Lucas Chapman

Hide and Seek

Nobody ever wanted to play hide and go seek with me, especially girls. That was until I met Jasmine one night in a bar called the Rooster’s Crow after the baseball game. It had been a doozy of a game, the St. Louis Cardinals against the Milwaukee Brewers. The Brewers scored at the top of the ninth sending it into extra innings, twelve to be exact, until Buster Rosario smacked a walk off homer for a Cardinals win. The crowd had gone so crazy, everyone was hugging on each other and cheering and giving high five’s; it was Saturday, and one of those nights you just don’t want to end. After Buster’s homer, me and Johnny—my best friend for as long as I can remember—overheard a group of drunk college girls talking about going to the Crow, so we decided that we would follow.

The Rooster’s Crow was as crowded as expected on a Saturday night after a Cards win. People were jammed from wall to wall having such a good time drinking and talking and dancing that it was making my head swim. You see, I don’t get out much, not really. And when I do, it can sometimes get overwhelming. Johnny isn’t much help either, he stays quiet most of the time.

Not long after we arrived, I saw the girls cozy up to some frat guys, so I wanted to leave, deciding it was a bad idea to come. But I remembered momma telling me long ago that I needed to get out more and socialize. So I did. For my momma. And man am I glad I did because it was how I met Jasmine!

Well, maybe I should say she met me. While making my way to the bar for another Shirley Temple, I somehow ended up on the dance floor. Imagine my horror as I dodged sweaty bodies reeking of alcohol and sweat! I pushed them off me as I made my way to the perimeter of the dance floor. And that’s when Jasmine came out of nowhere. I think she tripped on someone’s shoe, but she quite literally fell into my arms. Her eyes were golden brown, her hair soft and shimmering. She was the color of caramel and her complexion was buttery smooth. Her skin was so perfect that I thought of it more as a rare animal pelt that deserved to be hanging on a wall above my fireplace.

I couldn’t breathe or think or talk. I sat holding the angel of my life in the middle of a crowded bar. Mamma told me once that love can knock you off your feet, but I didn’t believe her until that moment.

“Thank you,” she said to me. Her breath smelled like limes and tequila. Her smile was so white, so beautiful.

My heart felt like it was going to hammer right out of my chest and do a jig on the dance floor. I was absolutely paralyzed by Jasmine.

“Don’t worry about it,” I managed.

She smelled like sweet sweat with an undertone of marijuana. I don’t believe girls should smoke, mamma told me only hussies smoked, but for Jasmine I could look past all that.

It felt like it was only her and I inside the packed bar. The music, so loud before, went quiet. People, noises, laughter—all gone. All I could hear was her breath as it blew against my cheek and her heart beating through my arms.

And then—and THEN—she untangled herself from my arms and kissed me on the cheek. “You are my knight in shining armor tonight, sir.”

Just like that, I knew I was in love. Not the sort of love that I gave to momma, no one would replace momma, but the type of love that I saw in the movies or heard about in those teenage pop songs. I wanted to tell her a thousand and one things, but nothing came to my mouth. It was like I was frozen in a block of ice.

“You’re silly,” Jasmine said and then winked at me with the longest, most luscious eye lashes you have ever seen. And before I could react, she patted me on the shoulder and disappeared into crowd.

Precious seconds tick by as I tried to get my body to move, to work again, so that I could find my Jasmine. I didn’t know her name at the time, so I threw myself into the crowd, pushing people to the floor and yelling rather foolishly, “Come back! Please come back to me!”

Johnny came rushing out of nowhere and I told him to look too. We searched every inch of the Rooster’s Crow: the kitchen, behind the bar, the staff break room, the men’s room, even the women’s room. Yet, she remained allusive. Johnny and me even stayed until last call to find her but still she wasn’t there. I was so frustrated I even yelled at Johnny, called him stupid and dumb (I later apologized).

But—BUT—as we got outside I got an idea. She was playing hide and seek!

“Jonny,” I said. “She’s only toying with me. She’s still here!”

