Tempus Fugit

By Mavis Applewater

Part One The Summer of 1956


Disclaimers; the story and characters are the sole possession of the author and may not be reproduced, posted or sold without the author’s permission. So there! If for any reason, real or imagined, you are uncomfortable with or do not wish to read a story containing graphic descriptions of two consenting adult women in a loving and sexual relationship, do not read this story or anything else I have ever written. If for any reason it is illegal for you to view this material, go away and do not return until it is no longer a crime.


A very special thank you goes out to my beta reader, Mary.


As always this is for Heather.


            It was the summer of 1956, Rock and Roll was in its infancy, Bill Haley and the Comets along with Elvis topped the charts, Ike was president and my world was a blast. How could it not be since my world consisted of a fifty mile radius that stretched from one end of the town line to the other?  The following summer I would be agitating the gravel and blowing out of town. The freedom of college had been my dream since I could walk.  Fine I’m exaggerating. My first thoughts of college came from the kernel my parents had planted in my infancy which steadily grew. Now how’s that for a flowery way to say, Mom and Dad wanted me to get a good education so I could support them in their old age?

            When I grew older leaving my little home town truly was my dream. I was already vying for a spot in the college of my choice which was, of course, Smith.  There I would get a good education without the distraction of boys plus it was close to home, but just far enough away that I could truly be on my own. First I had to survive one more year of drive-in movies, sock hops, home work, college entrance exams, curfews and playing the games that ruled my world. Still this was the next to last summer the whole gang would be together and we had vowed to make each day remarkable.

            The excitement of summer started the last day of classes. We were filled with fire while we planned on doing everything that we had always bragged we would do.  We kicked off summer the next morning heading straight to the lake in the Carlisle woods.  Lounging by the shore our biggest source of entertainment came from gossiping about the past year and who was snuggling with whom.  It wasn’t unusual for new romances to blossom during the summer months. It was all part of our lives.

            I was enjoying the beginning of summer with my friends, my on again off again boyfriend Dirk, and making plans for the rest of the summer and fall when school and, more importantly, cheerleading began. That’s right. I was a paper shaker and proud of it.  Senior year was going to be a blast and the summer that proceeded it would be the first of many last hurrahs. I couldn’t wait for senior year when we would rule the school.

            The really boss thing about senior cheerleading is you can torture the freshman who are trying out for the squad. Normally freshman didn’t make the squad and had to settle for Junior Varsity.  There were rare occasions when a freshman made the Varsity squad. Margie and I had both done it. We were really frosted last year when the newest members of the squad were two transfer students.  They were juniors just like me which meant only the seniors got to razz them.  Ah yes, the Swenson twins; they were tall, blonde, gorgeous, bright, rich and, not to mention, stacked. Most of the girls in town hated them and all of the boys fell over themselves trying to get close to them. 

            Last fall we thought Linda Crawler might be another freshman to break the mold and hit the Varsity Squad along with Colleen Bottoms who was a sophomore and had been a killer the year before cheering for the JV squad. Then the Swenson twins walked into the tryouts and no one felt certain that their spot was safe. The twins kicked Linda and Colleen to the curb with their smooth moves and amazing good looks.  Colleen was a wet rag after she found out that, once again, she had to fight for a spot on the JV squad. Since both Ginny and Laurie were fellow pom-pom wavers the cheering squad stuck by them.  They fit right in with our little social circle. The only trouble was telling them apart.

            I thought, at times, I could sense there was a hint of edginess to Laurie’s personality that clearly wasn’t evident in her identical twin.  Then again there were times when I could have sworn that it was Ginny in my math class and not Laurie who was the one scheduled to be there. Other times I could have sworn that Laurie was sitting in on my Home Ec class instead of Ginny. Early in the fall of that year I discovered that I was one of the few people on the planet who really could tell one from the other.  I discovered in the most unusual way how to really distinguish the two

            Things were set in motion that first day of summer.  I was clueless that my life was about to change leading me down a road I never envisioned.  The day in itself mirrored so many other days of my teenage life. We went swimming, tubing and swung on the old rope hanging from a tree.  The guys showed off their muscles each trying to swing further than anyone else before diving into the cold water.  Some of the girls, including myself, swung on the rope as well. Mostly we sat on the shore cooing and applauding when the boys flexed their muscles.  It was what was expected of us and we happily played our roles until it was time to clear out.  Then we went home and ate dinner with our families before getting all dolled up and heading back out for more fun.

            The gang which consisted of the cheerleading squad and their football playing boyfriends, had gathered that night at the local burger joint. Buddy Burgers was the hot spot in our little town. We had taken over the booths in front with huge windows that over looked the drive in. Banishing the nerds to the back where the families and kiddies sat. We wanted to see who was eating outside with whom. I remember thinking as I watched the poor girls rolling around on roller skates while they tried to cater to the rowdy teenagers; that you couldn’t pay me enough to take a job like that. 

            Me, I worked part time in a tiny bookstore where I could lose myself in the classics or books that normally I shouldn’t be allowed to read due to my tender young age.  Banning books was a biggie back then. You’d be surprised what wasn’t allowed to be sold. Many of the titles are now considered to be classics. Some of the titles that were banned in Boston were, Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, Joyce’s Ulysses, Sinclair Lewis’ Elmer Gantry, Huie’s The Execution of Private Slovik, Caldwell’s Gods Little Acre and of course Henry Miller’s Tropic of  Cancer.  The list goes on even The Scarlet Letter was on the hit list for a long time. I read them all and with most of them I failed to understand why they had been banned. Now my boss did cross the line keeping the steamier titles hidden in the back.  I think that was the true secret to his success. My boss would look the other way when I would purchase or order a title that was considered taboo.  He believed in the written word and that censorship was not what our founding fathers had in mind.  Since I was old enough to drive he felt I should be able to decide what I wanted to read.  He was big on broadening ones’ horizons.

            That night broadening my horizons was the furthest thing on my mind. That night I acted like every other teenaged girl in town pumping quarters in the jukebox while scoping out the scene and, of course, the constant trips to the ladies room to fix my make up and gossip with the other girls.

            Hey we were the cool kids who never parked outside to eat unless someone had scored a bottle or we had a date and wanted privacy. Our place was the booth where we could hog the jukebox and get most of our food for free thanks to Stewie, our wide receiver.  Stewie’s gig was busing tables for his dad who was none other than Buddy, the cranky fry cook who owned the joint.

            Poor Stewie got a lot of flack from his old man every time we invaded Buddy’s.  Still he got away with it because we were the good kids in town and Stewie was one of the stars of the team. The other shining star was our quarterback who was absent that night. Bobby Walford was a dream boat who was looking at a full ride to LSU next year if he kept his game and his grades up.  It was no secret that most of the girls on the squad would happily trade in their steady for Bobby just like it was no secret that the boys would do the same for a shot at one or both of the Swenson twins. The guys were always boasting that you got bonus points for twins.  Like all the other girls I’d just roll my eyes when they started yammering like morons.

            The topics of conversation were limited to did everyone see how closely Ginny and Bobby were all day, how we were going to fit in as much fun as possible and keep our jobs, and of course there was the upcoming release of Giant. It was the late great James Dean’s last movie and we just had to see it.  Well all the girls wanted to see. I think the guys did too, but they were way too cool to admit it.

             I was there with my boyfriend Dirk who wasn’t nicknamed the Groper for nothing. The night was coming to an end and I had just about enough of Dirk pawing me.  I was dreading the ride home knowing that he would try to make a stop a Mill Hill the local make out spot.  Suddenly a miracle landed at my feet. Brent who was Laurie’s latest steady was grounded because he managed to fail English, and had to go to summer school. He needed to hit the bricks before his parents discovered he had snuck out.

            For the life of me I didn’t understand why he was risking getting caught on our first night of freedom. And just how do you fail Basic English and keep your spot on the team? It was no secret that if he flunked during the summer he’d be off the team.  If that happened there wasn’t a snow ball’s chance in Hell he’d be able to keep Laurie on his arm. When Laurie suggested that Dirk, who lived close to Brent’s house, drive him home and she could give me a lift, I was granted a reprieve from my hands on beau. I also suspected that Laurie and Brent would be history before the first big party of the summer.

            Needless to say Dirk didn’t like the idea of leaving with Brent instead of me one bit.  Then Lauren flashed him one of her dazzling smiles and that was that.  I didn’t care that she was flirting with my boyfriend. Hell I was on cloud nine. I could have jumped up and kissed her.  Something did catch my eye that looking back should have been my first clue that all was not as it appeared to be.  Both Brent and Ginny were eyeballing us with grim expressions.  I understood why Brent was spazzing, but for the life of me I didn’t get why Ginny seemed upset.

            I didn’t stop to think about it I just merrily bounced over to Laurie’s brand new Chevy Bel Air and climbed in. Laurie and Ginny had matching red and white convertibles and let me tell you those cars were boss.  In fact the matching convertibles were nicknamed the Cherry Mobiles because they were the hottest wheels in town and, of course there was the classy chassis sitting in the driver‘s seat.

            Everyone waved goodbye and we cut out.  Now when Laurie suggested making a side trip to the Carlisle woods which was nestled just below Mill Hill because she had scored a bottle of rum and wanted to have a little fun I thought it was a killer idea. Granted if my boyfriend had proposed such a grody request I would have offered him a knuckle sandwich.  This was Laurie Swenson who along with her twin had jumped from lowly transfer students to the queens of Buchanan High in record time.

‘Fun with rum! Yeah this was something I wanted to try.’  I went ape over the idea.

“Now this is a party,” she blew out happily lighting a cigarette while I took another swig of rum. “Nothing against Buddy Burgers.”

“I take it Cedar Hills is smaller than back home?” I questioned handing her the bottle before leaning against the comfortable seats.

“There is no back home,” she laughed. “Man we’ve moved so many times over the last couple of years you’d think we were a pack of nomads.”

“Oh twenty cent word bonus points,” I snickered snatching the cigarette from her hand and taking a drag.

“Thief,” she scolded me while screwing the cap back onto the bottle.  “Speaking of bonus points.”

“Huh?” I slurred trying to roll down the window so I could toss the remains of the cigarette.

“Not getting drunk on me are you?” She purred in an odd tone leaning over and snatching the cigarette back. “We can use the ashtray.  The folks never touch our wheels.”

“Okey Dokey,” I sighed wondering why she was all fuzzy. ‘Great the first night of summer vacation and I’m cruising to get grounded already. But I’m having fun.’ My mind giddily surmised.

“You are drunk,” she sounded satisfied as she slipped closer to me.

“No.” I lied leaning a little closer.  I felt warm and tingly and curious as to why Laurie was removing my sweater.

“You wanna have some real fun?” She whispered hotly in my ear.

            Now this was unusual! I have no idea how we ended up sitting so closely together. Or why she was nuzzling my neck not to mention tugging my blouse out of my poodle skirt. Yes a poodle skirt; it was 1956 and that is what I wore along with Bobby socks and saddle shoes. Get over it. I do remember thinking that I must have really been hammered because I could have sworn that she was nibbling on my earlobe and groping me.  I also remember thinking that if I were in this very same situation with a guy this would be the moment that I would either knee him where it counted or we would start making out.  Oddly enough that is just what happened. Not kneeing her, the making out part.

            She kissed me, and it wasn’t a shy peck or an innocent gesture between friends either.  Nope.  Laurie went straight for the gold and stuck her tongue in my mouth. I would have pushed her away and said no but it felt so damn good. So I did the only thing I was capable of doing at that moment; I kissed her back.

            She wrapped her tongue around mine and I just melted into her body.  Her hands seemed to be everywhere as we kissed one another senseless.  She had managed to unbutton my blouse and one of her hands landed half way up my bra when I began to question what was happening.  “Laurie.” I gasped since normally at this juncture I would jump ship leaving my escort high and dry.   

“Tell me what you want Babe?” She whispered hotly in my ear.

            ‘Oh my God!’  I silently groaned. There was just something about the way she said those words that sent a shiver down my spine.  So instead of stopping her I captured her soft lips in a searing kiss and let her unhook my bra.  Laurie wasted no time while I was happily exploring the warmth of her mouth; she was massaging my breasts.  Laurie knew just how to touch me. She cupped my breasts feeling them completely before she began to tease my nipples.  I was delirious which could be the only explanation for allowing another girl to pinch and tease my nipples until my entire body was aching with desire.    

“Come on Babe let’s play,” she pleaded while her tongue traced the swell of my breasts.  “Tell me what you want.” She repeated her voice once again sending a delightful shiver through my body.

            There was something about the way she was pleading that was so different than the way a guy would beg.  I tried pressing my thighs together in an effort to ebb the constant throbbing that was clouding my senses. “Let’s play?” She pleaded again her hand slipping down the front of my body.  I couldn’t stop myself my body pressed closer.  Laurie murmured with pleasure; her lips once again finding my sensitive earlobe and her hand slipping between my thighs.

            Normally I would have snapped my legs shut, instead I parted them allowing her to further explore my body.  “Come on Babe,” she pleaded once again moaning deeply as she spoke.  I tried to speak but the words failed to come.  She pressed the heel of her hand against my mound and my body jerked forward eager to greet her touch.

“Why don’t we climb into the backseat,” she murmured softly grinding her hand against me.

“I don’t . . . I don’t,” I stammered parting my thighs even further.

“You want some more rum?” She tried to sway me.

“No.” I whimpered thrusting harder against her hand.

“You’re so wet,” she cooed teasing me harder. “Come on it will be more fun in the backseat.”

            I opened my mouth to refuse, but again words failed me.  I could feel all of the blood in my body rushing in a southerly direction while she continued teasing me. I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t think, and for the life of me, I couldn’t understand why I was allowing her to guide me over the seats.  Still there I was lying on the backseat with my skirt hiked up and my breasts hanging out. Laurie was hovering above me offering me more alcohol.  This time I accepted, but not with words.  I simply took the bottle from her grasp and took a healthy swig.

            Somewhere in the back of my mind I thought if I was drunk that would explain everything.  It felt so good to have her breath caressing my nipples while she rolled my panties down my thighs.  For the first time in my life I wasn’t just excited the passion was dripping from my body.  I laced my fingers in her long, blonde hair pressing my nipple against her lips.  She suckled my nipple urgently and I felt her fingers gliding along my swollen nether lips.

            I released a loud groan when she pulled away snaring the bottle.  I gazed up at her pondering if Laurie was just as hot naked as she was fully clothed? A strange and troubling thought that for some mystical reason held me captive. I barely noticed her sipping more rum before offering the bottle back to me. I shook my head no. She shrugged capping the bottle placing it on the floor of the car.  She captured my hand and guided it up and under her skirt.  I inhaled sharply when she guided my fingers inside her panties.

“Oh yeah,” she groaned with delight rocking her hips against my fumbling touch. “You’re so hot,” she whispered her touch returning to my wetness.

            She was straddling my body guiding my fingers deeper inside of her.  I could feel her wetness painting my fingers.  “Oh Babe,” she groaned coaxing me to further explore her.  “Come on Babe,” she urged pressing her fingers against my center.  “Let’s go for those extra points.”

“No wait!” I yelped jerking away from her.

“Oh come on.” She had the bad manners to whine.  “What’s the prob, Babe?”

            “This has gone too far,” I sputtered climbing further away while trying to adjust my clothing.  I might be able to explain the kissing by blaming the rum.  No way I could explain the wanton fondling we were sharing. None of my boyfriends had ever gotten this far. Not from a lack of trying mind you. So why was Laurie so determined to round the bases in record time?

“Don’t you want to?” She purred wrapping her arms around my waist and nuzzling my neck.  “Have another drink? It will loosen you up.” She encouraged her hands slipping up to my breasts.

            “I can’t believe you just said that!” I shouted shoving her away from me. “Geez Louise that is something a guy would say!” I shouted while I jumped out of the car.

“But Babe,” she purred following after me.

“Are you calling me that because you can’t remember my name?” I sputtered wondering if it was the truth.  I was also thinking that I used to consider Laurie attractive. There was something about her that night that made her look anything but attractive.

            “Uhm no,” she quickly denied a little too quickly for my tastes. “Hey look I thought we were having fun.” She added brushing a strand of hair from my cheek. Then she looked deeply into my eyes. “Why don’t we just go back to having fun?  No one has to know.” 

            I had heard rumors that Laurie was fast, but hitting on another chick was way out there. Then again I didn’t spaz until she called me Babe one too many times. Maybe this was nothing more than a kick? It was the look in her eyes that finalized it for me. She was full of it and this was nothing more than a game to her.  Call me an up tight stick in the mud, but giving up my virginity for a couple snorts of rum wasn’t going to happen.

 “I said no,” I huffed folding my arms across my chest. “I can walk from here.”

“Fine,” she snarled. “But I can drive.  I can‘t believe that you‘d do it with Dirk the jerk and give me the brush off.”

“For the record the Groper is a lying dog,” I snarled thoroughly disgusted by her attitude.  “I shot him down; only with him my aim was better.”

            She stomped to the other side of the car and waited for me to get in. I cursed under my breath before joining her. The short drive home was torture.  Laurie kept touching me and trying to convince me to go back to the woods. I sat there silently fuming.  “Well I wouldn’t have pegged you to act like a goof over a little fun, Babe.” She had the bad manners to say and adding that last Babe was a huge mistake.

“Cut the gas Laurie!” I finally shouted stunned when her hand landed on my thigh. I jerked her hand away. Now I was really frosted. “Let me make this perfectly clear.  I ain’t giving it up for a little rum. So just keep your grody paws to yourself and drive me home.”

“Fine,” she finally gave in just before she pulled into my driveway. “Just don’t tell anyone about this. We don’t want anyone to think we’re a couple of lesbos.”

            “Trust me Laurie my lips are sealed,” I promised mystified by her logic.  I know I hadn’t imagined that she just tried to get into my pants. I certainly wasn’t going to tell anyone I made out with another girl. She had to know that it would be the mark of death in our little social circle. So why was she more worried about her rep than the fact the word no had suddenly vanished from her vocabulary?

“Kookie.” She shrugged before peeling rubber.

“Now who was that?” My father questioned when I stormed into the house.  “Not that Dirk idiot again?”

            “No Dad,” I sighed. “Laurie Swenson gave me a lift. She had to dash.  She was worried about making her curfew.” Hey I had to lie.  What could I tell him, my virtue would have been safer with a guy we called Groper? Then there was the little matter of me standing in front of my over protective father reeking of booze and being late which I knew I was going to get flack over.

            The following morning I felt like hell the effects of a late night and cheap hooch leaving me feeling tired.  The constant pounding in my head was no picnic either.  I showered and dressed in a hurry sneaking out to get to work before my mother could grill me.  Thankfully the store was quiet that day and I could rest my weary head on the counter. I jumped out of my skin when the bell chimed and I saw her walking in.

            When she flashed me a warm smile and apologized for disturbing my nap I blew out a sigh of relief. It had to be Ginny who had an easy going demeanor and would apologize if she bumped into a chair.  Laurie, on the other hand, would more than likely set the chair on fire.  Suddenly I broke out in a cold sweat. Ginny was Laurie’s sister. What if she knew?  I had enough to deal with. My willingness to allow Laurie to get as far as she did last night was confusing the bejesus out of me.  Now I was suddenly trapped in the store with the one person Laurie would reveal our secret to. I stood behind the counter panicking as she browsed the new books.  I wanted to the floor to open up and swallow me whole. If Ginny knew what would she think of me?

            I just about fainted on the spot when she strolled up to the counter. I was sweating like a pig, my hands were clammy and I just wanted to die. Better still roll back the clock and not accept that ride from Laurie.  My hands were shaking when I took the book she had selected and rang it up. Normally I’d chat about her selection. That day I just wanted her to go away.  “So did you have fun last night?” She questioned.  Her voice sounded so odd, almost hurt, when she spoke.

            “Uhm it was interesting.” I stammered unable to look at her. Instead I just took her money and shoved the book into a bag.  I hoped that by shoving her purchase at her it would make Ginny go away. It didn’t and when I glanced up she was still standing there, and I was trapped in a nightmare. Standing before me was a mirror image of the person who had treated me like I was some kind of Jezebel. Worse still she must have known that I let it happen.  I swallowed hard; my mind questioning if Laurie had told her the truth about things. Did she tell Ginny that it was she that started things and I put a stop to it? Or did she just gloss over the minor details skipping ahead to the part when my hand ended up between her thighs?

“The first day of summer is always a trip,” Ginny shrugged tucking her purchase in her purse.

            “Huh? Uhm yeah,” I gulped.  ‘She doesn’t know!’ I was ready to break out my pom-poms and do a victory cheer. Then something occurred to me. “Hey?” I blushed suddenly realizing what book I had rung up.  When I was having my panic attack dear sweet Ginny must have ducked into the backroom. It wasn’t really a room, more of a closet where titles that for some reason or another had been denounced were kept.  Even though Mr. Dyer cut me some slack the broom closet was off limits to anyone under twenty-one. “Forever Amber? No, no, no.” I tsked. “I’m not supposed to let you see that one much less sell it to you.”

“I’m sorry,” she instantly apologized offering the package back to me. “I don’t want to get you into trouble.”

“Ah forget it,” I waved it off. “Just don’t squeal on me. I never got why we have to hide so many books. Up until about ten years ago Huck Finn was back there.”

“Huck Finn?” Ginny gaped over at me. “Why?”

“Who knows?” I shrugged.  “Just enjoy the book. I did.”

“You read it?” She flashed me a brilliant smile that made me weak in the knees.  “My you are a naughty girl.”

            “Uhm,” I choked a flash of heat surging through my body. My face turned a deep shade of scarlet and suddenly I was embarrassed by the way my body was reacting to her husky timber. My eyes darted about. I stood there looking like a moron fully aware that she was staring at me.

“So what are you doing later?” She innocently inquired.  She had decided to ignore my obvious flustered state or she simply failed to notice.

            “Oh,” I trembled as flashes of the night before invaded my thoughts. Those wayward thoughts blending with the shiver she had just invoked reduced me to blathering idiot. The wheels in my head spun wildly.  I had to answer her. I just needed a moment to think before I opened my mouth. Finally, I cleared my throat and presented my response to her innocent query.  “I have to go straight home. I got some flack for coming home so late last night.  I have to stay in tonight.”  It wasn’t really a lie, since I knew that once I met Dad at his shop I really was going to get in trouble for staying out so late.

“Grody,” she offered me a sympathetic grin. “Well if you get a reprieve the gang is meeting at the bowling alley.”

“Watching the guys strut their stuff again,” I sighed. “Nah, I’ll hang with the folks.”

“It’s cool.” She nodded before leaving. “Thanks again for the book.”

            I had never been so relieved to blow off my friends.  I wasn’t in the mood for facing Laurie or anyone else that night. What I needed to do was just hide in the house and watch television with my parents.  It might be a lame way to spend the night but I needed time to think.  I needed to clear my head and figure out what the night before had meant.

            Later, after I closed up the bookstore, I walked over to my Dad’s barber shop.  My mind was still muddled even when I knocked on the window informing Dad I had arrived. He put down the broom he was using and unlocked the front door for me. “You do own a watch,” he gave me guff right from the get go.

“Sorry about last night,” I grumbled rubbing my throbbing temple. “I just lost track of time.”

“I see and now that you’ve apologized you’re going to ask if you can out again tonight?” He grumbled.

“No.” I shrugged sheepishly.

“Well that knocked the wind out of my sails,” he blinked with surprise.  “I was all set to give you a stern lecture, complete with several I’m disappointed and calling you young lady as many times as possible.”

“Hate to disappoint.” I shrugged once again. “So can you give your kid a lift home or is part of my penance walking?”

“Help your old man clean up,” he smiled handing me the broom.  “While we are cleaning up you can explain to me just what is so fascinating about this Dirk idiot?”

“He’s okay.” I shrugged as I began to sweep the floor.

“Well that was touching,” Dad shook his head. “Well it can’t be puppy love. So why do you keep getting back together with the jackass?”

            I didn’t have an answer other than Dirk was on the team, a part of the gang and despite his groping and bragging he would eventually back off.  Puppy love was such a strange term. It was at that moment that I realized I had never really understood what it meant.  I dated and had steady boyfriends but I still had failed to find the one guy that would make me feel and act like an idiot.  Maybe that was good thing. Helping me to keep my head on straight so that when I left home my mind wouldn’t be clouded by the trappings of love.  If I had fallen hard for some boy, I might have given into temptation which could have gotten me in trouble. I didn’t want that.  I wanted a future away from Cedar Hills.  I knew a long list of girls who wanted to move on only to be sidetracked by falling for some guy.  Prior to that moment I had just assumed that I was more practical than my peers.  Now I wasn’t so certain if it was good, old fashion common sense or perhaps something else. I was snapped out of my dark thoughts when Dad pointed out that I had been sweeping the same spot for over ten minutes.

            That night I was trapped under a dark cloud. It was easy to allow my troubles to overwhelm my thoughts. My parents were completely addicted to television probably because it wasn’t around when they were growing up. Well, it was around, they just couldn’t afford the luxury until I was about ten. Televisions back then were large, massive pieces of furniture with teeny tiny black and white screens.  I can kind of understand Mom’s obsession with it, being stuck in the house all day with me and my kid brother.  My Dad, on the other hand, had no excuse for being a tyrant when it came to what shows we would and would not watch.

            I just sat back and tried to watch whatever he picked. Thanking the heavens that it was far too late in the day for Howdy Doody to be on. None of the hokey shows failed to capture my attention.  Finally I gave up and excused myself claiming that I was tired. What was exhausting me was the constant replaying of what had happened the night before.

            Over and over again I watched the scene playing out. It started out innocently enough just a couple of kids sneaking some booze.  I just couldn’t figure out when it turned into something lurid. When I climbed into bed I still couldn’t grasp why Laurie did what she did.  More importantly why did I go along with it? Granted I was a little buzzed when it all started.  Alone in the dark recalling the sequence of events I couldn’t lie to myself.  I knew that there were several moments I could have stopped what was happening.

            Going to bed early proved to be a really bad call.  Left alone in my bedroom while trying to understand my sexual confusion leaves a teenaged girl with only one option.  A little fantasizing wasn’t a foreign concept; granted back then no one would admit to it.  For the longest time I thought I was the only one who did it. There I was lying in the darkness, not only thinking about sex after my little experiment the night before, but my body was filled with a strange yearning.

            It started the way it always did trying to picture myself making out with some cute guy from school. That never worked so I quickly shifted gears replacing the guy with a hunky movie star like Rock Hudson. Again I was falling flat until I decided to picture Doris Day with Rock Hudson. That always helped move things along encouraging me to slip my fingers inside of my pajama bottoms. I licked my lips as I slowly began to touch myself.  I halted briefly questioning for the first time why it was I never got a little excited unless I added an attractive woman to my fantasy. I shook my head trying to vanquish the true reason from my thoughts. I groaned feeling depressed when I couldn’t evade the nagging question.

            I gave up on trying to finish the task at hand and tried to sleep.  I tossed and turned for hours before I finally fell into a fitful slumber.  No small surprise that my dreams were more than interesting that night.  Absent were the cute guys from school and movie stars, instead I was featured along with Laurie.  At least my frisky companion started out as Laurie but somewhere in my dream she magically became her twin. When I awoke the following morning I was initially troubled by the hot dream. I shrugged it off suddenly having a new understanding of just why guys are fascinated by twins.

            Midway through my shift at the bookstore I  came to a conclusion.  I accepted that the incident a couple nights ago was interesting, and since no one would ever know about it I should just forget about it. I had thought about it nonstop and the truth was what had happened was far less risqué than a lot of the books I was reading on the sly.  Laurie could chalk it up to an incomplete pass. I simply dismissed the whole thing as a lark.  Like I said no one was ever going to know and I certainly wasn’t going to let it happen again. Best to forget the whole thing and go on with my life.

            I was okay with my irrational rationalization until Dirk strolled in.  I knew he wasn’t there to buy a book.  Truth be told I had long suspected that the only book Dirk had read voluntarily was a playbook. His sudden appearance could only mean that he was there to see me. For the first time I was thrilled to see him. A little time with my boyfriend just might be the ticket.  I think he was in shock when I eagerly accepted his invitation to join him and the rest of the gang in a trip to the local drive-in. Normally if Dirk suggested taking me to the drive-in I would flatly refuse.

            When Dirk arrived my Dad was less than pleased. Dad probably cut every guy in towns hair and had been doing so since I was a small child.  Dad often said that the gossip in his shop was better than a hen party. Ergo each time I went out with someone new Dad already knew all the dirt.  He didn’t like Dirk.  In fact he often said that he trusted him about as far as he could throw him. I suspected that Dad really wanted to hurl Dirk into a wall.  Imagine your little girl bouncing off for a night at the passion pit with a guy who more than earned the nickname Groper? 

            Dad’s fears ebbed ever so slightly when the rest of our party emerged from the car. It appeared that we weren’t going alone in Dirk’s car. Dirk wasn’t even driving. Apparently we were doubling. Normally I’d be thrilled that we were going with another couple, and Gloria Detwyler was joining us as well.  Dad may have been pleased that we not only had a fifth wheel but the other couple were two of the most upstanding kids in my little social circle.

            I, on the other hand, was floored when Bobby and Ginny strolled into my parent’s home.  Never mind that I had locked lips with Ginny’s sister; all day long I had been whiling away the hours thinking about Ginny. Yeah I know my plan was to blow off what had happened.  Fine plan except that I couldn’t stop thinking about it or her. 

            I was filled with a deep sense of shame when she looked at me. I wanted to cancel right then and there feigning cramps or the bubonic plague anything to get me out of spending the night in the same car with the tall blonde.  Wasn’t going to happen.  Dad gave his stamp of approval and Bobby’s car was waiting in the driveway.  The only person who was less enthused was Gloria. Hey no one wants to be the fifth wheel. Face it trapped in a car with two couples knowing that the only reason you are there is to keep the guys from getting out of hand because you had failed to score a date is a real drag; no matter how you slice it.

            My original plan of snuggling and sharing a little heavy petting with my boyfriend so I could reconfirm my place in the world had been dashed.  I finally accepted my fate knowing that the night was already a bust.  It was odd knowing that Dirk would still try even with Gloria nestled in the backseat with us. I was in quite a pickle because of a couple sips of rum and a stacked blonde.  I felt like Alice after she fell down that damn rabbit hole. 

            Once we arrived at the drive-in we fell into the usual rituals. The gang took over the best parking spots.  Couples often parked away from the crowd so they could have privacy. Since we had Gloria in tow that wasn’t going to happen. Then the guys would converge at the snack bar while the girls took over the ladies’ room.  It’s funny to think about now, how much makeup we would plaster to our young flesh beginning the moment we left our homes.  Only to scrub our faces clean when we knew we’d be returning to our parents.

            The bathroom, per usual, was a cloud of cigarette smoke and cheap hairspray echoing with the sounds of girlish laughter and gum snapping.  Once we had completed the arduous task of making ourselves look pretty, and our minds had become fuzzy from the mixture of smoke and aerosol, we would either rejoin our boyfriends or kick the kiddies off the swing set so we could smoke and gossip.

            I sat on one of the swings after bumming a smoke off of Sandy feeling mildly relieved that Ginny hadn’t followed. “So Ginny and Bobby?” Candy piped in. “It is Ginny right?”

“Yes.” I rolled my eyes.

“Of course it is,” Margie gleefully explained. “Laurie is still with Brent.”

“For now,” Sandy grumbled with disgust.  “Trust me that boy’s days are numbered. Face it he is on a fast train to loser-ville.  No way is Laurie staying on his arm when he can’t go out at night. She must be pissed that she is missing out on tonight.”

