Lydia and Animal sat side by side in the booth at Frannie’s Fountain. At this point in time, Lydia didn’t care who saw them together, or what anyone thought. Her time in town was short, and she decided to make the most of her remaining moments with Animal. She was surprised to learn that in addition to working at Seth’s, he was also working every Sunday afternoon at the Ericsen Ranch. He told her that with her spending so little time with him as of late, and since the auto shop was closed on Sunday, he talked to Mr. Ericsen about putting some hours in there. He had no idea that Angelo was a friend of Tom’s. When the guys saw each other at the ranch, not so much as a side glance was exchanged to indicate that they even recognized each other. Tom didn’t have a clue as to why Animal wanted to work for his father. However one Sunday when Animal paid very close attention to the castration of a stallion, he got very suspicious, and even a little nervous. Nothing was ever mentioned as to what brought about the sudden interest in that procedure. Between what Animal observed at the ranch several times, and what he had read in veterinary books at the library, he could probably perform the operation... if only Mr. Ericsen would allow him. He shared all of this with Lydia.
“Animal, I’m sorry for the time we’ve lost together. But, I’ve been a mess with what happened to me. I’m finally over the brutality of it, and although no one has admitted to anything, I think it is no coincidence that Jack Rabbit is transferring to a prep school out of State. Jeremy’s accident... Well, sometimes an accident isn’t always an accident, but who’s to know for sure? Donnie, a homosexual? Personally, I think teasing isn’t severe enough for what he took from me. I’m not sure what your final intent is, but here’s what I’ve been thinking...” Lydia also went on to tell Animal that she had another appointment with the doctor on the other side of the State line. He wondered why, but didn’t feel right about asking. Lydia had her own plans, and wasn’t shy about asking Animal if he wanted to collaborate on revenge. Their plot was hatched, and it seemed to be flawless.
The first night we were together will live on in my heart forever. You had the appearance of a Greek god when you stood before me, so tall, with perfect posture, skin oiled, and your manhood erect. The firmness in your hands when you held my head as you entered my mouth makes me quiver at the memory. My only regret is that I couldn’t see your face as you entered me from behind. You, my master, my strong and forceful lover, will have me any time, any way you want me, always.
As per usual, the letter arrived at the office of Dr. Worthington. His new secretary was informed to give any mail addressed to Don Worthington, Jr. directly to the doctor. It was always easy to spot with the dainty lavender floral envelopes, and the perfumed paper and ink. The Worthington household was no longer a happy, or peaceful home.
Tom was called to the school office and asked if he would be willing to pose for a picture to be in the local newspaper. The student counsel thought it would be great publicity to have their star basketball player posing with his arm out as if he was being fitted for a tuxedo. What Tom didn’t notice was a girl standing off to the side in a prom gown with her hand to her cheek as if worried. The newspaper article spelled out her name and stated, “Marsha Hendricks, is worried that her date, Tom Ericsen, won’t make it to the Prom on time...” Once again, Tom was livid that his beautiful Renée was passed by as if she didn’t exist.
The Prom was coming up on Saturday, and Lydia Brownstone came through with another gown for Renée. Marta curled her daughters natural blonde hair making it look much shorter than it actually was. The fuchsia satin halter top Marilyn style gown made Renée look much more shapely than her lean figure actually was. Tom couldn’t keep his eyes, or his hands off of Renée all night. She was always beautiful. But in this dress, she was down right sexy. As if they didn’t always steal the show, tonight it was as if they were both stars. Dancing like the couples in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, at the opening of the number, Diamonds are a Girls Best Friend, there wasn’t a teacher, or a chaperone that didn’t comment on the beautiful duo on the floor. There was a magic about the couple that made everyone feel that there was something special going on between them. Their familiarity made most think they were more active than a sophomore and a junior ought to be, but also there was a respectability that usually only surfaced between couples truly in love. Tommy and Renée were certainly an enigma. The rich boy and the rag doll continued to mystify all who came to know them.
Mr. Finch had informed the other chaperones to keep a close eye on the couple, as at the Valentine’s dance a girl from a respectable family had intentionally caused Renée to spill punch, and totally ruin her dress. Not realizing there was no love lost between the Ericsen’s and Renée, he didn’t want anything to happen again that might cause Tom to leave their school. He knew there would be enough money for a new athletic wing in the future, if young Tom Ericsen continued to attend, and the coach managed to pull off another winning season next year. Tom was their golden boy, and everyone knew it.
The “in crowd”, which did not include Tommy and Renée, all went to the same restaurant, then scattered to different parking places, but most went out by the abandoned warehouse. Tom took Renée to La Maison once again. They were head turners there, also. The older generation that had chaperoned the Prom were there. Tommy and Renée sat in a candle lit booth, and paid no mind to anyone else in the formal dining room. They gazed in each others eyes as if the other was the only person on earth.
“Renée, I took the liberty to get a hotel room just outside of town. Would you like to go there after dinner?”
