|By : Hippo_and_Friends_with_Benefits|
Category: Final Fantasy VII > General
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Chapter 10: Birthday on the Beach
January 2, 0001
We were back in school the day after New Year's. It was a pain in the ass, since we all stayed up late the previous night. We were all relieved that it was at least the halfway point to the summer.
I walked by Durham as she was talking to a girl at her locker; she didn't notice me walking by. I was on my way to class and didn't want to be late, but all I heard Durham say was: "I spend New Year's with a guy friend."
So she lied to me; it was all I needed to hear.
It was a low blow. Now I was starting to consider forgetting about Miss Haverford.
January 18, 0001
I made a promise to myself that if Durham didn't turn up as my date for Logan's sixteenth birthday party, which turned out to be a dinner at Tropical Tastes in Sector Four, she was dropped from girlfriend consideration for sure.
Durham duly arrived on time. We went together, and we sat next to each other, but it was a disappointment after I walked her back to her big-assed house. She said good-bye and just went inside. No kiss, not even a hug. It was then that I realized that I should have taken Aerith.
By the way, it was the last time we saw Logan; he moved to Kalm at the end of the year.
Just in case you were wondering what had happened to him.
February 4, 0001
A month went by and nothing meaningful happened. I didn't see Zack for weeks, but I didn't need to. I made a shitload of cash from the pics I took in Banora. His mom was happy to know that he was alive and well after that whole incident. But what happened with Angeal had to have been eating him. Even Durham wouldn't go that crazy.
As for my life, I was still debating who to date. Durham was really pushing her luck by now, but Aerith, if she did have feelings for me, did a hell of a job bottling them up. Aerith might have been the more honest one, but Durham was bolder, and, despite her deceitfulness, seemed more ready to move forward with me. It was still a touch call to make.
That dilemma was resolved in early February. I was on my way to class when I heard a familiar soprano.
"Hey, you!" Aerith greeted.
"Hey yourself," I replied. "What are you up to?"
"Looking for lovable goofballs," she replied with a smile.
"At school?" I asked.
"I found one, didn't I?" she laughed.
I laughed back; it appeared she was flirting with me.
"Doesn't your roommate think so?" she continued.
"I wouldn't know," I replied. "I'm usually not home until late. She locks her door by then. She says it's because she sleeps like a cartoon animal. I don't know what that means. Do you?"
"I'm afraid not," she replied. "So, I've been meaning to ask you something."
My mouth dried. For a second, I thought she was going to ask me out. She didn't, but it was almost just as good.
"It's my birthday this Saturday," she began. "We're going to take a charter to Costa del Sol for the day." She then looked at me and smiled. "It would mean a lot if you came."
See? Almost just as good. This would be my chance to know for sure.
"I'll be there," I confirmed.
"Great!" Aerith exclaimed as she hugged me.
This was almost too perfect. I would get a whole day with her and get to know her really well.
My teenage brain reminded me that I might even get to see her in a bikini.
I smirked at that.
I saw her competitor on the way to my next class. She was wearing a pair of really tight jeans and a black crop-tank that would get her sent home sooner, rather than later. She came right up to me, with a serious look on her face.
"Tobin," she began, "can I talk to you about something?"
"Go ahead," I approved, half-expecting her to apologize and half-expecting her to move on.
It was the former.
"I'm really sorry I've been kind of off lately," she began.
"That's okay," I replied, even though it wasn't. She did lie to me about New Year's. Now it almost seemed like she was sucking up to me.
"I think it's because I need a boyfriend," Durham continued. "I feel like there's something really missing in my life."
I was silent. It seemed like she was asking me out, but I wasn't sure.
"Okay," she said, "I'm just going to say it."
"What's that?" I asked.
"I'd like you as my boyfriend," she answered.
I should've been beyond happy, but I was iffy. I mean, what guarantee did I have that she wouldn't pull more shit like she did before? New Year's was still on my mind, even a month later.
"I know what happened last month was kind of low," Durham continued.
"You gotta forgive," I said. I still wanted that option open.
"You don't have to decide now," she assured me.
"We can meet sometime and talk about it," I suggested. I wanted to see what happened at Aerith's birthday first.
"My house," Durham replied. "Saturday night at nine. You can tell me your decision then. Don't be late."
I nodded. It would be perfect; I would have made up my mind by then.
"Well," she said, "we can't be late for class, can we?"
We parted ways for the day. Then, something popped into my head. That...thing I was curious about.
"Hey Durham?" I called.
"What's up?" she asked as she turned her head.
"One more thing," I replied. "Do you know what it means to sleep like a cartoon animal?"
"Sleep like a cartoon animal?" Durham asked.
