.

"Think nothing of it," Michy said, "I'll see you around." She turned and continued up the stairs. Two hours later, she made her way back down the stairs, wearing the same white gym shorts and a light, white jacket over a red, one-piece swimsuit. Her almost-white hair was still tied back, and a pair of sunglasses sat on her nose. "Why are you still here?"

R-Kelley hadn't left. He remained sitting in one of the lobby chairs by the door with Bro Dog at his side. The clerk had asked him several times to leave, but R-Kelley insisted that he was waiting for Michy.

"I want to repay you for what you did for Rosaline," R-Kelley answered, standing up with a smile.

"Don't worry about it," Michy said. She passed R-Kelley and exited the building, walking back towards the beach. R-Kelley and Bro Dog eagerly followed her.

"But it was a great thing you did for her," R-Kelley said. She walked without looking at him.

"Look, R-Kelley, it's my job. I didn't want to save her, but they probably would have docked my pay if I just let her drown," Michy said coldly.

"Well, I'd still like to repay her debt."

"It's not your debt to repay. Just have your friend write me a 'thank you' card, and we'll call it even."

"Heh, Rosaline won't do that. She's actually mad at you," R-Kelley smiled.

"For what? Saving her life?" Michy huffed.

"She wanted the guy lifeguard to make-out with her, not you."

"I didn't make-out with anybody. I gave her CPR, the ungrateful jerk. You can repay her debt by slapping her for me."

R-Kelley, however, would not let it go so easily. He followed her to the beach and only when she was up on the lifeguard tower did he leave her side. Michy looked around and was relieved when he wasn't in sight. Several minutes later, as she attentively watched over the shallow coast line, Michy was startled by a sudden figure appearing on the lifeguard tower. Beside her, poised on the arm of the chair, was R-Kelley, wearing his bathrobe around his waist like a skirt.

"There doesn't seem to be any suspicious activity at this moment, Captain Michy," R-Kelley announced, rubbing his chin as he looked out over the beach bathers.

"Yeah, except for you. Get off," she ordered, pushing the slender boy off the tower. "This chair is only for lifeguards. Stay down."

"Roger, Captain Michy," R-Kelley called from where he landed on the sand.

He soon scrambled to his feet and ran off again. Before Michy knew it, R-Kelley was back and he had brought two of his followers. They wore similar robes around their waists, but while R-Kelley's was orange, theirs were blue. The three men had "Itchy Michy" written on their bare chests in black marker.

They stood in a line with R-Kelley in the center. In unison they screamed "Go Michy!" They held their arms out to their sides, jumped to the left, jumped to the right, and then jumped to the left again. Then they yelled "Itchy Michy, Itchy Michy, Itchy Michy," as they violently scratched their torsos and swiveled their hips. R-Kelley and his followers jumped forward and back and repeated the chant again.

Michy didn't wait for them to finish, though. She jumped off the back of the lifeguard tower, landed heavily in the sand, and lobbed a PFD at R-Kelley, who was able to dodge the fast-moving flotation device. The chanting stopped immediately, and Michy grabbed R-Kelley's shoulders, shaking him violently as she yelled.

"Quit it! You're disturbing the beachgoers and distracting the lifeguard!" Her face was slightly reddened. Even she didn't know if it was from rage or embarrassment.

"But we're doing a cheer to celebrate your honor," R-Kelley explained. "Have I become a bother to you?"

"Yes!" Michy screamed in his face. "Look, if I need help, I'll give you a call. Otherwise, don't butt in!"

"Right, I'll stay by your side so when you need something I'll be there right away," R-Kelley affirmed.

Michy tried to say that wasn't at all what she meant, but R-Kelley had already instructed his followers to leave and made himself comfortable at the base of the lifeguard tower with Bro Dog at his side. Michy returned to the top of the white lifeguard tower that stood above the sunbathers. She stewed about what had just happened, how anyone would think that dance was an appropriate way to thank someone. It infuriated her until the end of her shift.

