Beth had been the girl of Michael’s dreams for about as long as he had been interested in girls.

She broke into his consciousness in middle school. Beth was coming out of the AP math classroom talking and laughing with a friend, and she plowed right into him. His books scattered. He was scrambling to grab his belongings when he saw them … her legs. Beth Anderson had the best legs in the whole school — in the whole world, as far as Michael was concerned. He was so entranced that he momentarily froze just staring at them.

He was snapped back into reality by Kim Carson’s, “Nice move, Emo!”

Red-faced, he stood up and found himself eyeball-to-eyeball with the owner of those legs. Beth wrinkled her nose in embarrassment and said, “Sorry! Maybe I should try actually looking where I’m walking. Do you need some help?”

“Uhm … no … I’m … it’s okay. It was just an accident.”

She gave him a cockeyed smile. “Yeah. I’m good at that.” Michael just grinned. He was having a hard enough time keeping his breathing going.

“Well …” she said to break the awkward silence, “Guess I’ll be off to wreck someone else’s day.”

“Yeah. That’d be good,” he blurted, so captivated by her beauty that he was paying no attention to her words.

Her gaze turned quizzical, and she just answered with a slow, “Okay. Well … off to English.” Madison King, with whom she had been talking, was on the verge of rupturing an internal organ as she looked at Beth and took in this whole debacle.

They continued down the hall, and Michael stared after them. He slowly came out of his fog long enough to recall the conversation. “That’s be good!?” he said to himself in horror. “Jesus, what an asshole!,” he remarked as he banged his forehead with his notebook. His classmates were walking past him, laughing and making numerous rude comments.

It was certainly no surprise to him to discover at the opening football game that Beth was a cheerleader. One look at her leaping on the sidelines, and Michael knew he was never going to miss a game. He always planted himself in a prime Beth viewing area as he cheered on the mighty Hurricanes. He may not have been able to tell anyone the final score, but he could tell intimately describe every freckle, curve, and muscle on those incredible legs.

For the next couple of years, Michael could only watch her from afar. The only class they managed to have together was biology. When Mr. Patterson, the teacher, began calling out lab partners, Michael actually started a silent prayer. It didn’t work. He got Mason Speck with his chronic sniffling and world’s largest braces.

The summer between Michael’s freshman and sophomore year in high school was the summer he discovered that God heard his prayers after all. Beth’s family was suddenly in need of a bigger house because her grandmother was moving in with them following the death of her grandfather. Of all places, they picked the vacant house right across the street from Michael’s family.

Since Beth liked to run and Michael was on the track team, they started going on runs together. They’d talk and laugh. Michael gradually loosened up around her, and they became friends. In fact, their families also got to know each other, and they would frequently get together for barbecues or pizza. Michael’s dad was an ex-Marine, and Bill Anderson followed him around like a little kid asking him questions and listening to his stories. Beth’s grandmother reminded Michael a lot of his own grandmother, who lived so far away that he rarely got to see her. Michael bonded quickly to Grandma Carrie and vice versa. Beth adored her grandmother and would often just sit in the background and watch Michael talk to Carrie. He was so kind and caring toward her, that Beth was deeply touched. Over that summer, they became best friends.

Once school started, Beth certainly didn’t suffer from a lack of companions. Such was the life of a cheerleader, but none of her girl friends really held a candle to Michael. She learned to trust him, to admire him, and he became the one person with whom she could share any thought or feeling and know he wouldn’t judge her.

They shared friend stories and school stories. They also shared dating stories, but Beth had a lot more stories than Michael. Beth at one time or another had dated Scott, the starting quarterback; Ben, the starting point guard; Kelly, the star pitcher on the baseball team; and a host of other assorted jocks. The top athletes in the major sports were high school male royalty, and the cheerleaders were the female equivalent. Michael was on the tennis team and ran track, but since he wasn’t one of the studs in one of the major sports, he always figured Beth was just way out of his league when it came to dating.

Michael’s longest-term girlfriend was Katie French. She was cute and funny and a talented actress and musician. She had dreams of working on Broadway some day, and Michael thought she might just have a chance.

They dated for about a year but just seemed to drift apart over the summer. Michael was a little sad, but, frankly, every girl came up short when compared to Beth anyway. So, he really wasn’t all that heartbroken.

