16. The mall, part one.
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"Ow ow ow!"

Early Sunday morning. Nikki pulled the razor back, wincing. Red streamed down her leg. She had nicked her inner thigh... ugh, why'd there have to be so much hair left! She was beginning to wish she shaved more often. Or at all, really.

Pushing back the pain, she continued on making her legs nice and smooth. She was going to be wearing shorts today, and she figured it would be good to clean up. Boys hated hairy legs, right? Probably Randy especially, considering he didn't even like hair on his own body.

As she lathered on more shaving cream and ran the razor up and down her thigh, she wondered if she should shave a bit higher up. It was really hairy... she had never had a reason to, so she'd never even trimmed it before. Did boys like that part to be smooth? All the girls in porn were smooth down there. But maybe Randy was the kind of guy to like a bush? Or, well, probably not...

Shaking her head, Nikki got rid of the idea. He wasn't going to be seeing it anytime soon. Worry about that later.

As she set back to work, she wondered what he was doing right now.


Once again, Randy paced around the kitchen clicking his phone on and off. Still hadn't even glanced at that mountain of homework due on Monday.

"Maybe she'd like to hang out today." he thought. "Stay over and have dinner or something. Or, well, I guess her dad wouldn't want her to."

Leaning on the counter, he sighed. He forgot how much having a crush sucked. There was this pit in his stomach that wasn't going away. It was impossible to focus on anything else... right as he was considering heading upstairs and trying to get that work done, Quinn walked in to the kitchen from outside. Mackenzie and Olivia stood outside the sliding door, watching the two.

"Hey, want to go to the mall with us?" she asked casually, grabbing a soda from the fridge. "We're gonna be leaving soon."

"No." he snapped, glaring at her. "Why would I want to do that?"

"Cause your girlfriend is coming."

Randy rose an eyebrow. What girlfriend? Oh, wait, did she mean?

"Nikki? Nikki's going to the mall with you?" he asked.

Quinn took a sip of her drink. "That's what I just said."

He rubbed his eyes. "She's not my... whatever. Why?"

"Why what?"

"Why'd you invite her?" he asked. "Do you really like her that much?"

Quinn hopped up on the counter, sitting down next to her brother.

"I don't know. I felt bad for being so mean to you when David was over. So I thought maybe I could hook you up with the girl you like?"

Randy eyed her suspiciously. She snorted.

"Well, we also needed someone to drive us... and I maybe told her you were coming along... sooo..."

He was getting it now. Randy crossed his arms, mulling it over. Well, he kinda didn't want to reward Quinn for her plotting. But he kinda wanted to spend the day with Nikki. It would be nice to hang out with her and do something other than sit around in detention or play video games in her basement. She wanted to hang out too, it seemed, given that she had agreed to come just cause he would be there. That made him feel good... it put flutters in his chest.

"Okay." he said finally. "When's she coming over?"

"Twelve."

Randy jumped in place.

"Twelve!?" he cried, fumbling for his phone to check the time. "Twelve, that's, that's two hours from now! I haven't even showered! And I need to pluck my eyebrows!"

"Better hurry up then." Quinn said, laughing as her brother took off for the stairs.


Randy was still deciding what to wear when Nikki's car rolled up on Lahoya Street. He saw her car out the window, and Quinn and her friends running up to it. David was with them... he apparently walked over at some point.

His eyes turned from the window to the mirror. He was trying to dress cool, but not too cool, like, so that it looked like he wasn't intentionally trying to look cool. Black pants, a loose tee shirt, white sneakers, an expensive blue button-up worn like a jacket. 

He bit his lip. Did he look stupid?

There was a sudden noise: honk honk! A car horn from outside. He went to his window again, seeing Quinn waving for him.

Well... no time to worry about it now, he supposed. Grabbing a few mints from a tin he kept on his desk, he popped them in his mouth as he jogged downstairs. Mom was in the foyer, and she waved goodbye to him as he took out the door.

The younger kids had managed to all squeeze in the back seat, leaving shotgun to Randy. He climbed in, smiling at Nikki in the driver's seat. "Hey." he said.

"Hi." she smiled back. Randy was beginning to wonder if exercise clothes were the only things the girl owned... she had on a plain sleeveless shirt, the kind a guy would wear, and tight black bicycle shorts that ended just above her knees.

"Come on, lets go!" Quinn leaned in from the backseat. "Thanks again for driving us, Nikki. You're the coolest!"

Nikki's eyes were still fixed on Randy, even as Quinn hugged her around the neck. "Thanks... it's really no problem." She didn't notice the girl wink at her brother as she pulled back.