"Get the fu…" she began, but when she realized it was Sam, coming to take over for her, she stopped herself. "Sorry."

"What's eating you?" Sam asked as Michy climbed down the ladder.

"This guy," she said, pointing to R-Kelley who had just been roused from his light slumber in the shade of the lifeguard tower. "He's been following me around all day. It's embarrassing and irritating."

"Want me to call the police?" Sam asked seriously.

Michy smiled slightly and said, "No, he's persistent, but I'll handle it. See you tomorrow."

Michy began walking off the beach with R-Kelley following at a distance behind her. He really does look like a creepy stalker, she thought. He was barefoot and topless, his hair was a tangled mess pressed down under his backwards hat, and a filthy, tattered robe was his only clothing. He would garner attention wherever they went. It had to stop.

"R-Kelley, are you staying in town for very long?" she asked, facing forward.

"I'll be here all summer."

"Are you staying nearby?"

"Yeah, we're at a beach house near here."

"So is it possible for you to go home and change out of that bathrobe?"

"No, it isn't."

"Why not?"

"Frankie took all my clothes. When Frankie says they're too disgusting to live with, he takes them to the laundry mat to wash them. That's why I'm wearing this."

She stopped and turned towards him briefly, looking him over again. Then with a scowl, she grabbed his hand and began leading him to town. It wasn't long before she realized what she was doing and released his hand without looking back at R-Kelley. It didn't matter; she knew he would follow.

Michy, R-Kelley, and Bro Dog soon arrived at a clothing store close to the beach. When R-Kelley inquired as to what they were doing at a men's clothing store, Michy responded "I'm not going around town with someone who's dressed like a vagabond! We're getting you some new clothes."

Michy gave an undiscerning glance around the shop and quickly snatched a white button-up shirt and black slacks off the rack. She tossed them in R-Kelley's face and pointed him in the direction of the changing room. After being confronted by an employee, Michy and Bro Dog waited just outside the shop while R-Kelley changed. After several minutes, R-Kelley called them back in.

The blonde girl returned to the shop with Bro Dog at her side to see R-Kelley standing with his shoulders back and his thumbs tucked in his pockets. Their view from the side really showed how slender he was. With his charming smile, Michy thought he looked pretty sharp, aside from his matted hair and sun-faded hat.

"Perfect, buy it," Michy instructed.

"I can't," R-Kelley said.

"Why not?" she asked annoyed.

"I spent all my money on this," R-Kelley explained, holding up the marker that he had used to write on himself.

"You're kidding me," she said. Michy lifted her sunglasses to look through her brown wallet. "I don't have enough cash for even t-shirts and a pair of shorts, let alone this stuff. And I don't want to use my debit card on this."

"What if we tried over there," R-Kelley said, pointing to a surf shop across the street.

"They have a special going on," Michy knew from the sign on the window, "Okay, good idea. Let's go." Michy began walking, but as R-Kelley began following her, she instructed him to change out of the nice clothes first.

"Excuse me, sir. How can we qualify for the special?" Michy asked the man at the cash register.

"See that wall back there?" the man with a mullet and a hairy face pointed a thumb to several pictures of couples hanging behind the counter. "Just donate a photo of you and Itchy Michy here, and we'll give a great deal." Michy's head drooped at the explanation.

"Actually," R-Kelley said, placing a hand atop Michy's head, "she's Itchy Michy." The blonde fumed under the weight of his palm.

"And it has to be a good picture, too; kind of a boyfriend-girlfriend thing," the hairy man explained.

"We can do that," R-Kelley said with a smile.

"Like hell we can," Michy said angrily.
"C'mon, I know just what to do." R-Kelley led Michy and Bro Dog past the surfboards and collectable mugs to the other side of the store. A few minutes later, Michy stood before a mirror, wearing an oversized blue Hawaiian shirt with a peculiar smear of brown and green floral patterns. While she looked positively disgusted, R-Kelley stood behind her, wearing the exact same shirt, with a pleased look on his face.

