Tom tossed and turned, so tired he felt he could drop, yet the thoughts whirling around in his brain kept sleep far from his weary body. Pregnant... “going to have a baby”. Renée would be fifteen when the baby came. Would he be eighteen by the time it got here? Could he keep it secret from his parents until then? He didn’t want to endure a beating for getting another girl pregnant. He knew Lydia’s baby was not his, but their parents didn’t know that. How could he support himself, and Renée, pay doctor bills, then feed the three of them, and go to college? It seemed all of his dreams were coming to a rapid end. If he loved Renée any less, he could give the same speech that he gave about the best thing for the baby, and “we want to marry someday”. But, his folks would not buy into that, since that’s what he told both sets of parents a month or so ago. He certainly couldn’t marry both ladies. Renée was going to have a baby- his baby. He suddenly felt protective, not only of Renée, but for the little one growing inside of her. Tomorrow, well today actually since it was well past midnight, was Sunday. The library was closed. There was no place to get information. Exactly how long did it take? Was it really nine months? Tom counted on his fingers from the time they thought Renée got pregnant. They did it so much, it couldn’t be pin pointed like the way Lydia could say exactly when she got pregnant. No matter which hand he counted on, the baby would be born before he was eighteen. He wished he was married to Renée now. He wanted to feel her arms around him, to comfort him, and just be there close. He longed for the clean smell of her hair, and body... her body that was carrying his child. His child that would have to eat, and wear diapers that would need to be washed. Washed in what? Lord, oh Lord, what did I do? Then he thought of Renée, and how her sexual desires were out of control. She was more reckless than he’d ever seen her. In private she was always open and free, but in her parents home, and driving down the street, she was so aggressive. All he could think of was a cat in heat the way she was rubbing up against him. He couldn’t continue to pay for hotel rooms to satisfy her, and pay doctor bills, too. His stomach churned, his mind continued to whirl. Sleep came, but at a price. The nightmares were worse than reality, as his mind recalled every snap of the cat o’ nine tails across his still scarred back. He envisioned his father’s rage when he learned Renée was pregnant. Lydia was there in his dream cumbersome with child, Renée was there just beginning to show. There were nurses dressed in white, all with babies in their arms handing them to Tom telling him they were his, all his. Renée appeared again with blonde haired toddlers gripping each of her legs, a baby in each arm, and pregnant, huge pregnant, smiling, wanting to have sex with him again. Tom sat bolt upright, sweating, heart pounding. It was only a dream. It was only a dream. He looked at the clock. It was five a.m. There was no sense in trying to get back to sleep. The nightmares would cause him to get no rest anyway. He got up put on a pair of jeans and went outside in the dark. He walked to the lake and sat down, alone with his thoughts. Before long a bird began to sing welcoming the dawn. He watched the sunrise, and he prayed. It became clear, he would get a job, ask his parents to sign for him to marry Renée, and he’d do his best to support his new family. Maybe they would let them live in the carriage house. If not, perhaps he could pay to live at Renée’s parents. If God blessed them with a child, He would see that it would be taken care of, after all, that is what they taught in Church. He wanted to see his beautiful Renée. He walked back to the house, spoke to his parents, then went upstairs to shower and dress for Church. In just a little over two hours, they would be hand in hand, listening to what the priest had to say. They would pray together, then eat, then go to the room he paid for yesterday, and talk. He knew they would make love, too. He wanted it. It seemed he always wanted it. He thought of being married to Renée, and being free to love her whenever they wanted, or needed each other. He imagined how wonderful it would be to cuddle in the arms of the woman he loved, and not have to sneak around like the kids that they were. Tom was dressed and walking down the stairs when he heard it, the unmistakable sound of an open handed slap. He sat down and waited for the tirade to end. “What were you doing going through my personal belongings anyway?”
“I, I was looking for the Fathers day card Marla sent you from Spain, to see what town it came from.”
Another slap. “What I have in that drawer is none of your business. I don’t go through your purse.”
“There is nothing to hide in my purse. What are you doing with pictures of the naked Worthington girl in there? I’m your wife!”
“That you are, but do you do things like that? No! You take, and you take, and you take, but do you ever give? No! You won’t even let me look at you. You act like it’s a sin to have sex with the lights on. Sorry, but if I want to admire another woman’s body I will and there isn’t a whole lot you can do about it. Walk away if you want to, but you’ll walk out empty handed just like you walked into this marriage.” Ralph shoved Marlene back into her chair, and all was quiet.
As usual when these outbursts occurred, Tom stayed out of sight until it was over, then he’d enter the room like he hadn’t heard a thing.
“Good morning, Mother, Dad. Did you sleep well?” Tom asked as if he really cared, which he didn’t, but could fake being a phony as well as the rest of them.
“Yes, dear until around five when FiFi thought she heard a noise, and began to growl. Did you hear anything dear?” Marlene attempted small talk with her son.
“Maybe it was me she was barking at Mother. I got up about that time and went for a walk.”
“Where the hell do you walk to at that time of the morning? You were out til midnight, probably with one of your whores. Don’t you ever sleep.”
“I sleep as much as I need to Dad. Maybe it’s my age, I woke up and wanted to watch the sunrise.”
“Sunrise? Well, isn’t that sweet? You’re not turning into a sissy like the Worthington boy are you? Or, should I say the Worthington girl? He gonna change his name to Donna now?”
“Really don’t know Dad. Did it really happen? I was at La Maison after the Prom, and heard Doc with my own ears threaten to cut it off. Rumor has it that Donnie filed charges, but the last thing I’d ever consider doing is asking to take a look at it myself just to find out. I’d rather look at a fur muff any day. Sorry Mother.”
