What can be said about the school year after Christmas break? Days all seemed to meld into one continuous blur of bells ringing, hustling through halls to be on time to the next class, gossiping in the locker rooms, greasers smoking on school property, cat fighting in the parking lot, and then there was Tommy and Renée. He still periodically found notes shoved in his locker offering him a wide variety of propositions just for a ride in his car. Everyone knew Renée was wearing his ring, yet it made no difference at all to some. She no longer was laughed at for the clothes she wore, however one snide comment, “What are you doing wearing Benita Parker clothing?”, did break her down to tears. Tom’s jaw tightened when he asked what was bothering Renée, and she told him what was said. That really ticked him off. He could buy and sell all of the kids in that school, and went off on a tangent asking her who made “the list” of who could wear what in that school? Before Renée had her tears dried, and saw the foolishness of the remark, Tom had driven to FashionCity. He bought Renée five new outfits.
Neither of them ever admitted to anyone the extent of their intimacy, and they treated each other in the same manner at school as other couples that were going steady. If Tom joined in locker room talk at all, he’d just mumble the name Jenny Verona, and that took all suspicion off of Renée as his play thing. Since losing their very first game, the basketball team was now undefeated. Although Tom was not especially liked by the other players, they all played well together on the court. Renée was busy making posters in her art class for the Valentine’s Day semi-formal. Tommy watched her hang them from afar. He was a little sorry now that he’d gone on that five outfit spending spree just to “show them who could wear Benita Parker clothing.” His funds were considerably lower after that event, and there would be flowers, tickets, and a meal to add to the costliness of the dance. He suddenly was hit with the idea of asking Lydia Brownstone if she had a dress that Renée could borrow. Everyone in their social circle knew without a doubt that no one ever wore the same gown to a Cotillion twice.
“Hey, good lookin’! What cha got cookin’?” Tom joked as he walked up to Renée as she hung the last poster. She turned and smiled at him. As usual, his heart skipped a beat. After two and a half months of going steady, she still had that effect on him. “This is just a formality Renée, since we are going steady, but will you go to the Valentine’s Day dance with me?”
“I would love to Tommy, but like Cinderella, I do not have a thing to wear to the ball. I feel like a charity case most of the time.”
“Don’t ever think that, my sweet. You’ve given me more than I’ve ever had in my life.”
“Tommy are you talking about... you know?”
“No, Renée, I’m talking about love. I love you. But... now that you bring it up... you’re bringing it up!” He whispered, and grinned.
She thumped him on the forehead. “You! You are such a, a, scoundrel!”
“A scoundrel she calls me! I give her my heart, and she practically calls me a hoodlum!”
“No practice tonight Tommy?”
“Nah, Coach said since we’ve been on a winning streak, he’d give us an afternoon off for good behavior.” Tom and Renée hadn’t been physical in quite a while, probably almost a week, and Tom was feeling very frisky. “Min kjære, would you like to attend the Vikingskip og norske trebåter races with me after school?”
“Miss Jorgensen! Did Ericsen just say something inappropriate to you?” Mr. Finch asked.
“No, sir. Tommy said something very polite in Norwegian. His accent is poor, but his tongue is pure.”
“This is America, Ericsen. What your parent speak in their own home is their business. Unless you are in language class, speak English!” Mr. Finch walked on.
“I swear that man has radar antennas on the back of his head, and super sonic hearing. So what about it, my love?” He winked.
“Yah, I hope to be with my tall, strong Viking. That is if he would like to pay a visit.”
Tom laughed. “Mrs. Hansen hasn’t gone away again is she?” He was hopeful, but didn’t think so.
“No, but it would be nice if she had. She was gone a few days last week to her sister’s home.”
“Hmmm... and we didn’t go over to take care of Lumpy? I feel neglected.”
“You were keeping very busy either with basketball, or with the horses. And, if you remember,” she whispered, “I just had my period again. I truly would like to spend some time with our Viking after school.” Renée discretely glanced at his crotch. “Do you have some thought for a place to go to be alone?”
Tommy hated doing it in his car. He also hated the risk of doing it in the barn, for fear his father would walk in again. Tom still cringed at the thought of him saying he wanted to be with Renée that way. He had even less respect for his father after that remark. “I don’t know Renée, I just don’t know.” It seemed the only place for them was in the car parked on Rattalee Lake Road. It was better than nothing, and being close in that special way was more important than where they were. It was always good, and tension relieving, but the comfort level was horrible. He thought he would ask to borrow his mother’s Cadillac for the Valentine’s dance. Which reminded him, he needed to call Lydia about a dress for Renée, and to find out if she and Animal were going to go to the dance, also. “Renée, I love you. I love doing this with you, but I feel like you are getting cheated in this position. How do you feel?”
“Yah, Tommy, this is not my favorite place, but being together is what makes us happy. Feeling our Viking so deep makes me love you more, as I did not know that it would be possible for it to be like this time after time. You know my body, and what to touch to make me want to keep wanting you. Listening to those silly girls in the shower room, I can not believe what some of them say. I would rather do this with you, knowing what we share is very special. I would like to be alone with you again in a house... where we can be once again naked to love, and enjoy the body of the other. I would like to kiss our Viking, to taste you and have you taste me. But, for now we are still just kids, and have to enjoy what we have when we can have it.”
“Just kids... yeah, that’s us. I hate that. I want to be a grown up, one with a wife named Renée that I can hold in my arms whenever I want, and sleep with her like we did at Mrs. Hansen’s. I loved that Renée. I loved doing it with you, sleeping, then waking up and doing it again. Being married must be the greatest thing on earth. I wonder why so many married people fight? I don’t ever want to fight with you. I don’t want what we have to ever get messed up. Oh, geez, look at the time! I’d better get you home. I’ve barely got enough time to make it home in time for dinner.”
