"Uuuuhhhooo," he let out a deep breath and kicked a can on the side walk. "Why?" He mumbled softly. If he was a few years younger he might have cried. Girls where giggling and walking behind him, he didn't want to be seen, not now. Quickly he dodged them and climbed one of the trees lining the side walk. As smooth as a ninja he grind to him self, but the victory was hallow, normally he'd just talk to the girls and they'd have laughed and given him their phone number, if he didn't already have them written down in his little black book. Sighing again he leaned his head back and let himself dozes off to sleep in the tree branches.
Sun light was shining down, beautiful gray eye looked back at him. He smiled smugly in his sleep.
Waking slowly his mind numb & hazy he looked at his watch, which he always had with him, 4:30, he'd been a sleep for only 20 minutes but his mom would worry if he didn't come home or call from a friends house.
'Mom's worry to much.' His mind be gain to wander back to Kathy, 'her mom worries a lot too. May be she made Kathy brake up with me.' He took a few steps and hoped his newest line of reasoning was right.
But then he stopped quickly, "Don't be dumb Tum Tum." He told himself out lowed. "That's not it so stop fouling your self!" He sighed for the millionth time that day.
Why, oh why had she broken up with him over a silly fight? He'd done good, he'd kicked her older brothers butt, wouldn't that have impressed most girls?!
He was confused and felt lost, even though he knew he was on the corner of Timber & Lake drive, just one block from his home.
In his mind he tried to remember of any thing else he'd done that fatal day. Yes it was fatal, for him any way. She'd smacked him in the face after watching him spar with her older brother, Todd, who was some hot shot kick boxer. He had no self control, no discipline and thought it would be funny to spar with the youngest of the Douglas ninjas. He was two year younger then Colt and had always had it out for Rocky & Colt but could never beat them in a far fight.
Tum Tum shook his head of thin wavy brown hair. Todd was a jerk, he had it coming to him, and be sides that Todd had done the damage, all he'd done was block Todd's kick with his forearm, no big deal.
Tum Tum looked up and saw the first star out it was bright and beautiful. "Perfection," he whispered before stomping on in to the house and running upstairs to his room.
"Dinner will be ready soon!" His mother yelled up to him. "I'm not hun-" He stopped and yawned, "I'm to tired mommy." He said in stead. If he had said he wasn't hungry his mom would have thought he was lying , which he was, or she would think he was sick and would make a real big fuss and that's not what he wanted.
"I won't eat till you tell me why." Tum Tum had said to Kathy in the cafeteria that day, and so far he hadn't eaten. He'd given all his snacks to his best friend Coeby even!
Tum Tum groans again, laying flat on his back he stared up at the bottom of Colt's bunk bed, the top bunk. "All the girls love me." His hair was perfection when slicked back, his chocolate brown eyes made them swoon, and they all went nuts when he helped in the cafeteria and would throw the knives around like shriken stars.
It all started the year before last at the beginning of the school year. Tum Tum liked doing some thing to keep himself busy because most of his friends had moved or become home schoolers, or gone on to privet schools. 6th grade was tuff with out any one. So he volunteered his serves to the cafeteria, not really caring, or realizing that he was gathering a crowed, he cleaned up the kitchen like him & his brothers would do at their grandpa's cabin, it was fun.
Then the jocks asked if he would like to join them at their table and convinced him to try out for the football team, the wrestling, swimming, hockey, and all sorts of teams thought he was cool, and they wanted a peace of him. Then the cheerleaders started going bazerc. He'd always looked good, that was a fact. Another fact was he had two older brothers that where fairly popular in their own right, living in the shadows of older sibs was a pain the butt. He'd always thought he was the smarter & best fighter out of him & his bros but this was so cool, and he actually made it on to the football, Hockey & track teams!
Now he was in 7th grade, it was nice, and he'd gotten even more popular and people liked him pretty well. And even if things seamed to be down he still had track. It was is favorite thing to do, especially if he needed to clear his head. He was half tempted to go for a jog right then but he had to go to Amanda's Christmas part in a couple of hours.
