Authors: Tracy Krimmer
Pieces of it All
by Tracy Krimmer
For my family, the pieces making my life whole
Copyright 2014 by Tracy Krimmer.
All rights reserved.
Cover design by S.J. Pajonas.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, place, events and incidents are either the products of the author's imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any reassembles to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
Please don't let anyone see my underwear.
Beth Overland pulled at the cornflower and white robe covering her body, checking to be certain it covered her completely. The robe fell down to her ankles, so she wasn't sure why concern filled her. Maybe because this was the craziest thing she had ever done. After twelve years of playing it safe, she wanted one thing to stand out over all those school years.
She tucked the silky fabric between her fingers, trying to keep it from clinging against her skin. A ninety degree day with about as much humidity in the beginning of June wasn't in the cards when she agreed to this. The blue robes glistened against the beaming sun, as she imagined when she checked the ballot voting to hold graduation outside. The pictures would be incredible, less the flushed faces of an entire graduating class. As the steamy air hit her nose, Beth longed for the artificial relief of air conditioning. The crowd used their programs as fans, speeding the pace of their hands as the ceremony dragged on.
Almost halfway through the ceremony, she wished for a chair. It'd be easier to avoid the stares of a few hundred people seated in folding chairs on the lawn. One person stood between Beth and her best friend Lucy Parsons. Beth stood smack dab in the middle of three hundred students. Each teenager standing in line had waited years for this moment. Beth, Lucy and their friend Heather Stewart anticipated graduation the entire year, but Beth only wanted to get through the next forty minutes without her undies peeking through. The three girls, who had grown up together, had most of their classes together their entire school career, with the exception of senior year when they focused more on college prep courses. Heather, a self-proclaimed party girl, was on the road to running her own business - in fashion no doubt. Lucy planned a career in nursing. Beth, well she loved school enough to keep going and eventually teach.
Beth giggled, covering her hand with her mouth. She'd die if everyone knew her only coverage underneath was her striped purple underwear with a hole below the waistband. She'd add that to her list of embarrassing moments. Despite the time her bra popped open in gym class (damn front clasps), and the moment she accidentally cheered at the most inopportune moment during a varsity basketball playoff game, she managed to stay off the radar. Always willing to tutor lifted targets off her back. Heather, popular with the boys, helped draw some male attention Beth's way. Lucy's boyfriend of two years, Jackson Phillips, a star basketball player, gave her an "in" with the jocks.
Sam Otterman, whose name stalked hers over the past few years alphabetically, accepted his diploma, giving Beth one last minute to readjust her gown. The class practiced the graduation walk and handshake more times than she cared to count over the past month. Now, with the moment imminent, her heart raced and her breathing increased.
Don't trip, fall on my face, and give everyone something to talk about.
The audience, filled with beaming parents and relatives, including Beth's, didn't need the show. She waved to her mom and dad seated in the third row. They both waved back, the same cheesy grin as everyone else.
"Elizabeth Overland." The principal recited her name through the microphone. Cheers and clapping surrounded her, even though it wasn't the hooting and hollering Nicole Kinney, Tara Cole or any of the other popular girls had received. She placed a foot on the stage and the other followed ever so slowly. She glided across, shook the principal's hand while taking the diploma with the other, and continued to the other side where she sat down and moved her tassel to the opposite side of her hat.
She did it. One chapter behind her, and real life straight ahead.
A couple of balloons, a few cardboard cutouts of graduation hats, and a banner reading "Congratulations, Graduate" decked out the living room and kitchen to celebrate Beth's special day. Her dad insisted on soft jazz music only, as though Beth even listened to the "crazy music" he complained about. A little Justin Timberlake or Katy Perry would've sufficed, but he even considered their music "crap."
Of the few parties she'd attend, hers won the prize for most lame. The guest list screamed loser, even though she did appreciate her parents attempt at throwing the party. Her Aunt Sue and Uncle Ralph situated themselves in the kitchen, munching on Brushetta and sipping wine. Her parents occupied the kitchen as well, her mom darting back and forth between the appetizers and a cooler of drinks to be sure they didn't run out. Beth kept the party going in the living room, with Lucy, Jackson and Heather, while her twin six-year-old cousins Patrick and Peter played Monsters V. Zombies on the iPad as their mom Kathy tapped away on her phone. Quite a turnout.
"We graduated!" Lucy shrieked as she patted Beth on the back.
Beth jolted forward, steadying herself and the cup before they both hit the floor. "I know," she agreed. "Finally, we can move onto college!"
"That, too. But I meant going commando under our gowns! I can't believe I did that!"
"Wait, you went
As in nothing? Zilch? Just you and the gown?"
Lucy's blue eyes widened. "Didn't you? I thought that was the deal!" She reached out and squeezed Jackson's arm. "She didn't do it! I'm disappointed."