            “She could have shown up without a date,” Margie tried to rationalize.  Margie was always trying to be the voice of reason.  Like when she would suggest that I might hang onto a boyfriend longer if I went out with someone I really liked instead of dating a guy because he had a letterman sweater.  She really was naive about things sometimes.

“Laurie?” Sandy laughed. “Not a chance.  Especially since her sister is here with Bobby.  The girl is far too stuck up to play second fiddle.”

            I had often wondered why Sandy and Bobby never hooked up. The two of them had been best friends since the first grade.  It was really odd to see a guy and girl stay friends for that long without one of them having the hots for the other.  After puberty it just didn’t happen. In our world if a guy and girl spent that much time together something was going on.

“Hey sorry it is just so hard to tell them apart,” Candy reasoned.

“Sometimes I think I can,” I absently mumbled.  “Ginny is so easy going most of the time. Then she’ll be in a class with me and she’ll act just like Laurie.”

“Weird if you ask me,” Sandy spat out.  “It’s like they switch places or personalities.  Face it Laurie can be a total witch.  I’m glad that Ginny is the one Bobby asked out.  If it had been Laurie I would have blown a gasket. “

“What’s the dif?” Candy groaned.

            “The dif is Laurie is a harpy and a little fast and Ginny is a doll,” Sandy sniped.  “Trust me I’ve seen them together at those fancy country club parties our parents insist on dragging us to.  Believe me those girls are nothing alike.  If someone is getting all the attention Laurie pulls some stunt just to get noticed.  She’s hit on more than one girl’s escort. Mark my words when that egg split something went horribly wrong.”

            Sandy was just gearing up and the others seemed to be following her lead. It made me uncomfortable. When the tongues started to wag no one was safe. It never felt right to me to sit around cutting someone down only to smile and chat with them later.  “You know you’re right,” I slowly began snubbing out my cigarette. “They are different. For starters Ginny is a class act who would never gossip about anyone behind their back.  So let’s can it.”

“That’s what I love about you Ellen,” Sandy smiled. “You, too, are a class act.  Not a bitchy bone in your body. So what’s with the chaperone? Dirk must be pitching a fit.”

“You know it.” I snickered climbing off the swing.

“It’s getting dark,” Sandy sighed. “Guess we should find our dates.”

            I started to stroll away from the girls who decided to have one last smoke before the movie started. I jumped when I spied Ginny lurking just around the corner. The pensive look on her face filled me with concern. She was a little too close to the playground not to have heard what the girls were saying.  “Hey.” I called out trying to act as if she and her sister hadn’t been the topic of conversation.

“Hey,” she smiled sweetly as she approached me. “Thanks.”

“For?”  I questioned when we started heading towards the cars.

“Sticking a sock in Sandy’s mouth,” Ginny grimly explained folding her arms across her chest. “You’re right.  I hate gossip especially when my sister is the main focus. So thanks.”

“Uhm, no problem,” I stuttered suddenly feeling very shy. “I should be thanking you. Gloria coming along is perfect. That ought to cool Dirk’s jets.”

“I, Uhm,” she shyly responded. “I don’t like going on dates to the drive-in unless you know there’s a buffer. Too easy for a guy to get the wrong idea.”

“And a long walk home.” I laughed.

“No kidding,” she laughed along with me.  “That’s why I always have that emergency dime in my purse so I can call a cab.  Speaking of Gloria, where is she?”

“Don’t know,” I shrugged when we reached Bobby’s car.  Our little chaperone was no where in sight.  I knew Gloria was miffed by her designated role in the nights festivities still it was odd for her to ditch us.  I finally spotted her across the way chatting with some cute guy. “Oops looks like she’s found a better offer.”

“No it’s not cool,” I heard Bobby sniping at Dirk.

            I quickly added two and two together and came up with a rat. I’d bet dollars to donuts that Dirk knew the good looking stranger who had suddenly appeared and captivated Gloria.  “Snake,” I groaned pushing past him and climbing into the backseat.

“What?” He whined climbing in behind me.

“Where’d you dig him up?” I growled under my breath as our companions climbed into the front seat. 

“Cousin,” he proudly grinned handing me a bucket of popcorn.

“I’m sorry about this,” Bobby apologized to Ginny.

“Hey Gloria was miserable,” Dirk defended his actions while slipping his arm around my shoulders.

“That’s you all over; just a regular boy scout doing one good deed after another,” I groaned his hand already finding its way to my thigh.

“Hey Babe,” he made the mistake of cooing in my ear.

            After hearing that one too many times a couple of nights ago I had a bad reaction and elbowed him in the chest.  Dirk grunted but kept his hands in place.  “Dirk the only reason I agreed to double with you guys was because there was going to be another person here,” Ginny scolded him with a hostile glare in the rearview mirror.

“Now don’t you feel bad?” I growled.

“No.” Dirk practically laughed snuggling closer.

            It took my ever attentive boyfriend all of ten minutes into the first flick to start groping me. I hate to admit it but I went along with his pawing.  In the back of my mind I had convinced myself that it was what I needed to do so I could feel normal again.  Once we started making out it was the same old thing.  I was going through the motions while my mind drifted. It is amazing that I hadn’t realized before that night I always let my mind wander while making out with a guy.

            I got more homework done when I went parking than I ever did when I sat down to study.  That night I was reminding myself to say this while touching him here or there.  All the while knowing that I was emotionally detached from what I was doing.  I just wanted to feel something and as a result let him get a little further than I normally would.  It was hell letting him touch me in the backseat of the car knowing that there were two other people sitting directly in front of us.  Each time I glanced up I found Bobby and Ginny snuggling and watching the movie. They weren’t kissing or groping.  In fact if I hadn’t caught Ginny spying on us in the mirror from time to time I would have thought the two of them had fallen asleep.

            The look in her eyes troubled me. She looked so strange and troubled.  Something in her distant look tore at me. It was too much knowing she was watching while he was groping me.  It made my stomach churn.  Not for the first time that night I brushed his inquisitive hands away from my breasts.  It failed to deter him. I finally shoved him away from me. Dirk blew out the same frustrated sigh he always did and pouted.  “It’s intermission,” I grumbled while he slumped back against the seat.  “I have to go to the ladies room.” I excused myself leaving Dirk stewing in his frustration. Ginny naturally followed after me. 

            I knew she had only snuck out of the car because it would have been bad manners to allow me to go to the bathroom by myself. You never let another girl go to the bathroom alone. I wasn’t surprised when Ginny chose to remain silent as we strolled towards the restroom.  The poor girl must have been awfully uncomfortable watching me acting like a hussy. 

“I don’t have to go,” I blew out in frustration feeling completed discombobulated by the fact that she had seen me making out with Dirk.  “I just wanted to get away from him.”  I concluded leaning up against the wall outside of the bathroom.

“Well,” Ginny nodded pursing her lips. “He certainly lives up to his reputation.”

“Like being out with an octopus,” I sneered more disgusted by my actions than Dirk’s.  “I don’t know why I keep getting back together with him.”

“Good question.” Ginny muttered taking the spot next to me.

            The disapproving tone in her voice made me feel even worse.  I was just about to try and explain my lurid behavior when the rest of the gang banged out of the bathroom and joined us.  Neither Ginny nor I spoke we just leaned back and listened or at least I pretended to listen.  Dirk was not a happy camper when we returned and I failed to respond to his advances. “I said stop!” I finally spat out giving him a hard shove.

            Dirk just grunted before making another lame attempt. “Hey!” Bobby shouted from the front seat. “She said back off.”

            Dirk was smart enough not to challenge Bobby.  I was grateful that I was doubling with Bobby who, above all else, was a gentleman. It was one of the things that made him so attractive to the girls in school.  Back then sex before marriage was something only bad girls did. Or at least that was what we told ourselves even if some of the girls were sleeping with their boyfriends. But no one talked about that other than in hushed whispers. 

            By the time the second flick had ended I wanted to apologize to Bobby and Ginny.  Instead I did the only thing I could think of doing. I begged off joining them for a burger and asked that they drop me off at home. Poor Dirk I thought his head was going to explode when I tossed out my feeble excuse of having to work in the morning.  I had to get away from him and them.  Extending the evening which would include enduring Dirk dropping hints that we should hit Mill Hill just wasn’t on the agenda.

            I dashed out of the car barely saying goodnight to Dirk.  Even if I wasn’t suddenly confused by recent events it was clear that Dirk had to go. Granted I had led him on that night but his advances were getting more and more aggressive.  Time to call it quits.  Another thing that made me feel queasy was I knew why he was so hot on the idea of doubling with Bobby that night. Not only did he want to get lucky with me, the twisted jerk wanted a chance to see one of the twins in action.  When I crawled into bed that night I still felt ill. Left alone with my thoughts I knew that Dirk wasn’t the only screwball who wanted to view Ginny in a passionate situation.

            You can only image what I dreamt about that night.  I was at the drive-in alright, but no one except me and Ginny were there and watching the movie wasn’t on the schedule.  The following morning I woke up feeling positively amorous.  “This is just great.” I snarled after taking a long shower which failed to ebb my erroneous thoughts.  My curious nature really took a bizarre turn.  The more I tried to forget what I now referred to as the incident; the more I thought about it.  A strange twist of fate to say the least. The funny thing was the more I thought about it the less uptight I felt. It was a real kick in the pants.

            The rest of the summer was fun. Despite my promise there were a couple of occasions I tried to talk to Laurie about that kooky night.  She told me to chill out and keep my trap shut.  I decided to let sleeping dogs lay. The thing was I really did enjoy what we did. I just didn’t enjoy being treated like a piece of meat.  It was kind of crazy.  Every guy in school would have given their right eye for a late night drive to the submarine races with Laurie for a little backseat bingo. It was kind of a blast that I was the one who did it. And weird because I couldn’t tell anyone.

            Still the incident got me thinking about things like how girls are better kissers than boys.  At least Laurie was.  Then I began to wonder what other girls kissed like. I had kissed girls before when I was much younger. We used to hide behind Margie’s father’s shed and practice kissing so we would know what to do with boys. Only difference was there wasn’t any groping and no one would have dared French another girl.  Then again back then we thought French kissing was something people in France did. After I thought about things some more I dumped Dirk.    

            “So what happened with Dirk?” Margie questioned me one afternoon when we were hanging out at Buddy Burgers.  She wasn’t surprised when I sent him packing. No one was really. Dirk and I were always breaking up. I swear the real reason I always took him back had more to do with his letterman sweater than any feelings I had for him.  Then again that had been the way I had handled my love life since my very first date. 

“He’s a square,” I rolled my eyes.

“He always was,” she laughed adjusting the small scarf on her neck.  “Just so you know he says he dumped you because, and I quote, ’that paper shaker is real gone.”

“Big whoop,” I laughed. “He also said he hit a home run. Groper never got past second base. I always struck him out before he had a chance to step up to the plate.”

“I know that,” she chuckled still playing with her scarf. “I think he’s just jealous that you hitched a lift in one of the Cherry Mobiles.  Man my wheels look like a wooden crate next to the twins’ cars.”      

“At least you have wheels,” I sighed trying to avoid discussing the twins.   “You keep fiddling with that and I’m gonna wonder if just maybe some chick I know went to the drive-in last night.”

“Forbidden Planet.” She groaned.

“Again? What is it with Mark and that movie?” I sighed dramatically.

“Hey I wanted to see Rebel again,” she fussed. “But no.”

“James Dean,” I gasped clutching my heart.  All the girls were in love with James Dean ever since we saw Rebel Without A Cause. All of the boys hated him while trying to act like him. We were still in mourning over his tragic death the year before. “Lucky you I spent last night watching Dragnet with my Dad.”

“You need to get jacketed,” she suggested earnestly.

“No way,” I waved her off. “I’m waiting to see who makes the team.  How would it look if I pick another nerd who spends the season warming the bench?”

“You could go out with a guy you like,” she grumbled. “You know cast your eyeball on a dreamboat you are hot for instead of going on one fake out after another. There must be some guy at school you dig.”

“What are you writing a book or something?” I scowled dismissing her idea.

            It was a novel concept that really didn’t fly in our tight knit world.  We were cheerleaders and that meant we dated guys on the team. Preferably first string.  I really didn’t give a hoot whose jacket I was wearing.  I was just playing along until I could bolt.  I could tell by the look in her eyes she wasn’t going to drop it.

“Why?” I stressed. “Next year I’ll be in college.”

“Still Smith?” She cringed. “How are you going to find a husband at an all girls school?”

“You do remember what happened to Cindy Wilkins don’t you,” I tried to reason with her. “Captain of the squad three years running. She went with Greg who wasn’t on the team all through high school.”

“They got married after graduation,” Margie blinked with surprise. “What’s the prob?”

“Yeah they got married, had a kid right away, got stuck living here. Now he’s an oil jockey down at Simpson’s garage,” I clarified. “Ever see them out in town?”

“Yeah,” she frowned. “Man they were so tight in high school. Now they look so sad. What happened?”

“I just told you.” I stressed. “No offense, but I want to go to college. I want an education. And when I find the right guy I find the right guy.  In the meantime I’m eye balling on the first string. No way I going to the next hop alone.”

“A wallflower you ain’t,” Margie agreed. “Speaking of double trouble.”

“Ah the Swenson girls,” I smirked as they approached wondering just how many guys got a case of whiplash when they walked in the door.  Then again who can blame them?

            “Hey,” Ginny greeted us as they slid into the booth.  It wasn’t unexpected for them to join us.  The cheerleaders always flocked together.  Ginny sat next to Margie and Laurie slid in next to me.  Margie’s eyes kept darting from one to the other. I knew what she was doing. It was something that we all did at one time or another. She was trying to figure which one was which.  I knew who was who when they sat down. Laurie sat a little too close to me; her body language demanded attention. Ginny simply relaxed into the situation.  I wasn’t surprised by their seat selection. I didn’t feel that Laurie had sat next to me to make me feel uncomfortable. Not that I would put it past her. It was just that I had noticed awhile ago that Ginny always sat to the right and Laurie more than likely would sit on the left.  I just always assumed it was so they could face one another.

            “Nice jacket,” I smirked over at Ginny recognizing Bobby Walford’s letterman jacket.  It was no surprise that one of the twins ended up snagging the dreamiest guy in school.  And Ginny and Bobby had been glued at the hip since the summer began. It seemed completely natural that she ended up wearing his jacket. There was, however, this small nagging twinge gnawing at me.  I couldn’t put a name on it then. All I knew was that I felt it every time I saw her and Bobby together.  They looked so gosh darn cute together I just wanted to throw up.

“Heard you dumped Groper,” Laurie taunted me while waving for the waitress.

“Ancient history,” I sighed dramatically.

“You always take him back,” she teased with a dangerous gleam in her brilliant blue eyes.

“If the varmint comes crawling back this time I’m gonna shoot him.” I vowed.

“Definitely splits-ville,” Ginny gloated before ordering two cokes.      

“Did you even see the movie?” Laurie interjected laughing at Margie. “You are wearing far too many scarves without getting a jacket.”

“I got the ring,” Margie boasted revealing Mark’s class ring that was hanging on chain around her neck.

“You get points for that,” Laurie quickly assessed.

“Did you get more for a jacket or a ring?” I teased her pleased by the way her lips curled into an amused smirk.  “Laurie likes to keep score.” I explained to Margie.

“Doesn’t everyone?” Laurie boasted glaring at her sister. “Ouch!  What’re you kicking me for?” She complained to her sister who was sporting a very grim look. The siblings exchanged hostile glares.

            I glanced up at the neon clock on the wall and realized that I had to get moving. “I have to split,” I announced nudging Laurie so I could exit the booth. I bit my lip so I wouldn’t spin around and smack her when she had the nerve to grab my ass. Since no one else had seen her do it I very well couldn’t explain why I suddenly decided to sock her in the jaw. I did give her a hostile glare. “Ouch!” Laurie cried out again. “Will you stop doing that you goof!”

“Nice to know I’m not the only one who fights with my sister.” Margie laughed off their antics.

“Well I’d call her an ugly hag but that’s not true,” Ginny boasted with a brilliant smile.

“Almost wish I could stay and watch the show,” I laughed. “See ya later alligator.”

“In awhile crocodile,” they quickly responded.

            When I arrived home that day I found my mother on the sofa completely captivated by the events happening on As The World Turns.  I never understood why everyone questioned my desire to move away when I was old enough. The truth was I didn’t want to end up like my mother. Sitting there her eyes glued to the television set, chain smoking while my little brother sat on the floor playing with his ant farm.  I loved my mother, still do. I just lacked the desire to follow in her footsteps.  “Eleanore?” She called out to never taking her eyes off of the tiny black and white screen.

“Yeah I got them,” I answered pulling the pack of Chesterfields from my purse. Back then you could do that; buy cigarettes for your parents. All you needed was a note and many times not even that. What mom didn’t know was that I bought two packs and the other was for me. Of course back then I was a smoker. It was cool.  All the movie stars did it.

“What did you do today?” She questioned when I handed her the cigarettes her eyes still locked on the television.

“Not much,” I shrugged. “Hung out with Margie; went for a coke and ran into the Swenson twins.”

“Those girls are so nice.” Mom threw out casually.

            All the parents liked the twins and liked having their kids hang out with them. I suspect that had a lot to do with the fact that the Swenson clan had a lot of money.  I think they felt if you hung out with the twins some of the family’s good fortune might rub off.  I shrugged off her comment it was no use talking to her once the commercial was over. I looked down at my little brother Sammy and tried to understand why watching a bunch of bugs trapped between a couple panes of glass was so fascinating.  “Hey Scooter,” I tried to draw his attention away from the bugs.  “You really like that thing huh?”


“Ever thought about going outside?” I tried to encourage him.


            “Okay then,” I rolled my eyes. Again, I was a teenager.  My body language was restricted to rolling my eyes, shrugging my shoulders, twirling my hair and of course, sighing like the world was coming to an end. I took one last look at my brother. The poor guy had more nicknames than you could count. There was Scooter, Junior and since my Dad’s name was Sam, Sammy, little Sammy, Skippy, Scamp and of course, Skeeter. Half the time I didn’t know what to call him. I blame his many personas on my parents’ addiction to television.  It was no small wonder he got the snot beat out of him almost everyday at school.  Then again his daily torture might have more to do with his strange fascination with bugs and his general creepy nature.  Later I would learn that he just marched to the beat of a different drummer. Back then I couldn’t see it. I couldn’t even see how different I was from everyone else.

            Summer ended and our last year of school began. Once again all was right with the world. I made the squad again. A major bonus was that Margie and I were selected to be co-captains. I was doing well in my classes, the squad was razing the freshmen and even though I secretly agreed with the guys that the Swenson twins were a couple of hottie totties, I was handling it.  The only crisis looming over me was what to wear to Sandy’s latest party.  God bless Sandy and her absentee parents.

            The party was in full swing, Elvis was on the record player, we had beer, smokes and no parental supervision.  What more could we ask for?  All the kids really dug Sandy’s parents because they went out of town almost every weekend leaving Sandy all alone in such a big house.  It was amazing they never suspected that every time they left town every jock and rah-rah were crashed in their living room guzzling beer. Our thoughts at the time were limited to who cares? We never stopped to think that just perhaps it was Sandy’s parents who didn’t care.  We were too young and self involved to think about such things.

            That night the only thing we were concerned about was that our team had won the game that day and one of the guys had a fake ID.  I was perched on the sofa with a small group of people trying to discuss something deeper than what happened on Gun Smoke that week. “All I am saying is that she was not only already enrolled at the university, but she was attending classes,” I fumed. “How can they just decide that it was illegal for her to be a student?  What about Brown vs. the Board of Education?”

“They didn’t just decide!” Ron who was a fullback argued.  “They removed her from classes because of the riots.  It was for her own safety.”

            Ron O’Keefe was quickly moving up my list for the next Sock Hop. I didn’t agree with him, but at least he was able to hold up his end of the conversation.  I hated that at times I had to play dumb because most guys were put off when you expressed an opinion or commented on anything socially relevant.

“Big whoop!” Dirk belched after downing his beer.  “Who cares what a bunch of squares in Oklahoma are doing?”

“Alabama!” Ron and I berated him.  I threw in a swift kick to his shin.  I still hadn’t forgiven him for spreading lies about me.  “Whatever.” The misguided idiot burped.

“Wow!” Mark who was standing behind us whimpered. 

            Every guy in the room suddenly stopped speaking while their eyes glazed over and became riveted to the doorway.  It could only mean one thing.  “Oh goodie the twins are here,” Candy grunted with disdain.

            I glanced over my shoulder stifling a little sigh when I spotted them.  They looked perfect; they always did.  I smirked when I looked at the glazed over looks every guy sported.

“Invasion of the body snatchers,” I snickered.

            “Do they have to dress alike?” Margie snarled. It was a bit out of character for Margie to say something mean about the twins. Still it wasn’t a shock either. All the girls got along with the twins. Hung out with them, doubled with them and acted like we were their friends. And most of the girls at one time or another cursed them behind their backs. There wasn’t a big mystery as to why it happened. The guys turned stupid, falling all over themselves whenever the twins entered a room.

“They’re doing the scarf thing,” I offered trying to sound blasé.

“The scarf thing?” Ron stammered like a complete goober.

‘Yeah you just dropped way down on my date list!’  I silently grumbled crossing my arms across my chest.

“They are wearing different colored scarves,” Margie rolled her eyes.  “They do that sometimes.”

“Green for Ginny and Lavender for Laurie,” Candy dryly explained.

“You mean purple?” Dirk scratched his head.

“More of a lilac really,” Margie concluded her bitter tone ebbing slightly.

“Yeah okay,” Dirk shook his head. “All you chicks wear those little scarves. I thought it was just to hide hickeys.”

“Sometimes.” I confessed.  “The twins color co-ordinate sometimes to help them out. They do it if one or both of them have a date.  They don’t want the guy to get confused.”

“Again who cares?” Dirk laughed like a moron. “Twice as much fun.”

            I took the laughter that followed his moronic comment as my cue to get up and make myself another drink.  Margie nudged me. “Looks like Ginny is the lucky one,” she whispered. “She’s with Bobby again.”

“Not like Laurie to fly solo,” I noted.  Then I snuck off to the laundry room where I had stashed my own personal bottle of Bacardi.  I have to confess I stole a couple more looks at the twins before sneaking into the dark room.

            I felt a little off centered when I thought about Laurie being at the party alone. I decided that I really did need another drink perhaps two.  After I downed my first drink I could still hear the boys cackling like idiots. A second cocktail was most definitely in order.  I felt all warm and fuzzy. ‘Yes two drinks were a good idea.’  I decided since I wasn’t eager to rejoin the festivities.  I began pouring my third rum and a splash of coke when I jumped slightly.  My heart was racing; someone had joined me in the laundry room and shut the door behind them.  I blew out a sigh of relief when she greeted me.

“Howdy Laurie,” I laughed feeling silly that I had been so skittish. “Care to join me?” I offered handing her my drink.

“Always.” She purred.

            I shivered instantly recognizing the alluring timber of her voice.  She sounded the same way she did that night last summer when she was trying to get me into the backseat of her car.  “Hmmf.” I sniffed trying extremely hard to appear casual. I turned away from her haughty gaze and poured myself a drink.  When I turned back around my palms were sweating and I felt anything but calm.  It was all coming back to me. The rum, the way she was looking at me, the way she was standing much too close to me; and then there was the constant fluttering in my stomach. 

“I kind of,” she shyly began.

“Uh Huh,” I offered feebly fighting valiantly not to lean closer to her.

“You know last summer,” she whispered closing the distance between us.

“I thought you didn’t want to talk about that,” I coolly retorted still fighting against the way my skin was tingling.

            My act was useless. I set my cup down thinking that I was doing it because I had already drunk too much.  Deep in my heart I knew I had set it aside knowing it would give her an entrance.  I swallowed hard when she placed her cup beside mine. I fought against the overwhelming urge to meet her gaze.  Another mistake; my focus became riveted to her soft, supple lips. I could feel my breathing becoming labored. Her lips parted ever so slightly allowing her tongue to peek out.  My knees went weak watching her tongue slowly wetting her lips.

“I’m screwed.” I foolishly muttered when her hand came to rest on my shoulder.

“Not yet,” she toyed with me brushing her body against mine.  “No one knows that we are in here.”

            ‘It does make some sense.’ I silently reasoned slipping my arms around her waist. The fluttering in my stomach began a rampage. I watched as she tipped her head. My eyes drifted shut when I felt her body trembling against mine.  The kiss began shyly. It was different from the last time. This kiss was so sweet.  I trembled; feeling her fingers teasing the nape of my neck.  I began to tease her bottom lip with the tip of my tongue.  I released a deep moan when she parted her lips inviting me in.  I wasted no time in accepting her offer.  Her touch was tender and yet tantalizing at the same time; setting my body on fire.

            I was so completely captivated by her kisses that when I felt her hand slipping down along the curves of my body I didn’t offer any resistance. Our bodies melted together; my hips swaying against her in a gentle rhythm.  I moaned into the warmth of her mouth.  Her nimble fingers began to hike up my skirt.  As good as what was happening felt I had danced this dance before. Slowly I withdrew my mouth from hers; allowing her just enough time to get up and under my skirt. I grasped both of her wrists shoving her hands away from my body.

“I’m sorry I thought that maybe we could . . . You know. It was so nice last summer.” She feebly explained.

“Nice?” I gaped at her. “No it wasn’t. As for fun, true; last summer was fun.  Forgive me if I want more in life than a little fun.” I corrected her pushing her slightly away by pressing my finger firmly into her shoulder blade. 

“I’m sorry,” she quickly apologized again stepping shyly away. 

“Here’s the deal; like I told your sister it is gonna take a hell of a lot more than a little rum to make me give it up,” I fumed keeping my voice low so our conversation couldn’t be over heard.

“How did you?” She laughed.

“Just back off Ginny,” I warned her.  “Your sister didn’t score and neither will you.”

“She didn’t?”

            “No she didn’t,” I snarled. I wanted to strangle Laurie.  I should have known she would lie about what had happened.  I wanted to read Ginny the riot act as well. There was something in her eyes that made my anger inexplicably vanish. I took a calming breath before I finished what I needed to say. “You just struck out as well.”  My words were blunt.  Strangely there wasn’t a hint of malice in my tone.  As much as I wanted to I just didn’t feel it.

“It’s cool,” she threw up her hands in defeat before she thankfully took a giant step back. “Wow you know most people can’t tell us apart. How did you?”

“You may look exactly alike, but you are not the same person,” I asserted handing her the drink she had abandoned before retrieving my own.

“Most people don’t get that,” she smiled.  “So what was your first clue?”

“For starters Laurie doesn’t like to take no for answer,” I slowly explained. “You on the other hand apologized and backed off.”

“She didn’t?” She gasped with horror. “What do you mean?”

“I mean that she was persistent and thought that a little more rum might change my mind,” I ruefully recounted. “Eventually she got the point. Honestly I thought Dirk was a butt head, but Laurie should be the one named Groper.  So how many points was I worth?”

“Ellen I’m sorry; it was wrong,” she tried to apologize.

“How many?”

“Well she said she hit a homerun” she reluctantly confessed.  “So she got bonus points.”

“Almost,” I muttered completely embarrassed by the situation. “Third base.  Still she lied.”

“Definite flag on the play.”

“Geez Louise, she really is worse than Dirk,” I sneered.  “Just how often do you clowns pull this little stunt?  You know the old switch-a-roo?  And why do you keep score?”

“It started as a joke,” she meekly began. 

“It isn’t funny.”

“I know,” she sighed heavily. “It started a really long time ago. Around the time we realized that we look exactly alike.  Then one of us would have trouble in one class or another.  Swapping dates came much later.”

“That was you in my math class,” I exclaimed.  “I can kind of understand that. If I could get someone to fill in for me during some of my exams it would be pretty keen. Still swapping dates is gross. And playing me is way out of line.  What if someone found out? I’m having a hard enough time explaining this to myself.”

“It was stupid and callous,” Ginny rapidly blew out.  “I promise it won’t happen again.”

“Just don’t to forget to penalize her for lying,” I reluctantly conceded.

“Oh I will.” She promised with a brilliant smile.

“Switching dates for points and chuckles why?” I demanded before downing my drink.

“At first we never thought we’d get away with it, but we did,” she tried to explain polishing off her cocktail.

“Damn we’re out of rum,” I groaned holding up the empty bottle.  “So what’d you do tonight sneak off to the bathroom and switch scarfs? She gets a shot at Bobby and you try to pull a fast one on me?”

“No,” she bit back a laugh. “Laurie’s been with Bobby since he came to the house to pick me up. Oh and she was his date after the game last week.”

“Hasn’t he noticed?” I was flabbergasted. 

“Nope,” she shrugged. “Like I said most people never figure it out.  Ellen I really want to apologize again.  It was bogus for me to try this stunt on you.”

“Yes it was,” I scolded her wagging my finger in her face.  “Just for the record you could at least buy a girl a milkshake or something before you pounce.”

“So you dig kissing girls?” She questioned with a mischievous grin.

“Uhm, well yeah kind of,” I blushed. “I mean I don’t know. I must since I keep doing it.”  My mouth was way ahead of my brain. By the time the words caught up with me I was terrified. I wasn’t worried that Ginny would spill the beans still what I had said was troubling.

            The sounds of the party seemed to be closing in. We tossed our cups and straightened our clothing.  “Ellen I’m not going to tell anyone.” She promised as we made our way towards the door.

“I know,” I sighed wistfully. “We should get back before someone comes looking for us.”

“Shucks I was hoping for spin the bottle or seven minutes in heaven,” she teased me.

            “Laugh it up,” I elbowed her.  For the life of me I couldn’t understand why I was so calm about things. I just was. There I was acting like we had snuck off to grab a smoke instead of what really had happened. Maybe it was because unlike my encounter with Laurie, Ginny had left me feeling all warm and fuzzy. Whatever the reason I felt completely at ease. So I just went with it. “Just cause I let you kiss me doesn’t mean you can razz me. Oh by the way that is the best way to tell you apart.”

“What is?” She questioned with confusion as we reentered the party.

            I sighed smiling up at her with a wry grin. I reached up so I could whisper in her ear. “Kissing,” I shrugged. “You kiss differently. It definitely sets you apart.”

“Wait! How? Who?” She was completely flustered.

“No way, no how,” I laughed. “The both of you have scored enough points at my expense.  Though I do enjoy torturing you. Speaking of torture are you going to be Laurie all night?”


“Doesn’t it bother you?” I gulped spying Laurie and Bobby engaged in a heavy make out session in the corner of the room. “How long have you been dating him?”

“The first day of summer when we all hit the beach,” she shrugged.

“And you don’t mind?”

“No.” She confirmed with a bright smile. “Relieved actually.  Just remember I’m Laurie tonight.”

“Yeah, yeah whatever you say wisenheimer,” I laughed.

“So, by different just how different?” She pried.

“Not going to tell you,” I taunted her slipping back into the crowd before she could conjure up anymore embarrassing questions.

            I don’t understand why the situation amused me but it did.  It was really wild.  There was this part of me that was all torn up inside.  I could rationalize going back for seconds with Laurie. Again I had the great all time excuse of what the hell I’ve been drinking and I’m still curious.  That didn’t explain why I willingly kissed Ginny.  The moment our lips touched I knew it wasn’t Laurie.  It was kind of cool that one of my questions had been answered.  All summer long I kept wondering if Laurie was such a good kisser could her sister be just as talented.  