Tum Tum hopped off of his bed filling just a bit restless. Looking into the mirror he noted that he looked good, not a hair out of place. Sure it was a little raffled, but that didn't really matter. His head looked a bit big, and he looked closer. 'Swelled up with pride.' His conscience told him.
"I messed up big time!" He turned and flopped down on to Rocky's old bed, that had been empty sent Rocky had moved out. He stuck his hand between the matures & bed frame and tugged at two thin books tell they came out.
Summer 1992, he flipped through the pages him & his brothers had written about the year they got their ninja names. It had been a nice summer, but they had only wrote about the end, how they'd help their dad beat up an arms dealer named Hugo Snyder. He secretly wished they'd written about the earlier part of the summer so he could have remembered it too.
Summer 1994, they'd gone to Japan that year. It was pretty cool. And so was Miyo, a girl ninja they'd met and tot baseball to, course she tot them the next level of ninjutsu & introduced them to sumo wrestlers that gave Tum Tum the time of his life!
Summer 1993, oddly they hadn't written about it tell '95. Tum Tum frowned remembering all the legal problems that had accord after helping Jo rescue her dad and prove that some big wig and been dumping toxic waist. Rocky really wanted to include it in to their memoirs, but some lawyers said they couldn't say a word about it because of a legal settlement out of court. Tum Tum shrugged and flipped the pages only to be reminded that there hadn't been any thing else written.
He set that book down and picked up the other book. This one was smaller and was written with much better penmanship. It was his Grandpa's writing, his notes for his book that wasn't published till just last month. Tum Tum knew it was a story about his 9th birthday, about how he & Dave dragon, along with the help of his brothers of course, and Amanda the wonderful had save an amusement park, Mega mountain.
Tum Tum set the book aside. He knew the story by heart, every word of it that had been carefully picked by his grandfather. Once the book had been published he bought as many copies as he could with his allowance, that equaled out to 17, and passed them around school. It wasn't so much to show off that HE had saved the day and there was a book about it, but rather that HIS Grandpa had written a cool book that every one should read. That had been a bad summer though, the summer of '95 he had to tolerate Rocky going ultra girl crazy, and Colt just starting guitar lessons and sounding like a broken record, but in the end he turned 9, met the girl of his dreams, Amanda, and his Grandpa got a story to write about a few years later. He closed his eyes and thought play fully, 'it would really confuse people if they read our adventures in order they where written'
Tum Tum sat up and noticed some thing for the first time. "There's blankets on here..." He poked the blankets around, they where some of the good ones mom usually kept in the closet unless they had company staying the night. Frowning he ran down stars.
"What is it dear?" She was at the piano looking through some old music sheets absentmindedly. "Why is Rocky's bed made?"
"Uh, oh? He spent the night last night. You must have been to tired after the big celebration to have noticed."
"Oh." Tum Tum turned around and stated for the kitchen before he actually retched it her turns back, "Mom is he moving back in?" He asked wishing he didn't sound to hopeful. Rocky had only been gone for 8 months but it felt like a life time ago when Rocky, Tum Tum & Colt all shard a room, their adventures and laughter. He felt lonely just think about the comradery they use to have.
His mom smiled and drew him close to her, "Sorry dear. Rocky's decided to take that job in Japan." He groans, "how can he do that!? Choice Miyo over us!" His mom laughed and gave him a hug. "It's not for Miyo, you know this is a great chance for him and he's been looking for some way to channel what he's learned from your grandpa in to a carrier."
"Well it's not just for Miyo, but you know she dose play a factor in his decision making!" Tum Tum wiggled his eyes brows and found it hard to keep a straight face. "And what about Marrisa?" She asked and picked up some more music sheets. "Ah, well poor Marrisa is sadly another girl that will be trampled by destiny, Rock will run off with Miyo and poor Marrisa will weep her eyes out." He frowns and taped the piano leg with his big toe, "it's to bad she's getting the short end of the stick, she's really not that bad."