I took off down the side walk and turned down an ally way that ran parallel to the Crow. And lo and behold there she was, standing under the orange glow of a street lamp with a lit joint between her plump lips.

I skidded to a halt, the bottom of my shoes scrapping against the uneven asphalt. I was so excited that I tripped and went sprawling into a puddle.

I looked up, slightly befuddled, and saw the angel of my life not even looking at me! Instead, a boy had come out of the Crow’s back door and was kissing Jasmine. He groped her buttocks, caressed the back of her neck.

He was kissing my angel. My girl. Those were my lips, not his. I was so angry I couldn’t see straight. Much like a child—even though I still get embarrassed to this day thinking about it—I kicked and slapped and pulled my hair in white hot rage.

I’d rather not say what I did next, momma said it’s not good for a man to always be hanging out his dirty laundry. Suffice to say, I got rid of the boy and Jasmine gave me her address! Well, I found it in her purse but still! I was elated… cloud nine!

The ensuing month was full of passion sweeter than any piece of honeydew or watermelon or sweet summer cantaloupe. The passion between us was hotter than the dog days of summer and our relationship was budding into something especially beautiful.

We went to dinner with her friends at the local cafe, we went to a Cardinals game against the Boston Red Socks (Cards lost four to zip), the zoo with her sister, and vacation at the Lake of the Ozarks with her family.

I was always on the watch for boys that would try to come near her. There were many, and my work was tiring, but none of them were able to get close to my angel. At one point, they even tried coming to her house! But I recruited Jonny and together we staked out her house from the other side of the street while in my car.  We sat there for weeks, all hours of the day, shooing away perverts trying to snatch my angel away from me.

Every night my sweet would leave her bedroom lamp on to let me know that she appreciated my watch and that she was thinking of me. Seeing her shadow through the curtain while she changed for bed was enough to keep me going and know that my work was important.

But a man has certain needs. A scratch impossible to ignore. My needs had gotten in the way of past relationships, so I desperately tried to ignore them the best I could. Soon though, after a particularly troubling week of watching the house, I couldn’t stand it! I had to do something, had to feel her lips on me once again, run a hand over her perfect skin or smell her beautiful hair.

It was Jonny’s idea actually (I give credit when it’s due—momma said its rude if you don’t) that I write her a letter like an old-time romantic film I always see her watching through her living room window. He even got the notion to ask her to a game of hide and seek like pa always wanted to play.

So I did! In my neatest handwriting, I wrote:

Dear Jasmine,

I long for your touch, your kiss, your smell as I know you long for mine. So, let’s play hide and seek! Tomorrow evening, I will hide somewhere in the house and it is your job to come and find me! If you are able to find me I will pay you in kisses and a dinner date on me. Perhaps, Cafe Coffee you took your mom to? Or even that BBQ place you like on 5thave? Either way, choice is yours! 

—Your Love

P.S I’m a VERY practiced hider!

I thought the letter was good, but Johnny said it could use some work to which I got furious and told him off. Sometimes, Jonny can be so blunt about things!

Any who, I sealed the letter with tape and placed it in her mail box. We waited that night, watching for her to receive the letter to know that the game was indeed on. She came home for her job at the attorney’s office around six, ate dinner (leftover pizza from when her best friend was over), and watched a couple episodes of The Expanse. Afterwards, she folded laundry, fed Maggie—her Bulldog, and went to sleep without a shower.

My sweetling never checked the mail, but that was ok. I knew she wanted to play hide and seek with me like she had the night of our first date at the Crow.

Johnny and I watched until 1 A.M. before I decided to go back home to momma and get some much-needed shut eye. Jasmine left her house around ten for work, so if I wanted to get a really good spot I needed to get there right after she left.

I was almost too giddy to fall asleep that night! I felt like a boy on Christmas Eve night waiting for Santa to slide down the chimney and deliver all the wonderful presents. Eventually Mr. Sandman did come, and I dreamt of all my past relationships, happy that they just didn’t quite work out.

