Welcome back, Essential Ron-ness series fans. The long, hot summer for Middleton High's teens may have ended, but an even hotter senior year is underway. Let's check in.
Way back in early 2007, a small paragraph in the middle of my novel Mating Games alluded to an impromptu weight-room throwdown between the cheer squad and the girls of the sports teams. (Safety tip: don't ever call them 'the girl athletes' in the presence of a cheerleader.) From that tiny seed grew the tree of which this story is fruit.
Expect Kim to play a much bigger part in this than she has in my other squad-focused stories. Not the star, but a significant player throughout. As for Ron? Tough to say. This is slated to be girls front-and-center—but I imagine Ron-ness will prove Essential at some point. As will Kevin-ness and Steverity and other modes of boyfriendship.
Takes place somewhere between the TV episodes "Ill-Suited" and "Mad Dogs and Aliens." In the ER chronology it slots in just ahead of Ron's Varsity Jacket. Rated M for nudity, adult themes, and some bawdy badinage.
Disclaimer: Disney owns the Middleton High School Cheerleading Squad and many other characters in this work. Mary Ann Bianchi is the property of Stuart Woods. Original characters by author.
Cri de Guerre
(An Essential Ron-ness Universe Story)
It began, as did so much Middleton High drama, with Bonnie Rockwaller.
It was a Tuesday; the fall sports seasons were entering the heart of their schedules. The football eleven, with Kyle Monson and Ron Stoppable spearheading the Unstoppable Offense, had scored another big win over the weekend, and this afternoon's main event had Middleton High's gym rocking as raucously as ever it had. The undefeated volleyball girls were entertaining their arch-nemeses, the defending state champions from Upperton, who also boasted an unblemished record going into the match. And Middleton was on the brink of making a major statement.
The Mad Dogs had taken the first set in the best-of-five match 25 to 7. They'd taken the second 25 to 4. And now they led the third set 24 to 3 and had a mind-boggling twenty-one match points to play with when competition (if you could even call it that) resumed.
At the moment time was out. The band was pumping out a sound wall of high-energy pop and the cheerleaders were bringing the incandescence of a fusion reaction with their latest Bonnie Rockwaller-choreographed dance number.
A buzzer sounded. The bandies lowered their instruments, the cheer squad withdrew to the sidelines and the players retook the court.
The defending champs still had a bit of fight in them; enough to deny scrappy Allie Crowley the service ace at least. They even managed to get the ball back over the net, weakly. But once junior Katey Purcell with her usual cool precision bumped the ball up to Traci Sandisfield, who proceeded to give her 'five-foot-seventeen' co-captain 'Mile High' Megan Hadley the exact ball she preferred for spiking into oblivion, everyone in the building knew it was over.
The fans took up the chant of 'Mile! High! Mile! High!' as Upperton's front line blockers, a trio of long-limbed six-footers, leapt as high as they could to turn back the attack—but Megan's jumping ability far exceeded theirs. She played the ball a good five feet above the net and well above their outstretched fingertips. The leather sphere shot as if from a railgun to the center of a gaping void in the defense and bounced into the bleachers.
The players hugged each other in celebration as the fans screamed and applauded until their hands turned Mad Dog Purple. Then the volleyball team formed a circle and each girl put a flat hand into its center in a show of unity. A sudden hush fell over the gym, into which the clear, strong voice of co-captain Traci broke to ask her teammates one simple question: "What are we?"
"FEMALE DOGS!" The girls roared out the exuberant battle cry they'd adopted for themselves in glorious unison, throwing up their hands, and the fans cheered even more loudly than before.
Finally the team headed out of the gym and toward the girls' locker room. The cheerleaders hurried out to their own private locker room as well.
A brief history lesson: the Middleton Cheer Squad Alumnae Association was established in the mid 1960s to foster continuing ties among former wavers of the purple-and-gold pom poms. The group quickly became one of the biggest fund-raisers in town, contributing mucho Claude toward after-school activities. In the 70s, they secured a space in the gymnasium wing for a special cheer squad locker room, which they fitted out for their future members to enjoy while they carried on the Mad Dog traditions. Being furnished with extra-school-budgetary funding, the cozy space was far better appointed and maintained than the usual public school changing/shower facilities, and in fact had just been lavishly renovated over the summer.
"I hope those volleyball girls don't use up the hot water," said the curly-haired redhead Liz Leyden, shedding garments as quickly as she could. "I need a shower badly before I hook up with with Logan the Golfer."