"This is putrid," Michy mumbled.

"Really? I think it's rather Al Capone, as Al would say," R-Kelley said.

"I hope you mean 'a la mode.'" Michy said.

"Well, it doesn't really matter anyway." R-Kelley led Michy back to the counter and said, "Would you mind taking our photo, my brotha?" The man with the mullet laughed, much to Michy's chagrin, but agreed to take their photo.

Before Michy knew it, R-Kelley placed his right hand on her right shoulder, brought his face right up next to hers, and brought his hand in front of her torso, giving a thumbs-up to the camera. Blushing slightly, she moved so that her face was slightly in R-Kelley's direction. While he had a big toothy smile, she forced an uncomfortable grin. Through her teeth, she instructed the man to hurry up; her eyebrow twitched from anxiety.

"There we go," the man said. R-Kelley stepped away, and Michy relaxed her shoulders, sighing with relief. "Nana, ring these two kids up, will you?" the man said as he went to a computer behind the counter and began uploading the picture from the digital camera.

A feeble, old woman lifted herself off a stool behind the counter. She slowly walked up to them, standing just a head taller than the counter. Her skin had the same grey dye as her hair, but through her tired face was an oblivious smile.

"Oh, might I say, you kids look so cute together," she said sweetly.

"Yeah, thanks," Michy said half-heartedly.

"I remember when I was your age. Herb and I would go shopping all the time, but he wasn't nearly as handsome as this young man."

"Uh huh, ma'am, do you think…"

"He was such a great dancer back in those days. We went out every Friday night and Saturday too, if we could still keep the beat. These days I can't get him off the couch," the woman chuckled at her memories.

"That's wonderful, lady. Could you ring us up?" Michy asked, her eyebrows now twitching from annoyance.

"I remember the first time we had dinner together. He brought me a lovely rose," she mused.

"Look lady!" Michy yelled angrily, slamming her hands down on the counter, "Are you going to ring us up or not?"

The old woman timidly stepped back, and the hairy man stepped forwards, saying "Hey, you best be respectful of ol' Nana here."

"Let me handle this," R-Kelley stepped forward. "I apologize for my acquaintance, sir. She's wound a little tight." Michy fumed. "But if you'll ring us up, we'll be on our way." R-Kelley held out his hand, and Michy smugly placed her debit card in it. He handed the card to the man, who ran it through the machine and handed it back. R-Kelley declined the receipt and the two left the store with Bro Dog at their heels.

"Here's your card back," R-Kelley said.

Michy took it and asked, "How much was it anyway?"

"Oh, around fifty dollars," R-Kelley said casually.

"What happened to the discount?" Michy shrieked.

"Well, I had to get shorts, too, and this is a very classy shirt. Plus you bought two of them," R-Kelley explained.

"I bought t…" Michy began before she realized she was still wearing the same ugly shirt as R-Kelley. The same shirt she had unknowingly purchased. "Gah!" she screamed, violently scraping her fingers through her hair. After a moment, she stopped. Michy slumped over with a tired look on her face.

"Are you mad?" R-Kelley asked with a slight smile on his face.

"No, do I look mad?" she said bitterly.

"Don't worry I'll make it up to you. I'll buy lunch," R-Kelley offered.

"I thought you didn't have any money," Michy reminded him.

"Oh, yeah, well, I'll make us lunch at your place."

Michy almost laughed. "There's no way I'm letting you into my apartment." She kept walking down the crowded sidewalk with R-Kelley and Bro Dog at either side of her.

"Would you rather go to my place?" R-Kelley suggested.

Michy thought about it for a brief second before saying, "Let's go to my apartment." At least I know where all the potential weapons are, she thought.

"Good; Frankie doesn't let me cook anyway."

"Swell," she mumbled.