"No, she's not bad at all. Why don't you go upstairs and get ready for the party? Colt's going to be back in a half hour to pick you up." Tum kissed his mom on the cheek and run upstairs, his stomach growled but he ignored it. He had made a vow, he was going to keep it, even if it meant starving to death!
She was one of the weirdest people he'd ever met in his life time, but he wouldn't tell Rocky that. Colt looked Marrisa up and down with great surprise. The first time they'd met she was in solid black, had no make up on and looked like she was on drugs, she was so 'relaxed.' And that was the way she was every time he saw her after that. If people thought he was wild, they should have met the free spirit named Marrisa Jordan.
Tonight she was in a hunter green dress that was just tight enough to accent her curves, but lose enough that she could breath and walk around. Her thick cruelly locks of auburn hair, which on any ordinary day hung in her face, was pulled in to a lose braid dancing around with her every movement.
She was cute. That Colt would admit with out a problem, but other then that, well lets just say she was the kind of girl Colt knew his mom had night mars that he'd bring home, not Rocky.
"How you doing" Marrisa smirked at him. "Great and you?" Colt couldn't take his eyes off of her, she was stoning, well shocking was more like it, with out all the black, her eyes was visible now that her hair was pulled back, and she pretty with make up on. "Not so good." She whispered, she looked sad and haunted. Colt looked around Amanda's living room for Rocky. "He's not here." She sniffed. Colt stared at her in shock, she seamed the type that wasn't afraid of any thing. That never cried.
"Want to talk about it?"
"Yes, but it's Rocky who I have to face." Colt took her arm and lead her to the back patio. No one else would be there. It wasn't to cold yet, but once the sun's rays died out for the night it would be freezing. He took a seat on the ground. "Com'n, what's wrong?" He blurts out, but he was gentle.
She sat down and crossed her legs, "it's over...Between Rock and me..." she fiddled with the him of her dress and didn't look Colt in the eyes. "How come?" He asked calmly. She pulled a pack of cigarettes from where, Colt couldn't began to guess. She offered Colt one and he took it, they both light up and leans their heads against the wall.
"We're not going any where."
Colt took a drag on the cigarettes, "I know how that is." He mumbled. She turned to him abruptly. "Do you? Do you really know?!" She demanded an answer. He shrugged casually, as was his style. "Yeah."
'Clash,' Colt thought to himself. They where a clash. She was so abrupt and demanding while he just took a natural flow. But they where both the odd-man-out. Was Rocky like Marrisa? Colt never thought so before, but he began to wander.
"I ... just broke up with my girlfriend to tell you the truth." Colt admitted, 'now if I could break the news to mom things will be fine.' He knew how much his mom loved Beverly. Even he loved Beverly, but-
"I like being around him... you..and you're dad. Your family is the best."
"I guess so.."
"Why is it you fined some one you like but things don't work out? Take Rock and I for example, he's going to freaking Japan!"
"Is this what you're upset about?"
"It's not just that. It's been coming." She placed her face in to her hands, "we have a passion for poetry, and enjoy each others company. But that's not enough. I have to be honest, for him & myself, it's not enough to just be friends for years, and years. We're not passionate about each other!"
Marrisa was a deep kind of person when she talked about people and relationships. Just how much time did she spend thinking about all the problems of the world? Colt wandered. But his mind didn't stay on it very long, cause that's not his style.
"I felt the same way about so many girls. My family thinks I'm insensitive for dating for one or two weeks," he paused long enough to breathed in the smoke from his cigarette, "then ending it. But if I have a one and only out there I think we'll be passionate about each other-" Why was he opening up to her? Well it didn't mater why, she was there, she was lessoning and she seamed to understand, "-if I'm not madly in love after a week I think it's best to move on. For her and me, so we're not waisting each others time."
"Different directions, Destined to be on different paths," she paused to light up another cigarette took a puff and went on, "Fate where art though? Fined me in the cruel state, my lover has gone another rode then I."
Colt tried to keep from laughing. He smirked and clapped his hands.