"That's what my roommate says she does and has to lock her door because of it."
"She sounds weird," Durham said. "But I have no clue."
So there I had it. February 7 would be a big day for me. It would be the day I officially decided who I would be dating.
I had more or less made up my mind already. It would probably be Aerith.
It would be nice for her to get a boyfriend for her sweet sixteen.
February 7, 0001
Before I headed out, I noticed I had gotten a message on social media; it was from Yuffie. Sure enough, she wanted to rant.
"My mom told me about where babies come from!" it read. "Eeeeewwww!"
I sighed; this girl was a handful.
"That's was more than I wanted to know," I typed back, "but congratulations."
I then decided to ask her.
"Do you know what it means to sleep like a cartoon animal?" I typed.
"Sleep with a dream bubble above your head?" she responded. "Snore really loud? I dunno."
I sighed, figuring she didn't have the answer. She was the least dependable person I knew.
"I have to go," I typed. "I'm going to a friend's birthday party."
"Is your friend a girl?" Yuffie typed back.
"Yes," I replied.
"Are you going to make a baby with her?" she typed. "Are you going to stick your penis up her private?"
"Good-bye!" I sighed out loud as I closed the message box.
Midgar had a small airport in Sector Three that was used exclusively for charter flights. We all boarded the charter shuttle at three. It was a surprisingly short ride that took only about twenty minutes.
Costa del Sol is on the Western Continent, but this was my first time there. It's known as the hottest spot on the planet, for two reasons. One, it never goes below eighty-five degrees there, largely because there's a hole in the ozone above. Two, the beach and boardwalk are full of bikinis and swim trunks, take your pick.
We were at a small area on the boardwalk with a small pool and a bar (which served nonalcoholic stuff, since we were all below drinking age). There were eight people there: three girls, two guys, myself, Elmyra, and Aerith.
Two of the girls were blondes that I recognized from the cheer squad. Neither of them talked to me; they were the type who only dated (or even talked to) jocks.
The third girl had brownish-black hair. I didn't recognize her at all; I figured she had slipped by. But, in any case, she sat down next to me and actually said hello.
"I'm Gehrig," she greeted.
"I'm Tobin," I replied.
"It's nice to meet you, Tobin," Gehrig said. "Where do you know Aerith from?"
"We met in September at the cafeteria," I replied. "She then started stalking me."
"Typical Aerith," Gehrig laughed.
"Where do you know her from?" I asked.
"Third grade," she replied. "The first day, she tried to sit next to me. She'll tell you I love pulling pranks. I pushed her chair away and made her fall on her butt. She didn't get upset. She just laughed. And she's been my best friend ever since."
A few minutes later, I found myself on a barstool with the birthday girl sitting next to me, sipping a glass of lemonade and pointing to the two other men who were here.
"Those are two of the guy cheerleaders," Aerith explained.
You know, the ones who are only there so they can lift them up by their asses.
"I haven't seen Gehrig at any games," I said.
"She's not on the squad," Aerith corrected. "She plays softball. We've just known each other since we were eight."
"She told me about what she did with the chair," I told her.
"Gehrig's sweet most of the time, but she can be evil when she wants to."
Coincidentally, Gehrig was standing right behind her, placing her finger to her mouth and showing a wicked smirk on her face.
Before I could guess what was happening, Gehrig poked Aerith in the abdomen. The resulting reflex action caused her to twitch, dropping the glass of lemonade, and causing it to spill all over her lap.
Aerith was wearing a pair of dark green capris pants, but the spill still stuck out like a sore thumb.
"Gehrig!" Aerith exclaimed. "Now it looks like I peed my pants!"
"Well, duh!" Gehrig responded. "Should I buy you some diapers?!"
"And it's freezing!" Aerith continued.
Elmyra came over to console her.
Not wanting to look as if I was gawking, I turned away. I waited a good three minutes before I turned around again. When I did, I was in for one hell of a surprise.
Aerith was now facing the bar and drinking a new lemonade, but that's what I noticed the least. I was treated to a rather generous view of her bare leg, thigh, and the side of her butt. Her pants were folded on her lap.
At first, it looked like she was reversed-naked or bottomless or whatever you want to call it. On closer inspection (yes, I'm a guy, so I looked, but certainly didn't touch), I noticed that Aerith was wearing a bright blue thong bikini bottom.
I then looked away again, to avoid staring, though I certainly wanted to. I just couldn't believe it; she seemed like such a modest girl.
"Hey, Tobin," Aerith eventually called as she stood up. "Can you come with me, please?"
She turned her back to me, and I followed her. This was a struggle; I did everything I could to keep my eyes away from her butt, but there were a couple of times that I gave in. That thing only showed for two inches before disappearing completely into her butt crack. Thankfully, she didn't notice.