Still, Beth invited him over for a night of chocolate chip cookies and movies as soon as she heard about it. She was always there when he needed her.

The best and worst time for Michael came during summer pool time. His family put in a pool in the spring of Michael’s sophomore year. So, his house basically became Beth’s house in the summer. They even gave her a key of her own to the gate around the pool. She never used it though. She didn’t feel right going swimming without Michael there, but she appreciated the gesture.

Beth had three bikinis and all of them were killers. She would usually come over around noon. The routine was basically the same. They’d lube themselves up with sunscreen, decide on their music for the day, put together some snacks and drinks, and spend the rest of the day sunning and splashing. Michael was truly in heaven, but it wasn’t uncommon for him to find the need to dream up some excuse to go inside and secretly “relieve himself,” before his package delivered an embarrassing surprise. “Great. I’ve become Judge Reinhold,” he said to himself, in reference to the famous Phoebe Cates scene in “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.”

Though Beth’s legs would always be Michael’s favorite feature, every inch of her was now vividly burned into his memory. She had silky, straight chestnut hair that cascaded down to the bottom of her shoulder blades. It was peppered with highlights of both coffee and honey. She usually kept in a pony tail that often stuck out of the back of a Cardinals baseball cap, which had been her dad’s passion since he was a kid.

Her skin was naturally a light peach color, but she always tanned easily. So, in the summer, it turned a deep, golden brown. She had long, dark eyelashes; almond-shaped, milk chocolate eyes; topped with thin, slightly arched eyebrows. When she embarked onto one of her stories, he would get so lost in them she would sometimes have to snap her fingers and announce, “Earth to Michael,” which was always followed by a smirk and an eye roll.

She had an angular face with high cheekbones and a buttery complexion. He couldn’t ever remember seeing a single blemish on her. Her nose was pert … straight and narrow and fit her face perfectly. Her lips were lush and full, carnation-colored, and virtually always in some stage of a smile. Beth was not only funny; she was one of the happiest people he knew. Michael never tired of watching her face explode into a sunrise whenever she laughed.

Beth had a long, feminine neck and a sleek, toned body. In addition to cheering, she had spent a few years studying gymnastics and ran five miles every day. Trim broad shoulders; toned, muscular arms; and a strong back led down to chiseled abs. Her hips sloped into a classic hourglass shape. Her ass was firm and smooth and rounded either a bikini or jeans to equal perfection.

The hours she spent running, jumping and tumbling were most noticeable in those Beth legs. Her legs weren’t just slim; they were the legs of an athlete. She had a prominent delta at the top of her thighs. Her muscles were taut and well-defined. He loved the way arc of her calves led down to sleek ankles and long, slender feet. Even her willowy toes were sexy.

Since Michael’s parents both worked, he and Beth always had the house to themselves on weekdays. Beth hated seeing tan lines underneath her clothes, so one day she sprang the idea of topless sunbathing on him. She explained that she felt so completely comfortable around him that she had no fear of him seeing her body … but … she would never ever do anything that would make him uncomfortable or would in any way harm their friendship. Michael considered the request while he struggled to keep his head from exploding. He gave an Academy-Award-winning performance in the calm manner way in which he said it would really be no different than seeing his sister without her top. Beth beamed, thanked him, and even gave him a kiss on the cheek for being so understanding.

He made sure he was sitting when she untied the straps of her top, tossed it on a table and began to apply a liberal coating of sunscreen over her pert mounds. Michael did his best to appear nonchalant, but Beth did notice that he casually draped a towel over his lap and smiled knowingly. Beth’s breasts were as firm as the rest of her. They had a slight cone-shape and rose high off her chest. She had small, round, coral areolas that sat on the upper third of her b-cup and had few bumps. Dimpled carnation buds emerged from the center and jutted out for nearly and inch. He had admired those nipples for a long time, because they always seemed to be at attention. Michael had spent many a masturbatory hour fantasizing about how they would feel in his fingers and taste on his tongue.

Michael had also caught glimpses of her lower stairway to heaven. One of her bikini bottom poofed out in the front, and he had been able to get a bird’s eye view of the area above her vagina on a few occasions. He learned that she kept her pubic hair pretty much shaved and left just a thin patch of trimmed curls leading down to her sexual port. Though he didn’t have a complete view of her loveliness, he had seen enough of the outline of vaginal lips through her wet bikini bottoms to know she was as perfect there as everywhere else. Michael sometimes speculated that it might be just as well that he hadn’t sampled her treasure because in doing so it was possible he’d expire on the spot from sheer delight.