"Oh?" She looked at him as if she hadn't known he was there, "not my best work." She roiled her head around to try to loosen her neck muscles, they felt to tight to her. There was so much tension.
"Where did you get the dress?" Colt asked to lighten up the mood. He'd never seen her in any thing but black, even if she did have one vest that was black with pin stripes it was the closes to color she got.
"Hummm," she looked like she was thinking, but there was a silly grin on her face. Colt waited for her to answer for five seconds then got impatient, "well?"
"Yes, about my dress. I do believe I got it at a store." She looked at him blankly, "you know big building, lots of stuff you can buy and such?"
"Right, I know of a few places like that." He laughed, she was weird but funny. Even though he some times wandered if she was gothic of some sort of witch, Marrisa wasn't either. She liked being weird, wearing all black, no make up, doing what she liked and she didn't care what others thought. She was, well she was a lot like himself!
"I suppose you'd like to know about the war paint too?" Colt stared at her wandering what she meant, "Uhm?"
"My make up!" He smiles a yes. "Mmmta, well you see with all my experience as a poet & song writer, I think words are going to fall me at this difficult time called the great break up, so I thought a mask might help." She leans back again and started laughing hysterically. Colt grind and chuckled, "What's so funny?"
"I've be come a drama queen!"
"Is that so bad?"
"Yes, if that's not who you really are why would it be good to act like one?"
Colt thought on that for a little while, "maybe if you 'be come' some thing you're just changing and that's who you're bond to really be." It was crap, but he wasn't a philosopher! "Nicely said." He stared at her unbelieving.
Marrisa leaned over and kissed Colt's cheek. "You're sweet. Rocky's hear I better go talk to him." How could she always tell when and where Rocky was? It seamed strange to him that Marrisa had a great connection with Rocky, but they weren't meant for each other. She swallowed hard, got up and put out her cigarette. Colt smiled up at her, "Thanks" he waved the butt of his cigarette to indicate what he was thanking her for and she smiled back at him, "Cult, wicked."
That had been the first thing she'd ever said to him. When Rocky had talked Colt in to going to some weird cafe' where people read poetry & such, Marrisa had been there and thought that his name was C-U-L-T, instead of C-O-L-T, she thought it was funny.
Colt stud up and went back in to the living room where even more people had goatherd and was flooding the room.
"Entertainment is back!" Amanda cheered and grabbed Colt by the arm as he came in. "You promised to play for us." She was beaming and handed him his guitar that had been propped up in one corner. It was already plugged in to the amplifiers and every thing. "Okay" He smiled at her and kissed the tip of her nose. She made a face at him.
"Jinggle bell, jinggle bell, jinggle bell rock-" He started to sing, his music was loud & perfectly on key. "Jingged bell rock-" Every time he said 'rock' he'd look over at his older brother with a mischievous smirk.
"I'm glad you two are getting along." Rocky smiled at Amanda and Miyo who he had spotted in the center of the room talking about Colt's playing. "You're friends are wonderful Rocky." Miyo smiled at her new friend. "When are you taking Rocky back?" Amanda asks.
"The day after Christmas. You should come an visit him during the spring. Koga is very pretty in the Spring."
Rocky spotted Marrisa walking slowly towards himself. He smiled, just seeing her shot a jolt through him, but some thing was wrong. very wrong. Why was she in green? And... eye shadow, it made her eyes stand out, which he liked a lot, but it wasn't Marrisa.
"Mars," Rocky whispered her pet name when she got close. "Lets have a cigarette." She said smiling up at him, aching in side and hating herself for what she had to do. Rocky didn't smoke, but he fallowed her out side. He noticed the three smoke butts on the ground already. "You look..." He started to complement her, then halted, "is some thing wrong?"
"Take care while you're gone." Marrisa says and placed a tender kiss on his check. He wrapped his arms around her and held her close. "I'm going to miss you. Long distant relationships can be tuff but I know we-"
"No." She cut him off and polled away. "Rock we've been friends for 18 months, 3 of those months we've been a 'thing.' But nothings changed, we're still just friends. I think that's all we're meant to be."