            Talent doesn’t begin to describe what that girl could do with her lips and tongue. I thought Laurie had rocked my boat. Ginny blew me out of the water. That night we were one another’s shadow. Sticking so closely together didn‘t look or feel weird. We were after all the only girls at the party who hadn‘t paired off with some guy. 

            The only stumbling block I felt was calling her Laurie all night. It didn’t feel right.  Since everyone else was preoccupied with their dates we really talked that night. Not about the things we normally talked about like movies, boys or the other mundane topics.  We talked about colleges, the future and even world events.  It was so refreshing to be able to discuss subjects that went deeper than the latest fashion trends.  Of course Ginny did keep slipping in her nagging question. What did I mean by different. I really got a chuckle out of teasing her.

“Well it’s official,” I grimly noted checking my watch when the lights were dimmed.  “It’s a petting party. I guess I should split.”

            Ginny nodded in agreement and followed after me.  We walked around the huge backyard swinging past the swimming pool. It was warm that night and we didn’t feel a need to talk.  The warm silence felt like an embrace and I didn’t want it to end.  Inside the music had stopped and we understood that the silence meant that the party had only just begun. For me the best part of the party was walking along side of me.  Totally not helping with my constant state of confusion and again it felt too good to question.

            We ended up strolling across the lawn stopping under a large oak tree. I wanted to ask for a cigarette not because I wanted to smoke; I was simply running out reasons to stay. “Beautiful night,” she whispered her soft voice resonating in the darkness.  I glanced over at her leaning against the tree.

            “Yes it is.” I smiled drinking in her beauty. I folded my hands behind my back knowing that I couldn’t be trusted not to react.  Ginny’s sparkling blue eyes made my heart beat faster.  I thought I should say something.  I couldn’t; words seemed inadequate at that moment in time.

“This is hard,” her breathy tone making me shiver.  I didn’t ask what she meant. I knew.  I felt it too.  I just stood there captivated by her eyes, her shy smile and by the way the faint hint of moonlight was glistening in her hair. The only thing that would have made the moment perfect was if she wasn’t standing so far away from me.  There-in lies the rub.  I wanted her not only to be by my side, I wanted to feel her arms wrapped around my body. I wanted to kiss her; to become lost in her kiss. Alas it couldn’t happen. It shouldn’t happen and most importantly it wouldn’t happen. She had promised she wouldn’t and I knew she would keep her word.

            Talk about leaving the ball in my court. It was up to me and I knew that it was the last thing I should allow to happen.  What I should have done was say goodnight and walk home.  My body refused to move.  No blaming it on alcohol this time. The effects of the rum had long since dissipated.  This foreign yearning held me in a tight embrace. I refused to release it.  I was helpless to break away from her smoldering gaze.

“What are you thinking?” She finally pried taking a tentative step forward.

“That I should be going,” I absently responded still lost in her eyes.

“Oh?” She nodded her face clouded with disappointment.

            Something deep inside me sensed that she was about to retreat. Without thinking I reached out and captured her hand.  My body tingled from her touch. I drew her closer. My heart was racing as I pulled her up against me. “The thing is I can’t.” I whimpered, my arms encircling her waist.

“Then don’t.” She gasped her warm breath caressing my face.

            I kissed her long and deep. Her tongue felt like velvet as it caressed mine.  It was just one kiss. One very long, spine tingling kiss.  There up against that tree I experienced the nicest, most intense kiss of my life.  I would have gladly kept kissing her if my lungs hadn’t started screaming for oxygen.  “At the risk of sounding like a jackass,” she carefully began stroking her thumb against my cheek.

“What?” I boldly smiled. “This time I kissed you.”

“Oh that you did,” she gleefully blew out.  “It was nice.”

“Yes.” I sighed happily.

“What I was going to suggest,” she snickered stepping slightly away from me.  “I should give you a ride home.  I’m not trying to pull a fast one.  It’s just that it is getting late and trust me, we don’t want to get caught doing this.”

“Pumpkin time,” I wistfully agreed.

            She never released my hand as we walked to her car.  My body felt a sense of loss when she released my hand in order to open the car door for me.  “Well this is different.” I wryly commented after she joined me and started the engine.

“What’s that?” She carefully questioned putting the car in gear.

“No over flowing ashtray. No bottles of booze rolling around the floor,” I explained hoping to set aside any fears she might be feeling. “Laurie’s car is a garbage dump next to yours.”

“Hey I let her have my boyfriend for the night,” she laughed lightly pulling out of the long driveway. “No way was she touching my car.”

“Nice to see you have your priorities in order,” I couldn’t help but laugh.

“Hey you should see her room,” Ginny grimaced.

“No thanks.”  I curtly responded.

“I’ll pass that along,” Ginny smirked.

“Please, do.” I sighed happily slumping in my seat. I felt so content to just sit there and watch her drive.  My heart sank when she pulled into my driveway. I reached for the door handle.

“I’ll get that.” She graciously offered fully prepared to get out and open the door.

            Again my heart was filled with dread. “Uhm no,” I sadly cut her off.

“I was going to walk you to the door,” she quietly stated.

“I . . . I can’t,” I shyly grumbled. “I just . . . I don’t trust myself. Does that make any sense? I’m sorry. Like I said I’m having a hard enough time explaining this to myself.  I must sound like a complete spaz.”

“No,” she reassured me with a tender smile. “Trust me Ellen, I understand.”

“I wish I did,” I groaned forcing myself to open the door.  “Good night.” I finally offered pushing my body in motion before I could change my mind.

“Good night,” she echoed.  “Sweet dreams.”

            I bit back the whimper that tried to escape.  I swallowed hard before feebly nodding my head and dashing into the house.  “Oh I will.” I finally confessed once I was safely inside my house.

“Eleanore?” I heard my Dad’s voice booming from upstairs.

“Oh yeah definitely pumpkin time.” I growled before stomping up to my bedroom.

            As I lie in bed that evening I was a little frightened by what happened.  Just a little. Mostly I was excited and filled with the sense of bravado I had never felt before. I knew it was wrong, so very wrong. Then why did I feel like I had just scaled Mount Everest?  That was it. I felt like I was on top of the world.  Anything was possible.  Knowing that it wasn’t a date and could never be considered a date did nothing to diminish my zeal.  Even knowing that if anyone found out my life would essentially be over couldn’t taint the sweet memory.  It may not have been a date, but it was the best night of my life.  “So this is what puppy love feels like?” I mirthfully questioned.

            The following Monday I was sneaking a quick smoke after practice. I was hiding behind the gym and jumped a mile when someone walked up. I rolled my eyes when I saw who it was.  “Hey Laurie.”

“You really can tell us apart?” She sputtered in wonderment. “Can’t believe you ratted me out.”

“I can’t believe you thought it was cool to use me,” I spat back taking a dramatic drag on my cigarette.  “Not to mention telling your sister you got to heaven when you so didn’t.”

“Don’t be a drag,” she waved me off. “She’s just mad because she wanted you first. She was planning on hitting on you in the locker room.”

“So you beat her to the punch by taking me to the submarine races,” I scowled. “I feel so special.”

“Chill Sandra Dee,” she sneered. “Look Ginny said I need to apologize; so sorry.”

“Oh that was heart felt,” I groaned.

“Chill out,” she growled.  “Hey is it true we don’t kiss alike?”

“Not even close,” I countered with a cocky smile snubbing out my cigarette.


“Don’t even bother,” I cautioned her. “I’m not telling you.”

“You’re making it up.” She accused me.

“Whatever.” I shrugged not in the mood to play games with her.

“Just don’t be telling Bobby,” she threatened me. “I like him and I won’t have the likes of you screwing things up for me.”

“So you like guys?” I was really confused.

“Yeah,” she seemed surprised. “I’m not a lesbo or a switchback.  I was just having fun.”

“If you say so.”

            “Hey Sport,” my dad greeted Sammy when he arrived home that night. I think he was running out of things to call the kid.  My parents finally decided that the kid shouldn’t be allowed to wallow in the living room all day. So when he got home from school and finished his homework the little creep was banished to the great outdoors. Sammy decided that enjoying the outside world meant he would sit on the porch all day long watching the neighbor’s dog.  “Wanna play catch?” Dad almost pleaded.


“Okay then,” Dad quickly gave up before entering the house.

            I was still finishing my homework and had been watching the exchange through the window.  “Hey Kitten,” he greeted me. I was either Eleanore, Ellie, Kitten or my personal favorite, Princess. I swear my parents either watched way too much television or didn’t know what they wanted when they named us.  “Mom’s in the kitchen fixing dinner.” I offered still trying to complete my homework so I could begin the most important part of my evening, which was of course making telephone calls.  Truth was Mom was probably just starting dinner, but half way through her first pitcher of martinis.

“Has he been doing that all day?” Dad questioned nodding towards the window.

“Since I got home,” I confided.

“What exactly is he doing?” Dad sputtered.

“Sitting watching the Muller’s dog.” I shrugged.


“Who knows?” I groaned still trying to figure out my math problems.

“Ellie!” My mother beckoned my attention before giving my father a peck on the cheek. “Dinner will be ready in half an hour. Put your books away and get changed. I am not washing your uniform again this week.”

“I will,” I rolled my eyes. “I just need to finish this.”

“Don’t forget to set the table,” she added before disappearing back into the kitchen.

“Do I ever?”  I grumbled under my breath.

“Don’t sass your mother,” Dad sternly cautioned me.

            Our heads jerked when we heard Sammy speaking to someone. “Tell me that someone is out there with him?” Dad pleaded. I leaned over and pushed back the curtain.

“Yes there is,” I blew out with relief.  My skin prickled when I discovered who was sitting next to my quirky kid brother.

“Thank goodness.”

“It’s a cheerleader,” I smirked as I stood while smoothing out my pleated skirt. “One of the Swenson twins.”

“Maybe there’s hope for the boy yet,” Dad smiled proudly.

‘Well the kid has good taste.’ I silently chuckled before making my way outside to save my fellow pom-pom waver from my creepy kid brother.  I was stunned by the way the little booger was chatting away when I sat down next to her. By her polite demeanor and easy going attitude I knew which one she was.

“And it isn’t in his nature to be confined by a chain,” Sammy rattled on.  “That’s why he keeps digging under the fence.”

“Scooter,” I interrupted not missing the scowl that formed on his tiny lips. 

“It is okay,” Ginny waved off the interruption. “Sam here was just explaining why he thinks your neighbor’s dog is trying to make a break for it. Before that I learned all about the blue jay up in that tree over there.  This little guy is a regular Dr. Doolittle.”

“Dr. Jekle is more like it,” I snarled glaring down at him. “You weren’t bothering my friend were you?”

“I was just talking to Ginny,” he blushed.

“How did you know it was me?” She teased ruffling his short red hair.

“Just did.” He mumbled with a blush.

            Then I noticed where his little eyes were focused. “Oh creepy!” I blanched leaning over Ginny and smacking the little pervert in the head.  “You little perv.”

“What?” Ginny laughed leaning further back.

“He was looking at your boobs,” I whispered in her ear.

“Was not.” He furiously denied.

“Was too.”

“So were you,” the little snot trumped me. I reached over Ginny’s body falling into her lap as I a made an attempt to throttle him.

“Uhm,” Ginny groaned nudging me off of her lap. “As good as that feels,” she panted with a blush. “Your neighbors might get the wrong idea. Could you kill him later? And you,” she turned and wagged her finger at Sammy. “Here I thought you only enjoyed studying wildlife.  A word of advice little man when you are checking out chicks try not to be so obvious.”

“That’s not how I knew it was you,” he whined and we all knew he was lying. “Well it helped. But you’re nicer.”

“Thank you,” she laughed. “So Sam what’s it going to take to make you keep your trap shut?”

“Can I sit in your car?”

“Go ahead,” she waved. “Don’t worry I have the keys,” she whispered to me as Sammy bolted towards her car.  I didn’t really pay attention to his squealing. I was far too busy trying to figure out the differences between Laurie and Ginny’s bust.  “You know you can’t tell him not to do that then do it yourself.”

“You’re bigger,” I gloated. “Smart kid.”

            She laughed heartily nudging me away. “Yes they are and yes he is,” she continued laughing. “He really knows a lot about wildlife.”

“Wildlife?” I mumbled the pieces falling into the place. “That makes me feel better I was beginning to worry about the neighborhood pets. So you didn’t have time to change either?” I questioned tugging on her skimpy cheerleading outfit.

“Home work,” she groaned. “Just when I finished mine Laurie was having problems with her math assignment so I did it for her. It‘s a pain sometimes.  She‘s just as smart as me. Laurie just gets bored so she sticks me with her homework.”

“Oh?” I nodded while fighting against the urge to check out her bosom again. “Wait you finished it? The math assignment, you know how to figure out the answers?”

“Would you like help?”

“Yes,” I squealed clasping her by the hand pulling her to her feet before dragging her into the house.

“It’s gonna cost you,” she whimsically chimed while studying my notes. “Oh you are so close. Sit down and I’ll show you where you are taking a wrong turn.”

“So what’s this gonna cost me?” I questioned as she explained the problem to me.

“Well you know we have practice on Thursday afternoon and Friday night, and the game is on Saturday night,” she shyly began while carefully writing out my math problem. “Take this and move it down here.”

“Wow.” I gaped as the jumbled numbers suddenly made sense to me. “Okay you were saying we’re cheerleaders and have a busy weekend; go on.”

“I was wondering if you wanted to catch a flick on Sunday night.” She sheepishly requested.

“It’s a school night,” I groaned.

“I was thinking we could go see Bus Stop,” she whispered almost embarrassed. “I really want to see it.”

“Who doesn’t?” I beamed. “To bad Giant isn’t out yet. Rock Hudson and James Dean.”

“And Elizabeth Taylor,” she teased emphasizing her point by running the tip of her shoe along my calf.

“Oh yeah,” I agreed inhaling sharply from the feel of her foot teasing my leg.  “Elizabeth Taylor,” I whispered in agreement thinking that Ginny’s eyes resembled the attractive actress’s’.

“You’re blushing,” she purred in a hushed tone. 

“I can’t imagine why,” I choked out moving my leg out of her reach.

“Do you want to see the movie?”

“Of course I do,” I asserted. “It is supposed to be killer.  It’s not playing in town, but it is playing at the movie house in Bedford and you do have a car. I guess if we catch the early show my folks won’t mind.”

“Uhm, I was kind of thinking we could catch it in Topsfield,” she hesitantly explained.

            “Topsfield?” I shook my head completely confused as to why she would want to drive that far away to see the same movie we could catch one town over. “The only place to see a flick in Topsfield is at . . . The drive- in?” I fumed.  “I don’t think so. I know the other night was . . . I don’t want to lead you on.  The party was one thing, but a trip to the passion pit.”  I was dealing fine with the events of the other night.  Going from a little kissing to an outing at the drive-in was a huge leap.

“It’s not what you think,” she argued.

            “Oh good cause I was thinking you were gonna try for a round of backseat bingo. But since you aren‘t the pig that your sister is I guess I shouldn‘t worry,”  I grumbled keeping my voice low while praying that the folks had already started another pitcher of martinis. “So it would be a double date complete with a third wheel like the last time? Or are you bad news just like your sister? And is the drive-in still open this awfully late in the season?”

            “It’s the last weekend it will be open. Ellen I swear I have a reason for suggesting the drive-in,” she blew out also keeping her voice low. “If we go to Bedford the rest of the gang will want to crash the party. Which always turns into a huge production trying to get everyone organized. If we ditch them and just go by ourselves they’ll be frosted that we didn‘t invite them.  I really want to see this movie without having to listen to what happened at the game the night before or who is dating who.  It kind of makes it hard to follow the flick when the person next to you keeps jumping up so she can fix her lipstick.”

“Then go with your boyfriend,” I curtly informed her.

“Bobby and I broke up,” she shrugged as if it was no big deal. “Laurie is really into him and as of this afternoon he’s dating her now.”

“He’s been dating her for sometime only he didn’t know it,” I sneered.

“True,” she conceded. “Hey Laurie’s always been more into guys. When she finds one she’s interested in sometimes I give them a test drive.”

“Test drive? Are you talking about dating or looking for a new set of wheels?”

“Oh come on Ellen,” she tsked me. “First dates are a drag especially blind dates or fix ups.  Ever go out with some guy you were sure was Rock Hudson and by the time the night was over he had turned into a real Pondexter? Or he‘s terrific and you’re really nervous and act like a total nerd?”

“Let me think,” I muttered drumming my fingers against the table. “I started dating right after the folks let me pierce my ears so I’d have to say that sounds like every first date I‘ve ever been on.”

“What if you could send someone in your place?” She concluded with a wry smirk. “Think of how many nerds you never would have had to share pizza with. Tell me you don’t think that is just a little cool?”

            I had to admit it did sound kind of cool. Still there was something kind of grody about it as well. “Okay it would have saved me from Dale,” I finally threw in the towel. “I mean he was cute, and we’re talking Tyrone Power cute.  Who knew he had a problem with B.O and when he tried to kiss me goodnight his tongue was huge and it kept flopping around like a fish trying to get back in the water.  For guys like that I’d cash in on having a twin.  Still what if you got out with the guy and you end up liking him?”

 “Never mind that what about the movie?” She instantly shifted gears.

“You could ask another guy,” I pointed even though I was truly tempted by her offer. “There’s a whole long line of them who would sell their soul for the chance to go out with you.”

“Come on Ellen do you honestly believe that if I let some guy take me to the movie I’d get to see the movie?” She fussed. “If you got Ron to take you how much of the movie would you get to see?”

“The first ten minutes and the rest of the time I’d be trapped in a wrestling match,” I blew out. “But the drive-in?”

“I want to see the movie,” she stressed. “It is the only place it is showing that is far enough away that no one will know us.”

“You should join the debate team,” I responded dryly. “Still it is a school night.”

“Can’t be helped we’re cheerleaders which means our weekends belong to football,” she annoyingly pointed out.

            I couldn’t argue with her logic still there was no way my folks were going to allow me to stay out so late on a school night.  Just as I was about to decline my mother burst into the room bellowing. “Eleanore Roosevelt Druette why isn’t this table set?”

“Eleanore Roosevelt?” Ginny snickered.

“Shut up.” I hissed under my breath.

“Oh I’m sorry Ellie I didn’t realize you have company,” Mom gasped finally noticing my companion.

“Ellie?” Ginny snickered once again.

“I’m sorry I didn’t see you,” Mom frantically began pausing for a moment. “Laurie.”

“Ginny,” my guest politely corrected.

“However do your parents tell you apart,” Mom laughed.

“Years of practice,” Ginny smiled. “I’m sorry the table isn’t set Mrs. Druette. I was helping Eleanore with her math assignment. We were just finishing up.”

“No hurry,” Mom gushed. “Would you like to join us for dinner?”

“I’m afraid I can’t, but thank you for the offer,” Ginny sweetly declined. I just sat there watching the bizarre scene unfolding.  “Eleanore are you all set with the assignment.”

“Yes thank you,” I sneered.

“About Sunday?” She boldly continued as she stood.

“Sunday?” Mom perked right up. I on the other hand had a lump in my throat about the size of Empire State Building.

“Eleanore and I were discussing driving up to the Topsfield fair and then maybe staying up there so we can catch Bus Stop at the Star,” Ginny innocently spun her tale.  “Eleanore was concerned that you might not approve since it is a school night.”

“Oh that‘s the new Marilyn Monroe movie,” Mom gushed once again. “Now I’m jealous. Still it is a school night. Oh I don’t see the harm.” Mom quickly dismissed any fears she might have possessed.

“What?” I choked.

“It’s a date then,” Ginny beamed.

“A date?” I fearfully echoed.

“What date?” My father demanded when he entered the room.

“Honey,” my mother placated him. “The girls want to go to the fair up in Topsfield this Sunday.”

“Oh.” He nodded with a smile.

“And they want to stay a little late to catch that new Marilyn Monroe movie at the Star,” Mom brightly concluded causing the vein in Dad’s forehead to throb.

“The Drive-In?” He bellowed hearing the two words that every teenaged girl’s father dreaded hearing, drive-in. “Who else is going? Not one of those shady characters you’ve been dating?”

“No Sir,” Ginny quickly jumped in before I had a chance to speak. “It will just be the two of us.  I never go to the drive-in with boys.”

            I sat there with my jaw hanging open. For half a moment I almost believed her.

“Oh,” Dad nodded thoughtfully stroking his chin.  “Just you and Ellie?”

“Yes sir,” she vowed while I shook my head in disbelief.

“Well I guess that will be okay,” he agreed much to my horror.  “But no shenanigans.”

“You have my word.” Ginny promised before turning to me with an amused look.

“Come on Svengali,” I groaned taking her by the hand. “I’ll walk you out.”

“Good I think I’ll need help prying Sam out of my car,” she laughed. “Have a good evening Mr. & Mrs. Druette.”

“What has Scooter done now?” Dad moaned.

“Nothing Sir,” Ginny once again jumped in. “I let him play in my car. Not to worry I have the keys so he can‘t get into trouble.” She stressed holding up her key chain.

“Your car?” Dad beamed. 

“Yes sir.”

“That’s the new Bel Air isn’t it?” He gushed. “The two toned red and white convertible?”

“Yes sir.”

“Why don’t I go fetch Scooter?” He quickly volunteered dashing out the front door before anyone could stop him.

“Men and their cars,” Mom laughed.  “Uhm, girls?  Not to sound like a worry wart but it will just be the two of you won’t it?”

“Yeah Ma,” I sighed.

“Ellie I was just asking and I think the word you meant to use was yes,” she smiled.  “Just promise to drive safely.”

            “Amazing,” I blew out when we stepped out on the porch. Dad and Sammy were far too busy playing in Ginny’s car to notice us.  “You just convinced my uptight parents to let me go out on a date with you.”

“I wasn’t lying,” she whispered. “I want to see the movie with you.  I promise I’m not going to hit on you.” For some odd reason I felt disappointed.  “Did you really call Laurie a switchback?”

“No,” I grimaced. “She used that word only proceeded by I’m not a,”

“That sounds like her,” Ginny smirked. “She’s not. Well not really.”

“What about you?” I tenderly inquired not surprised when she turned pale and clenched her jaw.

“I Uhm,” she hesitated. “I’m kind of confused.”

“Yeah me too,” I muttered jumping slightly when someone honked the convertible’s horn.

“If you don’t want to go on Sunday I’ll understand,” she graciously offered.

“No I want to go,” I couldn’t help but smile. “Hey what’s the first flick?” I questioned since drive-ins always showed two films one that was usually lame and then the feature.

Invasion Of The Body Snatchers.”

“Yuck.” I cringed.

“I know,” she sighed. “Why do they always make you sit through a turkey before they show the good flick? So I’ll pick you up early on Sunday unless you have church?”

“My family only goes to church for four reasons, weddings, funerals, baptisms and of course, Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve.” I laughed.

            “Sounds like my family,” she laughed along with me. “Okay I’ll pick you up at nine. We can drive up, see the fair, then grab a bite and hit the drive- in. Hey do you think we’ll ever get your Dad and Sam out of my car?”

“Not a chance.”  I sighed realizing that I was still holding her hand.  It was hard to release her hand from my grasp but somehow I managed.  “See you in class tomorrow.”

“Later alligator,” she called back making her way to her car. “Hey guys can I have my car back?”

            The next few days were torture. I couldn’t keep my mind on track. Last weekend I had swum in very dangerous waters.  And I liked it.  Now in just a few days I’d be taking the plunge again. Or would I? Ginny did present a plausible case that her motives were completely on the up and up. The other afternoon I was convinced that she wasn’t on the prowl. 

            The more I thought about her reasons for not wanting the hoopla of a group outing the less they rang true. Still she had been so sincere. She wanted to see the movie with me and me alone.  If she was a guy that would spell date.  Ginny Swenson was most definitely all woman.  I had seen her in varying stages of undress in the locker room more than enough times to confirm that. Ah yes another troubling thought that had been stirring since my little romp in Laurie’s Chevy.  It is a bit shocking to discover that all those shy glances and sneaking peeks at my classmates in the locker room weren’t entirely innocent. I mean everyone looked to see what someone was wearing or to chat. The first day of PE that fall I broke out in a rash when I realized I wasn’t just looking, I was looking.

            I went from being a Chatty Cathy who would linger to a mute who got in and out of her clothes faster than a jackrabbit in heat. Then I’d bolt for the nearest exit.  No one questioned the sudden change in my normally out going behavior.  Still I got some very odd looks.

            Sunday was coming all too quickly.  I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was going on a date.  But it wasn’t a date.  It was just hitting a flick with a friend. A friend who I had sucked face with.  That is when I really became unraveled. Every time I thought about how I had kissed Ginny I was lost.  It wasn’t simply that I had willingly kissed her. No it was thinking about her kisses.  Oh I knew why I had kissed her again.  Just thinking about it made me swoon like a love sick puppy.

            I would get dizzy and blush every time I thought about her. Gym class was no help. When you’re on the pep squad you spend the gym class working on routines.  It really ticked off the other girls in our class.  They had to endure rope climbing and jumping jacks while we did cartwheels and worked on shaking our pom-poms.

            Miss Piper and Miss Laurent were our gym teachers.  They also coached the pep squad, so they made us work on our routines during class.  Our peers made the mistake of assuming that we were getting special treatment. The truth was what we did was far more physically demanding than having to run laps. They just assumed that we ran out onto the sidelines and bounced around. They never understood that what we did was well choreographed. Our moves had to be sharp, snappy and quick.  You had to literally lift another girl off the ground, do back flips, cartwheels while remembering never to bend your wrists, lock your elbows, and keeping your arms stiff while synchronizing your motions.

            Little things that I could do in my sleep. Not that week.  Ironic that Ginny was almost always beneath me lifting me in the air during most of our routines.  I never thought about it before that week just how many times Ginny’s hand was placed firmly on my ass.  More than once she almost dropped me because I couldn’t focus.  Poor Miss Piper kept pulling me aside asking if I was okay.  Ginny was no help. She’d just smirk and give me a coy look. 

“Are you distracted by something?” Ginny had the bad manners to whisper one morning. “You do know Laurie is supposed to be on this side. We could always switch back.”

“Yeah I’ve noticed,” I bit back a rash of comments the word invoked.

“You know what I mean,” Ginny toyed with me.  “I could move to another spot.”  She turned serious.

“No,” I shook it off. I leaned in so our words couldn’t be heard. “You’ve had your hand up my skirt for over a year now. Why change?”

“Does it bother you?” She sheepishly inquired.

“Wish it did.” I whimpered meekly. 

“Ladies?” Miss Piper called for our attention. “Ellen I really need you to focus.”

            I just nodded somehow managing to clear my head of the bizarre thoughts that had been plaguing me.  It was a long week.  Thankfully by the time the game started on Saturday I was more concerned that I might injure myself or someone else than the troublesome thought that Ginny’s hand was up my skirt.  There was something I noticed the day of the game. All week in school not once did the twins dress alike.  Given my sudden fascination with the twins it was nice knowing exactly which one I was talking to.  There had been some fumbling on the sidelines. I was just happy that it was Betsy, the newest member of the squad, who missed her step.

            That night Sandy’s parents had the bad manners to stay home. So we invaded Buddy Burgers. Ron was on my arm and completely clueless that the only thing I was thinking about was what would happen the following night.  The poor guy. Ron was the perfect date catering to my every whim. The only bump in the road came when he asked to take me out on Sunday. I could tell he was a little hurt when I quickly blew out that I had plans.  I didn’t even have the manners to explain what my plans were. Nope I just said, ‘Sorry I’m busy.’  It wasn’t just the quickness of my words it was the underlying brush off lurking in the tone of my voice.

            We hadn’t been dating long enough for me to start blowing him off.  Passing up on a chance to spend more time with him broke the chain of what was acceptable.  At that point, the early stages where you just become a couple, I was expected to jump through hoops just to see him.  I just couldn’t bring myself to play by the rules.  I felt like a rat when he wrapped his jacket around me when he arrived to pick me up that night.  I knew what it meant when I walked into Buddy’s wearing his jacket. We were officially a couple.

            He seemed happy though; unaware that I was already mentally tallying the days. Counting down to when it would be socially acceptable for me to give his jacket back.  I grimaced when I counted off how many dances and parties were coming up.  I liked Ron, he liked me, and we had fun together.  I felt like a jumbo rat.  Ron was a nice guy who had no idea that I was using him simply to fulfill my social obligations.

            “Who cares?  We won, they lost and we looked good,” Margie boasted cuddling closer to Mark. “Baby, buy me a milkshake.”  He just nodded dutifully and headed off to the counter.

“I didn’t look good,” Betsy the newest member of the squad whined slumping down in the booth.

“It was just one step,” I tried to comfort her.

“Couldn’t see it from the field,” Ron encouraged wrapping his arm around my shoulder.  I leaned into his touch my body stiffening slightly. I really did try to make myself feel comfortable. It just felt awkward.

“We can work with you,” Margie volunteered.

“Yeah,” I agreed.  “No big deal.”

“How about Sunday?” Margie suggested. “I‘m free after church and the family dinner. The shop is closed so Ellen doesn‘t have to work.”

            “What’s shaking?”  A familiar voice beckoned as she plopped down across from me tossing her pack of Camels on the table. I almost reached over to steal one. With one quick glance into her eyes and a peek at her chest I knew this wasn’t the Swenson sister who liked to share her cigarettes.  When Bobby took his place by her side it confirmed my suspicions.

“Have one of mine,” Ginny volunteered almost reading my mind while handing me the pack and sliding into the booth so she ended up sitting next to me.  Looking back on it I think that Ginny really liked to share her cigarettes because she didn’t like to smoke.  But back then we thought it looked cool. If you wanted to look cool you had to act cool.

            My hands were shaking when I took a smoke and tried to light it. There was something disconcerting about sitting between Ron and Ginny.  “Let me help?” Ginny tenderly offered cupping my hand and lighting my cigarette.  She looked calm when she lit her own smoke. Still I felt her trembling slightly.  I kept reminding myself that Ginny and I were just friends and that was it. I tried to stop shaking, but I could feel Laurie watching me and her mirror image.

“Get us some cokes.” Laurie sternly instructed Bobby her eyes still locked on me and Ginny.  Bobby simply nodded his head and went off. I didn’t miss the longing glance he snuck in Ginny’s direction.

            ‘Yeah bucko you really picked the wrong sister,’ I silently commiserated.  I also thought there wasn’t one guy including my steady Ron sitting in the booths we had taken over who hadn’t metaphorically been castrated by his pom-pom waving girlfriend.  Just as I began to question why we treated the guys so badly Ginny’s hand brushed against my thigh and suddenly my mind went blank.  Secretly I relished her sneaky maneuver. When I finally stopped my body from quivering I became aware that the Swenson girls were quiet; much too quiet. I looked up shivering slightly feeling the tension literally rolling off their bodies.

“So about Sunday,” Margie tentatively began watching the twins engage in a silent stand off.  Still not speaking they just sat there smoking and throwing daggers at one another.

“Sunday?” Laurie drolly inquired.

“I have a family thing.” I lied.

“What about you guys?” Margie squeaked out.

“Sure what did you have in mind?” Laurie questioned still glaring at Ginny.

“Betsy needs a little help with some of the routines.” Margie explained.

“No kidding,” Laurie snorted. “Yeah sure Sunday is fine with us.”

“I have plans.” Ginny spat out.

“Just when did you make plans?” Laurie demanded.

“Awhile ago.” Ginny groaned.