Michy turned her key in the lock and pushed open the door. The apartment she led R-Kelley and Bro Dog into wasn't too large, but it was comfortable and well lit. A large window allowed for a clear view of the ocean and let the sunlight beam into the kitchen-living room combo. A blue, leather couch stood adjacent to the window with a coffee table in front of it. The small kitchen had only one counter, a stove, a refrigerator, and a microwave. The apartment was also divided by a wall; down a short hallway, one could enter a single bedroom to the left or a small bathroom to the right.

"There's the kitchen. Try not to make a mess," Michy said as she walked across the apartment, "Keep an eye on him."

"Don't worry, Bro Dog is very well behaved," R-Kelley said.

"I was talking to Bro Dog," Michy responded before locking herself in the bedroom to change her clothes.

When Michy returned, Bro Dog was standing on the counter, his snout shoved in an open cabinet, digging through the contents. Just as Michy was about to ask, unhappily, what he was doing, a glass jar fell from the cabinet and shattered, sending red powder all over the floor and counter top.

"No, Bro Dog, you've doomed us all!" R-Kelley shrieked, as if the retriever had just damaged the last escape pod as the space ship's self-destruct countdown reached zero.

Michy grabbed the dog by the collar and dragged him across the apartment. The blonde then shoved him in the corner and hissed a strict order not to move. Her enraged face was so frightening that the dog didn't dare test her command.

Then Michy went behind R-Kelley, who busied himself with stirring the contents of a red pot as it sat on the stove. Without warning, she smacked him on the back of the head, sending his long black hair over his face.

"That was so cruel," R-Kelley said somberly, his eyes covered by his hair.

"I'm sorry, but you just drive me crazy! I don't know…"

"Hey it's not a problem," R-Kelley said, pushing back his hair and showing her the contents of the pot. "Lunch is all ready." He smiled innocently at her. Michy looked in the pot, a confused expression on her face.

"Oatmeal for lunch?"

But R-Kelley just nodded happily.

Michy sat down on the couch in front of the coffee table, and R-Kelley handed her a bowl of oatmeal before sitting down cross-legged on the floor across from her.

"Bone a teat," R-Kelley said cheerfully.

"Please stop trying to speak Fren…" Michy started before plunging a spoon into her mouth at the same time as R-Kelley. Neither one seemed to particularly enjoy the grainy-watery glob they just tried. They shared the same disgusted look as they stared at each other, allowing the taste to sink in. "Would the paprika have made it better?" Michy asked with her mouth full.

"It's a vital ingredient," R-Kelley confirmed, fearful of swallowing.

Michy slammed both bowls in front of Bro Dog, and with an evil grin, poured a dust pan of paprika all over them. "This is what happens to dogs that don't mind their manners," she sung as Bro Dog hesitantly sniffed the food, carful to keep his head low.

"How do you mess up oatmeal? Its all prepackaged-just-add-water stuff," Michy mumbled to herself as she set a plate with a sandwich on it in front of R-Kelley.

"Thank you very much, ma'am."

"Shut up."

"So where's your family?" R-Kelley asked.

"They actually live in Seattle. But they own this building and this apartment was empty. So they're letting me stay here for the summer," Michy explained as she chewed, "It's pretty cool, but they allot me very little spending money. What about you? You said you were staying in town with a group of friends?"

"Yeah, it's just the six of us in one beach house."

"How did you swing that?"


"I mean, how did you get your parents to let you stay at a beach house all summer? No adults, right?"

"Oh, um, I'm not really sure. My parents didn't seem to care much, but I can't speak for the others," R-Kelley said, scratching his chin. "Come to think of it, one may consider it bad parenting to let a bunch of irresponsible teenagers bum around a beach house all summer without any parental supervision. Oh well."

"Well, whose house is it?"

"I don't know."

Michy was about to say something, but she was then halted by another matter; lowering her sandwich to her plate and glaring at her tablemate, Michy sharply said "You reek."

Without hesitation, Michy grabbed a strand of R-Kelley's matted hair and dragged him groaning and screaming into the bathroom. The blonde slammed the door and held it closed, despite R-Kelley's efforts to escape. He kept trying until Michy declared that, if he wanted to repay his friend's debt, this was a good way to start. Dropping his head in defeat, R-Kelley relented and turned on the shower.