“Would you believe me if I said no?”
Tom was caught off guard with that answer, and nearly snarfed his water. They didn’t care that a few people turned to look at them. After enjoying their meal, and finishing about the same time as other patrons, they were walking toward the front door when Doctor Worthington blew a gasket at a waiter. In his opinion, the waiter cast an inappropriate glance at Donnie.
Once outside, the doctor lit into his son, “You keep denying it. Yet when someone as queer as that waiter also takes a shining to you right in front of me, what am I supposed to think? I didn’t have a son to be humiliated by homosexual activity. I’ve a good mind to cut it off if you don’t know what the goddam thing is supposed to be used for!”
Obviously, the doctor didn’t know, or care about the number of witnesses to his bold statement. That was a statement that a skilled surgeon never should have made.
Several hours of bliss were shared by the two in love. They were both sorry they had to get up and get dressed to go home to their parents. “Next year Renée it won’t be like this. Next year we will be married. My scholarship will have been granted. I’ll tell my parents I’m spending the night with my wife. That should shock the socks off of both of them!”
“Tommy, I thought we were getting married in March.” Renée stated bluntly.
“Yes, honey, we are. But, I can’t tell my parents that we’re married until all is set in stone with the scholarship. Are you sure your parents will sign for us to marry? You will only be fifteen, you know.”
“Tommy, Mama and Papa see how you love me. They know that I love you. My parents think I am too young to be doing what we have been doing, that they do not know we are doing. But, when I am older they will approve if I tell them I am sure about you.”
“They would approve of us going all the way?” Tom was shocked.
“Yah, Tommy. If you tell Papa you want to be married to me, they will want us to be together first to be sure that we are right for each other in the physical way.”
“Man, I can’t imagine it being like that in this country. ‘Excuse me sir, I’d like your daughter to try me on for size!’ Here you go Miss Jorgensen, does this fit?” Tommy rolled on top of Renée again.
“The Viking feels a little puny right now, but I am sure we can do something about enlarging him when we finish this conversation!” Renée giggled.
Tommy laughed at her silliness. “Okay, you say they will approve of us, umm, having sex. But, will they sign for us to get married? There is a big difference Renée. Marriage is for life.”
“Yah, that it is Tommy. They will sign if I tell them that we move quite well making love just as we do when we dance. Mama believes most couples break up because they do not play together well in the bedroom. If there is love, and we satisfy each other, money or nothing else matters. You move the Viking so good, I want you every day. If it is too many days without you, I get very irritable, and need to touch myself. It is never enough until I have you again. Tommy, I want to be your wife.”
“Renée, you are my wife. We only need nine months and two more weeks to make it legal. I love you, Renée. Totally love you.”
“And I love you too, Tommy. Do we have time to do it one more time?”
“I’d say yes even if it was no.”
There were three days of intense testing during final exams. Tommy felt he aced everything. Renée, did well, although it took every minute allowed to complete her algebra exam. Animal, didn’t care one way or the other, but he passed everything, too. Lydia in her private girls school had other things on her mind. She Christmas tree’d her multiple choice questions on Hamlet, and got by on a wing and a prayer on all of her other tests. The childhood chant of “no more pencils, no more books, no more teachers dirty looks” echoed throughout the school yard as all the kids emptied the parking lot until Fall.
Lydia and Tom made a trip across the State line. She didn’t say much on the way over. Tommy again had suspicions, but didn’t ask a single question.
Ether over the nose, a brightly lit room, surgical masks hiding faces, ninety nine... ninety eight... ninety seven... a hardened heart, a fist full of pain pills, groggy memories, a long drive home... Same scenario, the only difference was, Lydia knew what happened to her, Donnie did not. Lydia never told her parents, or her “Aunt” Grace what she had done. She never had the baby. No one ever asked, she never volunteered any information.
However, Donnie asked a million questions. He never knew what hit him from behind. He accused his father. His father denied it, stating what he’d said outside the restaurant was an empty threat made in anger. With all the witnesses, there still wasn’t enough evidence to indict. Donnie couldn’t prove a thing, except he knew for a fact that he would never father children. Whether Lydia knew or not, she would never say, but she couldn’t have cared less after what she’d been through. What she did care about was that Animal never learned she had been pregnant. She couldn’t stand the teasing he gave her about her “new” stylish outfits. Every time he saw her in one of them, he’d break into singing Billboard’s #23 song by Gerry Granahan, “No chemise, please, not for me, please. Well you can take back the sack, leave it hangin’ on the rack. And bring a sweater back!” Lydia laughed as if it was the funniest song she’d ever heard, but those outfits hid the fact that she had once been pregnant by one of the three that raped her that horrid night.
The following morning, Lydia went to Aunt Grace’s for the summer. Animal went to work full time at Seth’s Auto Repair. Tommy groomed his horses. And, Renée sat at the breakfast table with her mother about to receive “the talk” with more detail than she ever realized was possible.