“What are you doing?” Laurie flared.

“None of your bees wax,’ Ginny hissed clenching her teeth. “I don’t tell you everything.”

“Since when?” Laurie shouted.

“Now.” Ginny taunted her.       

             I shrank back since I really didn’t want to know what was going on.  The rest of the table seemed to agree with me and started looking at the ceiling, the floor and the menus which we could probably recite backwards.  Ginny folded her arms across her chest her stare turning icy.  Laurie returned her glare and added drumming her fingers on the table.  Now that was hard to ignore.  We all ended up watching her long fingers beating a rapid rhythm on the linoleum table.  “So you can’t make it to practice tomorrow either?” She questioned me without giving me the courtesy of looking in my direction.

“I have plans with my family,” I slowly and fearfully answered.

“Do you now?” She snarled.

“She just said she did.” Ginny snapped.

“Really important plans,” I sheepishly offered while shuffling all knives and forks  on the table out of their reach.

“Some one die?” Laurie tersely added.

“Not yet.” Ginny hissed.

“Outside.” Laurie growled under her breath.

“You got it,” Ginny snarled jumping from her seat.

“Gin,” I gasped. It was too late the door was already slamming shut.

“What the hell was that about?” Candy sputtered.

“Should I ask?” Bobby squeaked out standing beside the table with a round of cokes.

“No.” Mark sternly remarked.

“I’d just sit and wait it out,” Ron wisely suggested.

“And this is what happens when you switch boyfriends,” Margie misguidedly surmised.

“Ginny dumped me,” Bobby whimpered.

“So you asked her sister out?” I stammered.  Even though I knew the truth I was still surprised that Bobby had willingly traded one sister for the other.

“Well, uhm, not really,” he sputtered. “I was hanging out by myself at the field feeling crummy since Ginny had just dumped me. Next thing I knew Laurie was sitting next to me. But Ginny said it was cool.”

“And you believed her?” Betsy laughed. Even at her tender young age she knew better.

“Oh course she minds,” Margie groaned. “Even if she doesn’t want you trust me she doesn’t want you to date her sister. You guys really can be stupid sometimes.”

            I almost started to laugh. Under normal and sane circumstances Margie and Betsy’s assumptions would have been right on the money. I was the only one who knew that this situation was neither normal nor was it anywhere close to the realm of sanity.  Ginny didn’t give a rat’s ass that Bobby was dating her sister. She gave Bobby a test drive and handed him off to her sister. It was all part of their world. Laurie doesn’t get stuck with a dud and Ginny has a man on her arm just long enough to keep people from talking. 

“You have no idea how vindictive sisters can be,” Margie continued unaware that my thoughts were a million miles away.  “One time I borrowed Hannah’s cashmere sweater without asking and that night while I was sleeping she shaved off my eyebrows.”

“Hey that was freshman year,” Ron laughed. “Everyone thought you had just kind of flipped out.”

“Help me out here Ellen,” Margie groaned. “Explain to these guys that a chick may say that they are cool with something, but in reality she’s pissed.”

“Yeah later,” I mumbled sliding out of the booth. “I’m going out to the parking lot to make sure that the Swenson girls haven’t turned into a solo act.”

            I don’t know what I expected to find when I went outside. They were screaming at one another at the top of their lungs which was much better than the carnage I had envisioned.  Thankfully their words were just vague enough so that anyone listening would assume that it was Bobby they were fighting over.  Even I couldn’t be sure that he wasn’t the subject of their anger.

“You creamed my car you bitch,” Laurie screamed in horror.

            My step faltered when I spied the huge dent in the back fender of Laurie’s car.  For the life of me I couldn’t figure out how or why Ginny had done it.  I also couldn’t understand why Laurie was throwing a fit.  So Ginny made plans to do something without her? Just because they had been born on the same day she couldn’t expect Ginny to clear each and every social engagement with her.

“I’m gonna cream more than your car if you don’t drop it,” Ginny threatened.  “This isn’t a game. I won’t do that anymore.”

            I felt good that Ginny was calling an end to their twisted little game. I also felt a little proud that Ginny was sticking up for herself. It was at that moment I came to the realization that ever since I met them Laurie spoke and Ginny followed. “Ding! Round over!” I shouted shooing the curious on lookers away. “Well this has been a blast.” I chided the both of them.  The fight was boarding on the ridiculous and I was more than a little worried that someone might say something stupid.

“Just stay out of this,” Laurie growled. “You frigid,”

“Don’t talk to her like that,” Ginny snapped.

“She started this.” Laurie blared.

            “Fine go ahead tear each other apart,” I threw up my hands in defeat. “I’m sure everyone here is gonna love watching a chick fight. Personally I’m going home.” I spun around having had my say.  What ever drama was going on I was sick of being dragged into it.  For the life of me I failed to see why Laurie was so upset. I liked hanging out with Ginny. Ginny liked hanging out with me. So why was Laurie acting like I was about to drop the H bomb on her house?

“Say hi to your boyfriend.” Laurie laughed cruelly.

            I was beet red when I spun around. I was ready to rip her a new one when I saw the look of defeat clearly written on Ginny’s face.  “What’s wrong Ginny?” Laurie gloated. “Who did you think was driving her home?”

            I felt like my heart was being ripped out.  Then I saw the self satisfying smirk Laurie was sporting and something inside of me snapped.  “You’re right. I’m a freak just like the two of you. Big dif between us though; I’m not putting my defects on display for the whole school to see.  The two of you are a hairs breath from a full marching band and a play by play of your exploits narrated by Curt Gowdy.”

            Strange that my words didn’t make any sense to me, but somehow it stopped them from fighting. They both leaned against Laurie’s car cooling their jets. My only reasonable explanation was Pod People.  Ginny smiled at me and Laurie made the mistake of sneering at me.  Yeah she just shouldn’t have done that. Everything was calm and no one blurted out anything that would embarrass or ruin any of our lives. But it was that sneer, she could press her lips so tightly together that they practically disappeared and the look of disdain that always went along with it just gnawed at me. So I just had to throw a fresh match on the fire.  “Speaking of differences,” I tersely began narrowing my gaze. “Laurie there is something you should know,” I sincerely began keeping my voice low so none of the other kids lurking around the parking lot could hear what I was about to say. “Ginny is a much better kisser than you are.”

“Hey!” Laurie snarled. “No way.”

“Way.” I assured her.  ‘What the hell it was the truth.‘

“Told you.” Ginny gloated pressing her tongue in her cheek.

“I refuse to believe that,” Laurie flatly denied. “It’s not possible.”

            Then they looked at one another for a long moment before they started laughing. They just laughed and laughed not giving a hoot that they looked like complete lunatics. Suddenly I was very happy that my only sibling was an eight year boy whose only interests were bugs and boobs. I was pretty sure that he would outgrow at least one of those hobbies.  “Do I even want to know what the two of you were fighting about?” I questioned completely confused by how quickly they calmed down.

“It was lame.”  Ginny shrugged.

“Totally.” Laurie agreed.

“Okay.” I shrugged.

“So are we still on for tomorrow?” Ginny shyly inquired.

“Yeah,” I smiled in return.

“I knew it,” Laurie huffed.

“Good now drop it.” I groaned.

“Its not what you think,” Ginny quickly corrected her.

“It’s cool, it’s cool,” Laurie babbled. “I’m just not used to you making plans without me.”

“I wasn’t, I knew you’d end up making plans with Bobby.” Ginny calmly explained.

            Laurie seemed to accept Ginny’s explanation. Still I sensed something brewing in her eyes.  I decided it really was time for me to back off and just let them deal with it. Since the shouting match had ended I felt confident that no one was about to be harmed either verbally or physically.  It was time for me to head back to the diner understanding that if I had stayed it would only set Laurie off again.

“Well I’ll just go back inside,” I excused myself since it appeared they were about to begin a civil conversation.

            When I got back inside I informed the gang that the twins had made up and it was probably just a visit from Aunt Flo. This news seemed to depress the bejesus out of Bobby. The following morning I was getting ready for my big day out. Even though I knew that Ginny was just a friend I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was preparing for a big date.  It was still early yet I found myself constantly looking out the window. “Now what is he doing out there?” I sighed after spotting Sammy sitting on the front porch. “Is it the car or the size of her boobies?” I wondered aloud. “I knew which one it is for me.” I quietly confessed.  “Hells bells what am I saying?”

            “What cha’ doing Scooter?” I asked taking a seat beside him on the front stoop.  I had gotten tired of pacing around my room. I was dressed and had a spare coat and was more than ready to go.

“Waiting.” He sighed.


“Ginny,” he giggled.  “Who is Dr. Doolittle?”

“He’s a character in a book who can talk to animals,” I explained. “So why are you waiting for Ginny?  You know we can’t take you to the fair. We are staying up there really late?”

“I just want to.”

“You got a crush on her?” I taunted him.

“No suh,” he lied.

“Yes suh,” I taunted him.

“I don‘t.”

“Yes you do,” I teased him further before I began a serious tickle fest.

            “Well that looks like fun,” she interrupted us in a curt tone. Sammy and I jumped up each eager to see her.  I don’t know what it was but she seemed sullen. “We should hit the road.” She bluntly offered without even greeting Sammy.  The poor little guy’s head slumped.  If I didn’t know better I would have sworn that all of his ants had died.

            “Uhm yeah just a sec,” I said a little uncertain.  I took her by the hand and led her to the garage away from prying eyes.  I was almost certain but her dark mood was scaring me. I was fearful that the twins had worked out their differences with some kind of twisted arrangement.

“What?” She sighed tersely.

“I just need to be sure,” I tried to explain wrapping my arms around her neck.
“What are you doing?” She whispered softly wrapping her arms around my waist.

“Its just the way you are acting,” I stammered closing the distance between us. “I need to know this isn’t another game.”

“It’s me,” she seeming miffed by what I was suggesting.

“There is only one way I can be absolutely certain,” I stressed. “Kiss me.”

“Well if I have to,” she gloated.

“Just one kiss,” I cautioned her. “This is only a test Sport.”

            She smiled and I knew before her lips claimed mine that it really was her.  I was instantly swept up in the feel of her lips caressing mine. Before I knew what was happening our tongues were teasing one another until my knees buckled. “Okay,” I gasped for air breaking away from her tender embrace.  “Nice to see you Ginny. So what is wrong?”

“Nothing,” she frowned. “It was just the fight Laurie and I got into last night. It kind of carried over to this morning. Sorry if I’m acting like a drag.”

“Forget it,” I smiled stepping away from her fearful that I would be tempted to make another pass at her.  “But could you say hi to Sammy it would make his day.”

“Sure thing.” She beamed. 

            The fair was a hoot and dinner was really nice so why did I suddenly feel sick to my stomach.  The only reasonable explanation was I was sitting in Ginny’s Chevy at a very dark drive- in miles away from anyone we knew.  Other than that things were perfect.  We had popcorn, sodas and the cartoons had begun.  Oh and the scent of her perfume was driving me crazy.

“More popcorn?” She offered innocently. I jumped when she handed me the bucket.

“Sorry,” I gulped brushing the popcorn off of my skirt.

“What’s up?”

“Sorry,” I echoed now brushing popcorn off of her lap. When I realized what I was doing I jerked my hand away.

“Ellen,” her voice was serious. “I meant what I said I’m not going to hit on you.”

“I know,” I whimpered handing the bucket back to her.  There were too many emotions swirling inside of me.

“Come on Eleanore out with it,” she teased giving me a playful nudge.

“I meant what I said too,” I smiled thankful she couldn’t see my blush in the darkness.  “I’m confused. And don’t call me Eleanore you creep.”

“Creep?” She gasped guarding the popcorn when I tried to snag a handful.  “I resemble that remark.  The movie is starting.”

“Oh yes Invasion of the Body Snatchers, I can‘t see this one enough.” I chuckled. “I wonder if it is going to better this time?  Why do guys like scary movies?”

“They like taking chicks to scary movies,” she corrected me finally relinquishing the popcorn.  “They think we’ll get all scared and crawl all over them.”

“Silly creatures,” I shook my head. “So how did Laurie take the news that you’re a better kisser?”

“She’s pissed,” Ginny beamed. “So pissed that she stole my purse.”

“Why would she do that?”

“Because my cash and ID and my best lipstick are in it,” Ginny groaned.

“Cash and killer lipstick I get, but your ID? What good will that do?” I questioned munching on more popcorn. “Neither of you are over twenty-one.”

“She does that sometimes,” Ginny grumbled. “It means she’s planning on doing something evil or stupid or possibly both. This way if she gets bagged she can blame it on me.  I had to take her ID and hit my Dad up for money.”

“She’s done this before?”

“Yeah,” she hesitated. “Before we could drive she’d use my library card or just say she was me. Uhm, that is kind of why we’ve moved around so much over the past couple of years. I have a record.”

“Hold on,” I cut her off. “What do you mean?”

            “I got off,” she shrugged. “Daddy and his lawyers took care of things. I only had to spend a night or two in jail. Since I’m a juvenile my record will be sealed.  First few times it was for stupid things like shop lifting or drinking. The last couple of times were more serious. All I got was a slap on the wrist. But word got out and we had to move.”

“And everyone thinks you did it?”

“She’s my sister,” her defense was half hearted at best. “I can’t explain what it is like being a twin.  You just stand by each other. When we were kids we even had our own language. We got even closer after our brother Nat died in Korea. He always looked out for us. We thought he looked so grown up in his uniform. Let’s just watch the movie.” She quickly shifted gears.  “It’s not often I get to go to the movies with Eleanore Roosevelt.  Then again how often can you say you went to the drive-in with a jailbird?”

“You’re a real cut up Swenson,” I scoffed tossing popcorn at her. Surprised when she jumped slightly.

“Sorry Pod People.” She winced.

“You’re not scared are you?” I snickered.

“No,” she denied jumping once again.

“Haven’t you seen this movie before?”

“Yes,” she squeaked. “It just creeps me out a little.  Maybe it is the whole looking alike thing.”

“Not to fear I’ll protect you,” I promised with a light laugh snuggling a little closer to the nervous blonde.  “If you get scared you can just,”

“Just what?” She questioned turning to me looking nervous.

            ‘Now that was the $64,000 dollar question!’ My mind screamed while I pondered just what my real intentions were? That had been bugging me ever since she suggested the trip. I wasn’t worried about what she might do. I was terrified about what I might do. In a blink of an eye I decided to stop thinking and just let my heart guide me. I couldn’t stop myself.  It was just like the night of the party.  The all encompassing feeling of joy had returned in full force. I was too weak to question or argue with it.  I placed the popcorn bucket on the floor and slid closer to her. I wrapped my arms around her waist nestling my body against hers.

“This. You could do this,” I whispered against her lips before capturing Ginny in smoldering kiss. I loved the way her lips tasted; the feel of her hands caressing my body and the way her body trembled from my touch.

            I began to unbutton her blouse pushing her down on the seat. We giggled when our bodies collided with the steering wheel.  I loomed over her my hand shaking as I reached down and cupped one of her breasts.  It was so soft except her nipple which was straining against the lacy material of her bra. I was fascinated by the way her nipple puckered against my touch.

            My caresses grew bolder my body quivered when I felt her trembling beneath me.  I nuzzled her neck kissing her tenderly my hand never straying from the delightful feel of her breast.  My kisses drifted lower soon I was tracing the swell of her breasts with my tongue. I could feel her hands caressing my backside guiding me closer to her.  I brushed the lacy material aside revealing her rose colored nipple.  My lips were instantly drawn to the erect bud. I captured it between my lips mesmerized by the feel of it hardening when I suckled it.

“Ellen.” She moaned deeply her body arching and grinding against my own.

            My hips fell into a wild rhythm matching her urgent pace; her hands caressing me slipping beneath my skirt and cupping my bottom.  I could feel her wetness on my thigh while she pressed against my passion. “Oh Ellen,” she repeated with a throaty growl my teeth nipping at her nipple while my free hand discovered her other breast. The car began to rock and our hands began exploring dangerous areas. I never stopped to think that I was the one who had made the first move. Or how I was encouraging things to happen; things that normally I would have fought tooth and nail to stop from happening. I began kissing her again giving into the feel of her body wriggling against mine. Suddenly she was pulling away.

“We have to stop,” she whimpered.

“We do?” I sighed with regret. Now that was a switch. Usually I’m the one insisting that my companion back off.

“Ellen,” she murmured cupping my face in her hands and capturing me in a smoky gaze.  “You are so beautiful and very special.”

“You think I’m beautiful?” I gushed allowing her to guide me away from her body.

“Oh yeah,” she smiled brightly. “And special.” She stressed as she buttoned her blouse. “If we don’t stop now we won’t.”

            I stifled a groan knowing what she was saying was the truth. “If this, what ever this is goes any further do you really want it to happen in my car?”

“No,” I smiled brushing the back of my fingers against her cheek. “So we watch the movie.”

“Well we could make out a little,” she taunted me with a quick kiss.  “So long as one of us remembers to stop.”

            With all the twists and turns and generally bizarre events I had encountered with the Swenson girls this by far was the nicest.  Ginny was a lady.  If she hadn’t already won me over with her charm, wit and striking good looks having a high regard for my virtue was the icing on the cake.  “I can‘t believe that I just pounced on you.” I timidly confessed snuggling up against her.  “I never act like this.”

“I‘m not complaining,” she smiled wrapping her arm around my shoulders. “I just like to take things slow.”

            Now we all know that despite the fact that the Invasion of the Body Snatchers is now considered a classic it wasn’t the movie we wanted to watch.  So we did what any normal teenagers did at a drive-in we made out.  It was difficult to slow my advances.  If I could have harnessed the way she made me feel just from kissing I could have gotten a man on the moon long before Neil Armstrong joined the space program.  As good as we tried to be our heated kissing often led us into dangerous waters.             

            Caressing hands often finding their way into the other’s lingerie.  We never completely undressed still I discovered how good it felt to stroke another woman’s throbbing clit. To feel her desire painting my skin to feel her hands exploring parts of my anatomy that I had never explored.  Time and time again we teetered on the edge tempted to give into our hedonistic desires. The only saving grace was that each time one of us was about to forget our promise to take things slowly the other had the good sense to pull away.

            When the first flick ended we used the intermission as an opportunity to cool off. The only thing that kept my frustrated body from exploding was the knowledge that this was only the beginning.  Ginny was right; I didn’t want my first time to be in her car.  Not only did the idea lack romance it was eerily similar to what I had shared with her sister.              During Bus Stop we cuddled. It was the longest most frustrating cuddle I had ever endured.  I finally understood what a guy meant when he said he had blue balls. Thank the heavens that Bus Stop was a truly killer flick. If it had sucked I doubt I’d still be a virgin by the time I got home. I still failed to grasp what was happening. Being with Ginny was like diving into a shark tank with a ham tied around your neck.  It wasn’t an unfamiliar position for me to be in. Guys can be very persuasive. The very distinct difference this time was I wasn’t the hapless swimmer. I was one of the sharks.

“Thanks for tonight I had great time.” I sighed wistfully while I rolled up my window.

            “Thanks for coming,” she smiled sweetly still leaning against the seat so she could look into my eyes.  I inched closer when she brushed her fingers against my cheek.  Kissing her seemed like the most natural thing in the world to do. I just needed to taste her lips one more time; to feel her tongue slipping between my lips and I just had to fill my hand with her breast.  Everything inside of me was tingling when our bodies wrapped around one another’s.  The kiss deepening soft groans filling the tiny space we were sharing.

            My head was spinning when she pulled away. “It is getting late,” she choked out. “Time to make like a banana and split.” I nodded my head and cuddled up against her. The ride home was probably the most romantic ride I had ever experienced.  We didn’t speak I just rested my head on her shoulder and held her hand the whole way home. I was in heaven.

“Stop here,” I whispered when she turned into my driveway.

“I was going to walk you to the door,” she graciously explained.

“I just wanted to say goodnight in a proper manner,” I innocently quipped. 

“So by that you mean I should ditch you at the end of your driveway?”

            “No,” I laughed. “Dad never trims the hedges down here.  No one can see us. Not the neighbors, not my folks and most importantly not my creepy little brother.  I wish I could kiss you goodnight at the front door but I don’t think that will go over too well.”

“No kidding,” she laughed. “I have no intention of spending another night in jail or trying to out run your father.  Thank you again for going out with me.”

            “No thank you,” I corrected her slipping my arms around her neck. “This was the best date I’ve ever been on. It was a date wasn‘t it?”  I suddenly panicked. ‘How could this be a date? She’s a girl!’  My mind tried to make sense out of things.  ‘No, no I don’t care if it sounds crazy this was a date. A really great date.’  I giddily accepted still harboring fears that Ginny might not view things in the same light.

“Our first,” she grinned like a kid at Christmas.  “I’m hoping that there will be a second date,” she added with a gulp.

“So am I.” I gushed.


“Well,” I echoed licking my lips my eyes locked on hers. “Goodnight.”

            “Good night,” she whispered drawing me closer before kissing my lips tenderly.  Then another sweet kiss leading to a third which unleashed our passion.  The windows fogged up when I began a slow exploration of her mouth while our hands began roaming. This time I was the one who pulled away.

            “Whew now I understand why guys need a cold shower every now and then,” I panted heavily thankful that she put the car in gear and headed up to the top of the driveway.  I blushed when she got out and opened the door for me and escorted me to the front porch. We laughed when the front light blinked on. “I swear they never sleep.”

“Are you sure they can’t see the end of the driveway?” She questioned with in a hushed whisper.

“I’m positive.”

“Good,” she blew out with relief tugging on my scarf. “You might want to keep that covered.” She blushed.

            I turned beet red when I realized that she was covering up a hickey. “Thanks again.”

“Good night I’ll see you in school tomorrow.” She sighed.

“See you tomorrow.” I waved waiting for her to pull away. When I stepped into the house I leaned against the door grinning like an idiot.

“Did you girls have fun?” My Dad’s voice boomed from the living room.

“A blast and a half,” I blurted out before darting up the staircase and hiding in my bedroom.

            “That must have been some family get together,” Laurie snarled after sneaking up on me in the girls’ room. I jerked away when she reached for my scarf.  “You know the last time I spent the day with my family I didn’t come home with a hickey the size of Texas.  Funny thing Ginny said she went for a long drive yesterday and today she’s wearing a turtle neck.”

“Drop dead.” I snarled trying to push past her.

“I don’t think so cupcake,” she hissed grabbing me by my upper arms and backing me into a corner.

            “Stop it.” I barked while trying to shove her off me.  “I said no.” I fumed when she leaned in to kiss me. It didn’t stop her from rubbing her body against mine. I was frightened and not just by the thought that someone would walk in. There was something in her eyes that chilled me to the bone.  “Stop.” I repeated finally managing to send her sliding across the floor. Just as Laurie landed on her ass Margie waltzed into the bathroom.

“Should I ask?”  She gulped watching Laurie scrambling to her feet.

“The floor is wet be careful.” Laurie calmly uttered her lie.

“Oh?” Margie scrunched her brow before checking her make up in the mirror.

“Eleanore was just telling me about her family outing,” Laurie snidely began joining us in front of the mirrors.

“Eleanore?” I gasped turning white as sheet.

“Yeah how was it?” Margie asked unaware that I was about to throw up.  “A real drag or what?”

“Yes tell us?” Laurie gloated with an evil smirk.

“You know how it is,” I answered my voice trembling with each word.

“No I don’t tell us?” Laurie’s icy voice encouraged.

“Nothing to tell.” I spat out.

“Hey who is Ginny dating?” Margie suddenly questioned.

“No one special.” Laurie answered flashing me a snide look.

“Not special?” Margie laughed while my stomach churned. “Come on it is like summer outside and she’s wearing a turtleneck. Now either she’s lost all sense of fashion or she had a date last night.”

“Like I said no one special,” Laurie gloated.

“Hey Bobby was looking for you,” Margie added.

            Laurie didn’t say a word she just made a tsking sound with her tongue.  She thrust her hands on her hips before spinning around and storming out of the bathroom.  “Is it just me or is Laurie turning into a real bitch lately?” Margie questioned shaking her head.

“Oh no she’s going for the spot of Queen B this year.”

“Uhm under the heading of none of my business,” she cautiously began eying me closely. “Mark and I ran into Ron last night.”


“And if I were you I’d find a bigger scarf or avoid him until that thing heals,” she frowned before handing me the scarf to add to my neck. “Looks lame.”

“This sucks.” I whined trying to arrange the two mismatched scarves so I wouldn’t look like a complete idiot or worse a tramp.

“So you gonna tell me who Dracula is?” She gleefully pried.

“I can’t,” I cringed.

“Well this day blows,” she snarled just as the bell rang. “Speaking of which time for Civics class.”

“With Laurie,” I groaned. “Oh joy.”

            After successfully avoiding my boyfriend and snarly comments all day I left school and went straight to work. I had a fascinating job of stacking books and working the cash register at Dyer’s Books the only bookstore in our little hub. I was on edge trying to rid my mind of the memory of Laurie trying to assault me in the girl’s room.  I thought Sammy’s creepy fascination with bugs was the weirdest thing I had ever seen until that afternoon.  Laurie’s actions scared me. When I changed into my smock and saw the bruises she left on my arms I almost started to cry.  I pulled down the sleeves and tried to pull myself together.

“Hey there.” She greeted me with a shy smile placing a book on the counter. “I didn’t see you today.”

“Sorry,” I felt light headed just seeing her smile. “I was laying low.”


“I wasn’t trying to ditch you,” I whispered ringing up her purchase. “It’s Ron. I, Uhm, don’t know if I could explain just how my neck was attacked by a Hoover while I was spending the day with my parents.”

“Gottcha,” she cringed tugging on the collar of her turtleneck.

“And what are we reading today?” I tease her. “Peyton Place? Been sneaking into the backroom again? Well I know that one isn’t for class.  I’m not supposed to sell it to you, but since I like you I’ll make an exception. You’ll like it by the way.” I prattle on while ringing up the sale.

“Thanks, I ran out things to read,” she confessed in a hushed tone. “Don’t let it get out that I read just for fun.”

“You’re secret is safe with me,” I pledge. “So do I.  It’s one of the reasons I took this job.”

“It must be great getting to read all the new stuff first,” Ginny smiled. “What’s this one?” She questioned picking up the book I had set aside to buy at the end of my shift.  “The Voyages of Doctor Doolittle.”

“It’s for Scooter,” I laughed snatching the book back. “After you called him Dr. Doolittle he was curious. I thought I’d surprise him with it. Then again he might just have pretended to be interested because he has a crush on you.”

“He does?”

“What did you think it was the car?” I laughed placing her book in a brown paper bag.

“Or my boobs,” she dryly stated.

“Can’t blame him for that,” I sigh sneaking a peek at her chest.

“Now who is getting fresh,” she whispered her eyes darkening with desire as she leaned over the counter teasing me. “Can I let you in on a couple of secrets?”

“Yes,” I inhale sharply fighting against the temptation to reach over and grab her.

“First I really want to kiss you right now.”

“Oh don’t do that to me,” I whimper looking around the almost empty shop. “Just tell me the other secret unless of course it is randier than the first.”

            She laughed stepping away from the counter. “Your kid brother confided in me that he really hates all those goofy nicknames your family saddled him with.” She said with a knowing smile. “But he swore me to secrecy so you can’t tell him I squealed.”

“I promise,” I hold up my hand.  “So what does he want to be called?”


“He just gets less and less creepier every day,” I blinked with surprise.

“Nat used to think Laurie and I were creepy,” she shrugged. “Then again we did raid his stash of rubbers and had an awesome water balloon fight when we were seven.”

“Let me guess who instigated that one,” I snarled.

“I did,” she stuttered.  “Come on Laurie isn’t that bad.  She’s just like me.”

“No she isn’t,” I snapped tugging on the sleeves of my smock. There was no way I could tell Ginny about what Laurie did to me.

“She’s my sister.” Ginny defensively stressed.

“You’re right she’s a living doll,” I lied with a fake smile.  “Enough about her. I want to talk about you and when we can get together again.  The gang is going bowling on Thursday.  I know a group outing isn’t ideal but at least we can see each other.”

“I’ll be there,” she sighed heavily.  “I would offer to pick you up and drive you home but,”

“But?” I sputtered. To me it sounded like a grand idea. Granted I didn’t understand what was happening between us. It just felt too good to question.

“Ron might flip out if his girlfriend doesn’t want to ride with him,” she sullenly concluded.

“Ron,” my shoulders slumped. “I forgot about him.”

“Any chance you’re gonna dump him in the near future?” She pleaded.  “What am I saying? There is a dance coming up you can’t dump him.”

“The dance,” I frowned. “Which means you’ll have to get a date. I hate this.  Could you pick someone ugly?”

“I’ll try,” she laughed. “How about we go out on Sunday? Jump in my car and just take off?  If I get you home at a decent hour your folks won’t mind.  What would they consider a respectable hour?”


“What’re you Amish?” She gasped.  “Last Sunday we stayed out really late. And when there is a game you stay out past midnight.”

“When there’s a game I’m with a large group of people and don’t have school in the morning,” I quickly explained. “Plus I think they troll the streets to check up on me. What can I say they’re really strict?  I’m the oldest and I’m a girl.”

“I get it,” she smiled. “They worry.  You’re parents are really nice. No surprise they want to keep an eye on their little girl.”

“Speaking of my folks,” I slowly began fearful that I was about to scare her off.  “They’re going out tonight and I have to baby sit the creep. Uhm,” I began to stammer.

“Yes?” She encouraged.

            “Uhm sorry I don’t know the rules when it comes to this,” I tried to calm myself.  “I still don’t get what this is.” Now my heart wasn’t simply racing it was about to explode.  She stood there patiently waiting for me to finish what I was trying to say.  “Sorry,” I gulped. “You know up until now everything I learned in life, I learned from gossiping in the ladies room.  Oddly enough this topic was never discussed.”

“Probably never will be,” Ginny frowned.  “At least not in a good way. Just say what you want to say.”

“Did you want to come over and study tonight?” I blurted out before I lost my nerve.

“Seven O’ Clock okay?” She beamed.

“Its not too soon?” I babbled on. “Again I’m swimming in very distant waters here.”

“A little,” she smiled shyly. “But you’re so damn cute how can I refuse? I’m assuming that your brother will be around to keep an eye on us.”

“Us?” I barked with laughter. “Knowing the little perv he isn’t going to take his beady little eyes off of you.”

“Well I guess I’ll see you tonight,” she tossed out. “I have to go.”


            Getting the folks to say it was okay for Ginny to come over that night was a walk in the park.  I wasn’t the only one who was taken with the girl. My parents and little brother thought she was the best thing since color television.  Which none of us had seen.  Sammy was racing around like a lunatic when he heard Ginny was coming over.

“Look at him go,” Dad nodded with appreciation.  “You’d think John Wayne was coming over instead one of your friends.”

“No, Dad that would be you running around,” I laughed.  “I think he has a crush on Ginny.”

“Music to my ears.” Dad happily exclaimed.

“Sam.” Mom swatted him.

“What Doris?” Dad shrugged. “Having him ogling a cheerleader instead of a bucket of bugs makes me happy.”

“Okay,” Mom groaned just as the front door bell rang.  “Speaking of ogling you want to get that so you can check out her car again?”

“Yes.” Dad flashed a cocky smirk before dashing towards the door.

“It’s just a car,” Mom sighed dramatically adding an eye roll to top it off.

“Oh come on Mom,” I nudged her. “Even you have to admit it is a hot set of wheels.”

“Yes,” Mom nodded. “I just feel it is a bit  extravagant to give to teenager.”