"And then you'll be all sweaty again five minutes later," quipped tall, willowy blonde Jess Sundstrum (a.k.a. The One With the Freckles), clear leader in the race to nudity.
"We say 'glistening' or 'glowing,' Jess," raven-haired Hope Trinh said, adding her grey sports bra to her pile of clothes.
"They're euphemisms," brainy-and-curvy blonde Tara Monroe explained, stepping out of her pleated miniskirt.
"Euphemize my sexy derrière," Jess said over her shoulder before she vanished into the steam of the showers.
"Bilingual wordplay," café-au-lait complected Crystal Whately noted admiringly, following Jess into the shower area. "Not too shabby."
"And the visual really sold it," Tara, in Crystal's wake, observed.
"Jess is always the first into the showers. How the hell does that girl get naked so fast?" Liz wondered.
"You'd almost think she was born that way," said Hope.
"If you were dating a stud like Steve Farley, Liz, you'd learn to strip fast too," dusky Latina Marcella Reyes gibed.
"I'll have you know Logan the Golfer is plenty studly, thankyouverymuch."
"Yeah? How many strokes does your golfer give you when you two play a round?"
"Depends on the hole," Liz snarked.
By this time the sextet of sexpots was luxuriating in the sumptuously decorated shower area—its walls surfaced in an engineered marble look-alike, white with flecks of color, primarily purple and gold, throughout, the floor foot-square tiles in the same three colors—vigorously sudsing nubile bodies amidst billowing clouds of steam.
Marcella moaned rapturously as an array of Hansgrohe pulsating water jets set into one wall worked their magic on her aching spine. "Ooooh, this feels almost as good as sex!"
"Sounds like Tony needs lessons," Tara deadpanned.
"Hey Liz, your committee come up with any ideas for a new Spirit Week event yet?" asked Hope.
"I guess it's just going to be the same old same old," she replied glumly. "Unless someone has a brainstorm by tomorrow's meeting."
"That's a shame," said Crystal. "So T, any plans for tonight?"
"Study date with Kevin."
"The future doctors will be going over their Comparative Anatomy," Jess quipped.
"Boning up, you might say," Liz added.
"Actually," the blushing blonde said, "it's advanced Organic Chemistry tonight."
"Ha! Just as good!" "Whose organ?" "An all-nighter!" "Did she say Orgiastic Chemistry?" "I heard Orgasmic Chemistry!"
That last one earned the wag a hurled loofah to the noggin from Tara. (The preceding exchange flowed too quickly for the narrator to tag speakers.)
"Please, water, stay hot!" Hope beseeched.
"You ladies shower as long as you like," Bonnie Rockwaller, who'd joined the group while Tara was enduring the ribaldry, told them. "Your esteemed captain—"
"Co-captain," the six interrupted.
"—is looking out for you as always. Thanks to me you'll have all the hot water you need."
"What'd you do, B?" asked Marcella.
"I got Custodian Curt to shut off the hot water in the gym showers. You're welcome, BTW."
"Bonnie! Why would you do that!" Tara scolded. "You know we're trying to be friends with the sports girls. Now you want to rile them up all over again?"
"I've never supported this 'friends' policy. I liked the good old days of open war. And as captain—"
"Co-captain, Bonnie. In charge of dance numbers only."
"The title's captain, Tara. Maybe I'm not your only captain … yet … but I'm a captain. Or would you rather I bow out and Kim take over dances again?"
"No, Bonnie, we all love your dances. They're way sexier than Kim's," Hope replied.
"Thanks, Hope, but I'm not sure you speak for T. She's never had any trouble turning guys on, what with that porno-star rack of hers. Maybe she doesn't care what you girls want. We know she's mad at me."
"I'm not mad at you, Bonnie, just disappointed. I used to think we were friends, but all I ever was to you was a follower. But as for your being captain and your dances, I am all-in on all that. The hotter the better. And my hottie's all into me dancing them."
Bonnie rolled her eyes.
Now the girls were drying themselves off (with plush, heated towels) and getting dressed. (Except for Jess. She preferred to drip-dry while she brushed her silken tresses.)
Suddenly the door flew open and Kim Possible stood there, backed by Megan and Traci and the rest of the volleyball team in various states of deshabille from towels and shower clogs on up, carrying tote bags.
"All right, ladies, listen up!" Kim announced. "Thanks to a ferociously weird malfunction in the utility room our good friends the undefeated volleyball girls don't have any hot water for their showers. Naturally, I told them it would be our honor to share."
"No prob!" Tara sang out.