I dressed in all black: boots, hoody, jeans. I even wore gloves as not to leave any smudges that could alert her to my location. Johnny said I looked great and mama didn’t say anything about it. She only sat in her rocker in front of the television like she does re-watching old black and white shows on the TV Land channel that I put on for her.

“Going out mamma. Be back tomorrow. Jonny will be here if you need anything.” I kissed her cold cheek and brushed her stringy hair. Sometimes, momma could be such a drag.

I made it to Jasmine’s house just as she was backing her silver Toyota out of the driveway. I blew her a kiss and told her that I hope she has a good day when she drove past.

The inside of her house smelled like her flowery perfume and I almost melted right there in the kitchen. It was like she held a love spell over me. Never before had I loved any of my ex’s like I loved my Jasmine. I was so excited that I could hardly keep my hands from shaking as I tip-toed into her bedroom and looked through her dresser drawers. I laid on her bed and put each of her pillows to my face and took in a deep breath of her scent.

I laid there for exactly one hour, fantasizing about the night we were about to have. I almost wanted to make my spot easy so that she could find me quickly and we could get right down to it.

But no, hide and seek was my favorite game and since Jasmine was the only girl that ever wanted to play, I sucked it up and stuffed some of her undergarments into my pocket to keep my mind busy while I waited.

I methodically walked through her small house looking for the really good places. I went to her bathroom and stripped naked to sit in her shower and smell all of her womanly soaps. By the time I was done, the time was 4 P.M. or close enough to it that I really needed to get my spot.

I wasn’t very satisfied with any hiding spots on the upstairs, so I decided on the downstairs instead. I knew she didn’t go down there much and figured there were probably some undiscovered nook or cranny (there usually are) that I could wedge myself into.

An open stair case led to the unfinished basement that smelled like rotten mold and earth worms. I could understand why a young woman would be scared of a basement like this—but I liked it, loved it in fact. It reminded me of my own room at momma’s house. Boxes were stacked all the way to the small window to the right. Some art work was piled next to the water heater and electrical fuse box. Behind the stairs was a closet choked full of winter coats and clothes that no longer fit my Jasmine. Perfect.

I turned out the single overhead light bulb by the long cord and slithered my way into the closet behind the moth-eaten coats, scarves, and sweaters.

The mold was worst in the closet and the faint scent of my angel coming from the coats was driving me nuts so I played with her undergarments inside my pocket and waited for her to come home.

I must have fallen asleep because it was dark outside the basement window when I finally heard the slamming of the garage door and the wooden click of high heels over the kitchen tile.

Finally! Jasmine, the girl of my forever, was home at last. I heard her walk down the hallway to our bedroom. The springs in the bed creaked and groaned as she struggled off her shoes and then no doubt her knee length paisley skirt and gray sweater. Jasmine was only a few feet above my head, undressing and slipping onto (hopefully) smaller clothes. My breath became ragged, my head swam.

She would probably go barefooted, the sneaky devil, to mask her movements while looking for me.

No matter. I was very good at hide and seek.

I bravely composed myself and didn’t wait long before I heard the water heater ruble to life and the quiet splashing of water as she drew a bath—the same bath I had just been in hours before. I wondered if she could smell me like I smelled her. I blushed at the notion.

Giddy with anticipation, twice I left my spot in the closet and ventured partly up the stairs. But then I remembered the night we met, the way she played hide and seek with me, and knew it was fate that we must play this game.

The water heater grinded to a stop and I heard her—actually hear her voice—call, “Maggie! Come to momma.” A moment later the English Bulldog’s nails clicked over the hard wood surface and I traced the fat dog’s path, feeling slightly lightheaded from hearing her voice at last.

Minutes ticked by where I heard nothing except the whisper of her feet dancing lightly in her bedroom as she—what? Dressed for me? I didn’t know and was getting frustrated she had yet to begin our date.

But then I heard footsteps coming down the stairs! My heart skipped, I readied myself to gaze upon those memorizing eyes—but it was only Johnny.