            “Hi,” Ginny sheepishly ducked in since my Dad had left the front door wide open in his zeal to play with the Chevy. “Mrs. Druette.” She politely greeted my mother. “And you’re right it is an extravagant gift.  I was saving to buy my own car. Then Dad surprised us on our birthday.  What could I say?”

“Oh honey,” Mom laughed. “Don’t mind me. It is just hard knowing that all Eleanore got was a pair of earrings on her sixteenth birthday.”

“My great grandmother’s earrings,” I quickly interjected giving Mom a fierce hug. “And money in my college fund.”

“Now that’s nice,” Ginny smiled shifting the books she was carrying.

“Why don’t you set those down on the coffee table,” Mom guided the poor girl over to the living room. “Scooter.” She cautioned my kid brother who suddenly appeared and latched on to Ginny.  “So do I want to know what you got for Christmas?” Mom teased.

“Uhm no,” Ginny laughed as Mom quirked her brow truly curious. “Dad had to go there on business anyways.  We spent Christmas in London last year.  It was kind of a drag.”

“A drag?” Mom groaned.  “A Dickens Christmas was a drag?”

            “That’s just it that’s what I was hoping for,” Ginny explained kneeling down to tickle my brother. “You know a Dickens Christmas and seeing the sights, the museums and all that. Mom had this social calendar all mapped out.  It was one boring adult party after another and shopping. We could have done that here. I’m hoping we get to stay home this year. But the folks are already talking about a trip to the Bahamas.”

“Well the Bahamas sounds like fun,” Mom lied. “I mean for a trip.”

“Not for Christmas,” Ginny bemoaned. “No snow and working the social circle again.  It’s just not the same. I’d much rather stay here and hang my stocking by the fire and wait up for Santa. What about you Sam?”

“Snow and Santa.” Sammy demanded.

“Look at the time,” Mom grumbled checking her watch. “Scooter I want you to behave. Same goes for the two of you. Ginny please tell me you have your keys on you. I’m afraid that Mr. Druette is going to try and boost your car.”

“I do,” Ginny laughed. “You could take the Chevy. I don’t mind.”

“Thank you,” Mom smiled. “I would accept but I doubt Mr. Druette would be willing to give it back.  Now have fun and get this one to bed on time.”

“Yes, Mom,” I waved wishing her a pleasant evening.  I was touched when Ginny did the same.

            Ginny and Sam engaged in a wrestling match while I locked up. “I’m so not going to get a chance to be alone with her,” I grunted miffed by the way Sammy was plastered to Ginny’s body.

“Did someone load you up with candy?” Ginny squealed tossing the rug rat over her shoulder.

“No, do you have any?” Sammy squealed.

“Not a chance,” Ginny scolded him. “You, young man, are going to bed on time.”

“No suh,” Sammy instantly challenged.

“Oh guess again,” I cautioned him laughing as Ginny bounced him onto the sofa.

“Trying to ditch me?” The little snot challenged.


            Ginny snickered at my comment making herself comfortable on the sofa. Sammy immediately climbed up next to her. “Going to help me with my homework?” She teased him with a quick tickle.

“I’ll grab us some cokes and something to snack on.” I volunteered leaving my guest alone with my quirky kid brother.

“I wanna coke.” Sammy bellowed when I returned with the sodas and some chips.

“No,” I flatly refused. “No pop after seven and you know why.”

“Do I want to know why?” Ginny chuckled accepting her drink.

“Because he’ll never sleep,” I explained. I tried to nudge Sammy away from Ginny.  Having failed to pry the little booger away I settled for taking a seat on the opposite side of her.  “A little soda and he turns into a tinkle monster.”

“Do not!” Sammy pouted nuzzling closer to Ginny.

“And I thought you were a tickle monster?” Ginny gasped before scooping him up and furiously tickling the little rodent.

            I folded my arms across my chest. Ginny was a natural with him. As warming as the sight was I couldn’t stop the feeling of jealousy that was surging through me.  It was lame and I knew it. Still it really bugged me that the creepizoid was getting all the attention.  I wanted to slap the little bugger and tell him to keep his little paws off of my girl.  It wasn’t simply that he was getting all the attention. I could see where his grubby little mitts were drifting to.  I could have written it off as an accident if only Sammy hadn’t flashed me a snotty look.

            Knowing I would sound like a complete spaz if I complained I settled back and cracked open my history book. Ginny finally put Sammy down and moved closer to me.  The little bugger insisted on curling up next to her. “Need help? I’m a little ahead with my course load,” she graciously offered seemingly not upset that Sammy was crowding her.

“How far ahead?” I questioned eyeballing her carefully.  I had suspected that Laurie might be just as smart as Ginny. But Ginny was way out in front when it came to studying.

“Well,” she hesitated. “I could have graduated last semester.”

“And you didn’t because?” I was astonished.

“Laurie didn’t apply herself,” she grumbled.  “And I get to enjoy some classes I would have missed out on.”

“How can you be so far ahead?”

“At a couple of my old high schools I pulled a double course load,” she shrugged. 

            I was amazed by the fact she didn’t seem to think it was a big deal.  Ginny must work on a different clock than the rest of the world. I knew that even with my study habits I couldn’t fit the pep squad, social engagements, along with other extra curricular activities in a twenty-four hour day.  Ginny also had the burden of picking up after Laurie’s messes.

Still she didn’t seem fazed by any of it.

            She settled in helping me with my entire course load while entertaining Sammy. I think both Sammy and I got a jump start with our education.  Every time he’d ask a question Ginny patiently answered. She never talked down to him or chastised him for interrupting.  Maybe I wanted to throttle him because he was my stinky little brother, or it simply could be that he was cutting into my time with Ginny.

“Okay booger breath,” I addressed Sammy. “It’s after nine. You’re late for bath time.”

“Who me?” Ginny innocently quipped.  Sammy giggled while I was forced to bite back a moan.

“Sammy!”  My tone turned harsh. “Say goodnight and haul your butt upstairs.”

“No.” He whined clinging tighter to Ginny.
“Yes.” I groaned.

“Ginny?” He tried enlisting her.

“Sorry Sam, them’s the breaks,” Ginny smirked.  “You don’t want to catch it from your folks.”

“Okay.” He grimly conceded before stomping up the stairs.

“Can I trust you?” I hollered after him.

“Yes.” He howled indignantly.

            We sat back listening. I knew Sammy was stalling. “Bath!” I shouted at the top of my lungs.  My screeching was followed by the stomping of little feet. ‘Come on you little creep.’  I silently pleaded desperate for some alone time with Ginny before my parents came home.  I glared up at the ceiling listening to his stomping and fussing. Finally I heard the bathwater start running.

“Should we check on him?” Ginny asked snuggling closer to me.

“Not yet,” I cautioned her.  “He’s still lurking around.”

“Not to be a wet rag,” she tentatively began. “Some of the things he whispered to me were interesting. I know he’s too young to understand, but someone needs to tell him that he shouldn’t say some things. You know about us.”

“I’ll talk to him,” I sighed heavily.  I sat back just looking at her.  “I better go upstairs and check on him.  If I don’t then I might just do something that would be really hard to explain.”

            I stood my body tingling when she followed my action and clasped me by the hand.  “I’ll come with you.”  She volunteered.  It felt so good walking up the stairs with her hand in mine. I found the water running in the bathroom and Sammy bouncing on his bed.  I uttered a growl before shutting off the water before it could overflow. I darted into his room. I grabbed up his pajamas and caught him by the scruff of his scrawny neck.  Ginny’s laughter echoed behind us while I ushered Sammy into the bathroom. “Now!” I cautioned him as sternly as I could muster.

            I shoved him inside slamming the door behind me.  Ginny and I leaned up against the wall listening.  I briefly wondered how much trouble I would get in if I nailed the door shut.  Ginny’s arm slipped around my waist.  The second we heard water splashing she wrapped me up in a tender embrace. I had been dying all night.  My body ached to be held this way.

            I reached up lacing my fingers in her hair. Her fingers caressed my sides. I drew her closer releasing a soft moan before claiming her lips in a searing kiss.  “Wow, I’ve wanted to do that all day,” she whispered her confession.

            I shook my head smiling at the glazed look in her eyes.  “Me too.” I gulped quirking my head towards the bathroom door.  Thankfully Sammy was still playing and splashing about.  “Kiss me again?” I pleaded pulling her closer.    She quickly reclaimed my lips pressing my body against the wall.  Her soft sensual kiss forced a moan to escape from me.   I dug my nails into her shoulders when I felt her knee slipping between my thighs.  My lower anatomy twitched; my hips thrusting forward eager to feel more of her.  My attention faltered and I was no longer listening to ensure that Sammy was behaving. All I could focus on was how good she felt and that my bedroom was just a couple of steps away.

“Oh that would be wrong.” I chastised myself when her lips drifted to the nape of my neck.

“What would be wrong?” She asked my body shuddering when she stopped kissing my flesh.

“To duck into my bedroom,” I whimpered trying to guide her back to me.

“Oh? We can’t,” she added clearing her throat while jerking her head towards the bathroom door. “I think he’s done.”

“Good,” I smirked. “He’s off guard. We can drown him.”

“No.” She wagged her finger at me before bolting to the opposite side of the hallway.

“Halt!” I shouted when Sammy burst out of the bathroom.  His pajamas were clinging to his wet body. “Back inside. Strip and dry your body. I’ll get you fresh P.Js.”

            I was muttering under my breath shoving Sammy back into the bathroom before he could plaster his wet body all over Ginny.  My muttering was reaching a full fledged tirade when I retrieved a dry pair of pajamas for him. I opened the door just a crack giving Junior a little privacy when I tossed in his pajamas. I slammed the door. “Now dry off and change!” I shouted while flipping off the bathroom door. I took a calm breath before directing my attention towards my guest.

“Uh no,” she smirked. “I’ve seen your bedroom already. Remember? Studying and PJ parties.”

“Not a private tour,” I pouted knowing that I was busted.

“We’re moving too fast,” she stood firm.  “I like you. I really like you. But I’ve been down this road before.”

            “What road is that?” I questioned indignantly knowing my ire stemmed from the knowledge that this wasn’t as new to her as it was to me.  Ginny curled her lips obviously mulling over her answer. She parted her lips to speak when Sammy barged out of the bathroom. The runt effectively cut off whatever she was going to say.  After a good twenty minutes of chasing Sammy around we finally got him settled down.

            Again I wondered how much trouble I would get in if I hammered and nailed his door shut. My mischievous contemplation was a moot point. The second we shut Sammy’s door Ginny bolted to the staircase.  She tried to appear casual about her sudden desire to return to the first floor.  Her intention was clear, my bedroom was off limits. No small wonder why my parents liked her so much.

“Wow you should try out for the track team,” I wryly commented when I joined her in the living room.

“Sorry,” she gulped.  “It’s late and your folks will be home soon. I’m serious I can’t get in trouble again.”

“Understood.” I nodded my entire being filled with a sense of dread.

“Ellen,” she tenderly began closing the distance between us. My heart skipped a beat when she clasped my hands.  “I really like you. But I don’t move that fast. We haven’t even gone on a second date yet.”

“I’m not fast,” I furiously defended myself. Of course she thought I was fast after our last couple of treks to the drive-in.  Why wouldn’t she have that impression? “For the record I’m a virgin. Something that I seriously suspect you’re not.”

“Because I’m not,” she grimaced.  “There’ve been others.”

“Others?” I blanched. “As in more than one?”

“Yes,” she quietly confirmed. “Twice with a girl and once with a guy. With the guy, he and I were both confused.  Being together was more of an experiment than anything else.  Even with my tainted past I would hope that you wouldn’t think that I’m easy.”

“I don’t,” I gave her a curious look.  “I was afraid that you thought I was fast.” I laughed. “I mean the last couple of times we’ve gone out, I haven’t acted like myself. What is it about you?  I can’t keep my hands off of you. I’ve never had a problem before.”

“I’m not complaining,” she grinned. “Not giving in is killing me.  But I’m a romantic.”

            I couldn’t stop smiling at her. She led me to the sofa where we ended up cuddling. “I’m very confused,” I confessed nestling my head against her shoulder.  Our fingers became entwined. I couldn’t stop looking at them thinking how naturally our hands fit together.

“Believe me, I understand,” she reassured me kissing the top of my head.

“It isn’t just you’re being a girl,” I nervously blew out. “I mean that’s a biggie. But some of the things we did the other night. It was like making love.”

“Some folks would consider it sex,” she softly explained. “And some wouldn’t.  There’s a lot more.”

“More?” I squeaked. My mind tried to picture what else there was to do. More importantly was it as much fun?

“Much more,” she groaned with a sultry purr.

“Such as?” I demanded slipping from her embrace.  She inhaled sharply when I straddled her lap.  “You’ve already touched me here.” I explained guiding her hand between my thighs.

“Not completely,” she gasped cupping me harder.  “I haven’t gone all the way.  I haven’t kissed you there.” She shuddered grinding the heel of her hand against me.

“Kissed?” I whispered absently my hips swaying against her touch.

“Kissed,” she repeated her teasing slowly increasing. “Touched, tasted, licked.” She released a feral groan burying her face against my sweater.  I clung to her; my body thrusting against her hand.

            My head was spinning, my body once again helpless to refuse her.  When I was with her I lost all sense of reason.  My common sense and body grappled with the delirious dilemma. My lustful urges once again won the battle. I fumbled; slipping my hands under her sweater. Feeling her breasts filling my hands was the only thing I cared about. What was it about her?  With one look or innocent conversation I ended up sitting on her lap thrusting my body against her. We began kissing and I knew that I wouldn’t behave myself.

“Hmm,” I tore my lips from the sweetness of her mouth. “Headlights.” I gulped quickly retreating from her lap.

            We quickly adjusted our clothing, checked our make up and searched for any sign that might expose what we had been doing.  I blew out a terse breath when my loving parents entered the house.  I couldn’t stop shaking. We greeted them politely and asked about their evening out. Then Ginny excused herself and I escorted her outside. That is when it hit me.  Standing there beside her car it hit me. Not just hit me I was smacked upside the head.

            If I hadn’t caught the gleam of the headlights we would have gotten caught.  How could I explain what we were doing when I barely understood it myself?  My trip to cloud nine suddenly turned into a nightmare. What was I doing?  If my dear, sweet, over protective parents had been half a second quicker they would have seen me trying to wrestle Ginny out of her sweater. My life as I knew it would have been over.

            I was spazzing. Dark words swirled around my muddled mind. Ugly words like, queer, sicko, and deviant.  Was that what I was becoming?  No that wasn’t who I was. It couldn’t be. I was a good girl. Then why did I just act like a complete tramp by trying to get Ginny to slip into my bedroom?  I felt her eyeballing me. I averted my gaze; the shame forcing me to look at the worn gravel that covered the driveway. I didn’t need to look at her to know she was angry or hurt; perhaps both.

“Well I know that look,” she hissed opening her car door. 

“I . . . Ginny,” I mumbled still unable to look at her.

            “Ellen you’re tripping,” she tried to sound comforting, but I could hear the hurt in her voice. “Like I said I know that look. I’ve worn it many times. Not anymore. I’m not ashamed of how I feel.  If you are then we can just forget the whole thing. It never happened.  We never kissed. I never touched you. None of it was real.”

            I failed to understand why this was happening. Out of the blue I was hit with a tidal wave of disgust. I didn’t want to forget.  And I didn’t know if I was strong enough to overcome the sudden rash of insecurities that had assaulted me.  I opened my mouth to speak. I wanted to tell her that I didn’t care. That I didn’t want to forget. That I needed to be with her no matter what. The words failed to come. I stood there mute while she drove off leaving me feeling empty.

            I walked back into the house feeling numb.  My parents ranted and raved about how much they liked Ginny. How nice it was that the two of us spent the night studying.  There was my answer. The true reason I flaked out.  My parent’s overwhelming approval.  Like all teenagers I had managed to pull the wool over their eyes more than once.  This was different. This ran deeper than a simple teenaged prank. I was deceiving them. It wasn’t just the deception it was knowing that if they knew the truth they’d hate me. I couldn’t risk losing their love or respect.

            I was left with only one option. I had to nip my wild adventure in the bud. Ginny already gave me an out.  Her words just a short time ago were clear. It never happened. I was free. Even though letting her go wasn’t what I wanted.  Talk about wanting your cake and to eat it too. I wanted Ginny on so many levels than just the physical, and I wanted to stay normal. I wanted to secure my place as the bright eyed wonder that was my parents pride and joy.

            Needless to say the following day at school was a train wreck.  Every time I caught a glimpse of Ginny I was torn between melting into a puddle of happiness and wanting to throw up.  The queasy feeling was not inspired by a defect in Ginny’s personality or enchanting good looks. No this was my defect for wanting something that was so wrong. The rest of my day was spent moping about and being dogged by Ron and Margie. Ron wanted to show me off strutting about like a peacock. Naturally I was flattered and miffed.  Again not at him, but at me.  Each time he touched me, internally I wailed about wanting to feel good about being on his arm. Margie’s persistence stemmed from wanting to know what I had been up to.

            Margie and I had been best girlfriends since the first time we finger painted together. Suddenly I had dropped out of sight.  My absence wasn’t what set her off. It was knowing that I was up to something and not sharing the gritty details that was the problem. In a matter of just a few short days I had stopped calling her every two seconds, stopped filling her in on the mundane details of my life. She assumed that Ron and I were too busy. Or she would have if she and her steady hadn’t kept running into Ron flying solo.  Margie was frothing at the mouth desperate to know who the guy was.

            Dear, sweet Ginny on the other hand was a lady. She kept her distance, giving me the space I seemed to have asked for. Even when the whole gang gathered for lunch she slipped into the background.  Laurie, on the other hand, was vicious. She made crude comments, was out and out snotty towards me, and the little darling even went so far as to try and slam my locker door on my hand.  I doubted that Laurie knew what had happened. How I was all over her sister one moment and ditching her the next. But she knew Ginny was upset about something and I was the reason why. That was the first time I realized, you don’t mess with someone’s sister.  Honestly if some chippy pulled the same head game on my kid brother when he was old enough to date, my actions would have been much harsher.

            Gym class was a delight. I had Margie dogging me with questions, Laurie trying to trip me, not to mention telling me to take a short walk off a long pier, and of course Ginny pretending that nothing was amiss. She went so far as to offer to switch places with Laurie so she wouldn’t have to touch me. Turned out to be a bad call. Laurie tried to drop me.  Miss Piper was furious. That was until I swore up and down that it was an accident. Defending Laurie wasn’t my style by any means. This time the girl had a right to be mad.

            Laurie’s mood failed to improve when Miss Piper sternly suggested that she overcome her clumsiness before practice that afternoon.  When the whistle blew I set a new record for getting in and out of the locker room and making it to my next class. Sadly my next class was math and I was sitting right across from Laurie.  She refrained from killing me; still she kept glaring at me.  All day long I questioned what was wrong with me. During math class I was wondering if anyone would notice if I ditched practice after school.

            I changed into my little pom-pom outfit dragging my feet as I stepped out onto the field. When she stood beside me I was ready to bolt. “I thought you’d be safer if I took my spot back.” Ginny curtly informed me.

“Can’t blame her,” I whimpered unable to look at her.  “I’m acting like a nerd.”

            Ginny cleared her throat. I know she was just about to say something. Her words were cut off when Ron rushed over and planted a big kiss on me. ‘Shoot me now!’ I silently screamed as Miss Piper instructed him to get back to his side of the playing field.

“Ginny,” I stammered fighting back the tears.

“Forget it,” she spat out. “Like I said nothing happened.”

“I need to talk to you.” I whispered my pathetic plea.

“It never happened.” She sternly repeated.

            I was way off all through practice. A barrage of why’s screaming through my thoughts. Why was I hurting her? Why did I feel so hurt? Why had I jumped from kissing her to ditching her in a blink of an eye? It was endless.  No small wonder that at the end of practice Miss Piper pulled me aside. “Ellen is everything okay?” She compassionately questioned. Once again Ron dashed over. “Mr. O’Keefe get back to where you belong.” She scolded him. “Okay now that your boyfriend is gone you want to tell me what is going on between you and the twins?”

            I would have loved to just blurt the whole thing out. To finally say the words and be free, but that wasn’t going to happen. It couldn’t. If I told her the truth I’d be spending my senior year locked up somewhere; or worse enduring walking the hallways of Buchanan High as a marked woman.  “Nothing.” I tried to shrug it off.

“Ellen,” she scolded me. “One of them is trying to kill you and the other looks like you killed her dog. You can talk to me.”

“Nothing,” I lied once again silently fuming that she really didn’t know which sister was which.

“Fine,” she threw in the towel. “This nothing better be done with by practice tomorrow.”

“Yes, Ma’am.” I groaned before stomping towards the locker room.

            Everyone had pretty much changed and packed up their gear when I stumbled in.  Almost everyone was watching me. “What is going on?” Margie whispered.

“Nothing,” I repeated my lie.

“We’ll get her to talk at Buddy’s,” Sandy threatened.

“Are you going?” Laurie’s icy tone cut in.

“No.” I quickly refused.

“Pity.” Laurie flashed me a smug smirk. “Bobby is waiting. Coming Sis?” She called out to Ginny who was lurking on the other side of the room.

“I’ll pass.” Ginny retorted without bothering to look up.

“You’re not.” Sandy pressed nudging me.

“I’m not going,” I hissed. “Look I’m having a bad day. End of story.”

“Leave her.” Laurie demanded.

“Uhm, no,” Sandy spat back.

“Fine.” Laurie snapped before storming out.

“Ellen,” Sandy turned her attention back towards me.

“Please,” I pleaded. “Just drop it.”

“Okay,” Margie answered for the both of them. “Call me later if you need to talk?”

“Sure.” I mumbled silently praying for everyone to just hit the bricks so I could be alone.

            They finally left leaving me all alone with the one person I couldn’t handle facing.  “Don’t worry I’m heading out,” Ginny grimly explained shoving things into her bag.  That did it the flood gates opened and I was sobbing like an infant. “No, no, no,” Ginny pleaded crossing the room.  I needed her to hold me to explain things to me. She stood just far enough away to ensure we wouldn’t touch one another. “Please don’t cry.”

“I don’t know what is happening to me,” I gulped biting back the tears.  “Why am I doing this to you?”

“You’re scared,” she gulped reaching out to me only to quickly withdraw her hand. 

“It happened so fast,” I sputtered brushing the tears away. “One moment everything was great. Then all of sudden I flipped out.”

“I understand,” she whispered.

“You do don’t you? You really understand,” I stuttered in astonishment.

“I’ve been there,” she quietly comforted me.  “Everything feels magical. Then all of sudden you feel ashamed and asking yourself if I like this so much does that mean I’m a queer?  It’s terrifying. Plus knowing how people would react to this is scary stuff.”

“That was it,” I sniffed leaning against my locker thankful that I had stopped bawling. “My parents. They came in all happy to see us hanging out together. If they knew that only moments before I was trying to jump you they’d hate me.”

“Then we should do what I said last night,” she gallantly offered. “Forget it. Pretend it never happened.”

“I don’t want that,” I sputtered finally admitting the truth. “I can’t. I don’t want to stop seeing you.”

“If we keep doing this,” she slowly began her voice trembling. “It won’t be easy. We’ll have to sneak around. Lie to everyone we care about and play games. You have to decide if you’re strong enough. I know how I feel. I . . .” My head jerked up as her words trailed off.  “I can’t tell you what to do.” She added a little too quickly.

            My brow furrowed pondering what she had really meant to say.  I dismissed the question trying to muster my courage to simply accept things as I had been doing for the past week.  Somehow just going with the flow no longer felt right.  She moved to step away and before I could think about what I was doing I grabbed her. Pulling her closer I hugged her fiercely.  “I just need to hold you,” I pleaded. She tightened her embrace warming my soul.  Standing there just holding her I had my answer. No matter how much I thought I should do it, I couldn’t let her go.  I tilted my head instantly becoming lost in her amazing blue eyes. “Damn why do you have to be so good looking?”

            “Sorry,” she quipped with a crooked smile. “Wait what are you saying?  I really need to hear you say it. I have to be honest lately when I‘m around you I feel like Helen Keller.  Every time you are near I can’t see.  I can’t hear. I can only feel. Ellen you have to tell me what you want. I may respect you, but I also respect myself. I can’t fly blind anymore. If you need to bail just say it.”

“What I need is to hold you. I can’t stay away from you,” I confessed with a hard swallow. “I guess when it hits the fan, we’ll go down together. Speaking of which you will explain that to me won’t you?”

“I guess now I have to,” she sighed dramatically.  “We’re in such trouble.”

“Big time,” I blew out reluctantly slipping from her embrace. “Again this would be easier if you were a mutant.”

“Thank you.” She shook her head. “Grab your gear and I’ll give you a lift home.”

“Can we go somewhere to talk?” I sniffed packing up my belongings.  “I feel like a rat for treating you so badly. And I’m still confused.  Some fun I am huh?”

“You’re a kick in the pants,” she laughed. “Why don’t we talk at your place?”

“Can’t,” I sighed dramatically. “My folks are there and even if we hide in my room, Sammy will be barging in every two seconds.  For some strange reason he finds you a lot more interesting than his ant farm. What about your house?”

“No can do,” she grimly supplied. “My folks are out and so is Laurie that leaves just the staff.”

“Wait; then why can’t we go to your?”

“Because some of the staff will eavesdrop,” she groaned. “And my bedroom is off limits.”

“Ginny I swear I just want to talk,” I stammered feeling a little miffed that she might not trust me.

“I believe you,” she brightly beamed. “I’m not allowed to be alone in my room with just one other person. Especially if that other person is a girl. Except Laurie of course. Punishment for my screwing up in the past.”

“Uhm you mean Laurie’s screw ups,” I growled. “Well that’s fair; she messes up and you get punished. Tell me that they didn’t know it was her? On at least one of those occasions the cops had to bring her home. Are you telling me that your parents can’t tell you apart?”

“Oh they can,” she stiffened. “I took the fall and we all go along with it.  I can’t expect you to understand.”

“Oh I get it,” I sighed. “After today I really get it. Laurie doesn’t even know what happened and she still tried to drop me on my head.  She doesn’t know does she?”

“No,” Ginny frowned. “All she knows is that I was in a miserable mood when I got in last night. And this morning. She knew I was hanging out with you and put two and two together.”

“She can add!” I curtly taunted her.

“Hey,” she cautioned me. “She’s just looking out for me.”

“I know,” I ruefully conceded. “Well where can we go? It is much too early in the day to try and sneak into the park.  We can’t go to Buddy’s the whole gang will be there.”

“Including your boyfriend,” she grimaced.  “Told you this wasn’t going to be easy. Are you sure you don’t want to just forget it?”

“Want to?” I almost laughed. “If I could then this would be a snap. I’d be at Buddy’s right now hanging all over Ron. Instead I’m going crazy just trying to think of a place where we can sit down and talk.  It’s not fair.”  I whined slumping down on one of the wooden benches that lined the rusty old lockers.

“No it isn’t,” Ginny glumly agreed taking a seat next to me.  “I wish we could walk into Buddy’s holding hands. Go to a dance together or on a date without it being such a big hairy deal. But it is a big deal.”

“It would be nice,” I added dreamily leaning against her body.  I sighed happily when she wrapped her arm around my shoulders.  “You make me so happy and I can’t be seen in public with you. Everything I’ve been told tells me this is wrong. So why does my heart tell me this is so right?”

“Is that how you feel?” She giddily inquired snuggling closer to me.

“Yes, and that is why I freaked,” I admitted.  “I don’t want to go to the next dance with Ron. I want to go with you.  I bet you’re a great dancer.”

“Ah I’m a little clumsy,” she blushed. “And all the guys accuse me of trying to lead.”

            We sat there contently leaning against one another the tension from earlier had vanished and it was just the two of us. Granted the locker room wasn’t the most romantic setting to air our problems. “Thank you Miss Piper,” I blew out. 

“Beg pardon?” Ginny giggled.  “Uhm have you developed an interest in older women?”

“No,” I smiled up at her. “I’m thanking her because for whatever reason she hasn’t popped in to kick us out.  We’re alone and I can tell you, no promise you that I will never spaz out over this again.”

“Sure you will,” she cautioned me. “Like I said this is scary stuff.”

“If I do,” I carefully began. “Next time I’ll give you some warning.  You must think that I’m a total freak. I can’t believe I jumped from trying to feel you up to not being able to look at you. Who does that?”

“We all do that,” she shook her head.  “I saw it when your parents came in. You turned pale and there was a look of sheer panic in your eyes. It was kind of hard to miss. Still a little heads up would be nice. Ellen, this scares me too.”

“You seem so sure of yourself.” I was stunned by her confession.

            She turned towards me shaking her head. “Oh yeah I’m a brick,” she smiled cupping my face in her hands. “Thank goodness your parents came home when they did. I was half an inch from throwing all of my romantic ideals right out the window.  Last Sunday, man I was a mess. I had to keep telling myself this is not a date.  Then you kissed me and I was unhinged. You certainly know how to keep a girl off balance.”

“Not my intention,” I smiled. “I tried to pretend it wasn’t a date too.  After the movie started there wasn’t any question in my mind.  It didn’t bother me until I was sitting next to you on my parent’s sofa lying to them about how our night of studying went.”

“It isn’t like you could tell them it was great because you got to second base with me,” she stated with a lilting laugh. “So first date and now our first fight. Isn’t this the part where we kiss and make up?” She added coyly quickly glancing around to ensure that we were completely alone.

“Just let me say I’m sorry one more time,” I pleaded leaning into her touch. “I’m sorry Ginny. Now show me that you forgive me.”

            “Oh I forgive you,” she whispered in a husky tone. Her eyes fluttered shut; she tenderly brushed her lips against mine.  The sweet enduring touch quickly ignited our passion.  She kissed me again; deeper parting my lips with her tongue.  I moaned wrapping my arms around her body drawing her closer.  Becoming lost in her touch was so easy. I didn’t care that we were necking in the locker room.  The dank aroma of stale sweat mixed with heinous perfume did nothing to diminish our desire.  I laced my fingers in her long blonde hair; wrapped my tongue around hers and willingly allowed her hand to slip up and under my skirt. I loved the feel of her fingers caressing my thigh. I silently pleaded for the tantalizing exploration to go even further. 

            The sounds of heavy footsteps approaching broke us apart. Each of us releasing a bitter groan angered by the intrusion.  “Girls!” Miss Piper called out. The way she cautiously entered the room struck me as a tad odd. “It’s late. I would like to lock up.”

“Sorry.” Ginny quickly apologized bolting off of the bench.

“We were just leaving,” I threw out. “Can I still get a ride with you?” I tried to sound innocent despite the way my body was wobbling.

“Sure thing.” Ginny blushed before we bolted out of the room.

            We were laughing like a couple of idiots all the way to the student parking lot. The laughter quickly died when we spotted Ron waiting by his car which was parked next to Ginny’s.  “Great.” Ginny bitterly muttered under her breath.

“I’m not going to freak,” I vowed giving her arm a quick squeeze before strolling up to Ron.

            Ron didn’t look happy.  Just a couple hours ago the guy had been all over me. Now he was scowling.  “Hi.” I gulped trying to keep a slight distance between us. 

“The gang is at Buddy’s. Want to go?” His voice was cold. 

“I can’t,” I mumbled tugging on my scarf noticing that his eyes were glued to my neck.  “I have to,”

“I get it.” He cut me off before storming over to his car and peeling rubber.

