Tommy was in the stable grooming his horses. The school year seemed to be dragging now. Basketball season was over. He never cared to play baseball. There were no dances coming up until prom, and that was over a month away. Next up was Easter Vacation. That he was looking forward to with Renée having a three day job where he could sneak in, and they could snuggle like they did on New Year’s Eve. They had come a long way in their relationship since that night. He loved her more dearly, and he privately scoffed at the teacher’s under their breath comments about “puppy love”. They had been going steady for nearly five months now. Renée was still the girl of his dreams. He startled when he heard a voice.
“Pretty jumpy there, boy. You hidin’ something?”
“Nope. Nothing to hide Dad. What’s going on?”
“Not much. Been wondering the same about you. I haven’t had to discipline you in quite some time. Didn’t know if you finally learned a lesson, or if you’re just getting more sneaky.” Ralph picked up an apple, and fed it to Cocoa, then kissed her on the nose.
“Dad, I learned a long time ago that you are too wise to be fooled. So, I guess I must be growing up.”
“You wanna hear a good one?”
“Sure.” Tom said it, but wasn’t so sure he wanted to hear it. It wasn’t like his father to want to engage him conversation. His level of alertness was up thinking this could be a trap.
Ralph chuckled. “Well, Old Doc Worthington’s secretary opened a letter addressed to his son that was mailed to the office. She didn’t check the envelope first I guess. It was a letter to young Donnie written by another guy.” Ralph continued to chuckle.
“So? Sorry Dad, I don’t see what’s so funny.”
“Tommy... it was written on pink perfumed stationary!” Ralph broke into laughter.
“Dad? I’m really sorry. Yeah that sounds weird, but what is so darned funny?”
“You ever heard of queers, boy?”
“I know queer means strange, or odd.”
“Well, they are strange and odd! That’s for sure. Okay, I never sat you down and gave you the man to man talk. Figured your brother did that, or you picked it up in the locker room. Unless I miss my guess, it was Godiva that deflowered you, but there’s another world out there. The world of twinkle toes, swishers, and queens.”
“Thought you said queers.”
“Same difference, boy. It means he/she. A he that wants to be a she. Or, a he that wants a he instead of a she. You starting to get it now?”
“Umm, are you telling me that it’s a guy that wants to be with a guy instead of a girl?”
“I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, you aren’t as dumb as you look. Doc Worthington has some queer named Percy sending his son love letters. Makes me grateful for Godiva. At least I know my boy is a man. You should bring her around to ride again. Those petunias of hers shouldn’t harden up like rosebuds now that the weather is warming up. By the way, that’s some piece of art you have hanging on your wall. I’d like to reach right into the picture and move that hair aside, to get the full view of that ones nipples like the day I saw them live.”
“Renée is a very nice girl, Dad. You know, we’re Norwegian, too. I don’t know why we’re so clammed up about our bodies in this country.”
“Like I told you before. We’re human beings, we wear clothes. But feel free to bring Godiva around if you want. Just don’t bring her in the house, and stay away from Worthington’s sissy boy!”
Tom wanted to bring Renée over more than anything in the world, but it really annoyed him that his father talked about her as if she was a common tramp, with the morals of a barnyard animal. “Well, I'll think about asking her over again one of these Saturdays. Lydia isn’t up for riding. She’s not been up for much of anything lately it seems.”
“Yeah, what’s up with her. She used to come around a lot making eyes at you. I’d see you walking hand in hand down toward the lake. You didn’t try to dink that one too did you?”
“No, Dad. I know better than to mess with Lydia. I’ve got someone on the side that takes care of my needs.” Tom smirked to himself.
“That’s what I’m talking about... Godiva.”
“No, not Renée... Jenny Verona.”
“Another one? Boy, if you ain’t somethin’!”
“How did you find that out about Donnie?” Tom was confused because he knew Donnie had raped Lydia. He didn’t know anything about queers, or whatever it was that his dad was telling him about.
“Evidently the secretary opened it thinking it was a payment. She turned the letter right over to Doc Worthington. The Doc went home, and blew his stack at the dinner table. The kitchen help heard. Their cook told our cook, and our cook was telling the laundry maid. I overheard. Think it’s pretty damn funny myself. But, it wouldn’t be so funny if it was you, or your brother. So, keep it up with Godiva, and the ginzo.”
Tom had both horses groomed, and paid one of the ranch hands to groom the other one. He wanted to get out of there before he forgot all his father had said. He showered, got the shock of his life, then silently left the Ranch. Tom wasn’t familiar with Seth’s Auto Repair, but figured if they weren’t too busy, he could talk to Animal on his break, or maybe he could have him check the points and plugs if that would keep him out of trouble for having a buddy show up. It worked like a charm. All the guys there were fawning over the car. Tom didn’t think it was so hot. He’d heard Bjørn running off at the mouth about getting it off of Marsha on the car seat, and that sounded a lot better than the way he and Renée struggled to do it sitting upright on the passenger seat. It wouldn’t take much for him to trade it in for a clunker, but since it was in his father’s name there was no chance of that.
“Man, would I like to take this for a spin!” Seth Jr. said with enthusiasm.
“Hey, that can be arranged... Let Animal take a break until you get back, and have a ball.”
“Deal!!! Whoo hoo!” Seth headed up the long driveway and laid a patch as soon as he hit the pavement.
“What’s up Ricsen?”