Victorious, Michy strutted back into the living room and sat back down on the couch. She sighed as she leaned back and ran her hand through her hair. She saw that Bro Dog was sitting up, looking at her.

"What?" she cried as she leaned over the edge of the couch, "The paprika really made it better!" Bro Dog's bowl was licked clean, and the dog was satisfied by the food combination that should have been vile. "What'd he do to that oatmeal?"

She sat back and rested her cheek in the palm of her hand. Idiot, she thought. I told him I lived alone? What for? It's probably no big deal, but… I don't know anything about R-Kelley, other than that he's an irritant. He's strange, but there is nothing to suggest he's a rapist or anything. I'm sure I don't need to worry, but still; letting a stranger that I've only known for a few hours into my house. Not your best idea, Michy.

"Hey Michy." In her thoughts, she hadn't heard the shower turn off.

"What?" she opened her eyes to face R-Kelley, his hair dripping, chest bare, and only covered by a small washcloth. She gaped in shock.

"Can you help me with my pants; I spilled a lot of water on them. Think I could borrow a pair?"

"You pervert!" Michy screamed as she violently flung a couch cushion at the naked boy. The cushion nailed him right in the face, making him fall backwards and drop the washcloth. R-Kelley looked up at Michy with fear.

"Is something wrong, Michy?" he asked meekly. The blonde lifeguard scowled at R-Kelley with a red face, eyebrows creased and teeth clenched.

"Get out!" she screamed.


"I said get out!" Her voice cracked from the unfamiliar volume. She stomped over to R-Kelley, latched onto his bare forearm with an iron grip and forced the pale-skinned teenager out of the apartment. Then, holding the door open, "You too. Out!" she ordered and motioned for the retriever to follow R-Kelley. Michy then slammed the door and punched it to relieve tension. "God!"

"Uh…Michy?" R-Kelley said from outside, lightly tapping on the door without any clothes on.

"Oh, hello, young man," the elderly manager said cheerfully as she walked by.

"Ma'am," R-Kelley greeted with a nod. Michy cracked the door open slightly and tossed out his clothes. R-Kelley thanked her and got dressed.

Michy knew he stood out there for some time afterward. The faint singing of "…falling on my head…" was the only reassurance that the lifeguard needed as to his whereabouts. After a while it went silent. Had he gone? Was her short temper finally too much for him? She doubted it. Michy read silently to herself, but her curiosity made her restless. She wanted to know if he was still out in the hallway or if he had just gone home after she exploded. Michy was eager, but something prevented her from simply sticking her head out to look.

No, she was going to check. A combination of guilt and anxiety caused her to stick her head out the door. And no one was there. She hadn't heard him, but that didn't mean he necessarily left. He could have just as easily fallen asleep as he waited. He could have, but there was no sign of him.

"I guess if things were different, I wouldn't wait around either. It's frustrating, right; putting up with someone like me?" Michy went back inside and leaned on the closed door, looking in at her apartment. The evening sun set the room in a different light, allowing for a serene glow on the furniture as well as an earsplitting silence. "Just don't come back, R-Kelley," she whispered.

Since her shift was completed, Michy had spent the whole afternoon with R-Kelley, and now it was a quarter to seven. Michy had promised a friend the previous day that they would have dinner that night at seven. The blonde lifeguard pulled on a pair of nice jeans and a white t-shirt with the name of her high school swim team printed in red lettering over the front.

With her purse in hand and her hair in a ponytail, Michy made a conscious effort to look very casual as she stepped into the hallway and looked both ways. It was vacant. Still gone, Michy thought. With her chin high, she walked down the hallway towards the stairs. Around the corner, R-Kelley held his finger to his lips to tell Bro Dog to be quiet as they tailed her out of the building.

Michy sat down at a table in a restaurant across from a girl several years older than her with short, black hair.