"My bra and underwear were under there. You didn't expect me to be naked. Are you crazy?" Beth sat her drink on the table next to her.
Jackson kissed Lucy on the cheek. "This is my cue to leave. I'll go help the kids with the iPad." He handed his drink to Lucy, who promptly set the glass on the table.
Lucy's hands met her hips, and she jutted a hip out to the side. "Beth Overland, you went back on our deal." She peered out over the small crowd. "Heather! Come over here!"
Heather bounced over from the kitchen, another diet soda in her hand, her black hair springing with every step. Heather's curly hair, with the perky boobs to match, made tons of girls jealous. Her green eyes sparkled, the colored contacts something Heather never would admit to wearing. Beth always felt plain with her straight, caramel hair and choppy bangs. "What's up?"
Lucy pointed to Beth. "Little-Miss-Too-Afraid-to-Try-Anything still had her bra and underwear on underneath her gown. Miss Play-It-Safe."
"So what? That was
uncomfortable." She plucked at her bangs.
Heather waved her finger at her. "I don't think so. We were uncomfortable, too, but we still did it. You, my dear, have to make up for it."
"I do not and I will not!"
"Yes, you will." Lucy demanded through her gritted teeth. "What makes you more uncomfortable than being naked in front of everyone?"
"Guys and sex." Heather spat the answer out faster than Beth could take a hold of her drink, before almost slipping right back out of her hands.
"What do you mean?" Beth never thought she felt uneasy around boys. She'd had dates before, and she had more than kisses to show for them. "Not all of us are so lucky to have a steady boyfriend." She directed her next comment to Heather. "The rest of us don't have the assets to flaunt around and pick up guys every other week."
"So, what, are you calling me a slut now?"
Beth shook her head. "No, I'm sorry. I didn't mean it like that. I'm not awkward around guys. I mean, I don't focus much attention on them." She didn't add how she pictured Greg Sullivan naked every chance she had. Sure, guys occupied her mind. She
a teenager, after all, but seeing three girls in her first three years of high school become moms, she put her energy into school instead. She was horny, not stupid.
Lucy put her arm around Beth. "You'll find someone, don't worry."
"It doesn't concern me. Would I like to meet someone? Someday. Maybe in college. I'll have fun this summer first."
Heather patted her on the back. "That's my girl. Seriously, though, your virginity has
"Quiet!" Beth looked around for her parents. Fine. She'd never done the deed. It wasn't, however, something she needed shouted to the world. People get two impressions when you're a virgin - either you can't get any or ... nope, you can't get any. People assumed you couldn't find a partner.
"Don't worry. They didn't hear a thing," a male voice came from behind.
The three girls turned around to a young man with dark eyes and a narrow face, a button in the middle of his chin. Stubble outlined his cheeks and gently brushed the skin under his nose. He could almost tuck his brown hair behind his ears. Long hair on guys didn't usually appeal to Beth, but the strands fell perfectly in place on this particular guy.
He extended his hand to Beth. "I'm Harvey Etheridge." He repeated himself as Beth focused in on his plump lips. "I'm Harvey Etheridge. From down the street."
"Oh!" She shook his hand. "Beth Overland. From-"
"Here," Heather giggled. "I'm Heather and this is Lucy. What kind of a name is Harvey anyway? Seems a little old fashioned. Nerdy, too."
Harvey thumbed over to Heather, speaking to Beth. "She's direct. Not like it's your business, but I like to think Harvey was my great grandfather's name."
"Like to think?"
"Let's just say I never liked the name either, but you work with what you're given. I like the name Beth."
Was he hitting on her? A common name like Beth wasn't anything to get excited about. Realizing his hand was still firmly wrapped around hers, she let go. "Sorry."
"It's okay, Beth. I've never had a handshake so long before. Like I said, I like Beth. Not like the Bella's or Anna's which seem to pop up everywhere."
"I'll admit Bella is a pretty popular name!"
Bring it down a notch,
she warned herself as her laugh took over the conversation. "Anyway, what brings you here? Who let you in?"
His lips curled up his cheek, a smile so wide it almost touched his ears. His eyes sparkled. "Your mom did, I think. Average height, light hair with a wave, big, gorgeous brown eyes like yours."
Three classifications of friends existed when a man presented himself. The hot one (Heather), the fun one (Lucy) and the ugly one. Beth claimed the ugly one since someone had to take the crown. Harvey's flirtatious words swept through her body, hoping today she'd move up in the ranks to at least the fun one. "Yes, that's her."
"I was taking a walk and saw a party. I thought I'd drop in. What's the party for?"
Lucy jumped in, swaying her glass back and forth. "So you're in the habit of walking into random houses for parties." Not a question. A very accusatory statement. Classic Lucy.
He shrugged. "I was bored. Thought I'd see what was going on."
"You were bored, so you randomly walked into a party." Lucy's eyes narrowed.
, Beth furrowed her brows as well.