Demon Envy

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With this to debate while I showered, I went into my bathroom and discovered that overnight a giant crater had surfaced on my chin, a red-rimmed, oozing volcanic zit, ready to blow at any minute. “Aah!”  I shuddered involuntarily and reached for my morning acne lotion, the stuff that’s slimy and bleaches the color out of my aqua blue hand towels.  Occasionally I wonder if it’s good to put something on my face that can strip color out of cotton- hello, Michael Jackson- but I need all the ammo I can get in the war on bad skin. Here’s where it got weird.  I cranked up my CD player so I’d be able to hear it in the shower.  Then I leaned over to turn on the water, open bottle of lotion in my hand, wanting the temp to warm up while I was busy taking on pimple from hell in round one of Kenzie vs. body bacteria.  I never even got as far as the faucet.  In a move that is Classic Kenzie- questioning the usefulness of all the hours and thousands of dollars spent on dance lessons if I couldn’t even manage to walk without incident- I tripped on the bottom of my huge pj pants and slammed into the wall, dropping the lotion into the tub.  It bounced, I winced in pain, and fifty bucks worth of prescription acne meds poured out of the bottle and down the drain. I grabbed at it, but two thirds were already gone.  If the pipes were having problems with pimples, they’d be in luck, otherwise it was a total waste.  “Shoot!” Saving what was left by tipping the bottle right side up, I also grabbed a big glop that was still clinging to the rim of the drain and tried to dribble it back into the opened cap.  Okay, I admit, that was kind of a gross thing to do, but the tub was clean, and I was desperate.  There was no way my mom would replace lotion that cost such major money just two weeks after I’d gotten it- can’t you just smell the lecture?- and life with increased break-outs was too horrific to contemplate. Slapping what I couldn’t force back into the bottle onto my crater-covered chin, I turned around to grope for a towel.  Unfortunately they were all crumpled up damp and dirty on the floor where I had left them the night before, so I settled for swiping some toilet paper and trying to get the sticky slime off my fingers. They were starting to burn and itch, which struck me as a bad sign.   Like an allergic reaction waiting to happen.  Like swelled sausage fingers or nasty rash spreading out in ninety directions.  And knowing my mother, that would not be a good enough reason to stay home from school.  She’d make me go anyway, and by tomorrow my nickname would be Contagious Kenzie or Rash Girl.  Notoriety for a dermatological emergency wasn’t what I was going for, even if I had no interest whatsoever in making a play for Homecoming Queen. Amber Janson already had that locked up anyway, even if we were only about a minute into our junior year.  Barring a major scandal involving loss of her credit card privileges, announcement of a secret drug problem, or a sudden excessive weight gain, there were no challengers to Amber’s dominance of the pack.  Do I sound jealous?  Yeah, guess what, it’s because I was.  Come on, you would be too.  Honesty is a virtue and I truly, honestly, loathed Amber.  I’m not sure I had a good reason, exactly, since she’d never done anything to me directly, it was just that her life was like Bubblicious gum- pink and bouncy and full of sugar, and mine was a gumball- hard, and totally lacking in flavor. Wiping the lotion off my fingers wasn’t working at all, and my skin was looking really red and annoyed, and I was beginning to picture myself starring in a future Stephen King novel (she was consumed by a giant rash!), so I reached behind me to turn the shower on so I could rinse.  Only my hand hit something hard, something that shouldn’t have been there, something that was not shower wall, not faucet, not empty air like it should have been.  And when I whipped my head around to check out what I’d made contact with, there was a guy sitting in my bathtub.  Knees up to his chest, he blinked chocolate brown eyes at me. There was a guy in my tub.  A guy.  In the tub. You know what I did, right?  I screamed bloody murder like any sane sixteen-year old girl would do when a guy just randomly pops into her shower with zero warning.  My mother didn’t raise no fool. She raised a chicken. Or at least I tried to scream.  Before I got halfway through one, “Aaahhh,” he cut me off by slapping his hand right over my mouth.  I did not know he was going to do that.  There was no time to react, no time to catch a breath, no time to jerk back, close my mouth or anything, before my face was suddenly covered with guy fingers from chin to nostrils.  Not a good feeling.  They were smothering and strong and they smelled like… guy. Like salted soft pretzel and skin.  Totally disgusting.