sometimes a guy's gotta do what a guy's gotta do...
Tommy was home in plenty of time for dinner. He was still in a daze after the previous night, and that afternoon lying with Renée in love’s most intimate embrace. Sitting at the dining table, he listened to his father complain about the meal, and his mother’s endless chatter about the local gossip at the ladies social club.
When he first heard the news, Tom wondered why his sister Marla wasn’t coming home for the holidays this year. But since his coming of age experience, he thought a skiing trip in Europe was either a good opportunity, or perhaps she couldn’t stand their parents either, and it was a great excuse. He missed his brother. Brian shocked the family when he opted to go to MilitarySchool. Tom and Brian had been close, but Tom felt abandoned when Brian left, so he refused to write- just to show him. Tom realized his father had asked him a question.
“I was at Renée’s for a while. Then I rode around, then I checked out the barn on the south end of the property. Then I went back to Renée’s, then I came home. I’ll be glad to get back to school. Basketball season starts a week from Friday, and I need to keep in shape.”
“Your horses need to keep in shape too, Tom. When do you plan on exercising them?” Ralph snarled.
“Tomorrow. I’m going over to pick up Renée after lunch, and we’re going to go riding. She and her brother used to ride when they were younger, when her mother worked.”
“Her mother worked? What kind of a woman works instead of staying home to raise her children?” Marlene was appalled.
“A woman that came to this country with her husband, and baby with just the clothes on their backs, during the spring of 1940 when Hitler invaded Norway.”
“I suppose that’s what you would call them. Renée was born here in 1944.”
“I don’t know why you are wasting time learning about her family. All you need to learn is love ’em, and leave ’em. They’re not our kind.”
“I suppose you can’t blame people for wanting to better themselves by coming to this country. Maybe in a few generations, they will have learned the American way, and adopt our modern culture.”
“Why? What is so wrong with theirs?”
“Tommy, don’t you remember going to Norway when you were a little boy? As soon as you saw those little heathen children playing naked, you stripped off all your clothing, jumped in the fountain, and began splashing and playing naked just like them. It took forever to teach you to keep yourself covered, decent, and presentable after we came back home.”
“I don’t recall. Why is a body only considered decent if it’s covered?” Tom asked politely.
Mr. Ericsen pointed his finger at his son, “Some things are not to be questioned. You’re human, humans wear clothes.” He then shifted his eyes to his wife. “YOU brought on this foolishness by stating that those kind of people can better themselves. You, of all people, should know that you can’t make a silk purse out of a sows ear.”
Marlene wasn’t sure what Ralph was referring to, but she knew further discussion at this time could result in something much worse later on. She nodded her head in agreement.
Tom hated it when his father hit his mother. He often would shift blame to himself so his father would take it out on him instead of Mother. The way the conversation was going tonight though, pushing the issue either way could result in her getting slapped around, and him with the belt across his back side.
They all sat in silence finishing their meal. Staff held back. They knew when the “lord and master” of the ranch roared, it could be the end of someone’s job.
“So you and Renny are riding tomorrow? Guess that’s okay, as long as you ride separate horses. She can work off some of the money it cost for your Homecoming tux by exercising an animal. Don’t invite her to dinner, and don’t make plans after dinner either. Hear me, boy?”
“Yes, Dad. May I ask why?”
“Sure you can, but I’ll tell you why before you ask. You have a date tomorrow night.”
“I have a WHAT?”
“Don’t you raise your voice to me young man. You heard me, YOU have a date.”
“Okay. Care to fill me in on who I have a date with, and where we are going?”
“The Worthington’s daughter. Debbie, I think her name is. She’s a year older than you, but that’s neither here, nor there. Just keep your hands to yourself. Get it out of you system with the riff raff. Understand?”
“Yes Dad, I understand. I wouldn’t want to disrespect the daughter of one of yours and Mother’s distinguished friends. I’ll be a perfect gentleman.” Tom had no intention of touching a girl as long as he lived, with the exception of Renée. His beautiful Renée.
Tommy had never seen Renée in a pair of jeans before, but her slim body looked as good in them as she did in a skirt. He missed seeing her legs though. As much as he loved her bryster, it was the site of her legs that made him want to join together where her legs turned into paradise. She rode well, and looked beautiful on the stallion with her long blonde hair flowing from beneath a black Stetson. They stopped by the lake so the horses could drink. The ground was cold, so Renée didn’t stay sitting for long. She was eying the tree, and decided to have some fun. With a jump, and a giggle, she grabbed a low branch, and before Tom knew what happened, she was half way to the top, straddling the last sturdy branch.
In a flash he was up there with her. She began to sing, “Renée and Tommy sitting in a tree, K I SS I N G. First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes Tommy with the baby carriage!”
Tommy laughed. “Wish I was old enough to marry you Renée. As soon as I am, I will, then I’ll work, and go to school on a scholarship, then you will go to school to be a...”
“Nurse. I’ve always wanted to be a baby nurse, Tommy. I used to always put band-aids on my dolls.”
“Dolls? I thought you didn’t play with dolls.”
