It was a long painful night for Tommy, and he really didn’t know what he would face when he got home. He’d never left the property after curfew, and never spent the night away from home without his parents knowledge and consent. He really didn’t give a care either. In as much pain as he was in from the brutal beating his father had given him, he was still steadfast that it would never happen again without defending himself. He knew at seventeen, he was no man, and still had a lot to learn, but he was no longer a child that would obediently bend over and take it.
“Where the hell have you been?” Ralph asked.
“I wanted to buy my mother an Easter card, but all the stores were closed.”
“Did you sleep well?”
“As well as can be expected, considering.”
Tom walked past his father, and went up to his room. He turned around in front of the mirror, looking over his shoulder. He saw what Animal was talking about. His back looked like raw meat. He knew a shower would hurt like being whipped all over again. He got in the tub and took a bath instead. Tom put on a pair of dress pants and went downstairs to get something to eat. Both his parents were sitting at the dining table as he walked past to the kitchen.
“Tom, aren’t you going to join us for breakfast?” His mother asked.
“Thank you Mother, but considering my state of undress, it would not be proper to sit at the dining table with you.”
“Well dear, why don’t you run back upstairs, get a shirt on, and come sit down? It’s bad enough that Brian couldn’t get leave again this year, and Marla wanted to go to Fort Lauderdale with her friends. You are still with us dear, and I would like at least one of my children at the breakfast table with us this morning.”
Tom, shrugged his shoulder, then turned and walked toward the staircase. Marlene shrieked when she saw the condition of her son’s back.
“Marlene, the boy deserved it. Stop your noise at the table.” Ralph stated coldly.
Marlene composed herself, took her linen napkin off her lap, wiped her lips, and placed the napkin on her plate. She followed her son up the stairs.
“Tom... I’m, I’m so sorry he did that to you. I feel like such a failure as a mother. I could never stand up to him... He got furious when he learned that Lydia is expecting. Oh, Tommy, I wish I knew what to do.” Marlene whispered.
“Mother, would you please spray my back with Bactine?” Tom asked politely.
He handed her the bottle that Animal had given him. “Mother, have you ever considered leaving?”
“No. He’s my husband, I made my bed, I must sleep in it.” Marlene was quiet a moment. “It’s not bad all the time. As long as your father gets his own way, he is pleasant to be around.”
“Mother, he beats you.”
“Only when I do something wrong. It, it doesn’t happen often, and he never leaves bruises. Tommy, he provides well for me. I can not leave all this. This is my life. Try to understand. Now tell me about Lydia. Were you drinking?”
“Drinking? Well, we, um...”
“Shhh... It’s okay dear, I already know. Lydia told her mother that some of the kids smuggled booze into the party at the Gunderson’s. It’s so easy to lose control when alcohol is involved. She told her mother that the reason we didn’t find you and she there was because you both drank too much and wandered away, then passed out. When you woke up, you were both naked from the waist down, and neither of you remembered a thing.”
“Did she mention that was the only time we had sex?” Tommy wondered as he was committing Lydia’s story to memory. He knew there was a few weeks difference in the time of the Gunderson party and Lydia’s rape, but perhaps if she had the baby a little early no one would figure it out.
“To be honest with you, son, she didn’t say. But, I know you are a good boy, and I am proud that you and she are mature enough to think of the baby first. Adoption is the best solution. Are you upset that your father and I don’t want the baby, Tommy?”
“Not at all, Mother. Raising a child is a big responsibility, and you’ve earned the right to a life of your own.” Tom wouldn’t let on how grateful he was that they didn’t want it. “There are many couples out there that would love to adopt a child, and give it a good home.”
“Lydia’s parents are perfect examples of that.”
“Lydia’s parents? Is Lydia adopted?”
“Oh dear! You didn’t know? I wonder if Lydia knows. Please Tom, don’t let your father know I spilled the beans. He probably doesn’t know either.”
“Not to worry Mother. I’d like to make it big one day, and take you far away from here. So far away that he could never hurt you again.”
“Thank you dear, but it isn’t necessary. Ralph is good to me. Getting back to Lydia, she was adopted by the Brownstone’s as an infant. Her mother’s sister Grace worked in the accounting department at La Chic Boutique. Mr. Pelletier had a wandering eye, very soon Grace was the apple of it. He sweet talked the young thing, and before you know it, poor little Gracie was in trouble. She was so young. Rose was already married to Richard and well, since they had the three boys, a little girl completed their family. You know Lydia has spent every summer with Grace since she was a toddler. Her parents want to keep this baby quiet, Tommy. You know, some people always use the term ‘bad blood’ when it comes to illegitimate children. I never thought of Lydia that way. She is a good girl, much the same as Debbie Worthington. It’s such a shame you are going to that public school with riff raff like that blonde that bares her breasts. I could hardly believe the rag she wore to the Homecoming Dance. I just couldn’t bring myself to take pictures. She seemed nice enough, but how could we ever show pictures of her dressed like that to our friends?”