On this particular July day, the sun was an absolute oven. It was 98 degrees and sultry. The pool was their only refuge. Michael made a giant pitcher of iced tea, brought out some fruit, and they quickly assumed their usual positions on the lounges after applying thick coatings of sunscreen.

Beth had been quiet today, like she was lost in thought. She had only recently gone through a messy breakup with her latest boyfriend, who had practically leapt into the open arms (and legs) of Carol Strum. Carol was no saint. She had big boobs, a big mouth, and a reputation for giving it away freely. Beth had been hurt by Steve’s abrupt exit the moment Carol’s stable became empty. She hadn’t realized he was so shallow, or hadn’t wanted to admit it.

Michael was half asleep when she blurted out, “Michael, do you think I’m sexy?”

He had to shake his head to make sure this wasn’t one of his fantasy dreams. “Excuse me?”

“You heard me. Am I sexy?” she asked, sitting up and looking straight at him.

“Beth, half the guys in school dream about being with you, and the other half are gay.”

“Come on, Michael. I’m serious. Am I sexy? You can’t get out of this by being glib. I want to know what you really think”

Michael now sat up and looked into her penetrating eyes. She wasn’t joking. “Why are you asking me this?”

“Why are you avoiding a simple answer to a direct question?”

“Beth, you are … beautiful. You’re one of the most beautiful girls I’ve ever seen.”

“Yeah, yeah, okay, I’m cute. What about sexy? What about the drooling and losing sleep kind of sexy that guys are always looking for?”

“Okay, I’m lost here, Beth. What is this about … that bimbo, Carol?”

She threw the sunscreen at him. “You’re a lot of help!”

“Wait! Wait!” He reached out and took her hands in his and turned her toward him. “Okay, I’m sorry. I’ve just been caught a little off guard here.”

“Yeah, well -,” she sat back in a huff with her arms folded.

He reached for one of her hands and pulled her chair toward him.

“Beth, you’re the best friend I’ve ever had and probably ever will have.” She rolled her eyes and tried to break free, but he tightened his grip.

“Listen to me. Stop and just let me finish. You’re an amazing person. You’re breath-taking and talented. You’re smart and funny. You’re sensitive and caring. You make GREAT chocolate chip cookies!” She smirked but kept herself from laughing. “You are absolutely everything any normal, decent guy could ever hope to have in his wildest dreams. Are you sexy? Are you kidding? God, you are without any doubt the sexiest girl I’ve ever seen, known, heard of, or dreamt about. You are perfect.”

She pulled hard and did break free. Then, she stood and paced as she talked. “Well, if I’m so damn irresistible, how come guys like Steve toss me aside and grab the first big-boobed, hooker tramp … like Carol … they can find?!”

“‘Cause they’re so thick, scientists are gonna have to invent a whole new category of stupid just for them … and they’re way too much in love with themselves to ever love anyone else. You know, every time something good happens to me, you’re there to share it and to make it even better. When shitty things happen, you’re there to pick me up and to let me know I don’t have to deal with it on my own. I don’t have to wonder; I know you’ve got my back.

“Beth, I know you don’t have a clue how gorgeous and amazing you are or we wouldn’t even be having this conversation. But, let me tell you, when you look in the mirror and see that perfect body and that dazzling face, you are only seeing about one-millionth of one percent of your total beauty. And, and if guys like stupid Steve Masterson are such dickheads that they can’t see that, they don’t even deserve to talk to you, much less date you!” Michael had now gotten himself so worked up he was now marching up and down, waving his arms and shouting.

“You know, I’m not sure if the people over on Canyon Circle heard you. Maybe you stop being so constrained,” she said as a way of breaking the tension.

“Yeah … well. It just … I mean, dammit, Beth, I get really pissed off when I see you get hurt by another low-life loser like Steve or Scott or whatever ass-wipe is responsible this week. And, if I wasn’t so worried about embarrassing you, I’d happily kick the living shit out of every single one of those douche bags!” he shouted, still pacing rapidly.