“Yah, my brother would not play dolls with me, but when I was alone, I played with dolls. I liked baby dolls very much. Tante Rose ammet ungen-”
Renée laughed, “I’m sorry, Tommy. I am used to talking in both Norwegian, and English to my parents, and my brother. Tante Rose was nursing her baby when she came to visit. I was my mother’s last child, and never saw a baby, so I was fascinated. After that visit, I walked around with a baby doll to my chest for months.”
“You really want a baby, Renée?”
“Yah, someday. But not until after I am a nurse, and you are a... What do you want to be when you grow up, Tommy?”
“I want to be an Engineer.”
“You want to conduct a train?”
“Now who’s being silly!”
Renée’s blue green eyes darted around. “I don’t know Tommy, who?”
“Oh, I thought you were. I want to be the person that engineers projects like building sky scrapers, and shopping centers, and industrial complexes.”
“Ahh, yah, that sounds very complexes to me. I will be happy to be a nurse. Tommy, I can’t see you tonight until later. I must take care of Lee again. Maybe later you could come by to see me, after the little guy falls fast asleep, okay?”
Tommy was relieved. He knew he had a date with Debbie Worthington, and he didn’t know how to tell Renée. He could take Debbie to a movie, then for a soda, drop her off at home, thank her for a wonderful evening, be bop over to where Renée was sitting... “Renée I’ll be counting the minutes ’til I can be with you again.”
“Yah, Tommy, me too.”
Tommy and Renée sat in the tree for several more minutes ki s-s ing. She bent over, grasped the limb and rolled under, uncrossed her legs, let go of her hand grip, then rolled when she hit the ground. Tommy was amazed. They mounted the horses. Tom saw his dad going in and out of the stables. He knew it would be very unwise to go to the barn with Renée. He tried not to think of what he liked doing best with her, and focused on the other things they enjoyed together. He missed the dances. They had won so many contests, neither could remember how many. They could really “swing” together. They even got their picture in the local newspaper. The article ticked Tom off though, “Young Thomas Ericsen, son of Ralph and Marlene Ericsen dances with an unknown gal at a local dance contest. He and his partner were the clear winners as they easily cut a rug jitterbugging non-stop for hours, never missing a step...” The article never identified his beautiful Renée even though they clearly remembered spelling her name letter by letter for the reporter.
Tommy didn’t care much for Debbie Worthington. She was most definitely a year older than he, but she acted like a fool in his opinion. She kept chewing and snapping her gum all through the movie, blowing bubbles, stretching it out of her mouth and poking it back in. He asked her if she would like to stop for a soda, and she said no- she wanted to park. Tommy looked at his watch. “Where do you want to park?”
“Go down Rattalee Lake Road, and turn left on the path until we get to the maple tree. Then stop.”
“Your wish is my command.” Tom hoped what ever happened wouldn’t take long. He followed orders, then turned off the engine of his car. And, sat.
Debbie sat too, looking at the moon. “Well?”
“Well, aren’t you going to kiss me?”
“No, I wasn’t planning on it.”
“Because I barely know you.”
“What are you talking about? We’ve known each other since we both started going to Cotillion.”
“Well, yeah, I know who you are, and we danced a few times when we had to, but that doesn’t mean we know each other.”
“Bet you’ve never kissed a girl, that’s why.”
“Prove it then.”
“I don’t want to.”
Debbie took out her gum and stuck it to his dashboard. She lunged, and smooched him right on the kisser. He sat stoically as she tried to arouse him with her kiss. It did nothing for him. She put her hand high up on his thigh.
“Okay, that’s enough Debbie. Let’s go.” He reached past her, and started the T-Bird.
She retrieved her gum, and popped it back in her mouth. “Just what I thought. You’re cherry.”
Tom didn’t know what that meant, and he didn’t care enough to ask. He walked her to the door of her parents fancy home, and she stood on her toes with her lips puckered. He leaned down, and kissed her on the cheek. “Good night. Thank you for going out with me. We’ll have to do this again sometime.”
“Don’t count on it.” She answered.
Tom felt exactly the same way. He raced over to see Renée, but it was too late. She was walking down the steps with Lee’s dad to drive her home. Tom pulled up to the curb, and politely spoke, “Mr. Johnson, I know you don’t know me, but I’m Tom Ericsen, Renée’s boyfriend, I just stopped by to see if she needed a ride home. I’d be more than happy to save you the trip.”
Renée was ticked off at Tom for not showing up, but when she saw him speaking politely to Lee’s daddy, she forgot all about her anger. Tom drove back to Rattalee Lake Road, and parked by the maple tree. They sat in the car kissing as best they could. Laughing at how awkward it was in that tiny car, Tommy got out, walked around, opened her door, took her hand and helped her out of the car. He’d plotted this since he was sitting with Debbie, imagining how he and Renée could do what they both wanted to do. He got back in, and sat where Renée had been sitting. Tom unzipped and exposed, told Renée how happy he was to see her in a skirt. She happily straddled his lap, and they bounced to their hearts content.
Tom walked her to the door, held her lovingly in his arms, and kissed her goodnight on the porch. After she went inside, the porch light went off. He drove home hoping he didn’t have to deal with the wrath of his father.