"What's wrong Michy? You're totally bumming me out," Jill complained. Throughout their conversation Michy had been very distant, as if her mind was elsewhere, and it was.

"Nothing's wrong!"

"You can tell me if something's eating you; we're friends after all."

"Nothing's eating me," Michy answered, slamming her glass on the table.

"Please, you're so childish sometimes," Jill said, biting down on a piece of bread.

"Childish? I'm only a few years younger than you! I'm practically an adult."

"Then you should be mature enough to share your feelings."

"I just had a strange day," Michy said somberly. "I met this guy…"


"It's not like that! He just insisted that we hang out. And then he followed me around all day. And we went back to my apartment…" Michy became embarrassed as she spoke.

"Ah, little Michelle taking boys home with her. That's so scandalous!" Jill exclaimed, smiling widely with her hands on her cheeks. "Please, oh please tell me more!"

"Is this how you get off?" Michy said, unimpressed.

"Don't be rude," Jill said, crossing her arms and giving Michy a knowing look. "Just finish the story."

"Well, for your information, nothing happened next. I threw him out," Michy answered matter-of-factly as she took a sip of her lemonade.

"Why? Did he try to molest you?" Jill asked seriously, as the waiter took her plate.

Michy waited until the waiter was out of earshot before she answered, "No, but I didn't want to take any chances. He was freakin' weird."

"Then why did you let him into your apartment?"

"I don't know," Michy answered, resting her chin in the palm of her hand.

"I guess you're just stupid then," Jill said teasingly.

"Can we please talk about something else?"

"Okay, so when was the last time you had a boyfriend?"

"Let's see; I guess it's been four years," Michy said, embarrassed and trying not to look at her friend.

"What? You haven't had a boyfriend since middle school? What's wrong with you?" Jill laughed.

"Oh be quiet," Michy said, straightening up. "So tell me, how's Jack these days?"

"He's such a moron!" Jill exclaimed, tossing her napkin angrily onto the ground. "We drive twelve hours to get here. He promises me that we'll be alone all summer long. And then on our first day here that bastard gets wrapped up in some kind of cult led by a black-haired twerp in a bathrobe!"

"Aw, sounds rough," Michy said, laughing. Jill chuckled, too, even though she insisted it wasn't funny.

Meanwhile, hiding behind a bus stop on the other side of the street, a black-haired twerp in an expensive Hawaiian shirt and his dog sat vigilantly. But despite their initial conviction, R-Kelly and Bro Dog's patience was waning due to hunger. R-Kelley's head leaned against the bus stop as the boy clenched his empty belly.

"Bro Dog, if I don't get some food, I don't know how much longer I'll last." Bro Dog looked like he was in agreement. "Okay here's the plan: I'll wait here and keep an eye on the captain, while you grab us something to eat." Bro Dog looked at R-Kelley without moving. "Okay here's the plan: you wait here and keep an eye on the captain, while I grab us something to eat." Bro Dog looked like he was in agreement, so R-Kelley ran off, promising he would be back quickly.

Unfortunately, while R-Kelley was gone, Michy and Jill finished their meals and left the restaurant. Bro Dog whimpered slightly as he debated over what to do, but ultimately decided to continue following Michy at a safe distance.

While they ate, the sun had gone down, and thus Michy was left to wander home in the darkness. The beachside town wasn't nearly as crowded as it had been in the afternoon, but there were still patrons visiting the shops, couples holding hands on the lamp-lit streets, and little kids chatting away as they walked beside their parents. It was such a peaceful scene on a warm, clear night that Michy found herself lost in the tapestry.

In fact, so euphoric was she that she didn't even see it coming when she bumped into a stranger on the sidewalk. Michy was quick to apologize, but the stranger had already taken off. Michy looked curiously at her bare hands and over her shoulder where her purse had hung not more than a minute ago.

"Hey!" Michy turned around to see the stranger running away with her bag in his hand. "Get back here!" she ordered before running after him.