Tommy poked his head inside to say hello to Renée’s parents then got home just in time for dinner.
“Thomas, how are things going at school?”
“Fine Mother. We have another away game this Friday.” Tom suddenly had an idea. “Would it be okay if I stayed overnight in GriffinCity? I mean, it would be so much easier if I did. I hate riding the bus with the guys on the team. If it wasn’t that I love playing basketball with them, I’d leave and go back to private school.”
Tom’s parents eyed each other. His dad spoke. “So, do you care to clarify that statement, Tom?”
“Sure Dad, it’s just like you said they were, riff raff. All they talk about is cheap floozies in the locker room. No refinement at all. I think Coach will let me take my own car, if I tell him I want to check out the library there on Saturday.”
“You would lie to your Coach?”
“Oh, it wouldn’t be a lie. GriffinCity has a bigger library than Centerville, and I want to start gathering information for my American history term paper. I heard they have a lot of information on microfilm there. They even have old newspapers back to the Civil War.”
“I’d like to do my term paper on the preservation of Historical Documents. What better way than to view them with my own eyes, and talk with the librarian of the county’s largest library?”
“Well, it sounds like you are finally thinking with your head, and not your... So where are you planning on staying?”
“As big as GriffinCity is, there must be a hotel.”
Ralph leaned over, and retrieved his wallet. Tossing Tom fifty dollars, he stated, “This ought to cover it. Don’t stay in a dump.”
“Thanks Dad. I would like to go over to see Lydia after dinner. I’m going to take my homework with me. She’s having trouble with geometry, and I know I can help her. I can study while she’s working out the problems.”
“Sure, go ahead. Lydia is a refined young lady. Be sure to be home by ten. It ruins my night when I have to bust your ass for being late.”
“I learned my lesson Dad.”
“Tom, just what do you mean, ‘Is
Lydia here?’ She telephoned saying she was going to be with you!”
Tom could see the veins on Mr. Brownstone’s neck starting to bulge. He had to think fast, and had learned a lot about that from Lydia herself. “OH MY GOD! Lydia is going to KILL me! I was supposed to meet her at the library! Not here!!! If she calls, tell her I’m on my way. I’ve gotta go now! Thank you!!!” Tom went straight to Animal’s house.
“Good evening, Mrs. Miltonelli, is Lydia here with Angelo by any chance?”
“Lydia, lovely girl... bella, bella. Yes, she’sa downstairs inna the rec room with Angelo. Go onna down with them, please!”
“Hey Ricsen! Gimme some skin!” The guys shook hands.
“Hi Animal.” Tom turned around, “Lydia! What the heck are you doing, and how did you get here?” Tom was ticked.
“I got a ride over with Donnie Worthington.”
“Well, thanks a lot! You almost ruined everything this time!” His anger didn’t cease.
“Why? What’s happened?”
“I went over to your house to talk to you, and your father nearly flipped out saying you were supposed to be with me! Luckily I faked that I forgot that I was supposed to meet you at the library. Now I gotta make another stop to pick up some books!”
“I’m very sorry Tommy. Thought I was doing you a favor by saving you a trip over. What can I do to make it up to you?” Lydia was sincere in her offer.
“Well... there are a couple of things. First, do you have a semi-formal that Renée can wear to the Valentine’s Day dance? And second, can you invite her to spend Friday night at your house?”
“Yes on the dress. I have a gorgeous pink chiffon strapless with velvet ribbons. She will look like a princess in it. Why do you want me to ask her to spend the night?”
“I want to spend the night in GriffinCity, and I want her to come with me.”
“Tommy! Are you going to sleep together?”
“Lydia, we’ve been over this before. It’s none of your business. I’ve got enough money for two rooms. I don’t want to be alone in GriffinCity when I go to the library on Saturday.”
“I suppose I can invite her over, but what about me? How do I get to see Animal, if you’re in GriffinCity with Renée? How about since you have enough for two rooms, Renée and I share, and you and Animal-”
“NO! Look, I have some serious studying to do over there, and I won’t get a thing done if we all go. It would turn into a party, then I’ll blow my grade point average, and ruin my chances for a scholarship. Lydia, will you just for once, think! Now, getting back to Donnie. It wasn’t a good idea to bring him into this. I don’t think he can be trusted. He’s a rich kid, who wants to be a bad ass hood. But, we can’t turn back the hands of time. Tell your dad that we had a fight because I forgot to meet you at the library. Then get Donnie to bring you over on Friday and Saturday. We’ve got to get something on Donnie though, so he won’t turn on you. See what you can find out. His sister Debbie has practically set up camp on Rattalee Lake Road. Donnie must be up to something, too. Nobody is as goody two shoes as those two pretend to be. Renée and I will get back just before dinner time, I’ll go over to your house. We’ll have another scene, then we’ll get back together.”
“Another scene?” Lydia asked.
“You have to break up with me tonight at your parents. Then they won’t question why Donnie is there.”
All this time Animal was in hysterics laughing at the deviousness of the rich kids plotting their lives to deceive their families. He was very glad that he was up front and honest with his parents. He loved being Italian.
Tom shot one game of pool with Animal then left to go to the library to study, and pick up some books for Lydia to borrow. At 9:00 p.m. he brought Lydia back to her house, and they faked a shouting match on her front porch until her mother made her come inside. After all, “What will the neighbors think?”
There wasn’t enough time to stop by to see Renée to tell her the plan, but no way would he forget to tell her about this. It was much too exciting thinking of spending the night in a hotel room alone with Renée. By 9:45 Tom was checked in at home, and ready to get in the shower.
Life was very cool.