“I forgot about it,” I whispered to Ginny when she approached me.

“That is a big one,” she winced brushing her fingers against my neck. “I really got carried away. That sucker is going to take forever to heal.”

“You should see the others,” I nudged her.

“Others?” She shook her head looking closely at my neck.

“They’re not visible with my clothes on.” I blushed.

“Uhm I should get you home,” she gulped her flesh turning a deep shade of scarlet.

            The drive home was interesting. Ginny’s focus seemed to be off. Instead of watching the road she kept glancing over at me. I shivered each time her crystal blue eyes raked up and down my body.  “Turn here.” I finally demanded.

“This isn’t the way to your house?” She questioned pulling onto the dirt road that led up to Mill Hill.

“We’re never gonna make to my house in one piece,” I almost laughed.  “Someone isn’t watching the road.”

“I’m distracted,” she cringed following the road.  “I promise to behave.”

“Just pull over in there,” I shook my head guiding her to pull off into the woods just before we reached the hill.

            We looked around ensuring that the car couldn’t be seen from the road.  I turned to her when she turned off the engine. She blew out a terse breath before turning towards me. “Where?” She sputtered in amazement.

“Well, considering that you never got my clothes off,” I shyly explained. “Your mouth found its way to some really fun places.”

“Such as?” Her jaw dropped.

            I licked my lips my hands trembling as I reached up and began to unbutton my blouse.  She held me captive in a smoldering gaze.  No small wonder I was unwilling to stop what was happening between us. Just one look in her eyes and I was undone.  I had only planned on just giving her a glimpse of the love bite she had placed on my chest.  Instead I unbuttoned my blouse completely. Her eyes glazed over when I shed my blouse. My fingers shaking as I brushed against the purplish blemish just above my left breast.

            My mouth was suddenly parched as I watched her eyes drifting to where my fingers had landed.  The sounds of her labored breathing filled the car. Only the sound of my heart hammering against my chest over shadowed her needy gasps.  I released a strangled cry when her fingers brushed against my shoulder. I was shaking from the feel of her fingers tracing my bra strap.  “Ellen?” She whimpered lowering the strap down past my shoulder.  “Can I?” She trembled her other hand reaching out and lowering the other strap.  “Can I see you?” She pleaded teasing my shoulders with the tips of her fingers.

            I tried to answer her verbally, but the words caught in my throat.  I reached behind my back and unhooked my bra allowing it to fall open. I was filled with excitement and a sense of uncertainty as I removed the garment completely exposing myself to her eager gaze. I placed my bra in my lap accepting that my actions no longer possessed any sense of reason. I abandoned my sensibilities almost two weeks ago when she kissed me for the first time.  At that moment sitting there with my breasts exposed the only thing I knew for certain was if she didn’t touch me I was going to die.

            A short gasp escaped my lips when she brushed her fingers against my nipple.  My body instinctively leaned closer.  “You’re so beautiful,” she whispered dipping her head.  I murmured with pleasure; her tongue tracing the swell of my breasts. My head fell back, my eyes fluttered shut as I arched my back pressing my body against her lips.  I rolled my head against the seat; my senses ignited by the feel of her hands cupping my breasts.  Lost in the maddening sensation of her tongue flickering against my erect nipple I laced my fingers in her hair and pressed her harder against my body.

            It was too much I couldn’t stop the demanding throbbing between my thighs. Her teeth teasing and taunting my nipple only served to heighten my desire.  Our bodies slid until I was lying beneath her giving into the feel of her fingers and lips playing with my nipples. My body wriggled pressing my hips against her body.  I tightened my hold on her when I felt her pulling away.  My skin prickled; wet from her touch. I was dangling on the edge refusing to let go of her. She feasted upon my breasts; taunting and teasing me.

            My body arched grounding my hips shamelessly against her. I was so close; so willing to just give in.  Again she pulled away. I hated it but this time I allowed it.  Each of us was struggling to breathe unable to move.  “Oh this is going to be a long ride home,” I whimpered clenching my thighs hoping to ease the needy ache.

“Tell me about it,” she groaned still hovering above me. “I can’t wait to get home so I can finish what we started.”

“What?” I questioned not quite grasping her intention.  I gasped when I realized what she was referring to. “Oh a solo flight.”

“Uhm yeah,” she squeaked out in embarrassment.  “Sorry I didn’t mean to be so crude.”

“Crude my Aunt Fanny,” I smiled cupping her face in my hands. “It’s what I’m planning on doing. You drive me crazy you know that don’t you?”

“I do?”

“Yes, you do,” I confessed my body still twitching. “I’ve never acted this way before. No one has ever made me feel the way you do. I hate that you’re right about us moving too fast. I also hate trying to hold on until I lock myself in my bedroom.”  We exchanged an uneasy laugh while fumbling to return to an upright position. “I can’t believe I just told you that I do that.”

“I think everyone does it,” she offered with a quirky grin. “I’d be doing it right now if I could.”

“Me too,” I sighed wishing that I could. Then I began searching for my bra. It had grown dark making the task more difficult than it need be. Finding the garment did nothing to erase my erroneous thoughts of taking matters into my own hands.  Just thinking about doing it while Ginny watched made me tingle.

            I was just about to slip my bra back on when I looked over at her. There was something in her eyes and the way she was clutching the steering that turned my thoughts in a lurid direction.  Her gaze met mine. The look in her eyes mirrored my torrid thoughts. “Oh no we couldn’t,” she shook her head with a chuckle. “Admitting that I touch myself was unusual enough.”

“Making the jump to sharing the experience,” I blew out finally putting my bra back on.  “That’s too big of a leap. Especially since we almost threw in the towel less the twenty four hours ago. I don’t know what it is about you that inspires such naughtiness.” I laughed slipping my blouse on.

“I’m evil.” She quipped cranking the car to life.

“Yeah right,” I scowled buttoning up my blouse while she wiped the windows. 

“Fogged up again,” she sighed wistfully.

“I’d say it’s not my fault but it is,” I willingly accepted my short comings. “We better hurry I’m already in trouble. Again my fault not yours.”

“I helped,” she gloated. “Well Thursday should be fun.”

“Yes bowling with the gang,” I groaned while we waited for the car to defog. “You’ll be looking for a date for the dance and I’m a marked woman.”

“In more ways than one,” she teased. “I can’t blame him for being upset. I would be. Still it could mean I’ll be able to offer you a ride home.”

“It is always such a relief when guys dump me,” I admitted just as she began to back up the car.  “It just sucks that Ron is such a nice guy.”

“Interesting,” she whispered.


“Nothing.” She lied.

            I knew she was lying. I was curious what she found more interesting that I thought Ron was a nice guy or that I was relieved whenever I broke up with someone.  I let it go.  My plate was way too full between realizing that I really was relieved when a guy dumped me and my feelings for Ginny.  I was falling for her and hard.  I had the chance to take the easy way out and go along with her suggestion that we just forget the whole thing.  Just knowing that my fears had hurt her was bad enough. Losing her would devastate me.  I was shocked, frightened and thrilled that I hadn’t been able to let go. Talk about an eye opener.

            When we arrived at my house she walked me to the door.  My Dad burst outside ready to read me the riot act. He stopped in his tracks when he spotted Ginny.  “My fault,” she blurted out. “Mr. Druette please don’t be upset with Eleanore.  I was bending her ear and we lost track of time.”

“Dad I’m sorry.” I sheepishly threw in knowing I was in deep for missing dinner with the family.

“Well,” Dad hedged. “These things happen. We were worried. Next time call and tell us you’re with Ginny. Now say goodnight and come inside.”

            I stood there slacked jawed long after my father went back into the house. “I swear they love you more than me,” I sputtered.

“Well they might not be so understanding if they knew I was nibbling on your ear not bending it.” She frowned.

“Technically it was my,” I merrily began. My words were cut off when placed her hand over my mouth.

“You’re incorrigible,” she gaped at me withdrawing her hand after I licked it.

“Are you okay?” I asked still feeling bad about the way I had acted.

“I’m good.” She smiled.

“I still feel rotten about flaking out,” I sighed heavily.  “It doesn’t make any sense. When I’m with you everything is perfect. When I’m in the real world I’m a mess.”

“Cute mess.” She smirked.

“But a mess just the same,” I grimaced. “I don’t get why you still want to date me.”

“Like I said you’re a cute mess,” she beamed. “I gotta go.”

            I watched her leave my heart soaring as if some heavy burden had just been lifted. Strange that the reality was I just dug my grave even deeper and I knew it.  “Eleanore?” Mom called out beckoning me inside.

“Round two,” I muttered finally dragging myself inside.  “I’m sorry I was so late.”

“Your father explained that you girls lost track of time,” Mom blew it off much to my surprise. “Next time call.” She repeated Dad’s warning.  “I’ll heat up a plate for you.”

“I’m not hungry,” I apologized eager to escape to the safety of my bedroom.  All the talk and strange happens had failed to cool my body.  “If it is okay I’m just going to turn in early.”

            Mom said goodnight and I made a beeline towards my room.  I was mere inches away from sanctuary when Sammy cut me off.  “Where were you?” He whined.

“None of your business,” I growled.

            “You were with Ginny,” he gloated scrunching up his little face. I just wanted to smack the smug look he was sporting right off his face. Instead I opted for grabbing him by the back of his pajama bottoms and giving him a wedgie he wouldn‘t soon forget.  He yelped and pleaded as I dragged him into his room.

“Listen Scooter,” I tersely began flinging him down onto his bed. “That mouth of yours is going to get me in serious trouble.”

“So,” he laughed.

“Fine you don’t care about me,” I rolled my eyes. “Just remember if I get into trouble so does Ginny.” Now that made  him think.  “You have to watch some of the things you’ve been saying.”

“Just cause you like her?” He gaped at me.

“Yeah,” I growled. “And not a little trouble we’re talking big trouble. So knock it off or she won’t be able to visit anymore.” 

“Okay.” He agreed his beady little eyes filling with fear.

            I blew out a sigh of relief before storming out of his room and locking myself in my own. “Amazing the rest of the world can’t see it but the little stinker was onto us from the get go.”

            Thursday night was hell on earth. I had Laurie dogging me all night. Ron glaring at me like I should have a scarlet letter branded to my forehead and to top it off I got to watch Ginny flirting with Earl Summers.  “I told her to pick someone ugly,” I growled under my breath.

“Not gonna happen Dolly,” Laurie cackled in my ear. “Cool your jets. My sister is hot no way some bozo is going to get her number.”

“Hey Laurie you wouldn’t have a really big fly swatter handy would ya?” I taunted her.

“Why?” She snarled.

“Cause I want to kill that huge bug that crawled up your ass,” I hissed.

“You’re a cut up Eleanore,” she grimaced.

“When did you?” I sputtered noting it was the second time she called me by my real name. No one at school ever called me that not even the teachers. There was only one person she could have learned it from.

“Chill Heidi,” she groaned tugging on my braids.  “You have to understand. Ginny and I have been like peanut butter and jelly since the day Mom popped us out. You show up on the scene and suddenly she won’t give me the time of day.  How would you feel? She’s my sister.”

            As twisted as I thought Laurie was she had a point.  They shared a womb for almost nine months; spent the next seventeen years glued at the hip until I entered the picture. In a matter of just a few short days not only had they stopped dressing alike they were barely on speaking terms. “I’ll make a deal with you Laurie,” I graciously began.  “If you cut the crap, like trying to grab handle me every time you see me, and stop trying to split us up I’ll play nice. And by nice I mean I’ll be polite, but I ain’t revisiting the backseat of your car.”

“Split you up?” She blanched. “She’s not like that.”

“Laurie do we have a deal?” I cut her off.  She just glared at me. “Or do I go over there right now and tell her what you tried to do in the girl’s room the other day?”

“We have a deal,” she meekly agreed. “I’ll even pinky swear. She’s my best friend and I don’t want to lose that.”

“I understand,” I smiled. “I don’t want to drive a wedge between the two of you. I just want you to stop trying to do the same to us.  Now buy me a coke cause I can’t sit here and watch her pretending not to know how to roll a ball down the alley.”

“Pitiful isn’t it,” Laurie agreed. “Come on let’s hit the snack bar.”

            Laurie’s personality instantly changed from that moment on.  Once again the world righted itself until I eyeballed Ron lurking in a corner. I already knew he was ticked off when I had to walk to the bowling alley.  Now there he was standing there a cigarette dangling from his lips looking like a dime store version of James Dean.  ‘Now what am I going to say to him? He knows he isn’t the one who ravished my neck along with other parts of my body.’  The latter I discovered Sunday night when I went to take a shower. Considering how much of my clothing remained on my body, Ginny was very resourceful.

“This isn’t going to be good,” Margie snuck up on me while I was staring at Ron.  “What are you going to tell him?”

            “What can I say?” I sighed. “He knows I cheated on him.  I’m sorry ain’t gonna cut it. I’ll just fess up and let him dump me. So I miss one dance. No biggie.”  Truth was in our little world not showing up at a dance wearing some guy’s jacket was catastrophic. 

            The hardest part was Ron was a great guy, someone I liked hanging out with and could actually talk to.  Life just wasn’t fair. If it was I would have fallen for him and not another girl.  How did this happen? When did I cross some invisible line that wouldn’t allow a single moment to pass without my thoughts turning towards Ginny?  And what did that make me? Was it just her? Or had I somehow transformed into some kind sideshow freak that only did it with women?  Everything I thought I knew about the subject was that girls only went after other girls because they were sick or too ugly to get a guy.  It wasn’t true. I really liked Ginny and she really liked me and we were neither sick nor unattractive. 

“Might as well get it over with,” I muttered to Margie.

“Here?” She gasped.

“Hey everyone knows I cheated,” I reasoned. “Letting him dump me in public is the least I can do.”

            I felt my knees shaking as I approached him. The scowl never left his face as I made the agonizing trek from the snack bar to the pool table. I just wanted to get it over with. “What’s up?” He tossed out trying way too hard to sound cool.

“I’m sorry,” I woefully began. “Look you deserve better so just do it.”  He snatched the cigarette from his mouth and rolled his eyes. Not the response I was expecting.  “I’m serious,” I pushed forward. “Dump me.”

“Ellen,” he grumbled slumping his shoulders. “It kind of sucks the life out of it if you give me permission.”

“Sorry.” I cringed realizing that I truly was emasculating him.

“Just tell me are you in love with him?” He almost pleaded.

            “Love?” I choked. Now that was a scary word. I was comfortable with the phrases I had been using, I’m falling for her and I really like her. But love now that’s a biggie. Cause if I’m in love with her then that would mean that I really am those words Laurie was terrified of being called.  I was shaking like a leaf. The word screaming in my brain.

“Are you?”

“I . . . I   . . . I Uhm . . . I don’t know,” I finally blurted out the “L” word still rattling in my head.

            He leaned back and studied me while I stood there silently questioning if I was in love with Ginny Swenson. He just kept looking at me deep in thought while I was ready to have a panic attack. “Ellen,” he finally broke the silence. “If we give it another try you have to promise not to sneak around with other guys.”


“I’m serious no dating other guys if we are together,” he stood firm.

            “I promise I won’t date other guys,” I vowed feeling a wave of relief washing over me. Okay I was clinging to semantics but he said no other guys now that I could promise.  I could still go out with Ginny on Sunday and stop wondering if I was in love with her. This was something my teenaged brain could really twist and rationalize.

            “So I hear you and Ron made up,” Ginny questioned later as she slid next to me after I had thrown my last gutter ball of the night.  “Guess I’m not driving you home tonight.”

“Yeah, sorry about that,” I squeamishly confessed not missing the way her body tensed up.

“How did you get him to forgive you?” She whispered before lifting her bottle of coke to her lips.

“I had to promise not to see other guys,” I whispered in response causing her to choke.

“Oh that’s priceless,” she laughed while wiping the cola from her lips.

“Are you going on a date with Earl?” I mumbled picking at my skirt.

“Saturday after the game,” she sighed. “We do what we have to do Ellen.  I hate it just as much as you do. But next time around I doubt I’ll get off with a slap on the wrist and a stern lecture from the judge. I think I should fix my lipstick.” She coyly added.

“The bathroom is too busy,” I explained fully understanding what her plans were. “So is the parking lot.”

“You so have my number,” she smirked.

“Yes I do.”

“Sunday is long way off,” she sighed.

“Yes it is.”

            Sunday did indeed take an eternity to arrive.  The days that proceeded it were sheer agony. Ron and I had reconciled which meant that we had to hang all over one another every time we were seen in public. Then, of course, there was the obligatory trip to Mill Hill Saturday night after the victory party. Plus there was the added attraction of watching Ginny at the party with Earl. Granted Earl was behaving like a gentleman still I knew that at the end of the evening she would kiss him goodnight. If she refused; he wouldn’t invite her to the dance.

            Come Sunday morning I was sitting on the front porch next to Sam who was devouring Doctor Doolittle.  I was excited just knowing that I was going to spend the day with Ginny. Still there was this nagging thought that was plaguing me. ‘Was it always going to be like this? Was there ever going to be a day when we could just be together and say to hell with the rest of world?’ I glanced up and down the picture postcard street I lived on and thought that no it was never going to happen.  Another troubling thought why was I so gone after spending one day with her?  It had only been seven days since our first outing and already I was scheming up ways to be alone with her as often as possible.  I was even thinking about life after high school.

            The only hope I had was to try and convince Ginny that Smith was a much better choice than Stanford.  Another bright spot in my dismal life. We wanted to attend colleges that were conveniently located on opposite sides of the country.  I did consider picking Stanford until I realized that I had a better shot at seeing President Eisenhower in a dress than I would convincing my parents to allow me to go to school in California.  In just one week’s time I felt like a different person.  I shook my head in an effort to stop putting the cart before the horse. I turned my attention to my kid brother.

“Enjoying the book?” I questioned Sam who was lost in his own little world. Imagine my surprise when he looked up and spoke to me.

“It is so nifty,” he brightly beamed.  “Thanks for buying it for me.”

“You’re welcome Sam.”

“Hey she told,” he scowled.  “Ginny promised.”

“I know she did,” I groaned feeling like a rat. “But she’s my very best friend.  And she thought you would be happier if I stopped calling you Scooter and Skippy and Stinky and,”

“Stop.” He laughed.  “When is she coming?”

“Soon.” I confirmed checking my watch.  “So do you forgive her?”

“Yes,” he nodded watching the street.

“Cause she’s pretty?” I teased.

“She is,” he smiled boldly.

“Oh you just like looking at her boobs you little perv,” I swatted him.

“So do you,” he grunted.

“What did I tell you about that?” I choked out.  “You can’t say that.”


“Because if someone heard you Ginny and I couldn’t hang out together anymore,” I tried to explain while saying a silent prayer that he would never ever repeat this conversation.

“Why?” He wailed.

“Because.” I fumed.

“Why?” He wasn’t giving up.

“Because.” I growled smacking him in the head again. I almost had an aneurism when he threw out another why.  The why because debate raged on for a good ten minutes until my mother caught wind of it and broke up the party.

“Eleanore unless you want to spend the day playing why because I suggest you make him stop,” Mom informed me.


“Skeeter stop it,” she wagged her finger at him.

“Why?” He demanded.

“Because I said so,” Mom skillfully cut him down.

“Okay.” He shrugged his little shoulders before returning his attention back to Doctor Doolittle.

“That’s it!” I wailed.

“Always worked with you,” she shrugged sitting next to me.

“I never did that,” I emphatically denied.

“Oh of course you did,” she laughed patting my knee.  “Now Eleanore,” she began.

‘Oh no I don’t like the sound of this.’

“Your father and I were talking,” she prattled on.

‘I really don’t like the sound of this!’

“All this time you are spending with Ginny,” she calmly proceeded as my heart stopped. “We think that she is so nice and such a good influence on you.”

“Thank you,” I said with a hard swallow waiting for the other shoe to drop.

“We thought since you two gals liked spending your Sundays together that when you go out with her you could stay out till ten,” she finished shocking the bejesus out of me.  “Only if it is just you girls.  Now do you need a little pin money for today?”

“Uhm,” I sputtered shaking my head. “Sure.”

            I felt I had entered an alternate universe when Mom slipped me a twenty just as Ginny pulled up.  I hadn’t been this surprised since I heard my Dad say that Jack Webb was cool. First Dad never said cool and secondly Jack Webb was so not cool.  “Good morning Mrs. Druette,” Ginny brightly greeted the woman I was almost certain was my mother.

“Well Good Morning Ginny,” Mom beamed.  “What have you two gals got planned for today?”

“Nothing special,” Ginny smiled sweetly. “Hi Sam.”

“Hi Ginny,” he sighed with goofy grin. I saw where he was looking and just before I could smack him the little bugger turned and gave me a self satisfying smirk.

“Oh man,” I muttered under my breath catching the drift of what he was doing.  If I didn’t tell him to stop he wouldn’t rat me out.  Blackmail is such an ugly word but lately it seemed to be working.  “Enjoy the book,” I sneered. It was my way of telling him that I agreed to his terms.

            We had just crossed the town line when Ginny pulled over into a deserted parking lot.  I felt my breathing hitch when she turned to me.  There was something about the mischievous gleam in her eyes that was my undoing.  “Before we go any further,” she began in a very serious tone. “Do you need to make certain that my doppelganger didn’t show up in my place?”

“Well if I’ve learned anything from Mom’s soaps it is that there is always an evil twin.”

“Trust me I am the evil twin,” Ginny purred slipping closer to me.

“Really?” I sighed my eyes raking up and down her body.

“It’s a fact,” the timber of her voice sent a shiver coursing through my body.  “I just want to reassure you that you are out with the right woman.” She taunted me while lacing her fingers with mine.  “As I recall you said there was only one way to be completely certain which one of us was which.”

“True,” I sighed caressing her arms. “I wouldn’t want to waste my day with the wrong woman.  So I guess you’ll have to kiss me.”

            That kiss sent me over the moon. It wasn’t heavy breathing and groping it was soft and sweet.  Still the lingering kiss was so sensual. How could anyone kiss like that? I wrote it off as one of life’s many mysterious.  Once I had confirmed that I was indeed in the company of the lady of my choice the kiss came to an end. Not because I had unmasked her true identity but because we feared being caught.

“Oh Ginny,” I sighed wistfully slipping back to my side of the Cherry mobile.

“Are we a couple of corn balls or what?” She laughed putting the car in drive.

“Its a fact.” I whole heartedly agreed.

            We drove up to New Hampshire that day and did a little hiking and sight seeing before stopping at this roadside diner for grub. The best part of eating at the little truck stop was that Ginny was there. Other than that the place was a greasy spoon. All the food was slathered in fat and deep fried. We didn’t care; we were together. We took our time making our way back stopping at the Carlisle woods to look at the stars.  We really did look at the stars. Well that was until we named most of the constellations then we found something more exciting to occupy our time.

            Kind of ironic since my sexual awakening had begun in those woods with her sister.  Ginny chose to park by the lake away from the wooded picnic area Laurie had taken me to. It would become our spot. It was below the Hill and almost always empty.  

            We got back a little early that night so we sat on my front porch.  I remember thinking as we looked up at the night sky that we really were a couple of cornballs and that my parents should invest in one of those porch swings.  Now that would be romantic sitting on the swing on a cool crisp autumn evening with her just watching the stars.  It would turn cold soon you could smell it in the air. I sighed happily as we sat there our shoulders rubbing together. 

“Can I ask you something?” I began there had only been one thing troubling me that day and I wanted to clear the air.

“Anything,” she smiled turning towards me.       

            I couldn’t help smiling in return before I remembered what I had wanted to ask her.  “Did you tell Laurie my name, my real name?”

“What’s wrong with your name?” My mother interrupted us by stepping out on the porch I grimaced when my father followed.

“Oh it is just dandy.” I grunted.

“Beautiful night.” Dad sighed happily wrapping his arm around Mom’s shoulders.

            I shifted slightly away from Ginny who was smiling up at my parents.  It was hard not to smile. For a couple of old fogies at times they acted like newlyweds.  “Eleanore Roosevelt is a great lady.” Dad sternly informed me.

“No doubt Dad,” I agreed. “It was just a little embarrassing on my first day of school.”

“Embarrassing?” Dad grumbled.

“Not to interrupt a family brawl,” Ginny cleared her throat. “I believe you asked me a question. Yes, I told Laurie but not to be mean or anything.  I thought it was funny.”

“Funny?” My Dad grunted.

“Not funny ha ha,” Ginny quickly amended. “Ironic because my middle name is Woolf.”

“Huh?” I shook my head not understanding why my mother was laughing then it hit me. “Virginia Woolf?”

“Now girls,” Mom continued giggle. “The both of you have been blessed. You’re named after a remarkable first lady who still does good work. And you are named after a brilliant author.  Nothing to be ashamed of.”

“Now I know where you get your love of books from.” Ginny smiled.

“Both of them actually.” I confessed.

“Isn’t it nice how they talk about us like we aren’t here?” Dad quipped.

“So what’s Laurie’s middle name?” I questioned.

“Samantha,” Ginny grimaced. “Laura Samantha Swenson. They already had a name picked out if it was a girl. They just weren’t expecting two of us.”

“Oh my, one of you must have been shy,” Mom giggled.  “I got so big when I was carrying Ellie I was terrified that she was going to be twins.  Stop staring Sam.”  She scolded my Dad. I jerked my head up relieved when I discovered that he was ogling Ginny’s car again. “It’s just a car.”

“Well that’s my cue to make tracks,” Ginny sighed regrettably standing. “Unless you wanted to take it for a spin Sir?”  She taunted Dad dangling the keys in front of him.

“Really?” He gushed.

“No Sam,” Mom halted him.

“I don’t mind,” Ginny politely offered.

“That is sweet of you Ginny, but Mr. Druette indulged a little tonight,” Mom cautioned.

“Dang it all,” Dad grunted. “You’re right Honey. Drinking and driving don’t mix. Can’t expect you kids not to do it if I do. But thank you Ginny.” Then he excused himself before heading back inside.

“Never could hold his liquor,” Mom offered in conspiratorial whisper.  “That’s how you got your name.”

“What?” I gaped at her noticing a clearness in her eyes.  Over the past couple weeks I had noticed that even though she was still glued to the soaps the afternoon martini sessions had stopped along with Dad’s pre dinner cocktail.  I had to admit it was nice.

            “Why don’t we walk Ginny to her car?” Mom offered keeping her voice low and checking over her shoulder to ensure Dad wasn’t lurking about.  We strolled towards the car when she quietly began. “Your father was a nervous Nellie the whole time I was expecting you. First baby and all. Well I was in the delivery room and he was pacing in the waiting room with the rest of the new dads.  Location for business’ is very important.”

“That is what my Dad always says,” Ginny concurred.

            “Mr. McGinty was a wise man; retired at thirty because he had the good sense to put a bar across the street from the wing of the hospital that housed the maternity ward,” Mom giggled.  “Mr. Druette decided to take a little stroll. When he got back the doctors told him its a girl and he shouted out Eleanore Roosevelt before I could stop him.” I had laugh at the way Mom was dramatically waving her hands.

“Maybe that is why my brother was named Nathaniel Hawthorne?” Ginny questioned leaning against her car.

“Your parents certainly have a thing for literature,” Mom teased. “Wait I didn’t know you had a brother?”

“Had.” I softly clarified.

“Oh I’m sorry,” Mom apologized giving Ginny a hug.

            Ginny and I said goodnight.  It was killing me not to be able to at least hug her.  “She is such a nice girl.” Mom said guiding me back towards the house.  “One of these Sundays you girls should stay and join the family for dinner.”

“That would be nice Mom.” I nodded wondering how my suddenly understanding parents would feel if they knew what was really going on between Ginny and I.

            The following Sunday we shared dinner with my family. Ginny fit right in even joining in when Dad suggested an impromptu game of football on the lawn. Even little Sammy joined in on the game, something he never did. I think the little bugger just wanted a chance to be in a huddle with Ginny.  Mom took pictures and the whole family had a great day.  After the festivities Sammy was shuffled off to bed and my folks settled in front of the television. Ginny and I opted to take a long walk.

            We could have gone for a drive ending up at our favorite spot. It just didn’t seem right that night. It was a cool, crisp autumn evening and a stroll around my quaint neighborhood was the perfect ending to a perfect day.  We must have circled the block over a hundred times.  We didn’t care; we were far too caught up in just talking with one another.  As much as I enjoyed our hot and heavy make out session, just being with her exchanging our thoughts was pure bliss. For me it was another awakening. We didn’t have to be physical to enjoy one another.  Don’t get me wrong the physical aspect was amazing and I was eagerly anticipating learning more.  Ginny after all was a very gifted tutor.

            Still just walking and talking that night filled me with hope that there was so much more happening between us than simple raw passion. The only drag was we couldn’t hold hands. Another reminder that the world was unprepared for us. There was one other thing niggling at me. Each time Ginny spoke of her future plans it was always prefaced with the word we.  Me not being one of the we. No she was referring to her twisted twin sister.  I wanted to tell her that just perhaps it was time to cut the cord.  I couldn’t bring myself to say it knowing it would only serve to spoil our romantic evening.  After our stroll was over we hid down at the end of the driveway stealing a few shy kisses before she had to leave.

            The following week proved to be exciting. It was Home coming. A very important event in our little world.  Our duties were to the team and, of course, our men. That part was a huge drag but, as Ginny said, we do what we have to do.  The team rocked led by Bobby and Stewie.  The game was a blow out.  We cheered our hearts out along the sidelines our cheeks rosy from the cold weather not that it mattered. The Tigers were kicking serious butt, my parents were cheering us on from the stands, and Ginny was by my side. It was a great weekend. The whole town got into the celebration. There were parties, dances and general hoopla. For me the best part was Sunday.  Ginny surprised me with dinner at my first grown up restaurant. The Cantina Italiana was nestled in Boston‘s North End. I felt shabby when the Mairte d’ greeted us and escorted us to a table nestled in the back away from prying eyes.

            I felt like a fish out of water when I spied the candle burning brightly on the table making the dozen some odd forks sprawled across the table glisten. The table cloths and napkins were real linen.  I looked down at my simple dress feeling completely frumpy.

“You look amazing.” Ginny reassured me as if she was reading my thoughts.

“Thank you,” I blushed brushing out my simple dress that I only dragged out of my closet so I could wear it to a wedding or a funeral. “So do you.” I sighed appreciatively drinking in the vision of her beaded black dress that clung to her body in all the right places.  ‘Oh I so don’t want to end tonight with a nice romantic stroll.’ My inner self screamed.

“I hope you like Italian,” she shyly whispered. “The food is really good here. Pity we can’t indulge in a little wine. They have a really great selection.”

            I just nodded my head perusing the menu trying to understand what was what.  Hell I was thrown that the menu was thick and not printed out on cheap paper.  I never thought much about the economic differences between us until that moment. Yes, I noticed her fancy set of wheels, the way her house was set up like a museum, and the color television which was just unheard of, and of course, the staff running around making sure that everything was perfect. The thing was when I was with Ginny, she was just Ginny. She even had an after school job unlike Sandy and Laurie who also were born to the Country Club set.

“See anything you like?” She questioned after I had managed to drain my glass of water.  I was so nervous that I just kept sipping the water hoping she wouldn’t notice that she was out with a complete dweeb.

“Besides you?” I nervously smiled.

“You’re so naughty,” she softly cooed.  “I love it.”

            I blushed and set my menu down. Blowing out a terse breath. “Can I be honest?” I quietly questioned.

“Always.” She insisted covering my hand with her own.