He blinked not wanting to believe. "Sure things changed, we..." He trailed off as he thought about it, she was right. The only thing that had changed was the fact he wasn't seeing any one else, that was it. They did the same things they did as friends and nothing else. "Then..?"
"Got to Japan and have fun. You'll fined some one there you love, may be you already have."
"If you're talking about Miyo there's nothing between us, really." She kissed him on the lips this time, "That's fine. But it doesn't make a difference with us." Didn't it though? He had no intentions of getting to gather with any one else, he loved Marrisa. Her wild side, her poetry, her abrupt & unpredictable way. "I love you," He whispers. She just shook her head no, "na na na, I care for you. Nah, nah, it's not love. Don't be childish... So childish enough, to go call it love.." She walked backwards, away from him and waved. Slightly bobbing her head before she turned and headed out of Amanda's yard. Rocky just stud there stunned.
"Rocky!" Tum Tum open the sliding glass door and looked out in to the black night, "Where are you?" He squinted and strained to see his older brother's salute on the patio. "I'm coming in." Rocky says and steps back in to light. "Good, we need to have a talk with that jerk."
"What jerk?" Tum Tum just glared up at Rocky, what jerk? Who else but, "the guy who thinks he's marring Mandy!" Rocky laughed and came in.
In her dad's library Amanda was hanging on the arm of a tall young man with a pearly white smile, wild red hair and emerald green eyes. He was so very attractive! With his mountain man looks, and yet a cool, calming gentleman air about him. Colt and Tum Tum gave him a once over. Oh he was slick, but they wouldn't let some macho man come and sweep their sister off her feet. Okay so she wasn't really their sister, but she'd trained with them at grandpa's cabin for three years, had been one of their best friends, and new more of their deep dark secrets then their own mother knew! If that didn't make her family, nothing would.
Rocky smiled cooly from his seat behind the desk. Colt & Tum Tum where being a little more protective then necessary, but it was amusing to watch. He was only taking part of this inquisition to make sure it didn't get out of hands.
"Mandy would you get us some thing to drink, we want to talk to lover boy." Tum Tum says as sweetly as he could manage, trying to hide his dislike of 'lover boy.' Naive Amanda smiled at him and polled herself away, "alright Tum."
Colt closed the door behind her, an evil smirk on his face. "So Daven is it?"
"Yes, Daven Shanks. It's nice to finely meet all of you." He stuck out his hand to shake Colt's hand, but Colt glared at him. "Why don't you take a seat!" Rocky shouts and jumps out of his chair, he practically ran up to Daven's side. "I'm Samuel," he took Daven's hand and shook it. "Rocky, Ama has talked about you frequently."
"Ama?" Tum Tum mouthed to Colt from be hind Daven. He ringcled his nose. What kind of nick name was Ama?! Colt shrugged his shoulders and made a face that said he agreed with Tum Tum. Rocky and Daven didn't seam to notice their silent discussion. Rocky knew from experience what the two of them where doing. They where so childish! Daven sat down with Rocky on the couch along on wall. "-You mat Amanda at UCLA, that's really great, what classes are you taking?"
Colt's blood boiled, why was Rocky being nice to him, why was Rocky always being nice? Tum Tum flopped him himself down in the empty seat beside Daven, "You're in college? Mandy's only 16. What kind of guy are you to try to be sweet on a girl so young & innocent? That's really wrong!"
AHHH! Rocky felt like dying right there. How could Tum Tum say some thing like that? Rocky was embarrassed enough for Tum Tum, Colt & himself.
Daven just turns to Tum Tum and grind, "I assure you my intentions are pure. we don't even kiss. And for the record I'm only 4 years older then Ama. Once she turns 18 that age difference won't seem so significant." Tum Tum watched him, carefully. He turned his words around in his head, there must be some thing he can smack his chops for.
The intense silence was broken by Colt laughing. When he finely stopped he shook his head at Daven, "you really haven't kissed her?"
"No. I love Ama for her brains and who she is."