“Take it easy,” he whispered to me. “She’s only preparing for you. I checked in on her. Putting on some lingerie. Real sexy. Red and black. You’ll like it.”

I chocked on my spit. “Are you serious?”

“Serious as a snake bite. Now get back in the closet. I’ll be in the car.”

Johnny clambered back up the steps rather too loudly. He could be so irritating! But, needless to say, I followed his advice and crept back through the winter coats but at least I wasn’t alone, a spider crept out from the sleeve of a Calvin Cline jacket. I named him Timmy and toyed with him in my palm until I grew bored and crushed him into a red paste. Curiously, I took one of his tiny legs and placed it in my mouth. Salty. By belly rumbled and I licked the rest of Timmy from my sweaty palm.

Where was she? I was growing bored rather quickly. At least when my papa played with me I could hear him shouting and cursing at momma and could judge where he was at in the double wide trailer. But Jasmine was either not playing or was really, really good.

My thoughts kept drifting back to the Rooster’s Crow and how that I could not find her afterwards, she’d been playing then as she was now. Oh, she was good. Making me get in my own head like that.

Steps, followed by tinier, more frequent steps. She was coming out of her bedroom! I grinned and then snickered, slurping the rest of Timmy out of my palm.

“Hello? Ok, be there in a sec.” I heard her say from somewhere in the kitchen. Had she found me? My heart was ready to explode out of my chest. I couldn’t be sure if she were talking to me or not and I imagined her creeping down the steps, a big smile on her beautiful face. What would I say? Perhaps something along the lines of “hey baby” or maybe “hi my love.” But I thought a simple hello would do just fine.

I peeked out of the coats and that’s when I heard the doorbell ring. I heard her squeal in excitement, and then the slow creaking of the front door opening.

“Hi,” a voice carried downstairs… a male voice. “You look absolutely lovely tonight.”

“Thank you,” the love of my life responded, almost breathlessly. Who was this? And where was Jonny to let this happen? My anger spiked dangerously as a new and wild thought hit me straight from left field. Was she cheating on me?

No, that couldn’t be it. Not her, not my Jasmine… my angel. But as the hours ticked by the harder it was to convince myself otherwise. They ate dinner (Chinese delivery) and watched a movie after that (Ironman 3). I heard Jasmine giggle as he made her laugh in such a flawless manor. Even though it hurt to admit, this boy was smooth. So much so that he had completely distracted my Jasmine from hide and go seek. It was supposed to be our night…my night and here he was, probably named Chad, stealing away my girl.

I thought I could wait until he left, but when I heard her ask if he had a condom I blew my lid and crept around the coats, careful not to make a noise. I waited at the bottom of the stairs in the pitch-black basement as their footsteps carried off to the bedroom, almost immediately followed by the screech of mattress springs.

“Got to go for it, pal,” Johnny said from behind the water heater.

I nodded and said, “I know buddy. I know. Every time now, huh?”

Jonny chuckles echoed around the basement, “Seems that way, don’t it?”

I nodded and took each of the wooden steps oh so carefully, pausing half way up as Jasmine screamed out in orgasm. I blew steam from my nose and climbed the rest of the way, not bothering to hide my movements. They wouldn’t hear a freight train bust through the kitchen let alone a few steps as I searched for a knife, eventually selecting a dirty steak knife from the sink.

I suddenly felt more exhaustion than anger, another girl… another cheater. Why did they always do this to me? I shouldn’t have been surprised, Mamma said girls were hussies and couldn’t be trusted.

Many girlfriends ago I would almost look forward to the breakup, but not tonight. I really liked Jasmine and thought she was the one. With a heavy sigh and slumped shoulders, I kicked away the dog and walked down the hall.

I paused, listening to her moans and Chad’s heavy panting through the cracked bedroom door. I knocked, mamma said it was polite to always knock, but either they didn’t hear me or just didn’t care. Rude.

I gripped the knife in one gloved hand and opened the door with the other.

“Ready or not,” I yelled, enjoying the sudden look of terror on their flushed, sweaty faces, “here I come!”

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