“I feel a little out of my element here,” I timidly confessed.  “Most places I go out to everything comes with fries. I have no idea what half the stuff on the menu is.”

“Do you want to go somewhere else?” She graciously offered.

            “No way,” I laughed. “I just forget sometimes, well most times, we really aren’t from the same side of the tracks.  It’s like when I go out shopping with Sandy. I forget that she’s only going to the same school as us because she got kicked out of that fancy smancy private school her folks shipped her off to. Whenever we go shopping she finds a dozen things she likes and just tells the clerk to put it on Daddy’s bill and ship it to the house. Me, if I find anything I have to balance whether or not the sweater is worth it or if I should just put the money in my college fund.”

“I didn’t mean to make you feel uncomfortable,” she quickly apologized. “We really can go somewhere else.”

“No,” I smiled. “This place is great. But you will have to order for me.  And explain to me what you ordered. So next time I’ll know.”

“You trust me?” She pried with a devilish grin.

“Implicitly.” I agreed.

“Ooo I just love big words,” she beamed. “Fine I’ll order but I have to warn you that everything is so good. Chances are after we finish we’ll be so stuffed that we might not fit through the door. After dinner I suggest taking a long walk.”

“I’m in your more than capable hands,” I sighed thinking a walk was the last thing I wanted to do that night.

            Ginny wasn’t shining me on dinner was outstanding. I had to pass on dessert which is something I rarely do. I was truly looking forward to walking around the city. It was the only way my dress would still fit after devouring the mounds of veal and pasta, not to mention the appetizers she had ordered.  The conversation during dinner once again warmed my heart. The only surprising events were that no one seemed to notice that throughout the meal we were holding hands and some gentleman sent over a bottle of wine. I was ready to refuse fearful that we would get into trouble.

“We can’t,” Ginny explained in a hushed tone. “That is Gino Degrassi. Like Sandy I spent a lot of years in private schools.  His daughter and I were friends years ago. I think Daddy does a little business with him.”

“I don‘t get it,” I stammered. “Then he knows we’re underage.”

“Trust me no one will object to his gift. Suffice to say that in this neighborhood you don’t refuse any gift he offers,” Ginny softly cautioned removing her hand from mine when the silver haired gentleman approached.  “Thank you Mr. Degrassi. It was very kind of you to send over such a fine vintage.”

“It is my pleasure,” he nodded politely. This guy was beyond suave.  “I understand you left Oak Ridge. Pity. You were very helpful with Gina and her studies. For that I am most grateful. Also it is a sin to allow two such beautiful young ladies to forgo enjoying wine with a fine meal.”

“I got into some trouble,” she shamefully supplied. “Daddy felt it was best that we try public school.”

“I see,” he narrowed his eyes. “According to my daughter it was your sister who made the transgression. I hold anyone that protects their family in very high regard.”

“Mr. Degrassi this is my friend Eleanore,” she nervously introduced me.

“A pleasure,” he nodded taking my hand and kissing the back of it. “Enjoy the wine.”

“Thank you again sir,” Ginny politely addressed him.  “My best to Gina and the rest of the family.”

            Then he was gone. I sipped the wine taking our time since Ginny had to drive. I was shocked when the waiter explained that Mr. Degrassi had picked up our check.  “Beautiful night,” I sighed happily once we exited the restaurant. “So tell me about our benefactor?”

“He’s a nice guy,” she hedged as we strolled along the winding streets. “His daughter and I were friends.”

“Oh?” I cringed, feeling a slight twinge of jealousy.

“Not special friends,” she quickly amended. “She was having so much trouble with some of her studies that she was on the verge of flunking out. I helped her, not because of who her father is but because she needed it.”

“And exactly who is her father?” I couldn’t refrain from questioning.

“Gino Degrassi is a made man,” she blew out with a slight shiver.

“Still lost.”

“Cosa Nostra,” she slowly explained. Again I was completely dumbfounded. “Mafia.” She finally spelled out.

“He’s a gangster?” I squealed stopping in my tracks.

“Oh not just a gangster,” she shivered once again. “This guy is way up there. Trust me you don’t want to be on his bad side.  Sleeping with the fishes isn’t just a colorful expression in his world. If we had refused the wine, he would have been insulted. Trust me he is the last guy you want to insult. Or owe a favor to.”

“He seemed so nice,” I stammered.

“He is,” she shrugged. “Just because he’s in the mob doesn’t mean he lacks manners.  I just hope my Dad really isn’t doing business with him.”

“Wow you really know how to show a girl a good time,” I gasped slipping my hand in hers. “An elegant meal and a fine bottle of wine complements of a mob boss.”

“I do what I can,” she boasted. “Wouldn’t want you to get bored with me.”

“You are never boring,” I surmised slipping my hand from hers when we spotted another couple approaching. “I hate that.” I groaned as we continued our stroll.

“It really sucks,” she grimaced.

            The walk around the city was beautiful. It was Sunday night and the bustling city was quiet. Unlike later times there weren’t any nightclubs open or bars. It was still against the law to go dancing on Sunday nights.  I later learned that was why all of the underground dance clubs geared towards gays were open on Sundays. The reasoning being that no decent person would go out on a Sunday night.  Fine I wasn’t decent and I didn’t care. I was enjoying the city and my charming escort. It made me feel like I was halfway to heaven.

“Stop by the lake,” I quietly suggested after we crossed the town line.

“Ellen,” she whimpered. “I really want to but it is already way past your curfew.”

“Not fair,” I pouted as she laughed. “Do you have any idea how hot you look in that dress?”

“Thank you,” she whispered and I could see a slight blush covering her delicate features. “I just don’t want you to get grounded.  If we can’t go out next Sunday it will kill me.”

“So dramatic,” I teased her by sliding my hand up along her thigh.

“You fight dirty,” she choked out still directing her car towards my home.  “It’s almost midnight.”

“I don’t care,” I groused. “Fine but would you park at the end of the driveway? I really want to thank you for tonight.”

            She just smiled stopping the car by the overgrown hedges. We wasted no time in fogging up the windows. I slipped her coat from her body. My hands were eagerly exploring every inch of her dress before taking a detour beneath it. She kept kissing me only stopping to whimper my name. I was doing my fair share of whimpering when she began massaging my breasts.  She released a frustrated groan when I finally forced myself to curb our passion.

“You take my breath away,” I whimpered pulling away from her fearful that I would once again give into temptation.

“You are much too far away from me,” she purred casting a hooded gaze over at me.

            I bit down on my bottom lip fighting against the tidal wave coursing through my body. “And I’m over two hours late for my curfew,” I reluctantly stated. “I wish we could just run away and leave all this behind us.”

“So do I,” she blew out straightening her clothing. “Do you want me to come in with you? Your folks seem to be very understanding when I talk to them.”

“No,” I snickered. “I’ll face the music by myself this time. You really do have a way with my parents. Still I can handle it.”

            She walked me to the door, the porch light instantly flipping on. “Oh I’m in trouble,” I grimaced. “Good night. If they don’t kill me I’ll see you in school tomorrow.”

“Good night.” She smiled before making her departure.

“Eleanore Roosevelt Druette,” Dad bellowed the second I opened the door.

“I’m screwed,” I mumbled quickly closing the door behind me.

“Do you have any idea what time it is?” Dad continued his tirade. “What on earth were you doing all night? It’s almost one in the morning.”

            I almost corrected him by saying it was only twelve thirty seven but somehow I thought it would be a poor choice. “I’m sorry.” I cringed not missing the way my mother was glaring at me from behind my father’s back.

“Start talking young lady,” he demanded. “If this isn’t good you’re not seeing the outside world until you’re thirty.”

“We went to dinner,” I feebly began mentally calculating how many years I’d be under house arrest.

“Try again,” Dad growled. “On a Sunday night nothing is open past nine.”

“We went into Boston,” I shrank back.

“Boston? Now what is wrong with grabbing a bite to eat in Cedar Hills?” Mom threw in her two cents.

“Well the restaurant was really nice,” I gulped.

“Oh please,” Mom scoffed. “What restaurant?”

“It was called,” I quickly scrambled. “Cantina Italiana.”

“Beg pardon?” Mom gaped. “You went there? I’ve never been there. I always wanted to.”

“Have you been drinking?” Dad demanded sniffing me.

“Oh boy,” I groaned shaking in my shoes.

“What did you have to eat?” Mom inquired seeming to lose track of the situation.

“Doris? She’s been drinking!” Dad harped.

“Eleanore you know better than that,” Mom wagged her finger at me.

“We didn’t order the wine,” I protested. “Ginny said that we had to accept when Mr. Degrassi sent it over. She said refusing his gift would have been rude.”

“Rude?” Mom huffed. “What kind of fruitcake buys a bottle of wine for a couple of teenagers?”

“Degrassi?” Dad turned pale. “Princess what was his first name?”

“Who cares?” Mom fussed.

“Gino.” I shrugged not having the slightest clue that my dear sweet father would have a clue.  “His daughter was at one of Ginny’s old schools and I guess Ginny helped her with her grades. So he sent over the wine and picked up the check to thank her. You know for helping his daughter. We wanted to say no.”

“Then you should have.” Mom was on a roll.

“Uhm, no they couldn’t,” Dad gulped.


“Doris he’s a wise guy,” Dad shook his head.

“Huh?” Mom questioned.

“A mobster,” Dad clarified.  “They couldn’t insult him. Trust me.”

“You were eating with gangsters?” Mom screeched.

“No I ate with Ginny,” I shook my head.  “We just said hello and thanked him for his generosity.  I swear that was it. Ginny only knows him because she helped his kid with her grades.”

“Good call,” Dad gulped.  “So what was he like?” He brightly chimed.

“Really nice,” I confessed with a hint of surprise. “And a sharp dresser too. You know if Ginny hadn’t of told me what he does I would have thought he was just a nice business man.”

“Oh no Sam,” Mom piped in. “She’s not getting off the hook. Staying out this late and drinking just because it was an adventure doesn’t mean she gets a pass on this one.”

“Right,” Dad conceded. “For the next week, your life is restricted to school, work, practice and the game. That’s it. No going out next Sunday.”

“Dad!” I wailed.

“For pity sake Eleanore it is only one week,” Mom hushed me. “You can invite Ginny over here for dinner, but no strolls afterward.  Honestly for this little stunt you should be locked up for at least a month.”

“Okay,” I accepted knowing that I was really getting off easy.

“Good,” Mom nodded linking her arm in mine and guiding me towards the staircase. “And since you’ll be spending so much time at home you can tell me all about the restaurant and that gangster fellow.”

“Geez Mom you’re frothing at the mouth,” I shook my head.

“You’re seventeen and your life is more exciting than mine,” she scolded me.  “But as I said you’ll have so much free time this week you can share all the details with your poor old mother while you’re cooking dinner, doing the dishes, folding the laundry; you get my point.”

“Yes, Ma’am.” I gave in.

“Now bed young lady,” she sternly informed me. “You have to get up for school in a couple of hours.”

            The following week I was restricted to school, work and general slave labor around the house. Not a bad deal except my mother needed to hear every little detail about my trip into the city. She was thrilled and I think a little hurt. When Mom was seventeen she was already married to my dad. “Why did you pass on dessert?”  She was horrified.

“Trust me after that meal I was far too stuffed,”  I confided in her.

“I would have gone for bust,” Mom proclaimed.

“Well your anniversary is coming up maybe you could convince Dad to take you there,” I reasoned.

“Fat chance,” she laughed. “Eleanore just so we are clear, you’re not going to pull another stunt like this. Is that understood? Next time we won’t be so forgiving. Lucky for you we like Ginny.”

            I looked over at her taken aback by the look of hesitation in her eyes. I didn’t get it at the time. Later I’d realized my mother wasn’t as unworldly as I had always assumed that she was.  Back then I just assumed she was worried I had stayed out so late and had been drinking.  I just shrugged it off. I spent the entire week at school dodging questions. Everyone wanted to know why I had been grounded.  I must have come up with dozens of lame excuses. No one believed me. What could I do? Ginny and I craved that one day a week when it was just the two of us. If I fessed up that I had been out with her, I knew they’d want to crash the party.

            Ginny was thrilled that I had only been grounded for one week and we could still see one another that Sunday, even if it was under the watchful eye of my parents.  “I’m counting the days,” I confided in her after practice one afternoon.

“Still one week isn’t so bad,” she tried to comfort me.

            That weekend the unthinkable happened.  We were on the sidelines cheering our hearts out when the crowd suddenly became quiet. Just the weekend before we won the big Homecoming game. Bobby was the hero and naturally at the dance that night Laurie, by virtue of being his steady, received the honor of being elected Homecoming Queen.  Seven days later there was no celebrating around the bonfire.  It was the middle of the third quarter when Bobby got sacked and didn’t get up.  In the blink of an eye Bobby Walford’s life changed forever.  He broke his leg effectively ending his season and his shot at a full ride from LSU. 

            A couple of nights later Ron and I were cruising around. Everyone had been down in the dumps when Bobby broke his leg.  Not only was one of our friends hurt but it began a downward spiral for the team.  Even though Ron never made my heart go pitter pat he was a good friend. It was getting late and since it was a school night we’d have to be heading home soon. One of the things I really liked about Ron was he never pushed to get me to go parking. Even when we went to a dance together he never groped me. I always felt like a rat. There I was dancing in his arms while looking over his shoulder watching Ginny dancing with her date. Each time they would play The Great Pretender, I just wanted to bust out crying.

            That night Ron was more than eager to settle for grabbing a couple of burgers at Buddy’s before driving me home.  Knowing that none of the gang was out that night we parked in one of the spots outside deciding to just eat in the car.  The carhop rolled up ready to take our order when Stewie came rushing out. “Guys I need your help!” He frantically pleaded.

“What gives?” Ron questioned climbing out of his Desoto Woodie Wagon. Being the gentleman he was he quickly made his way over and opened the passenger side door for me.

“It’s Bobby,” Stewie blew out. “He’s lost it man.”

            We rushed after Stewie uncertain of what had happened.  Bobby was all alone in one of the booths looking like he had just lost his best friend.  ‘Why Do Fools Fall In Love?’ was blaring from the jukebox. “He’s been playing that song over and over again,” Stewie confided. “Anytime anyone else tries to play something else he takes a swing at them with his crutch. My Dad is ready to call the cops.”

“What happened besides losing his spot on the team?” Ron asked.

“Laurie gave him the old heave ho,” Stewie grumbled.

“Well she certainly doesn’t waste any time.” I grunted.

            I could smell the booze long before I got near him. Laurie had struck again. “Hey Bobby,” I greeted him.

“Ellen.” He sniffed.

“What do ya say Bobby? How about Ron and I give you a lift home?” I suggested. “Or pick another song. Frankly you’re bringing the place down.”

“No.” He flatly refused.

“Bobby,” I slowly began trying to think of the right words. “For the record Laurie is a first class, A number one bitch. You can do better.”

“You don’t get it,” he shouted. “Nobody understands.”

            “Oh I understand,” I sighed fighting against the anger boiling up inside of me. The problem was I did understand. I had seen Laurie flashing her true colors all too many times. Dumping Bobby after he was no longer a trophy was her style. “I understand that you broke your leg and when you needed her the most she ditched you. I understand that if something bad had happened to her you would have moved heaven and earth just to help her out. Now come on.”

            It took Ron and me another hour to finally convince Bobby to get his butt in the car. His parents were disappointed when we carried him in drunk as a skunk.  I think they loosened up a little bit when I explained that Laurie dumped him. They thanked us for taking care of him and then Ron drove me home where I had to face my own parents. It was really late when I got in. Although they seemed to be understanding that I was delayed because I was helping a friend, I still got a lecture.

            In the following weeks Laurie moved on to at least two new boyfriend.  Bobby started a downward spiral and Ron was beginning to distrust me. As well he should since I ditched him every Sunday to be with Ginny.  We tried to be careful still little marks on my person clearly revealed that Ron was not the only person in my life. I didn’t care. I was only concerned with my college entrance exams, spending as much time with Ginny as possible, and trying to get Bobby to pull his head out of his ass.  Helping Bobby was the only thing that wasn’t working. 

            I was seventeen and thought I was invincible.  All I had to do was endure a semester and a half of high school and figure out a way to keep Ginny in my life the following September. My first indication that life wasn’t what I thought it was happened one night when Mom was watching the evening news.  Gino Degrassi, the kindly older man who treated me to my first taste of expensive wine, made the mistake of stepping out of his home without his bodyguard.  He was gunned down by a group of unknown assailants.  It was so strange to see it on television. I had met this man and he had treated me kindly.  Ginny reminded me that despite his manners he was a mobster.  Her father was unhinged by the event not by any loyalty he felt towards Mr. Degrassi, but because he was probably doing business with him.

            Ginny’s fears that her father was in bed with the mob were confirmed when the Christmas trip was suddenly canceled. “So you get to stay here for Christmas?” I was giddy at the thought that we could share the holiday together. I didn’t understand why Ginny was glum.

“Ellen,” she confided one afternoon while we were lingering by my locker. “He canceled the trip because the business associate he was meeting is dead.”

“Mr. Degrassi?” I gulped fearfully.

“How can he be so stupid?” Ginny huffed. “Doing business with the mob?  I swear for a brilliant man sometimes my father is a couple donuts short of a dozen.  What are you wearing to the dance?” She quickly changed the subject.

“I want to surprise you,” I coyly teased her.

“Stinker,” she pouted. “How’s it going with Ron?”

“Up and down,” I groaned. “He knows something is going on. He just can’t figure out who the guy is.”

“Ha,” she laughed. “I feel bad. Ron really is a nice guy.”

“So is Earl,” I groaned. “I’m going to cut Ron loose after the Winter Ball.  I’m not being fair to him. I feel like a creep using him just so I don’t have go to dances alone.  It’s wrong.”

“Yes it is,” she nodded. “I’m dumping Earl in the near future as well. So that means the both of us will be single over the winter break.”

“Not really,” I corrected her in a hushed tone. “But I get your drift. No one will question us spending time together if we don’t have our steadies to keep us busy during the holidays. You’re such a clever girl.  No wonder you’re on the Dean’s list.”

“So are you,” she nudged me. “I have to go. Laurie’s waiting.”

            I almost cringed when she mentioned Laurie’s name. I fought against the urge. Laurie had been keeping her end of the bargain. Still there was something brewing. I could just feel it.  Every time she batted her baby blues at me I knew she was plotting something.  My only hope was to just brace myself and trust Ginny.

            “Do you need help Mom?” I questioned one Wednesday afternoon when I and three of my fellow cheerleaders were crowded around the kitchen table cramming for a history test which was, of course, the following morning. Normally we would have crammed into my room and studied up there.  For some reason Mom didn’t trust us to study up there. She was convinced that all we would end up doing was playing 45’s and gossiping about boys. She was right of course. Not that I would admit it at the time.

“You just keep studying,” Mom waved off my suggestion.  “Are you girls sure I can’t get you anything?”

“No thank you,” we all chimed except for Laurie who responded with “I’m good.”

“So was it Harrison or Van Buren?” Sandy questioned while I frantically flipped through my notes.

“Harrison.” Margie answered. 

“Hi Dad,” I greeted my father as he entered the kitchen.

“Kitten,” he smiled while my friends snickered. “Hey kiddo what happened to the Chevy? That’s a heck of dent.” He mistakenly questioned Laurie.

“My sister has a temper.” She slowly explained her eyes darting around completely thrown by Dad’s question.

“I could probably get it out with my plumber’s helper.” Dad volunteered.

“That won’t be necessary,” she scoffed at the suggestion. “Daddy’s mechanic will take care of it.” She added in a dismissive tone.  “He is just refusing to pay for it until we tell him what the fight was about.”

“Where’s Scooter? The boy is usually hanging all over you like a monkey in a tree?” Dad laughed taken aback by Laurie’s hostile glare.

“I beg your pardon?” She responded in a cold tone.

“Sam, this is Laurie,” Mom finally spelled out for him.

“Oh? That would it explain it then.” Dad curtly responded as Mom shuffled him out of the kitchen.

“What is with your parents?” Laurie sneered.

“Nothing,” I snapped. “They just think that you’re the evil twin. Ginny claims that she is.”

“She is.” Laurie quipped with a flip of her ponytail. “Did you see my car?”

            I really wanted to tell Miss High and Mighty that everyone thought she was the evil one after the number she pulled on Bobby. What really surprised me was that no one told her off. Not only that but Bobby was slowing slipping from the A list. I really didn’t get my friends sometimes. Why was it cool to hang with Laurie even though all of us snipe about the way she ditched poor Bobby? Only to turn around and forget to call him to come hang out with us. It wasn’t his fault his leg was broken and our beloved Tigers dropped from first to the basement.

            “Sorry I’m late,” Ginny announced entering the kitchen with my kid brother clinging to her leg.  “I have my notes. Hopefully Donner doesn‘t change the lesson plan from class to class.” She proclaimed waving her notebook about before extracting my brother from her body. “Sorry Sam I have to study.” She explained kneeling before him. “Next time?”

“Okay Ginny,” he giggled before darting off.

“Gross,” Laurie blanched when Ginny sat down beside her. I was a little miffed that not only was Laurie acting like a jerk, but Ginny was sitting so far away from me. “He was looking at your tits.”

“He always does that,” Ginny shrugged not really bothered. She snapped open her notebook and ignored her sister.

“Yeah he’s a budding pervert,” I confessed.  “He did discover something interesting.”  Ginny snickered heartily.

“I bet he did,” Laurie cringed.

“He said that Ginny is bigger.” I casually threw out pleased when my friends checked out the information. Actually he never said it. I figured it out by ogling Ginny’s chassis. Still I’m certain that was one of the ways little Sammy could distinguish between the twins.

“So she is.” Margie gloated with an appreciative nod.

“Just barely,” Laurie huffed folding her arms over her chest while her sister cackled.

“Hello Ginny,” Mom beamed when she rejoined us.

“Good afternoon Mrs. Druette.” Ginny politely responded.  “How are you this afternoon?”

“I’m good,” Mom gushed. “Can I get you anything?”

“No thank you.”

“If tea time is over can we crack the books?” Laurie grumbled.

“Laurie,” Ginny glared at her sister.

“Sorry Mrs. Druette,” Laurie bemoaned with a fake smile. “We really need to cover this material.”

“Not a problem Laurie,” Mom stated with a smile that never reached her eyes. 

“I mean Ellen is vying for a spot at Stanford,” Laurie tossed out causing my jaw to drop.

            ‘How did she know I had applied? Only my guidance counselor knows that!’  My mind screamed. I had only begun to consider the possibility a couple of Sundays ago when Ginny and I were at our spot by the lake.  We were sitting in her car wrapped in a blanket watching the stars while discussing the future.  It was a long shot at best but what would be the harm of applying?  At that point in my life I still wasn’t capable of admitting that I didn’t want to say goodbye to Ginny come September.

“I’m sorry what?” Mom stammered glaring at me.

“You applied to Stanford?” Ginny blinked with a smile.

“I’m sorry was that a secret?” Laurie apologized even clasping her chest to emphasize her innocence. “I swear I didn’t know. I was just surprised when Mrs. Briggs told me. She was amazed that three members of the cheering squad had applied there.”

“Wait I thought you wanted to go to Smith?” Margie questioned.

“Stanford?” Mom gulped. “As in the school located on the other side of the country? That Stanford?”

“It was on my list,” I stammered. “I also applied to Penn State and Syracuse along with Smith which is still my top choice. But I had to apply to other schools. Mrs. Briggs said I shouldn’t put all of my eggs in basket.”

“She said the same thing to me Mrs. Druette,” Laurie continued to taunt me. “That is why we also applied to UCLA and Berkley.”

“That’s nice dear,” Mom groaned rubbing her throbbing temple. “Excuse me I need to talk to your father.”

“You’re so rude,” Ginny hissed under her breath after my mother made her departure.

“I said I was sorry,” Laurie tersely answered.  “Move you’re on the wrong side,” she groaned when they bumped elbows.

“Then I’ll bump elbows with Sandy,” Ginny complained as they switched seats.  Then Sandy switched seats with Margie.

“Not my fault.” Laurie protested.

“Yeah it is,” Ginny grinned. “Just cause you were born first and a righty doesn’t mean you’re the boss of me.”

            ‘That’s what I noticed in math class and those other times! Ginny is left handed.’  I suddenly realized surprised that I hadn’t noticed before. Back then teachers usually forced you to learn how to write with your right hand not caring if it was natural for you.

            My smile vanished when I realized what Laurie was trying to tell me with her little chat regarding the college of her choice. Ginny would attend whatever college that accepted the both of them.  I took one look at the sheepish frown Ginny was sporting and my suspicions were confirmed.

“So now it is my fault I’m right handed?” Laurie complained.  “You’re such a freak.”

“With bigger boobs,” Margie noted switching seats with Sandy. “Now if we’re finished with our game of musical chairs, can we get back to our history test?”

            “Dishes are done,” I announced later that evening after I had finished my chores.  “If it is okay I’m gonna study some more.”

“Going to.” Mom corrected me.  “Go study but don’t stay up too late.”

“Uhm Mom is it okay if I hang out with Ginny on Sunday?” I sheepishly inquired. 

“Of course,” Mom smiled. “It will be just Ginny right?”

“Yes Mom,” I sighed.

“Ginny is a sweet girl,” Mom sighed.

“Yeah she’s a good egg,” I couldn’t help smiling.

“You know who Laurie reminds me of?” She smiled.


“Her mother.” She stated with a serious look.  “You would think if you share a placenta with someone maybe a little manners would rub off.”

“Don’t ever change Mom.” I shook my head grinning like an idiot.

“Go study,” she waved. “Oh and Ellie about Stanford it is never going to happen.”

“Mom, I only applied.” I stammered.

“California is out of the question.” She cut me to the quick. “Oh don’t give me that look the dog didn’t die.  You can further your education just fine on this coast.  Now go study.”

            Sundays quickly became my favorite day of the week.  Ginny and I spent every Sunday we could together.  She even joined my family for dinner several times. Then we would make our escape.  It was getting harder and harder keeping the rest of our friends away. Then there were, of course, our boyfriends. I was still with Ron.  Thankfully Earl lasted only until just after the Winter Ball.  I literally did a cartwheel when Ginny told me she gave him the old heave ho. Since we were at practice no one noticed.  Ginny and I were becoming quite resourceful when it came to hiding our relationship.  Still there were questions as to where we were and what was going on.    

            It didn’t stop us from our Sunday outings and of course, the all time great excuse of studying together.  Our study sessions normally took place at my house.  I didn’t like going to Ginny’s.  Her parents were very cold and distant people and despite the fact that Laurie was keeping her word and behaving herself I wasn’t comfortable being around her. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but she was up to something.  Perhaps it was the way she followed us around and kept snagging Ginny’s ID. Now in 1956 having an ID that said you were seventeen wasn’t a big yuck.  Trust me if you were going to snag an ID you’d want one that said you were twenty-one; now that would be useful.

            After the Winter Ball Ron and I went our separate ways. Which didn’t come as a surprise to anyone.  One Friday afternoon about a week before classes were going to end for the semester the squad ended up huddled in the ladies room. It wasn’t an unusual event.  We always commandeered the girls’ room right after lunch.  I was shivering when I came in. Since old lady Speery had started patrolling the bathrooms we couldn’t smoke in there after lunch.  “God it is cold out there,” I shivered interrupting the lecture Margie was giving Betsy.

“He is too happy,” Margie scolded the youngster.

“Shouldn’t he be?” Betsy questioned in confusion.

“Davis?” I questioned fixing my make up.

“Junior Varsity and not even first string,” Sandy scoffed.

“He could be next year.” I added trying to help. Davis and Betsy seemed happy why should we interfere?

“Ellen I’m trying to educate the girl,” Margie nudged me. “Davis is happy because you worship him. We are cheerleaders kiddo; they are supposed to worship us. Not the other way around.”

“It’s true,” Candy agreed.  “Look at Ron he’s miserable.”

“We broke up remember,” I objected.

“Face it Ellen have any of your boyfriends been happy campers?” Margie teased.

“Not a one,” I boasted. “That’s because no matter what Groper said, I don’t put out.”  I almost choked when I spied Ginny’s reflection in the mirror.

“None of us put out,” Candy winked. “Well almost none of us.”

            Everyone broke out into laughter.  Except Ginny who blushed. Things between us were really nice even though we were exploring some new and very interesting things we still hadn’t done the deed. Ginny respected me which was great still I was taking a lot of cold showers.  “Who is going on the ski trip this weekend?” Sandy questioned. Everyone except for me said that they would.

“What do you do every Sunday?” Margie questioned just as the bell rang.

“This Sunday I’m working,” I groaned. “My boss wants to start opening the store on Sundays just for the holiday shopping season. Sucks my one day off.”

“Which you never spend with us.” Sandy noted pushing me aside so she could check her lipstick. “And we want to know what you’ve been doing?”

“Better still who?” Candy snickered.

“I swear she has some hunky college guy stashed somewhere,” Margie sighed.

“Speaking of hunky college guys,” Laurie smirked. “Wait till you meet my date for the trip.”

“No,” Candy gasped.

“Sophomore at Dartmouth.” She boasted.

“Was that the nerd you were hanging all over at the country club?” Sandy blanched.

“He’s not a nerd.” Laurie snapped.

“I swear you change guys more often than you change your socks,” Margie groaned.

“He’s a college man,” Laurie laughed.  “I’m just happy that nobody’s parents have figured out that our little trip is going to be coed.”

“Amen to that.” Sandy blew out. “Ellen you didn’t answer the question. What’s up?”

“What’s up is that I’m about to late for my English Lit final,” I tossed out before ducking out of the crowded bathroom.

“Hold up,” Ginny whispered pulling me aside.  “Hi.”

“Hi yourself.” I merrily replied. “Sorry about Sunday.”

“The trip is gonna be a real drag without you,” she groaned.  “Plus Laurie is really into this new guy so I‘d be a fifth wheel if I try to hang with them. Kind of ironic; a cookin’ ski trip planned so we can mess around and I’m actually going to ski. Kind of grody that your boss won‘t let you have the weekend off.”

“He really needs me; it is the first Sunday he is going to open. But no biggie,” I shrugged. “He said that he’ll try to cut me some slack during the break.”

“How much slack?” She questioned with sultry tone and I was truly intrigued.


“Could you get the weekend after next off?” She wiggled her eyebrows. “Say Thursday through Monday?”

“More like Friday through Sunday is doable,” I nodded moving slightly away from her when I noticed how busy the corridor was becoming.  “Again why?”

“My folks have a cabin in Vermont,” she whispered. “I can get the keys and we could have the place to ourselves.  All we need is a very plausible story to lay on your parents.”

“Are you kidding me?” I laughed as her face fell. “My parents adore you we can tell them the truth. Well not the whole truth. But I think they’ll let me go away with you for the weekend.”

“So?” She gulped. “Do you want to go?”

“A weekend all alone with you?” I sighed happily wondering when did she become so important to me. “I’d walk on broken glass just to get there. Better still you could drive. I’ll clear things with my boss and my parents tonight.  I have to go I’m late.”

“You’ll do fine on the test,” she encouraged as I walked away.
“I think so,” I shout back at her. “I heard the essay section is on Virginia Woolf.”

            I tapped my fingers nervously waiting for the phone to be answered.  I had to wait until my parents were distracted so I could make the call. “Good evening Swenson residence.” Rosa the maid answered.

“Good Evening may I speak to Virginia please,” I politely requested peering into the living room to reassure myself that my parents were caught up with this weeks episode of Dragnet.

“May I ask who is calling?”

“Ellen Druette.”