She started the car and they were off. The radio had already been turned on to a station playing the same seven songs from the top 40 hits over and over. While the younger kids were chatting away in the back, Randy found it hard to try and start up a conversation with Nikki. Any time he thought of something to say, it just got caught up in his throat.

"You look so nice." Nikki said. They had pulled onto the highway, which was clogged up with traffic, so she was able to take her eyes off the road. "Why don't you dress like that more often?"

Randy's heart jumped.

"Oh, uh, thanks." he said, his blush impossible to hide. "Yeah, it's just, I don't really have time in the morning to plan out an outfit I guess."

"But you have the time to take a shower." she said, playfully feigning anger. "Is that why you never send me any nudes? No time?"

Randy laughed, but his cheeks got even redder. Nikki saw his eyes flick away.

"H-hey... Quinn's like, right there..."

The car in front of them moved, and Nikki turned back to the road.

"S-sorry." she muttered. The girl quieted up after that, anxiously drumming her fingers on the wheel.

"I can't believe I just said that!" she thought.

Not the joke about nudes, no, the word "sorry." She had just barely been able to stammer it out, and she was shocked to hear it come out of her mouth.

She wanted to sigh. Complimenting and flirting with Randy came natural, but apologizing to him? Hardest thing in the world! It was both funny and frustrating to think about. She couldn't even imagine trying to say sorry for the years of being nasty to him, or, even worse, telling the boy just how she felt. Just thinking about it got her choked up.

Ugh... she really did hate herself sometimes. But hey, she managed to say the word! Progress! Well, at least a little.


Soon enough they got to the mall. The first store they entered was Primark, which was one of the mall's most popular spots and as such bustling to the brim. The place sold clothing, nice but affordable, and when Nikki said she needed to buy a swimsuit, the girls dragged her off to help her look for one. Randy figured he could pick one up as well while they were here, and Quinn ordered David to buy himself one for the summer too. So, the teens had split into two groups: boys and girls.

"You should get this one." Quinn had already picked a swimsuit out for herself, so she was dedicated to finding the perfect one for Nikki. Her other two friends were looking through the aisle themselves.

Turning, she glanced at the one Quinn had pulled out. It was a cute pink two piece. The bottoms looked more like underwear than the lower part of a bikini - no strings on the sides - and they were cut pretty skimpy. The top didn't have strings either, or even straps for that matter. It was just a wide ring of ribbed pink fabric. A bandeau top... was that the right term?

It certainly was nice, in the way all her secret cute underwear was. But she couldn't imagine conjuring up the confidence to wear something so... barely-there in front of Randy. And it wouldn't match the swimming unit dress code anyways.

"I'm looking for one I can wear to school." Nikki said, going back to looking at the more conservative one pieces. "No bikinis."

She pulled a swimsuit out from the rack. Simple black with gray highlights, and the highest neckline she could find. Right size, too. "This should work."

"Come on." Quinn rolled her eyes. "It's only eight bucks! Why can't you get both?"

Hmm... that idea hadn't occurred to her before. Well, it wasn't a lot of money...


On the other side of the store, Randy was having a little more trouble picking his out. He had narrowed it down to a few options: these washed out tye-dye pink ones, these black ones with dull pink roses on them, or this bright pink pair covered with little blue ice creams.

Yeah, pink was one of his favorite colors. He guessed his effeminate attributes didn't end at liking skin care a little too much.

"Dude, can you hurry up?" David snorted. "I wanna go to Auntie Anne's already."

The guy had picked his out long ago, simple bright flourescent orange shorts. Randy wondered what the hell was up with flourescent orange, for some reason all the guys at his school wore tons of flourescent orange and green and yellow. Were they worried about getting hit by a truck at night or something?

Randy didn't bother saying anything back, going through the rows of shorts another time. He was trying to see if there was anything he overlooked. Just as he got done, the girls showed up.

"You guys done?" Quinn asked, hands on her hips. Her swimsuit was tucked under her arm, same with the other girls... except for Nikki, who already had a plastic bag. Seemed like she had stopped by one of the checkout counters already. Sheesh, Randy thought. Was he really taking that long?

"I don't know." David looked to him. "Are we?"

"I think so." he pulled out the pair with the roses... it was subdued enough that he figured he wouldn't get made fun of at school for them.

"Great." said David, stepping forward. But Quinn stopped him, scoffing.

"Are you serious?" she pulled the flourescent orange pair from his hands and held them up. "These ones?"

"Well, what do you want me to get?"

Quinn looked around. "Ooh, how about those cute pink ones with the little blue ice creams!"

Randy smirked as David grudgingly grabbed one off the rack.

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