"The more the merrier!" Crystal added.
Bonnie was aghast. "What!? Sports girls in our special room?"
"Maybe leave the plumbing alone next time, B," Jess advised.
"Whatever, I'm outies," and she quickly threw on slacks and top, ran a comb through her hair and elbowed her way out of the room.
"Ron said to tell you the new dance is 'Bon-Bon-diggety,' Bonnie," Kim called after her, ushering the team into the room. "Okay, come on in, ladies. It'll be a little crowded, but we can make do. Showers are to your left, just put your bags anywhere. Don't worry about your stuff, we cheerleaders may have our vices—"
"No prize for guessing the top one!" someone shouted.
"—but stealing's not one of them."
"Yeah, cellies and jewelry are safe. Just don't leave any boyfriends lying around," Hope said. "Those, you might not get back."
"Especially you, Meg!" Marcella teased.
Megan laughed. As quarterback Kyle Monson's improbable girlfriend—nobody expects a ripped, six-foot-three (in cleats, rounded up) babe magnet to pass up the curvaceous cuties for a slender girl several inches taller than he is—she'd grown used to this treatment.
Not that the skyscraping senior whom Bonnie had once called 'the human bendy straw' lacked her share of charms. It's just that they were pretty much all concentrated in the real estate below her sports bra. She sported the longest, sexiest legs in at least three time zones, a very sweet little booty in her tight volleyball shorts, and a nicely toned tummy. (Middleton High boys were connoisseurs of the toned female tummy.)
Her upper third, however, had issues galore—frizzy russet-brown hair, facial features seemingly assembled from leftover parts, arms and neck too long and thin, huge hands and a narrow, nearly flat chest. (When Kyle presented her with his class ring, she joked that she might wear it around her waist—and slide it over her breasts to get it there.)
She had a terrific smile, though. Experience one and you'll move mountains to earn another.
"As if any of you girls could take a boyfriend away from one of us!" Traci said acerbically.
Murmurs and a "You tell 'em, Trace!" were heard from the volleyballers.
"Come on, Traci, lighten up. They're just kidding around," Meg said.
"Wait, Traci's against boyfriend poaching now?" Jess said. "This is new."
"I never said I was against it, Sundstrum," the erstwhile tomboy replied, "just that we'd have no trouble fending off any poachers."
The nude, freckled cheerleader cupped a hand to a shell-like ear. "Oh, am I hearing a challenge? We both know you already took a swing at my man and whiffed.(1) How 'bout I go ask Tiny what he thinks of my Swedish beachwear?"
"Are you as scared as I am about where this might end up?" Crystal murmured to Marcella, who shrugged in reply.
"I dunno, Sundstrum, what's this Swedish beachwear of yours like?"
Jess's squadmates tittered naughtily. They knew what was coming.
"You're looking at it."
The tallest, leggiest cheerleader at five-seven and a fraction, the sapphire-eyed blonde was rated one of the prettier girls at school, but hardly the greatest beauty around (unless you canvassed while Steve Farley was listening). But that was mostly because she had difficulty finding clothes, especially bras and most especially sports bras, that really flattered her figure. In this state of nature, however, her svelte form was showing to its absolute best advantage. From collarbones to calcanei (heel bones) she was splendid: fit and toned and practically flawless. Her lovely breasts were not the largest in the room, but they were nicely sized, beautifully formed, bedecked with tantalizingly erotic constellations of freckles, and so perky they seemed to regard the law of gravity as something more in the way of an idle suggestion.
Traci smirked and dropped her towel. The bosomy beauty, the MHS softball nine's slugging first basewoman in spring, actually could boast the largest breasts in the room by a comfortable margin, and the rest of her was great too. She stood three inches taller than Jess and was extremely well-proportioned with broad shoulders and an evident, yet very feminine, musculature. Add long, lustrous, dark brown hair framing a dream-girl-next-door visage and eyes of mahogany flecked with topaz and it was obvious that any boy asked to choose between these two teen temptresses would experience serious blood-flow-to-the-brain issues.
"You think any guy with eyes would pass up all this … for you?"
"Tiny would crush you to powder. You're nothing but a bag of brittle bones."
"Think so?" the alluring blonde asked, hands on shapely hips. "Ask Kim if she'd try building a four-level pyramid on the shoulders of brittle bones. At our bench press challenge last winter you may have edged out Liz, but if I'd been there you'd've lost to five cheerleaders, not just four. You wanna try these bones right here, right now, Tomboy Traci? Bring. It. On."