As the stranger and Michy ran by, Bro Dog decided to return to the bus stop to find R-Kelley who just arrived with a churro in each hand.

"Bro Dog, what happened?" Bro Dog barked frantically several times. "Goldie Locks and the Three Bears have kidnapped Michy! That can't be. How did they find us after all this time? We've got to go rescue her. Lead the way, trusted canine companion." R-Kelley threw the churros onto the ground and followed Bro Dog to where Michy and the thief had gone.

The thief was a rather large man, very hairy with a full beard. He obviously wasn't in the best of shape, as indicated by the tight rolls highlighted in the purple dress he was so oddly squeezed into. But because of that, Michy was able to catch up to him as he ran towards a quiet street that led out of town.

As soon as she was close enough, the lifeguard grabbed onto the strap of her purse. The much larger man held onto it, though, creating a tug-o-war amidst a flurry of cease and desist orders from Michy.

"Let go you bastard! I'll go easy on you if you give it up now," Michy said through clenched teeth, even though she was nearly two feet shorter and much smaller than the stranger.

The man laughed. He had been holding onto the purse with one enormous hand, while she tugged with all her might. Michy revised her strategy and tried kicking him in addition to pulling. It was hard to kick while still clinging to the bag, but if he was in fact a man, there was definitely a weak spot.

Finally, the man shouted "Enough!" and knocked Michy to the ground with one swipe of his giant hand. Michy slid across the asphalt, her arm scraping and her clothes blackening. In the fall, her loosened ponytail came undone, and now her blonde locks fell down to her shoulders as she sat up, cradling her aching left arm.

"I will murder you!" Michy said, panting despite her scowl.

The man laughed again and added "You're pretty tough, but I'm sure you wouldn't put up too much of a fight in bed."

Michy closed her eyes, her scowl tighter than ever before. And with all her breath she screamed "I would rather…"

As she screamed, the bearded cross-dresser took a powerful bare foot to the face and flew backwards. Landing on his feet with impressive balance was a black haired teenage boy, slender for his age, but in good health. He smiled confidently at his opponent, a smile that hid an untold number of secrets that even his closest friends of many years still question. The man gazed up at his attacker in shock.

Michy was also surprised. She hadn't had time to think about it, but it was only natural for him to arrive now. Quietly, she said his name, "R-Kelley."

The man shakily got back to his feet, but was kept back by Bro Dog's violent barking. Trying to keep his hands away from the dog's sharp teeth, the man decided to run away, down the dark country road with Michy's purse still in his hand.

"Michy, are you injured?" R-Kelley asked, running to the blonde's side.

"I'm okay. R-Kelley, I…" she was very emotional, on the verge of tears, but she caught herself, "I can't believe you just let him run away with my purse after all that."

"Oh, sorry," R-Kelley said, as he helped Michy get to her feet.

"All day long you go on about repaying your friend's debt, and here's your chance and you do a half baked job. Thanks for nothing," Michy complained.

"Sorry," R-Kelley said, as he stared down the dark street that the man was now escaping on. Bro Dog sat at his side, panting happily.

"And now I'm bleeding because you're a big idiot," Michy said, seeing the blood dripping down her left arm. "What do you plan on doing about this?"

"Huh?" R-Kelley asked without turning his head.

"Hello, call the police, man. Geez, do something. Show me you're useful, please!" Michy continued to bellow. R-Kelley said nothing, but turned his head and gave her a mysterious smile.

The cross-dressing giant ran until his dress was drenched in sweat. He placed his hands on his knees as he caught his breath under a single streetlight that casted a yellow circular beam onto the otherwise dark and empty street.

As he cleared his throat, the large man felt overcome by an unexpected sensation. A little huff to clear his airways became a multitude of coughs, until he couldn't stop coughing. One cough after another, each getting louder and stronger than the last, echoed through the quiet forest. A terrible cold pierced his throat, and with the pain in his chest and the weakening of his lungs, the powerful man was dragged to his knees by the unending fit.