We got to a wooden railing that gave us a generous view of the beach and the ocean.
"I just wanted to say thanks for coming," Aerith began. "It means a lot." She then affectionately patted my shoulder.
I noticed that nobody else had gotten her a present. Fortunately, I did. I thus figured that this would be the perfect time, since we were alone.
Yes, I got her something. I wasn't originally going to. How did I change my mind? Take a wild guess.
"You have to get her something!" Cissnei protested.
"We stopped doing that when we were twelve," I insisted.
"Do you have any idea how special that would make her feel?" she insisted. "I know! Girls like things like bath salt or body lotion. She would love it if you got her some!"
Did I mention how annoying Cissnei was yet?
Instead, I got Aerith a bracelet. It was one of those cheap ones, but she couldn't tell.
She put it on her wrist and gazed at it for a few seconds before gazing at me.
"You didn't have to," she whispered, as her eyes became wet.
She then hugged me, and gazed into my eyes again.
I was wondering if I should kiss her. I had a feeling she would like it, but part of me was thinking about how awkward it could get if that hadn't been what she was seeking. So I didn't do it.
I then noticed, out of the corner of my eye, that the two "guy cheerleaders" were taking one long look at Aerith's butt.
"They're staring," I said.
"Figures," Aerith sighed. "My mom said I could wear a thong today, but warned me about the stares from the guys. I guess she was two thirds right."
"You still wanted to wear it," I observed.
"I'm more of a woman than a girl," she explained, "and I want it to feel like it. Hence the thong."
"Sorry about those two," I said.
"At least you're not staring," she said.
"It's a rude thing to do," I pointed out.
"It means you actually see me as a person and not as a body," Aerith added with a smile.
"I always did," I assured her.
"Maybe it's not a thong I need to feel more like an adult," she said.
"What do you mean?" I asked.
"I think what I really want is a boyfriend," she answered.
My palms became sweaty. I was fully expecting her to ask me out.
"I'm not getting any younger," she continued.
"You're only sixteen," I commented.
"I want to get married young," Aerith clarified. "I want to be a young mom who gets on the roller coasters with the kids."
This girl was certainly serious about what she wanted in life, especially for her age.
"Is this why you didn't plan on going to college?" I inquired.
"Partially," she admitted.
"You think you'll get married right out of high school?" I then asked her.
"I'm not sure," she replied. "But if it happens, it happens."
She was making eye contact and smiling at me the whole time. I was still waiting for her to say something about us. But, instead, we had a distraction.
"I smell weed," Aerith suddenly said. "I'm going over. Come join me, okay?"
I stood there as she walked away, enjoying the show, if you will. I knew she wouldn't admit it, but I could've sworn she had worn that thong for me.
As I watched, I saw a puff of smoke go by. I turned to see another man staring at Aerith's backside, sitting about a yard away from me. He was blond, and he was smoking a joint; that was where the smell was coming from.
"She likes you," the man said.
"You think?" I replied. I didn't want much to do with this guy, but the last thing I wanted was for Aerith to see me being a dick. So I tried to be as friendly as possible.
"Kid, I know a liking girl when I see one," the man said. "Chances are, she wore that thong for you."
"She wants to feel free and grown up," I corrected him.
"Bullshit," the man dismissed. "And she said she wants a boyfriend. That's the cue to ask her out."
That son of a bitch was eavesdropping.
"That's what I think," I told him. "But I could be wrong."
"There's one other way to be sure," he said.
Now this was getting interesting. Maybe I could finally get myself a peace of mind here.
"What's that?" I asked.
"Put your hand on her ass," the man replied.
"What?" I asked.
"Put you hand on her ass," he repeated. "If she pushes her ass against your hand, she likes you."
I looked at the man and noticed there was no ring on his finger.
"You're still single," I pointed out.
"I'm only twenty-five," the man replied. "I've got time. Listen, uh, Tyler..."
"Tobin," I corrected him.
"Right, Tobin. The name's Cid. Cid Highwind. Now we trust each other." He took another puff from his joint. "So, anyways, do what I told you to do. Then you'll know for sure."
"What if she smacks me?" I asked.
"Bad news early is good news!" Cid replied.
I gave him a nod, and then returned to where Aerith was.
"There you are!" she exclaimed.
"You weren't trying to ditch us, were you?" Gehrig playfully asked.
"Far from it," I assured her.
I hadn't forgotten Cid's advice, but I didn't do it. It was way to risky. I then turned to notice that Cid was gone. He was probably so high he wouldn't even remember me.
We then all stripped to our swimwear and spend the rest of the party in the pool.