"That's right!" "Preach it, Jess!" "Oh no she di'int!"
"Okay! It's time to take this down a few dozen notches, squad," Kim commanded, moving in to separate the two. "We're all friends here, remember? There's no need for any of this."
Hope giggled. "Traci, you're one hell of an athlete, but you really need to up your trash-talk game."
Her squadmates executed a rapid-fire series of facepalms while the volleyball girls prepped for extreme merriment and Traci savored the kind of straight, fat meatball she feasted on when wielding her softball bat. The petite Asian-American teen, however, still had no idea what she'd done until the bigger girl turned to her and as sweetly as possible said, "Up yours, Trinh."
Hope blushed redder than Kim's hair as riotous laughter resounded throughout the room, defusing some of the tension.
"You cheerleaders got some muscle, I'll give you that. Damn if I can see where y'all keep it," Traci continued after a bit. "But when it comes to actual sports we'd kick your butts, and we're every bit as hot as you if not hotter!"
Noises of agreement and protest were heard.
"All right, team," co-captain Megan said placatingly, "Kim's right, we're all on the same side here. We're all Mad Dogs—"
"Thank you, Meg, very well said," Kim concurred. "There's no need to start up any more cheer versus sports fights—"
"Oh! Oh! Everybody wait!" Liz said excitedly. "I'm having a brainstorm!"
"Okay, now I'm scared," Marcella murmured to Crystal.
"For Spirit Week! Cheerleaders against the Sports Girls!"
"In what, boyfriend poaching?" asked sophomore Mary Ann Bianchi.
"No! What Traci said: Athletics! Imagine it: We pick, say five sports and each day we face off and see which group wins. We'll get the whole school into it. This could be huge!"
"Y'know," Tara mused, "this could also be a great way to raise money for charity … no, I don't mean your sister, Hope."
"How?" queried ebullient blonde Dee Dee Tavener.
"We could sell T-shirts!" vivacious Katey Purcell said. "My parents silkscreen them in their shop."
Crystal nodded thoughtfully. "Yeah, they'd sell like nacos."
"I'll bet Steve's dad would let us hold events at the batting cages, or his pitch-n-putt golf," Jess added. "He's got a scaled-down soccer field for six-on-six, and half-court basketball. And he'd probably kick back a chunk of his snackage profits to us. He's really generous with good causes."
"If he's so generous, why didn't he sire some more hunky sons for the rest of us?" Allie Crowley said, to general laughter.
"You snagged Luke Walpole, Allie, you're hardly a charity case," quipped Hope to more laughter. With her, for a refreshing change.
"Aaaahhh, Luke Walpole…" sighed Allie's younger teammates.
"Snagged him, or snogged him?" a girl said.
"She snagged him ere she snogged him. No way but this. Snogging herself, to die upon a kiss," paraphrased Katey.
"Oooh, someone's read ahead in her Othello unit," said Tara. "Gold star for Katey!"
"Tea–cher's pet! Tea–cher's pet!" singsonged the other three juniors present.
"Mad Dog spirit … and the help thing. Two really worthwhile causes," Kim reflected. "This could be the most spankin' Spirit Week ever, and do a lot of good too. There's some serious good thinking going on here. I just wonder if we really can keep this friendly."
"C'mon, Kim," said Crystal. "What's your motto again?"
Meg nodded vigorously. "I agree with you, Kim. It would be great if we could do this. But not if it gets tempers flaring like in the bad old days. What about it, Traci?"
The statuesque brunette had her towel around her again. "Couldn't agree more, Mile High. I'm all about solidarity with our friends the cheerleaders … and with their other friends … especially the male ones," she said with a saucy grin. "Whaddaya say, Sundstrum?"
Jess knew it was her shortstop's fondest wish that his lady love would make peace with his buddy from a thousand sandlot ball games turned smoking hot sex goddess. And while Jess probably wouldn't turn down a little sumthin' sumthin' more in her bra cups were anyone pouring, thanks to months of effusive paeans to her loveliness from Steve she no longer felt inferior around busty bombshells like Traci. She extended a hand of friendship to Traci, who took it. "I vote we make some Middleton High history."
There was general agreement. Liz took the idea to the committee the next day, and got unanimous approval.
Oh, and in case you were wondering, the hot water held out long enough for all the girls to shower.
to be continued…
(1) I actually wrote and even published this once upon a time, but I took it down. Jess has given you the gist in a dozen words, sparing you my usual snobby, pompous and overwritten prose. She says you're welcome, BTW.