Tom was sympathetic to his mother until she crossed the line by talking about his beautiful Renée. “Mother, it’s not necessary to bash Renée just because her family is poor. I will agree that she is not ashamed of her body, but she doesn’t go around flaunting herself either. The drawing of her sitting on Cocoa is very tastefully done the way her hair falls down her chest. And, as for Miss Debbie Worthington, take a look at this.” Tom tossed a Polaroid of Debbie sitting outside leaning against a tree, totally nude, spread eagle, playing with herself.
Marlene gasped. “Where did you get this?”
“Mother, pictures of her are available to any, and all that are willing to pay the price. Mother, it’s how she earns her money.”
“She’s, she’s a prostitute?”
“No Mother, she poses nude for anyone with a Polaroid. She and two of the Chevalier boys are into the business of making movies.”
“She’s an actress?”
“She’s an actress in pornographic movies Mother. She has sex with guys while they make movies of it.”
Neither of them knew exactly how long Ralph had been standing there, but he finally questioned, “Who’s in pornographic movies, Godiva?”
Tom wouldn’t answer his father. Marlene spoke, “No Ralph, not that Norwegian girl, we’re talking about Doctor Worthington’s daughter.”
“Debbie? The cute little red haired girl that came by wanting Tommy to take her horseback riding?”
“Yeah, Dad, that’s the one.”
“Well, I don’t believe it. He’d say anything to throw dirt on a decent girl, to make Godiva look cleaner.”
“Ralph...” Marlene handed him the picture.
“Holy shit! Look at the gash on that one.”
Marlene left the room.
“Where did you get this, son?”
“Can’t tell you Dad. If I do, I won’t be able to get anymore. They don’t come easy, or cheap you know.”
“Yeah? Like how much?”
“Tits, ten bucks. Total nudes, twenty five. Her with someone... fifty and up.”
“I don’t understand.”
“She’s of age?”
“She’s over eighteen.”
Ralph looked around, then shut Tom’s door. “Get me more. Tell me how much, and I’ll see that you get the money. Put them in a plain brown envelope, then file them in the cabinet in my office in the barn under... under... ‘P’. Look, I better go consol your mother, she’s barely over learning she’s going to be a grandmother, thanks to you.”
Tom looked at his watch. There was still time to pick up Renée for church. He wanted to take Lydia too, but knew if he went there, it would take some time to go through the apologies for getting their daughter pregnant, and try to make amends. As he walked by his parents bedroom door, he heard the unmistakable sound of a headboard knocking against the wall. He hoped his mother enjoyed the ride she was providing his father. Tom knew that he was mentally giving it to Debbie Worthington. He was more than pleased that his revenge on Debbie worked. He never did forgive her for how she took advantage of him that night. He knew Jenny Verona did the same thing, but at least she took the money and was quiet about it, except for what he wanted her to say. The only thing he found the least bit attractive about Debbie was her flaming auburn red hair. He dearly loved Renée. Other than nude pictures of Debbie, Renée was the only woman he’d ever seen naked. Renée, his beautiful Renée... It was just last night, just last night that he made love to her in front of a roaring fire. Their passion brought them both to tears. He thought of her soft blonde triangle. The photo’s were black and white... He wondered if Debbie’s was red...
Tom washed that thought from his mind as he left to go take his beautiful Renée to church. Their eyes met when she opened the door, and they both began to cry again. Neither knew why. Their previous night’s lovemaking was that intense they both supposed. Rather than go to the church they usually went to, they walked to a church in Renée’s neighborhood. Tom listened to the Priest talk about the beating Jesus took, and how He suffered and died for sins. It did make an impact. Tom didn’t want to sin with Renée. He wanted to marry her, and live their lives together forever with the blessing of God on their union. Eleven more months and the sinning would be over. They could live honestly as man and wife enjoying the bond of Holy Matrimony. Renée had been to confession, she took the Sacrament. She too wanted to be legally married, but she also knew that in her heart of hearts, she was already married to her beloved Tommy. It couldn’t be a sin, if they were married in their hearts. Hand in hand they left the church.
“Renée, I want you.”
“Tommy, I want you, too.”
“Baby doll, I mean I want you now. I’ve got it bad for you, and I don’t know what to do.”
Renée giggled, “Well, you’ve always figured out what to do in the past. Did you forget?”
“Oh ha ha! You silly thing, I don’t know what to do about how bad I want you now.”
“Oh! You mean right now!” Renée took him by the hand, and they walked to just this side of the railroad tracks. There stood an abandoned shack. The windows were broke out, there had been critters in and out, but they were alone. Quickly, and passionately they had sex, then went to the park, and played on the swings. Teenage tensions were relieved.
Hand in hand they walked back to Renée’s house. Together, Tommy and Renée fixed Easter dinner while her mother, Marta rested quietly in the arms of her Svein