…And not being numb—far from being numb—upon feeling the tip of his finger circle the areola of her nipple, which she could actually feel tighten under his touch—constantly fighting the urge to touch it bare, to feel its bare warmth, because she did feel the heat his penis generated through the material of his pants, very much afraid of the next step, unable to bring herself to close her hand around it, Susan still allowed herself, and him, only the feel of her circling palm, and…
…No longer wearing underpants, having removed the blotting material from the underside of his pocket, feeling her hand… Feeling the circling motion of the palm of Susan’s hand upon him… Knowing that she knew he had ejaculated… Knowing that for some reason she actually enjoyed the feel of the warm moisture of his semen that soaked through his pants… Oh, yeah, going only as far as Susan would allow…
Feeling the penile spasms, feeling the spreading heat, together…
Clamping his eyes shut, “Ummmm!”
Clamping her eyes shut, “Oh, God!”
February Through June 12, 1952
A few minutes later it swelled even further when Bill Westguard whispered, purposely loud enough for Susan to hear, “Yeah! You were right. Just like Elizabeth Taylor.”
He introduced Susan to Sandra and Sally, both of whom looked at her with envy, then, as the girls were pulled onto the dance floor by their dates, “Hey,” Susan said, pretending to look and sound angry, “who’s next?”
“Huh? What do you mean?”
“Tell me, Tammy, Tessie and Tilly?”
“Tammy, Tessie, Tilly? What the hell are you talking about?”
“Don’t kid me, kiddo! I know what you’re trying to do! You’re trying to work your way through the alphabet.”
Looking at her blankly, “Huh?”
“Come on! Sandra, Sally and Susan? Tammy, Tessie and Tilly? Uh, Unice… Ureitha and, uh…” Laughing, she searched for another U name. “Eureka!”
“No, baby!” He hugged her. “Never further than Susan! God, but I love you!”
For her birthday he gave Susan a monogrammed white cashmere sweater, took her to dinner, and to see the movie Moulin Rouge.
Whenever we kiss, I worry and wonder,
your lips may be near, but where is your heart?
And the beautiful theme became their song.
Susan urged him to save money for his own car, so that when he did go to Rochester he’ll be able to drive home whenever possible to see her. He began to put every spare cent into a savings account.
In an effort not to see too much of each other, and possibly—althought it seemed impossible—grow tired of what they did to, and with each other, and maybe—more than just maybe—allow their passion to progress further than Susan may want, but was afraid would allow, they saw each other only on Friday or Saturday nights, and then again, usually, during the day on Sunday. Which was all right with Mitchell because between school, cramming for his oh-so-rapidly-approaching entrance exam, and his job at the knob factory, with but one telephone call a night to Susan, each minute of each break was spent poring over his books, and, since meeting Susan in December, five months ago, he had spent every possible minute cramming for the exam.
Having confidence that he would pass it, on Thursday, the twenty-nineth of May, hating the lie, telling Susan that was going for a required orientation and to find living quarters, Mitchell boarded a train in Union Station bound for Rochester, New York.
He returned on Saturday in a highly elated state of mind.
June 12, 1952
“Hi, Mom! The mail come?”
“Yes, Mitchell, it came. I’ve a cake in the oven, don’t slam the d…” Coming from the kitchen, Myra watched as her son anxiously opened the envelope.
“Sue, I’ve got to see you today, as soon as possible.”
Wondering at the tone of his voice, “You know the rules. Can’t you tell me on the phone?”
“No, I can’t, Sue. It’s real important, please.”
“I can’t imagine what could be that important. But okay, when can you be here?”
“My dad left the studio early, and should be home any minute.”
“Okay, but it’s almost dinner, and you know how my mom gets.”
“Yeah, Sue, I know. I’m sorry.”
“…Sue, I’m sorry.” He’d never allowed himself even the thought of this moment. “I’m so sorry.”
Sitting in the Buick in front of her building, “I don’t understand, Mitchie.” fighting back tears of both, disbelief and anger, “How could this happen?”
“Sue… honey, we met each other on a Saturday, and I’ve been studying for that damned test every spare minute I could since that next Monday… And I thought sure I’d pass it.”