Beth walked over to him and snatched his hands. “Hey, Rocky Balboa, thanks for offering to beat up all the losers in my life,” she said with a grin, “but I think I’d rather have you here than in jail, if that’s okay.” He did smile but he was still furious.

Then, she threw his hands down, put her hands on her hips and said in mock irritation, “And what about me? I’ve been having a pretty terrific pity party for myself for the past couple of days, and you, mister, have just ruined the whole thing! I mean, how’s a girl supposed to feel crappy about herself with YOU storming around making her me feel like hot stuff!'”

“You ARE hot stuff — and-”

“Shhhhhhh. I know. To you, I am hot stuff.” He started to argue again, and she put her finger to his lips to stop him. “And, that’s good enough for me. Really. I mean that.” She hugged him tightly. “Thanks, Rocky.”

“For what?”

“For listening to me be crazy. For threatening to beat up all the dickheads in my life. For actually making me feel special. For just loving me.”

“Well … you are pretty hard to love.”

“I know,” she said with her cheek still pasted to his chest.

Uhh … I was kidding.”

She hugged him tighter. “I know.”

They stayed like that for a long time. Michael always had a way of making her feel safe and exceptional. She hung onto him with all her strength. He rested his cheek on top of her head and held her tightly too. She never ceased to be amazed at what an incredible guy he was. He was certainly going to make some girl very happy.


It was late in the 4th quarter, and Michael’s Hurricanes were down by 10. It didn’t look good for the home team this time. At 4th and 13, Scott Larsen found Benny Chamberlain all alone on a fly pattern. He sailed a perfect pass over the defenders and watched Benny stroll into the end zone untouched. There were only 32 seconds left, and everyone knew an onside kick was coming. The kick was perfect. It hit the ground and bounced high into the air about 12 yards downfield — unfortunately, right into the tall, outstretched hands of 6’10” Carl Laramie, the part-time football receiver and All-County forward on the Mustangs basketball team. The Hurricane defenders looked like little kids trying to swat something from a grown-up. Game over.

The crowd was crushed. The loss meant they wouldn’t be in the playoffs this year. Beth was also disappointed, but she was more concerned about the pissy mood Scott would be in later. They had started dating again, against her better judgment. Michael watched from afar, as usual. He could never understand why Beth continued to date shit-for-brains morons. Oh, well … nothing he seemed to be able to do about it.

Beth was supposed to meet Scott at a party that night at Larry Kovacs’ house. Most of the team would be going, which meant plenty of beer and plenty of testosterone. She wasn’t sure she could handle too much of either tonight. She didn’t usually fix people up, but tonight, she arranged for Michael to take Annie Peters to the same party. She figured she could always bum a ride home if things got too weird. Annie was also a cheerleader. She was blonde and cute and one of the few girls on the squad who actually had a working brain. Part of her hoped the two of them would hit it off; part hoped they wouldn’t. Michael only agreed to go out with Annie because Beth pleaded with him with those irresistible umber eyes. He consented but knew he was going out with the wrong cheerleader.

Michael and Annie drove Beth to the party. They arrived before most of the team got there, but the drinking had definitely commenced. Mason Jennings was peeing off the front porch and letting out a war cry as they walked up to the house.

“Classy,” Annie said as she rolled her eyes. “You know, they say the burning will go away with penicillin,” she yelled at Mason as she walked past.

“Huh?” he stammered in dumb response, as he turned and peed on his own shoes.

Michael and Beth both cackled. Maybe Annie wouldn’t be so bad after all, Michael thought.

Upon entering the house, they surveyed the chaos, and Annie said, “Didn’t I see this party in ‘Animal House?'”

“Yeah … in the deleted scenes,” Michael answered.

Just then a drunk, topless girl ran jiggling past them and was being chased by an even drunker guy with a pirate eye patch, Valentine boxers, and cowboy boots.

“Was that Aaron Miles?” Beth shouted to be heard above the din.

“Yeah. That explains a lot,” Annie replied. “If he can’t manage to catch a slow-witted naked girl, how’s he going to catch passes next week against Brainard? Listen, I’m gonna find a quiet place to vomit, so save me a seat, okay?” Then, she sauntered off in search of an unoccupied bathroom.

“So, what do you think?” Beth eagerly asked Michael.