"Reeeeeeeally?" Tum Tum stared at him hard. Daven nods, "that's the hon-" "Okay, what-" Amanda tried to open the door but Colt leaned in to it to keep her out. Daven looked up at Colt, "I get it. well if there's some sort of task I must under go before I have your blessing then I'll do it."
"Open the door." Amanda orders in a hushed tone, but non the less commanding. Colt opened it and she looked at him curiously, "what's going on in here?"
"Boy talk. Sorry Ama, we turned the office in to a mans club. No girls aloud, no mater how cute they are." Daven says smiling up at her. She smiled shyly back at him, "no drinks for you then." She teased, though her tone wasn't at all harsh.
Colt draped an arm around her shoulders. "Who's playing out there?" He asks as he hears piano music drifting in. "Kerry from school."
Colt nods, he knew who Kerry was. His ears knew she needed more piano lessons too. "Come on, " he tugged at Tum Tum's shirt sleeve, "lets go show her how it's done."
Tum Tum looked from Daven to Colt, to Amanda, back to Daven. He finely shrugged and went with Colt. Rocky sighed in relief. What was he going to do with those brothers of his?
Tum Tum shoed Kerry away from the piano, taking the seat at the small stool he popped his knuckles dramatically. Colt grabbed his guitar back up and they started "Winter wonderland." Daven smiled and watched the performance.
"Rocky.." Amanda chewed on her lower lip while setting the tray of drinks she'd brought in for the boys down on the desk. Her and Rocky had stayed back in the library. "I won't let them sink their teeth in to him." Rocky joked.
Amanda shook her head, "I'm not worried about them. It's my dad." She sat down on the couch where Daven had been seconds ago. "He doesn't like this, I told him the wedding will be after my 18th birthday." Rocky sat back down next to her and patted her shoulder.
"Don't worry so much. Move slowly, be sure this is really what you want, and your dad will come around."
Amanda beamed, "I know I love Daven and he loves me." Rocky shifted in his seat nervously, "How do you Know it's love and not a childish fantasy?" Amanda looked hurt, how could he dought her judgement like that?
"I didn't mean to say that what your feeling is any thing less then love, I just want you to tell me how you know."
She leans back in to the couch with a grin on her face. "When we're together it's like I'm compleat. All my weaknesses vanish, cause I have his strength. And I know it's the same for him." She laughed, "he won't even kiss me cause he's 19 and I'm not 18 yet. But we're still connected, it's not physical like a fantasy, it's intellectual & emotional."
"Spiritual.." Rocky adds. "Yeah, that too." They smiled at each other. "Then Mandy, I hope you two live happily ever after." He got up and she did the same.
When They came back to the living room Colt & Tum Tum where still playing their hearts out. Daven was in a corner looking at some pictures. The one he was looking at now was of Rocky, Miyo, Colt, Tum Tum & Emily from four years back. Grandpa had taken the picture when he came to check up on the kids that night. Later the picture was given to Amanda. Rocky couldn't remember when or why. Some thing stabbed his heart.
He might have been standing one foot away from the picture, but he saw that scene with his minds eyes as if he where reliving it. His ears could hear those sounds again, Emily's sweet, sweet singing voice, Miyo speaking Japanese, Colt hitting the wrong key every once & a while. He loved it, that night should have lasted forever, it was a beautiful day to have lived.
"Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the waaaaY-" Tum Tum was singing. Miyo went over and wrapped her arms around his shoulders and sang with him, "dashing threw the snow-" Daven sat the picture down and added his voice, "in a one horse open slay."
"OH, hohoho." Amanda sang with a giggle. Kerry and some of the other guess joined, Rocky Hung back and smiled to himself. Slowly he walked over and picked up the picture. Emily was so pretty. His best friend. 'All my weaknesses vanish, cause I have her strength,' Amanda's words came back to him, only in his mind she said "her" instead of "his."
"Jingle bells, Jingles bells, jingle all the way," every one else sang out.
'Baru' the Japanese word for bell, he recalls. Shaking his head slightly he joined the singing in Japanese. Miyo laughed and reverted back to her native language too.