“My old man came out to the barn fishin’ for information. I didn’t know what the hell he was talking about, but then he got fairly graphic, and it about flipped me out listening to him.”
“Yeah? What did he do? Figure it was about time he told you about the birds and the bees, because you never let on that you passed first base six months ago?”
“Well, he kind of figured that out when he caught me with Renée in the barn topless. I had a hand on each boob, pulling her jeans zipper down with my teeth.”
“You gotta be kiddin’! You jocks sure know how to get laid creatively. So tell me, what was the third degree about then?”
“In a round about way, he asked me if I knew if Donnie Worthington was queer. Started talking about a world of twinkle toes, swishers and queens. To be honest, I didn’t know what the heck he was talking about. So he starts filling me in on he/she’s, then tells me Donnie got a letter from one that’s interested in him. I didn’t say anything about what Donnie did to Lydia, cause it isn’t any of his business, but why would a queer write to Donnie if he wasn’t? Makes no sense to me.”
“Ya know Ricsen... You jocks are more beef than brains. Did your father tell you the letter was pink? And did he tell you ‘Percy” said he gave good head, and liked it up his butt?” Animal had a crooked grin on his face.
The light bulb went off. “Animal, how did you ever come up with that?”
“You Ricsen, it was you. You told me about the note and how jacked out of shape your old man got when he asked you how you knew it was from a girl. Hey, mum’s the word about this. Percival Badcock isn’t done yet! No sir-ee bob. How about you get Renée to go to the 5 and Dime? Buy me some of that sissy girl paper with the perfume, and matching smelly ink pens. I’ll gladly pay you for it.”
“Nah... consider it my contribution to the cause.”
“Me neither.” Both guys laughed.
Seth came driving in. “That car is one hottie! I’d have that thing souped up in no time! Let me know when you’re ready to sell it, man. I’ll beat the trade in offer.”
“Will keep that in mind Seth. It’s a good machine, but it’s fussy on damp days. Kinda annoys me if you wanna know the truth.”
“Well, here dry it out with this stuff. Works like a charm.” Seth showed Tom a can. “It’s got ether in it so don’t breathe too deep when you’re using it. It’s relatively inexpensive too, and it really does the trick.”
Animal didn’t miss that tid bit of information.
Tommy paid Seth for the ether, then left to get Renée. Both he and Animal agreed it would be best of neither of the girls knew about the love letter from Percy to Donnie. When Tom told Animal how his father learned about the letter so quickly, it was very clear that the less said the better. Tom and Renée went to the 5 and Dime. He had her pick out what she thought his sister would like so he could send it to her for an Easter present. He bought two pads, and two pens. He didn’t want to lie to Renée, so he’d send one set to his sister. The lavender set seemed to have a stronger more flowery scent, so that was the choice Tom was sure that Animal would want for Percy. With that task done, Tom asked, “Renée, would you like to ride the rest of the afternoon?”
“Yah, Tommy I would. It has been a few months since we rode together. That sounds like a good change of pace. Next weekend I will be baby sitting for Lee so today would be a good day.”
“Renée... keep your shirt on, okay? My dad can’t seem to get the image of you topless out of his head. I don’t think he’d ever touch you or anything, but I get really mad every time he calls you Godiva.”
“Maybe I should do another pastel nude just for him.”
“Renée! Stop it! Shut up! I just told you, I get really mad! Don’t make things any worse, okay? If you can’t do what I ask this one time, I’ll just take you back home. I’m in no mood for any problems with my folks.” Tom shouted at her sounding very much like his father.
“I am sorry Tommy.”
“Look, after what happened to Lydia, I’m more aware of the bad things that can happen to women. I don’t want you go through what she went through.”
“Tommy, I do not want to cause you problems. And, I do not want to have another man put his kuk in me. I did not mean to upset you. I do not understand why what I said was so bad to make you yell at me with that tone of voice. I am sorry, please tell me what was so upsetting.”
“Renée, today I was grooming my horses. Dad came in and talked to me. He said things about your pupper and about us being um, intimate.”
“I think so, but I tried to take suspicion off of you by telling him that I do it with Jenny Verona. All that did was make him think I do it with both of you. Any way, I went upstairs to take a shower, and caught my dad in my room, exposed, playing with himself looking at your picture sitting on Cocoa. I hate him Renée, I really hate him. What you said just set me off thinking of what he would do if he had a picture of you of his own, and worse yet, if he ever had you alone. Your family is no where near as sick and perverted as mine. Geez... my brother Brian left to join the military instead of going to college. Marla went to boarding school, and doesn’t even come home for the holidays. What would you think? I’m not sure that they would tell me anything if I ever did talk to either of them beyond the pleasantries of dining room table talk. Do you think I talk to them like you talk to Bjørn?”
“I, I, I really do not know Tommy. When Bjørn and Papa saw the picture, they both said I had much talent as an artist, and I looked very stately upon the horse. I did not think it was wrong to sketch what I did.”
“It isn’t wrong, Renée. When I look at that picture, I see a beautiful girl in it, and my heart sings your name. I don’t want to take it down, but I don’t know if it’s a good idea to keep it hung. And, I don’t want him ever seeing you bare breasted again. When we’re married, in our own home, we can be naked day and night. I’m over the awkwardness now. But, I’ll not have him looking at you, or your picture as if the only purpose you have on this earth is to satisfy the needs of some dirty old man. Forget horseback riding today, I’m too angry to go back there now. What would you like to do?”
“Take me home.”