Ralph nearly snarfed his coffee. “You are my son. If Brian didn’t look so much like the rest of us, I’d wonder about him.”
Marlene left the table crying.
“Both you boys would be wearing Little Lord Fauntleroy suits if it was up to her. I’m not happy that you got Lydia knocked up, but it’s better than having a he/she for a son. Tell me, can you get more pictures of Debbie?”
Tom eyed his father suspiciously. “Dad, you can get you anything you want, but as you know, it’s gonna cost you. Jeremy has a dark room now, and can develop anything from his wheelchair with no fear of being caught. If you thought the pictures were good before, now they’re like regular studio photographs. They also have a few more girls working for them. They have movies, too.”
“Okay, will you-”
“No, I won’t. Look, you’re friends with the Chevalier’s and the Hayward’s. Don’t you think they know what’s going on? I don’t want to be involved in that business. I want to live a respectable life, with a decent job. I want to marry, and have kids. I am normal, and although I do love blondes the best, redheads give me a boner I can hardly control. Tell you what though Dad, I wouldn’t dip it in Debbie for love, or money. One of the guys she bangs gave another girl the clap.”
Ralph was stunned at what he learned from his seventeen year old son. For a kid he’d never given the talk, he sure was wise to the ways of the world. He figured it had to be learned from that Norwegian girl. He still wanted to see that one naked. He wondered what it would be like to screw her to the wall. “Tom, just sharing a little fantasy here... Godiva, I want a movie of her. Alone, or with a toy, with a woman, with a man, I don’t care. She’ll never have another money worry in the world if I can watch her perform as Debbie does. I know you’re screwing her.”
“You don’t know that for sure.”
“Don’t bother lying to me, boy. I watched you practically finger bang her at the basketball game in the hall. If it wasn’t for the hum of the camera, and not having enough light, I would have filmed that for my private collection. Why the hell do you think I offered you the carriage house? Think I didn’t know what your dick felt like after doing that, then going on to win the game? Hope you’ve been using safes. Knocking up Lydia should’ve taught you a lesson.”
“Dad... What the hell is a safe?”
Ralph looked deeply at his son and saw a total blank as to what he’d said. He sighed, “A rubber?” No hint of what he was talking about yet. “A raincoat?” Nothing still. “A prophylactic, a condom, a sheepskin.” Oh dear, Tom’s face was still blank. “How in the hell can you know so much about the birds and the bees, and not know a damn thing about protection?”
“Maybe because no one ever told me, Dad. I’ve watched the horses pasture breed, no one ever put a ‘safe’ on them. What the hell is it?”
“Well, of course not you dumb ass. Why do you think they were in the field? They weren’t picking daisies, were they? They were out there to procreate. How do you think we, I have the best Thoroughbreds in three states? Even the Queen of England has been here unofficially to view our, my horses.”
“What does the Queen of England have to do with a safe? I still don’t know what one is, or what it’s used for. Where the hell is my brother when I need him? Obviously, you want to keep me ignorant.”
“What I just named off are a few of the names for a birth control method we men use to keep ourselves clean, and hopefully child free. They are kind of like a... well, a long balloon you put on your dick. I hate the damn things, but you came so soon after your sister that I’d wear two of them to not knock your mother up again. Was glad when she had the hysterectomy so I didn’t have to use them anymore, and not be bothered worrying about more kids to raise. The three of you have given me enough headaches. Just use a safe, and don’t argue about it. Understand?”
Tom nodded his head. He had more information, but he didn’t have a clue where to get the things. It made no sense to use them now. Why lock the barn door after the horse had been stolen? His beautiful Renée was going to have his baby, and hopefully only one, unlike his dream where they came two at a time. He finished his breakfast, and left to pick Renée up for Church. Thinking about her amorous attention yesterday out weighed the vile things his father had implied about her. Tommy realized the biggest part of their relationship was sex. Their attraction for each other was off the charts. If there was any place they could do it, they would do it, yet neither denied their total love and devotion to the other.
Tom felt he’d be more at ease talking to Renée’s father about this situation than he would to Bjørn. Tom always felt he had it in for him. When they’d wrestle, often it didn’t appear to be just for sport, Bjørn had an air of resentment about him that he couldn’t or wouldn’t hide. Someday perhaps Bjørn would realize that Tom loved Renée, and what they did was done out of love, and a mutual desire to share intimacy. Tom wondered how he’d feel if he found out his sister was having sex with some guy. He tried to be open minded, but had to admit even to himself that he’d probably want to punch the guy’s lights out. Tom turned into the Jorgensen’s driveway and parked behind the 1950 Chevy. He was a bundle of nerves as he walked up the steps this morning. He took a deep breath, and knocked on the door. He let out a sigh of relief when Renée, answered with her purse in her hand, and stepped out on the porch without asking him inside.
“Good morning beautiful. Is everything okay?”
“Yah, we had a family meeting this morning. Papa and Bjørn know I am going to have your baby. Papa looked disappointed, but he said he loves me as much as always. Bjørn thinks you will turn your back on me, and says that time will prove him right. I told him that is just because he would do that if Marsha Hendricks told him she was going to have his baby, since he does not love her. I told him you love me. You do love me, right Tommy?”
“Renée, it hurts that you even have to ask, but if that’s what it takes to put your mind at ease, yes I love you. I love you with all my being. I gave you my heart for Christmas, my body on New Year’s Eve, and my baby at Easter. We’re a family Renée, it’s the three of us now.”