Both hands clamped over his mouth, the man looked around. There was no one around. The road was as vacant as he had hoped it would be, and he couldn't see much of anything aside from what the lone streetlight illuminated. But out in the forest there was a movement. A tree began coming towards him. Tall as a tree, definitely, but maybe it wasn't. And as the grim figure stepped into the lamplight, the man's eyes widened with terror.

What was it about that face? So empty, so otherworldly. But staring up the barrel of a loaded gun wouldn't have frozen this man's heart the same way that face did. It was haunting. The man's instincts were screaming for him to look away, but he couldn't. It captivated and frightened him so. It was a terror that shook his body and soul, but kept him in place as the flurry of coughs continued.

"Stay back!" the man screamed between hacks. "I'm warn-…Stay back!" The tall figure moved closer. "Stay back! Get awa-…Stay back! Keep the fuck away! No…Don't touch me!" As the creature extended its long arms, the man tried to scramble to his feet. Running away was his only option, but the coughing fits prevented him from going far. Not that it would have done him any good. Little did he know, no amount of running will save you from the slenderman's grasp.

R-Kelley hummed his favorite song happily as he walked down the sidewalk with Michy and Bro Dog at his sides. Michy was a little less cheery as she walked with him back to her apartment, her arm wrapped up in bandages they borrowed from a convenience store. It was mostly a silent walk, and that made her very uncomfortable.

"Thank you for saving me," she quickly muttered.

"Sure thing," R-Kelley pleasantly responded. There was another pregnant pause.

"And I'm sorry I yelled at you."

"Not a problem."

There was another pregnant pause. This forgiveness-apology-resolution wasn't going as Michy had hoped, and R-Kelley's peppiness was only making her feel guiltier. They kept walking together until they reached Michy's apartment building. There, sitting alone on the bus stop, was Michy's purse.

"That's my…How did it get here?" Michy asked as she picked it up and searched through the contents, finding that everything was still in there. She looked to R-Kelley for some sort of answer, but he just smiled quietly, which made her all the more convinced that he had something to do with her purse's return.

"Would you like me to escort you to your apartment?" he asked.

"No, I can manage."

"Okay, I'll see you around then." R-Kelley turned to walk away, but something stopped him. It was Michy's hand tugging lightly on his shirt. She was scowling again.

"R-Kelley, geez, would it kill you to yell at me?" she asked sternly.

"Why? Are you a masochist?"

"Of course not; I just…you were so nice to me all day, and I treated you like dirt. I really misjudged you," she admitted. Michy was headstrong and downright stubborn sometimes, so this wasn't easy to say. As her face reddened, she found it hard to look R-Kelley in the eye. "I apologize."

"It really is no big deal." He grinned.

"Stop saying stuff like that!" she barked.

Placing his hand on her shoulder, he said "Michy, you're a lot of fun. Sorry I bugged you so much today, but I hope we become great friends."

"Sure," Michy said with a light smile. Before he could leave, Michy stopped him again. Extending her hand, Michy said, "Consider your friend's debt repaid." They shook hands, and Michy watched as R-Kelley and Bro Dog ran off together into the peaceful night. The blonde smiled to herself before going inside, lightly singing "…happiness steps up to greet me…"

As the screen door of the beach house slammed shut, R-Kelley found his friends sitting at the dining room table. In a state of melancholy, both David and Rosaline had their faces pressed against the wooden table. Frankie, Carrie and Al all looked up from their meals to greet R-Kelley and Bro Dog as they walked in.

"Where've you been all day, man?" Al asked.

"Oh, just around."

"You didn't just fall asleep somewhere when you were walking Bro Dog, did you?" Frankie asked.

"Would I do something like that?" His friends answered affirmatively in unison. After enjoying a generous plate of Frankie's home cooking, R-Kelley said "Well, I'm going to bed. I'm exhausted. What about you, Bro Dog?" And the boy and the golden retriever dragged themselves up the stairs and into R-Kelley's room, where they had many hours of sleep to catch up on.

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