The party ended as the charter shuttle landed. We all said our good-byes and, soon, I was alone in the street.
It was clear to me that Aerith wanted me to ask her out. Being old fashioned, it seemed that she expected me to do the deed instead. So be it; I decided I would do it the next time I saw her.
Now there was only one loose end I still needed to tie up; I needed to give Durham the dreadful talking to.
Coincidentally, my phone buzzed.
"Meet me in my backyard," Durham's text read. "Pronto."
I took the train to Sector Five, and was soon at the boundary of Durham's backyard. The whole property was concealed by a perimeter of evergreens; you could only glimpse their humongous house from the mouth of their driveway.
Aerith had definitely pulled ahead at this point. She had basically meandered around all day in a thong; that would be kind of hard to beat. She was dropping hints left and right as well.
I heard a splash, indicating that someone was making use of the backyard pool.
"I'm going to watch TV in bed," I heard Mrs. Haverford call. "Don't stay out too late."
"I won't, mom," I heard Durham reply.
I squeezed my way through the evergreens just in time to see Mrs. Haverford, wearing one of those unflattering mom swimsuits, disappear into the patio and slide it closed behind her. It was perfect; I didn't want to humiliate Durham in front of her parents.
I slowly rotated my head to the left, allowing the pool to come into view; Durham wasn't in it. That was weird; I had just heard her voice.
I then heard the sound of bare feet climbing metal. At the end of the pool I was facing, there was a diving board thirty feet up. I slowly scanned the ladder upward as the climbing sound stopped.
Finally, my gaze reached the diving board.
I then saw a lot more of Durham than I had been expecting to.
She stood naked on the diving board with her arms raised in the air, giving me a generous look at her perfect body. Her tits were a perfect ten. I also noticed that she had shaved off her pubic hair, making her vagina as bare as possible. She then dove in, creating a loud splash. As she emerged, she noticed me, and waved with a smile. Finally, she swam to the ladder in the back.
Durham climbed out of the pool, giving me an incredible view of her bare ass. She then began walking the perimeter of the pool, turning towards me and smiling as the distance between us got smaller and smaller.
Once again, she had outdone her competitor. This was not going to be easy.
"Hold it right there, pervert!" shouted an unpleasant male voice.
I turned to see Mr. Haverford to my right, angrily glaring at me, and with a cell phone in his hand, ready to call the cops.
"Daddy!" Durham protested. "He's a friend!"
"A friend?!" Mr. Haverford snapped. "At this hour? I don't think so." He then turned to me. "And you. Get off my property right now." He then reached into his pocket, producing a nine millimeter and pointing it between my eyes. "You ever set foot here again, you're a dead man."
I slowly backed away.
"Wait on the curb," Durham mouthed.
I felt the evergreens against my back, and soon saw Durham, her father, and the entire backyard disappear from my sight. A moment later, I was back on the street.
I sat on the curb, contemplating what had just happened. I had certainly not expected to find Durham skinny dipping in her backyard. Either she was a big free-spirit or she was trying to hook me. With her, anything went.
A moment later, I heard a rustle behind me. I stood up to greet the now clothed Durham. She had a solemn look on her face.
"I guess this won't take too long," she said sadly. "I know what my dad did didn't help."
She had a point. I would have to really make up with Mr. Haverford if we were going to be a couple. And then...
"Put your hand on her ass!" ordered Cid's voice in my head.
I don't know why I listened to him now when I didn't before. But I suddenly found myself gently resting my hand on her butt through her pants.
And, low and behold, she pushed it against my hand.
And she smiled.
"Does this mean your answer's 'yes?'" she asked hopefully.
She let me touch her ass. She definitely wanted to be more than friends. Her competitor had dropped a few hints, but never confirmed. Here, I knew. It was the wiser choice.
So I nodded.
"Yes, it is," I said.
Durham immediately threw her arms around me and kissed me.
"I promise I'll be a good girlfriend," she whispered.
We kissed a few more times before I realized that I needed to depart; it would not do if her father came back. We could both wait; we would see each other in school Monday anyway.
As I was leaving, I was genuinely happy. Durham was a beautiful girl, and nice most of the time. Yeah, I know she fucked up on New Year's, but, hell, nobody's perfect.
My smile faded when the obvious struck my mind.
"How's Aerith going to take this?" I asked myself.
THE STUFF THAT MIGHT HAVE GONE UNNOTICED...
Aerith's sixteenth birthday party was actually mentioned in the original Premonitions, when Aerith is showing Cloud old pictures. She describes the incident with the lemonade, along with mentioning Tobin and Gehrig, who otherwise are not seen nor mentioned in the story.
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