“I don’t understand!” she repeated. “If you carried a B-plus average you wouldn’t have a problem getting into almost any college! And you wouldn’t have to take a stupid entrance exam! What happened?”
God, how do I tell her? “Sue, I…” His head hanging dejectedly, not looking at her, “I guess I, uh, lied.”
“Lied?” Disbelieving. “You lied? About what?”
“Sue, on that first night… When I met your folks… I saw how important college was to them…” lifting his head, turning to her, “and you, and…” tears coming to his eyes. “Oh, God, Sue! I knew that if I…” Sighing, “I lied about my average, and even about wanting to go to college.”
“I asked you if you told us the truth that night! Didn’t I?”
“Yes,” his stomach tightening in fear of losing her, “you did.” His voice rising in desperation, “But what was I supposed to do? What was I supposed to say? It wasn’t like I could just walk out of your life, Sue. I loved you the second I saw you! What could I do? I knew if I told the truth it would be over right then! What the hell was I supposed to say? You think we’d be sitting here, now, if I told your folks then? No! You’n’me would never have even gotten started together! You’d have said goodbye to me on that first night and we’d have never happened!” Taking a deep breath, he swiped his hand over his eyes. “Tell me, Sue, what should I have done? Should I have told your mother and father that their A-plus daughter was about to start dating a dummy?”
“Oh, Mitchie,” turning her face aside, she began to cry. “I’d never think you were a dummy.”
“No! I know you’re not saying I’m a dummy! I’m saying I’m a dummy.”
Taking hold of her chin, turning her face in his direction so he might see her eyes, “Sue, right there, right then, when your dad started grilling me about my average and my goals, I promised myself that I’d do anything for you!” Forcing himself to speak slower, to speak softer, “And that’s why I lied, because I’m not a dummy; I’m just lazy. And I thought that if I worked harder than I’d ever worked in my life I’d be able to do it. Shit! I had no plans of going to college before I met you!” His voice rising again, making an effort to bring himself under control, “Hell, Sue, all I ever did was screw around in school before I met you. I never even cared about college before I met you. But then I did meet you, and I knew that if I wanted to be with you, that if I wanted to marry you someday, I have to go to college! And thought if I worked my ass off, really worked my ass off, I’d do it! And also… and I’ve told you this so many times, I really believed—do believe—that God brought us together. And if God would do that—bring us together—then he’d surely help me to get into college so that we would be together… And if I did get into R.I.T., then why would you ever have to know what a complete fuck-up I’ve been?”
Never having used this type of language in front of Susan before, seeing her wince at the word, fighting for control once again, “I love you so much!” Taking her hand, he kissed her palm. You can’t believe how hard I’ve worked! That’s one of the reasons I didn’t care if I saw you on Saturday because on Saturdays I was being tutored. God, Susan, I’d do anything for you, honey! Anything in the world.”
Quiet, concentrating on his every word, “I know you would, Mitch. But what are we going to do about college?”
We! His heart lifting, What are “we” going to do about college! “Look, I’ll have no problem getting into Wright. And I’ll keep working on it, and as soon as I can I’ll reapply to R.I.T.” Lifting her chin, looking into her eyes again, “Please, baby, please don’t let this hurt us. I promise I’ll make it, Sue. I love you so much I don’t know how I’d be able to live without you, if we weren’t together.”
“It’ll be okay, Mitchie.” Caressing his cheek, “I just don’t know what I’m going to tell my parents.”
“Sue, let me do it! I’m the one that lied. Let me talk to them!”
“They think the world of you, Mitchie, and knowing that you lied to them from the start is going to let them down terribly. No, I know how to handle my folks”—though, really, she had no idea of what she was going to tell them—“I’ll do it.”
“Susan,” he asked, “do you love me?”
“Of course I do!” she answered without hesitation.
“Okay, It’s our lives! We love each other and can’t let this come between us. I’ll do everything I can to get into R.I.T.! I promise!”
The Valentine’s Day dance was the first time that any of Mitchell’s school friends met Susan and his heart swelled with pride as Jack Brandon, dancing by, gave him the big “OK” sign with his circled thumb and forefinger.