“One moment Miss Ellen,” I could almost hear Rosa smiling. She knew it was me, but there were rules in the Swenson household. Lots and lots of rules regarding proper behavior.

“Hello,” Ginny purred into the phone. “How did your exam go?”

“Piece of cake,” I bragged.

“Do you have any other good news?” She whispered.

“After grilling me for half an hour just to be sure that we were the only ones going the folks gave me a green light on the trip,” I smiled into the phone.  “My boss wasn’t a problem either since I’m pulling so many extra hours over the break.”

“God I love your voice,” Ginny murmured. 

“Back at yah,” I sighed twirling the phone cord between my fingers. “I’m a little nervous.  I still don‘t understand what is happening between us.”

“We don’t have to go,” she reassured me. “And even if we go; it doesn’t have to mean that,”

“No I want to go,” I cut her off my stomach fluttering. “I want this. I’ve wanted it for a long time.  Oops I have to go,” I mumbled when I saw my mother heading towards the kitchen. “Good night.”

“Good night,” she sighed softly.

“Everything alright?” My mother questioned just as I was hanging up.

“Nifty,” I shrugged. “I was just telling Ginny that I could go with her.”

“I don’t what you were so worried about,” Mom chuckled. “You’re seventeen now. A weekend away with your best friend is perfectly acceptable. Unless your best friend was Laurie. I was downtown the other day and I saw her hanging all over some boy who is much too old for her and she was smoking.”

“Mom you smoke.” I sputtered. ‘So do I and most of the senior class.’  I silently added.  I also couldn’t help thinking that when my mom was seventeen she not only smoked she was married to my dad who is four years older than her.

“I am an adult.” Mom defended her actions.

“Gotcha,” I sighed.

“You know I was thinking.”

“Oh no,” I groaned whenever my dear sweet mother began a sentence that way normally it wasn’t good news.

“Eleanore,” she cautioned me. It always amazed me how she could chastise me while smiling like she was about to give me a present. “I was going to suggest that on your trip perhaps you could point out to Ginny what a fine school Smith is.”

“I love you Mommy.”

“I love you too, and I’m not doing your laundry for the trip,” she smiled.

“Well damn,” I huffed.

“No cussing young lady,” she wagged her finger at me. “Just remember Smith good, Stanford bad.”  She played with me.

“Won’t go without her twin sister.” I stressed examining Mom closely. For half a second I thought she might have started drinking again. ‘Nope sober as a judge. She wants me to convince Ginny to attend the same school? She knows!’

“What?” Mom blurted out probably annoyed by the way I was staring at her.

“Nah,” I laughed realizing that my mom would never think that two girls could ever be more than friends. She was much too square for such a wild concept.

“Nah?” She huffed. “If you keep speaking in that manner I doubt you will need to worry about college. Would it kill you to speak like a lady instead of a carhop?”

“No Ma’am.” I smiled while she narrowed her eyes.

            The week of the trip I was a nervous wreck. I didn’t sleep a wink on Thursday night. By Friday morning I was boarding on hysteria.  I was excited and thrilled that Ginny and I were about to spend three days and nights together all alone. And I was terrified that Ginny and I were about to spend three days and, most importantly, three nights together all alone.  No interruptions, no parents, no curfew and no reason on earth to stop when things got hot and heavy. And things between us always got hot and heavy. I just couldn’t resist her.  I still didn’t understand why.  And I was caring less and less as to why. All I cared about was the fact that I was so enthralled with her.  More and more I just accepted that Ginny made me happy.

“Get off my bed!” I barked at Sammy when he bounced into my room and jumped on the bed. I felt like a jerk when he shrank back and crawled down. “Sorry Sam. I didn’t mean to yell at you.”

“Can I go with you?”

“No,” I smiled ruffling his hair.

“You always say that,” he pouted.

            “Sorry,” I shrugged while thinking. ‘Sorry little guy but Ginny and I are probably going to have sex so no you’re not invited.’  My stomach was in knots just thinking about it.  I really wanted it to happen and still I was terrified. I mean I didn’t know what to do. What if I got things wrong, mixed up parts or worse I sucked at it.  I tried researching the subject. You would think working at a bookstore I’d be able to find something useful. The only thing I could find was The Well of Loneliness by Radclyffe Hall. And I had to be very careful when I ordered the book. A well written book that frankly depressed the crap out me.  Talk about reconfirming all of the misguided perceptions I had only recently discovered were a load of horse puckey.  I mean think about it. I fall for Ginny only to give her up so she could be with some guy. I don’t think so.  My heart leapt when I heard my parents talking to someone downstairs.

“Ginny’s here!” Sam screamed darting for the door.

            “Hold on,” I snagged the runt by his collar shoving my overnight bag in his hand. “Take this with you.”  I was stunned when he happily took my heavy bag. “That kid would probably eat glass just to spend time with her.” I blew out while I rechecked my appearance in the mirror. “So would I.” I confessed before taking a deep breath and heading off to meet my companion.

            “There you are Eleanore,” Mom waved for me to join them. “I was just telling Ginny how the whole family is driving up to Northampton next month to visit Smith. She should join us.” She added as if the thought had just suddenly occurred to her. Despite flashing her best Harriet Nelson smile she wasn’t fooling anyone.

“Thank you Mrs. Druette,” Ginny bit back a laugh looking to me for help. 

“It is a wonderful college,” Mom pressed on not wavering in her convictions.

“I know,” Ginny nodded. “But my sister and I are planning on attending school on the West Coast.”

“Why in heavens name would you want to do that?” Mom gasped. “Nothing but hooligans and drug addicts out there.” Even Dad looked at her as if she had lost her mind. “What? I saw it on the news.”

            “We have a long drive,” I slowly sputtered my eyes still locked on the crazy person who gave birth to me. I pushed Ginny out the door and into the car. I do have to thank mom for one thing. Her bout of insanity made me forget I was on my way to the place where I would more than likely lose my virginity.

            The drive up was terrific. We held hands, sang along with the radio, and pointed out points of interest along the way. It was just like any drive we had shared. The only dim spot occurred just after we crossed the Vermont boarder and we got pulled over for speeding. Ginny laughed after the cop gave her the ticket. I didn’t understand until she showed me the ticket. Apparently Laurie had switched ID’s again. I hoped that it would teach her a lesson.

             When we arrived at the cabin Ginny gave me a dozen roses she had kept hidden in the trunk of the car. The cabin was adorable, rustic but just modern enough to have a full kitchen and indoor plumbing.  There was a huge fireplace in the living room and the master bedroom.  My palms became a little sweaty when Ginny showed me the master bedroom and she set our bags down confirming that we would be bunking together. Just when I was ready to flip out she took me by the hand and led me into the living room.

            Ginny lit fires in both fireplaces, took me for a walk in the snow, made dinner and cuddled with me by the fire after cleaning up the dishes.  And not once did she do anything more than hold my hand. She did everything she could to make me happy. Talk about a lady.  It was the most romantic night of my life. I was sitting by the fire in the main room leaning against her body while she caressed the back of my hand.  “When did you apply to Stanford,” she timidly inquired nuzzling my neck.

“When I was getting the rest of my applications ready,” I answered feeling mildly silly and silently cursing Laurie for exposing me. “I thought . . . I don’t know what I thought.”

“Ellen I think about it too,” she tenderly murmured against my neck. “It’s just,” she paused giving my hand a light squeeze. “We’ve been mapping out our futures since the day we were born. We want to go to the West Coast.  We think that the distance from our folks will be good for us. We selected our schools carefully.”

            I pursed my lips collecting my thoughts praying that I wouldn’t say the wrong thing. I turned her hand over tracing the pattern of her life line. “Ginny,” I carefully started. “When I first met you last year you and Laurie seemed really bothered by how people were fascinated by you, staring at you and treating the two of you as if you were one person.”

“It’s annoying,” Ginny grunted. “Just because we are mirror images doesn’t mean we think or act alike. People just assume that we are identical in every way.  A couple of times a guy would call and ask me out and when I declined he would ask to speak to Laurie. It was like these guys assumed that we’re interchangeable.”

“Since last summer you must have noticed that more and more people can tell you apart,” I stated.

“You were the first,” she happily interjected pulling me closer.

“But not the only one,” I continued enjoying the feel of her body cradling my own. “The both of you are as different as night and day.  People are treating you as an individual.  So why when you are talking about your future am I not hearing this is what I want, these are my plans and my goals?  You always say we. What do you want?”

            I held my breath when she failed to respond. I sat there torn between how good it felt to be in her arms and terrified by how she was going to answer my question.  This was the biggest night of my life and I was scared to death that I might hear that come September this was only going to add up to be a fond memory.  So I sat there watching the flames dancing in the fire, listening to her breathing and the faint sound of her heart beating.

“I want,” she cleared her throat breaking the silence. “I want to go to college with my sister and I want to be with you. I just don’t know how to make that possible.”

“Thank you for being honest,” I murmured feeling a small sense of relief.  

“What about Stanford you applied?”

“When my Dad heard the news his exact words were, no way no how, when hell freezes over and my personal favorite when pigs fly,” I narrated for her.

“So he’s thinking about it?” She jested.

“More importantly we are thinking about it,” I turned in her arms and smiled at her.  “I needed to know before we go to bed tonight that this isn’t a fling.”

            My heart skipped a beat when she cupped my face in her hands. “This is not a fling.”

“I needed to know,” I smiled leaning closer so I could nuzzle my nose against hers.  “Who knows? September is a long way off and if worse comes to worse a long distance relationship wouldn’t be the end of the world.”  I could have just kicked myself for being all reasonable and understanding. I didn’t want her to go.

“No,” she scowled. “But shipping you off to a college filled with nothing but women? I’m so not doing cartwheels over that.”

“Are you jealous?”

“Yes,” she shook her head rapidly.  “Man you should have seen the fit I threw when Laurie told me that she took you to the woods. I almost decked her.  Speaking of which I have something to give you.”

“Hold on.” I chastised her when she tried to stand. “You haven’t kissed me all day and I find that a tad rude.”

“I am such a horrid hostess,” she gaped. “Let me make amends.”

            She wrapped her arms around my waist; I laced my fingers in her long, blonde hair the kiss was soft and gentle.  The scent of her perfume invaded my senses. I could feel her hands caressing my hips; her tongue flickered against my lips. She kissed me deeply, passionately and I kissed her with the same fire. I poured all my emotions, all my unspoken promises and, shedding my fears, silently telling her that I belonged to her and only her with that one kiss. 

            Her eyes were out of focus when the kiss finally ebbed.  I smiled knowing that she was lightheaded. “I really do have something that I want to give you,” she choked.

“And I have something I really want to give to you.” I vowed my voice thick with desire.

            Her head bobbed up and down she held up a finger silently informing that she needed to do this. I let her slip from my embrace and then waited patiently for her to return from the bedroom. “Here,” she squeaked handing me a tattered notebook.

            “A notebook?” I questioned gazing up at her surprised to see concern in her eyes. “First flowers and now this.” I teased as I opened the book.  I scrunched my brow scanning the lengthy list of names and numbers. It looked like some kind of bizarre score pad. When I saw my name I realized that it was a score pad.  “She kept a score pad?” I stammered while wondering what kind of freaky person does that.  “Thank you for the two hundred point deduction next to my name. Why are you giving this to me?”

“Two reasons,” she stated offering me her hand and helping me to my feet. “First Laurie is going to flip her lid when she finds out I stole it.”

“And the second reason?” I inquired scanning the pages. I was very miffed that the score pad ran for several pages.

“That is the most important reason,” she sternly began. “Game over. I’m not playing any more. The book is yours to do with as you wish. Burn it, print it in the newspaper or rip it to shreds I don’t care.  It’s not really a grand gesture but it is heartfelt.”

“Thank you,” I nodded tossing the book aside. “I do find one thing about it intriguing.  With all of the guys the first player is Laurie. With all of the girls the first player with the notable exception of Sandra Dee which has been crossed out and changed to Eleanore Roosevelt, is you.”

            “That’s how it started,” Ginny shyly answered. “We were away at summer camp. Adults love to separate us. They would put us in different classes and activities. I don’t know if they thought it would broaden our horizons or they just want to make sure they know which one is which.  My bunkmate Rhonda kissed me one night. I told Laurie. She was curious so we switched places. She kissed Rhonda and copped a feel. We just kept doing it after that. Until you.”

“So Laurie really isn’t attracted to girls at all. She just wants what you have?” I was trying to put the pieces together.

“I guess.”

“And you’re not attracted to boys at all are you?” I think at that moment I was really asking myself that question.

“No, I don’t want to shock you or anything Ellen, but I’m a lesbian,” she confessed with a curious glance. “I realized the truth a long time ago. I’ve told Laurie repeatedly.  She doesn’t believe me.”

“Can you do one more thing for me?” I softly requested.


“Can we not mention your sister or anyone else until Monday?” I pleaded.

“The only person I want to talk about for the next couple of days is you,” she smiled brightly.

“Teach me?” I requested with a hard swallow.

“We don’t have to,” she offered me an out.

“I want to,” I promised with a shaky breath. “I’m just afraid I’ll do something wrong or I won’t get it right.”       

            She clasped my hands and kissed me. “Trust me.” She said taking a step backward. I nodded my head accepting her offer. She held my hands caressing them while walking backward guiding me towards the bedroom stealing kisses along the way.  I was shaking when we crossed the threshold the room illuminated by firelight.  She undressed me her movements slow and gentle bestowing kisses as my clothing fell to the floor.

            She helped me undress her.  My excitement grew as little by little her glorious body was revealed to my eager gaze.  She kissed me again and again lowering me onto the bed. I laced my fingers in her hair drawing her closer. I moaned when I felt her breasts brushing against mine. I released an even deeper moan when her erect nipples teased my naked body. She dragged her blunt nails down my flesh teasing me, encouraging me to touch her. My hands were still shaking when I cupped her breasts, caressed her thigh and cupped her firm backside.

            I massaged her firm flesh while she promised to be gentle. I was ready I could feel her passion on my skin and my body ached for more.  I rocked my body against her matching her slow agonizing pace. She kissed my neck teasing me unmercifully as her kisses drifted lower.  We had done this before but never without our clothes on.  She kissed the valley between my breasts; traced the swell of them before flickering her tongue against my nipple. My body arched when her fingers began teasing the other. She suckled me ever so slowly while rolling the other bud between her fingers.

            It wasn’t the first time she had encouraged my passion to seep from my body. Still this was the first time I knew that she would quench my thirst.  Every inch of my body was tingling. She kissed her way down my body exploring all of me. Teasing my stomach; kissing my hips, my thighs then  parting my legs and nestling between them. She slowly traced the inside of my thighs and I was certain that I was going to die.  Her breath caressed me. Blowing warmly against the thick patch of red hair causing my hips to jerk up. I could feel her cupping my backside bringing me even closer. She parted me with her fingers. I cried out in a voice I didn’t recognize when her tongue dipped inside my wetness.

            Her tongue slowly glided along my slick folds before flickering against my aching clit. She stroked me slowly and tenderly driving me insane.  Her tongue quickening coaxing my nub to harden until it was a throbbing bundle screaming for release.  I tried to watch as she pleasured me burying her face deeper inside of me. I felt her lips and teeth teasing and suckling me.  My head fell back, the world was spinning, I fought to keep my body idle.

            I lost the battle as my body jerked and I was screaming out her name thrusting wildly against her touch. She suckled me harder and the world slipped away. I didn’t even realize that her fingers were inside of me until I felt the twinge of pain from her thrusting in and out of me.  Yes it hurt but the feel of her making love to me overrode the pain.  I know I blacked out.  When I became somewhat aware of my surroundings she was still nestled between my thighs feasting upon me.

            From everything I had heard from girls who had done the deed once the bell rang that was that. Thankfully Ginny didn’t play by the rules. I let her take me completely. Her fingers plunging deeper. I felt her teasing my backside painting the puckered opening before tenderly slipping inside.  I screamed so loud my throat was raw every fiber of my being exploded. I clutched at the bedding; crying wildly my body erupted and I would have sworn that I had burst into flames.

            Then and only then did she yield her touch. I collapsed a blanket of fog surrounding me. She asked if I was alright and if she had hurt me.  I think I answered. I know I tried. I’m just not certain I had actually spoken. When I was finally capable of speaking I made one request. “Teach me.”  And she did. I learned a valuable lesson that night; giving is just as much fun as receiving.  I touched, kissed, tasted, fondled and devoured every inch of Ginny’s body until she was reduced to a quivering mass of jelly.  I honestly believe that we would have kept going if our bodies hadn’t called a cease fire.

            I slept in her arms that night and awoke in her tender embrace the following afternoon. We spent the entire weekend doing nothing but cuddling by the fire, eating only when absolutely necessary and making love.  The latter proving to be the most important activity. For the rest of the weekend we were naked. We only put on clothing when it was time to go home.

            Monday night I closed up the bookstore and raced over to Buddy’s. I couldn’t wait to see her. While I was working the rest of the gang had gone to see Around the World In 80 Days. I blew out a sigh of relief when I spotted her sitting with the whole gang with the exception of Laurie which was fine by me.  “Hi.” I greeted gleefully greeted her as she patted the seat next to her in the booth.

“Hi yourself,” she answered in a dreamy tone. “Buy you a lime Rickey?”

“Sure,” I swooned.      

            She was just about to stand when three grim men in drab suits blocked our booth. “Virginia Swenson?” One of them sternly addressed her.

“Yes,” she gulped slipping her car keys to me.

“Come with us.” He demanded flashing his badge.

“Okay,” she choked out. “If anything happens just drive my car to your house,” she whispered to me.

“Ginny?” I stammered when she slipped past me.

“Hold on,” Ron barked. “You don’t have to just go with them.”

“Shut up,” the ring leader snarled before escorting Ginny out of the dinner.

            We climbed up in the booth and watched the scene from the window. They were speaking and Ginny seemed to be answering. She shook her head no repeatedly while waving her arms. “No.” I cried out when she turned around and they slapped handcuffs on her wrists. I pounded on the window to no avail.  They still placed her in the back of the squad car and sped off.

“Oh this is bogus,” Ron snapped. “We have to do something.”

“I have her car,” I volunteered. “Should we go to the station?”

“Which one?” Margie stammered. “They weren’t local yoyos. The squad car had a Boston PD logo on it.”

“Shit,” Ron fumed pounding his fist on the table.

“I’m sure it is just a misunderstanding,” Sandy volunteered just as the local cops walked into the joint.

“Curfew!” One of the little Nazi’s announced. “Anyone under age should go home. Now!”

            Okay our town like most towns back then had a curfew which mostly applied to women, but the yahoo’s in our little corner of the world never enforced it.  “I said now or we’ll haul you in.” They weren’t kidding it was either beat feet or spend the night in jail. We scattered. I was ready for fight so I dragged my feet.

“Ellen just go home,” Ron urged me. “Call Laurie she has to know what is going on.”

            I think that was the day that both Ron and I changed our wide eyed view of the legal system.  We thought that the police were there to protect us and that the laws existed for a reason.  From that moment on we never looked at the world in the same way again.

            On the drive home I felt like I was trapped in a bad horror movie. Every home along the tree lined streets was lit up, teenagers running through the streets or speeding in their cars hurrying to get home.  It was a like a scene from the movie War Of The Worlds only this time people weren’t fleeing to escape space invaders it was our own local police.              “What in blue blazes is happening,” Dad demanded when I rushed into our once happy home. “The phone won’t stop ringing kids are running through the streets.  I haven’t seen this much chaos since the Japs bombed Pearl Harbor.  Ellie is it true that those hapless idiots that we pay to carry badges are arresting you kids? Since when in the Hell do they give a rat’s ass about the curfew?”

            I stood there helplessly rubbing my eyes fighting against the tears. I didn’t know what to say or do.  It was crazy. One moment we were hanging out; my only thoughts were just how I am going to get her alone so I can kiss her. Then in the blink of an eye she was being carted off by the police.  The only reasonable explanation was none of it was real. This was just a really bad dream.

“Sam,” Mom impatiently cut off Dad’s tirade. “Take a breath and give Ellie a chance to answer your questions.”

“I don’t know what happened,” I wailed finding myself cradled in my mother’s arms.  “They arrested Ginny.”

“What!” Dad shouted. “This has gone too far. What do you pay taxes for? Are you sure it was Ginny and not the punk sister of hers?”

            “Yeah Laurie wasn‘t even there,” I sniffed still clinging to my mother.  “The police just showed up and took her away.”  In the back of my mind I began to wonder just where was Laurie. It wasn’t like her not to show up when there was a group outing.  And if the cops were looking for Ginny wouldn’t they have checked her house first? Laurie had to have known something was up. She was somehow involved I just knew it.

“Calm down Princess,” Dad patted me on the shoulder. “I’m going to the station to straighten this out.”

“Wait Sam,” Mom calmly spoke. “Her parents probably already went to get her. More than likely she’s at home right now. Ellie why don’t you call the Swenson’s and find out?”

            I nodded dutifully slumping towards the kitchen. I knew that the news wouldn’t be good. Rosa answered the phone in an unusually frazzled tone.  “Rosa is Ginny there?” I tearfully pleaded.

“No Miss Ellen,” she answered in a hushed tone. “Miss Laurie is hiding in her room and Mr. And Mrs. Swenson are fighting in the den. They are with the lawyers. I can’t say anymore.”

“Wait,” I shouted before she could hang up. “Are they going to go get her?”

            I could hear her gulping her voice was filled with tension when she uttered the words I knew were coming. “No. I’m sorry Miss Ellen.”

“Well?” Mom questioned when I finally dragged myself back into the living room.

“They aren’t going to go get her.” I felt numb still not really believing that any of this was happening.

“What?” Dad just about blew a gasket. “Well that settles it then. I’m going to go get her. And I’m going to kick Sheriff Rogers sorry butt. Running around locking up every kid in town what is wrong with that idiot?”

“She’s not here,” I somehow managed to utter before he could leave. “It was the cops from Boston.”

“Boston?” Mom was floored.

“Don’t worry,” Dad flatly reassured us. “If I can find my way around a beach in Normandy with bombs going off I can find one teenaged girl in Boston. I’ll find her, bail her out and then we will get this whole mess straightened out. Don’t worry Kitten I’ll take care of this.”

“I’m going with you,” Mom put her foot down. “Sam you are much too upset.  With the state you are in you’d be lucky not to end up in jail yourself. Ellie try to calm down and keep an eye on Scooter I’m sure he’s awake with all this shouting. It will be okay Sweetheart.”

            In the morning nothing was okay. The police arrested half the kids in town. Granted none of them were fingerprinted or charged and most were released to the custody of their parents before they saw the inside of a jail cell. The telephone wouldn’t stop ringing, the gossip mill was in full swing and Sammy was cranky because Mom and Dad were still missing.

            I was wringing my hands pacing the floors and pleading for Sammy to just calm down. I blew out a huge sigh when my weary parents walked into the house. My heart shattered when I realized that Ginny wasn’t with them.  “I’m sorry,” Mom was practically crying when she wrapped her arms around me.  “We did everything we could. I’m not going to lie to you this situation is very bad. We did get to talk to her and her parents lawyers are helping her.”

“Those over paid bozos are screwing the kid!” Dad shouted stunning all of us. 

“Sam.” She groaned with exasperation. “Now Ellie I need to ask you something and I need you to be completely honest with us.”

“Okay,” I gulped fearing the worst.

“Were you and Ginny in Vermont all weekend?” She slowly questioned.

“Yes.” I shouted my body surging with anger. 

“I’m sorry,  but Ellie we had to ask.” Mom apologized.

“We told those idiot cops that was where she was,” Dad continued his tirade. 

“You did? Then she’s in the clear?” I beamed.

“No,” Mom’s shoulders slumped. “Both your father and I gave complete and thorough statements attesting to the fact that Ginny was out of state on Saturday and that other time.”

“What other time?” I was dying things were getting worse by the moment.

“A couple of weeks ago on a Sunday they claim Ginny was involved in a similar incident,” Dad quietly hedged.

“And we told them she was no where near the city that day,” Mom bellowed. “She was sitting at that very table with us eating my honey baked ham. She had seconds for pity sake.”

“Should I go to the police and give a statement?” I questioned hopefully. “I can prove we were in Vermont we got a speeding ticket on the way up to the cabin.  It was right after we crossed the boarder.  It has the date and time on it.”

“Perfect!” Dad proudly exclaimed. “That ought to get that snot nosed detective to shut up.”

“Hold on,” Mom cautioned patting my hand. “Ellie I over hear things now and then. Whose name is on the ticket?”

“Oh no.” I gaped clutching my heart.  “Laurie’s name is on the ticket.”

“I was afraid of that,” Mom sniffed. “She stole Ginny’s ID again didn’t she?”

“Yes,” I nodded grimly. “At the time we thought it was funny. Kind of a payback for all the times she got Ginny in trouble for using her name.”

“I should have known Satan was behind this,” Dad hissed. “How could anyone think that a sweet girl like Ginny would be cruising around Scollay Square picking up a hooker? That girl wouldn’t do such a thing. Hells bells picking up a fifteen year old hooker it had to be the demon child.”

“What?” I was livid.

“Okay,” Mom tried to calm everyone down. “Sam I think Scooter has learned enough new words for today. I’m taking Ellie up to her room so we can have a long talk.  Then in the morning I’ll take you to Boston so you can give the police your statement.”

“Can I see her?”

“I’m sorry Ellie,” Mom quivered. “The judge is very upset. She can’t have any visitors who are minors. Only persons over the age of twenty-one. He is being very, very stern with her.”

            I blindly followed my mother to my bedroom. I felt like something inside of me had died.  I sat down on the bed when Mom instructed me to do so. She sat beside me held me and after taking several deep breaths she began.  “This is one conversation I never saw coming,” she slowly began.  “I was prepared for the boy’s speech, the chat about your monthly visitor, the no smoking or drinking talk and, of course the sex talk.  I just never imagined sitting you down and explaining that your best friend is probably going to reform school then prison because she has been charged with soliciting a prostitute, assault and battery, sodomy and a few others things that I just can’t bring myself to say.”

“Reform school and prison?” It was unbelievable.

“Apparently Ginny has a record for similar incidents,” Mom choked on the words.  “Which were taken care of by her father tossing money at the situation. This is why Judge Warner is being very harsh on Ginny.”

“She didn’t do those things,” I argued.

            “I know,” Mom placated me. “Honestly I’ve met twins before.  I don’t doubt that they would give up their lives for the other. And I understand that even though they look alike they are completely different people. But never in all my years have I met a set of twins where one was a sweet girl like Ginny and the other should have a stake driven through her heart.  Now having said that I still think it is best that you give your statement first thing in the morning. Maybe she’ll reconsider taking the plea bargain.”

“The Cold Fields Reformatory and prison are the bargain?”

“At her arraignment this morning the Judge made it clear that if she goes to trial and is convicted he’ll opt for the alternative,” she painstakingly explained.

“There’s an alternative which is worse than prison?” I was in shock.

“Danvers State.” Her voice was cold.

“What’s that? It sounds like a school,” I was lost.

“Danvers State Hospital, the insane asylum,” Mom woefully clarified.  “She would be there for an indeterminate period of time.”

“What does that mean? And can he just say that? Hey if you lose I’m locking you up in the nut house?” I fumed.

            “It means she has to stay until she is cured which could be forever,” Mom sneered. “And no he didn’t out and out say it but everyone knew what he meant. Even Scooter could have figured it out. If she accepts the agreement she will be in reform school until she is eighteen which will be only five months and if she doesn’t get into any trouble she’ll be released from the state prison just after her twentieth birthday.”

“This doesn’t make any sense Mom,” I struggled. “If she’s under twenty-one shouldn’t she stay at Cold Fields? It has to better than prison. And what happens if she gets into more trouble?”

“If she gets into trouble during her incarceration she’ll do at least five years.  Mom hugged me once again. “The sentence will be two and a half to five years. Meaning if she behaves she gets out in two and half years. If not she does the full term. I don’t understand it either.”

“Why aren’t her lawyers trying to at least get her to remain at Cold Fields? Better still since she’s innocent how about having the case tossed out?” I was furious and based on the look on Mom’s face so was she.

            “They are her father’s lawyers,” she explained and I could see it was painful for her. “If she goes on trial there will be a scandal. It seems her parents wish to avoid that. There is already a for sale sign up in front of their house. Ellie we are going to do everything we can. While you are giving your statement I’m going to try and talk some sense into Ginny.”

            I spent another sleepless night before riding into the city with my Mom.  Normally a trip into Boston was an adventure. This time it made me sick.  True to her word Mom visited with Ginny while I gave my statement.  The statement turned into an interrogation.  After it was over I felt like I needed a shower.  The three hours I spent repeating over and over again that Ginny was with me all weekend was a waste of time.  Detective Jarworski was more interested in the exact nature of my relationship with, as he put it, the perpetrator.

            I was never so happy to see my mother in all my life. “It was a waste of time,” I sighed noticing Rosa sitting next to her.

“That is what Rosa told me.” Mom nodded. “She came in for the same reason.”

“I told them,” Rosa huffed. “Miss Ginny was in Vermont. She told me that is where she was going and I saw her take the keys to the cabin. They said I was mad because they fired me.”

“They fired you?” I gaped.

“No I quit,” she spat out. “What they are doing makes me sick.  Its not the first time. I told them that too. Detective Dumb Ass threatened to deport me. I said to where? Dumb flatfoot says home.  I said New Jersey?  Idiot!  What because my name is Sanchez I couldn’t have been born here? My grandmother was born here.”

“Still New Jersey now that’s harsh,” Mom quipped.

“I know,” Rosa nodded. “I’ve had enough of the snow and people like the high and mighty Swenson’s. I’m going to live with my sister in Boca.”

            Mom and I just sat in the car for the longest time staring at the dashboard. “I’m sorry Ellie.  While you were still with that detective Ginny was in court. She took the deal. I know this hurts. Ginny is your special friend.”  It was the first time she ever used that particular expression.  It wouldn’t be the last; it was the only time I didn’t understand what she meant by it.  “She wanted you to have this,” Mom interrupted my sullen thoughts.

            I stared at the slip of paper she handed to me.  “Wait this the pink slip to her car?” I stammered.  “I can’t accept this.”

“Normally I would agree with you.” Mom nodded.

“But both the cars were in Mr. Swenson’s name? Why would he agree to sign it over to me?” I babbled on.

            “Oh he and his lawyers pitched a fit,” Mom laughed. “It was just before she went into court. I saw the whole thing. He wanted to sell the car. He already sold Laurie’s to some smuck out of state. He would have sold Ginny’s too if he knew where it was.  Ginny certainly got the brains in that family.  Having you take the car last night was brilliant.  You should have seen the look in that S.O.B’s eyes when she told him giving the car to you was the smart thing to do. He screamed at her until she said fine, don’t sign the paper but I’m pleading not guilty. I never saw a man sign a piece paper so fast in my life. Take the car Ellie you can keep it up for when she gets out. Your Dad will love working on it and you can use it for college. It’s what she wants.”

“How is she?” I begged.

            “Broken,” Mom shook her head. “Knowing that you are standing by her is keeping her going. She said to tell you thank you, she understands that you can’t visit her. She’ll be thinking about you. Also that writing to one another might be hard since they will be monitoring her mail and sometimes things won’t get through. She said to tell you to look in the back of the notebook whatever that means. All she said was that it should help the two of you correspond without getting into trouble.”

“I still can’t believe that this is happening.”

            When we got home I dug Laurie’s notebook out of the bag I still hadn’t unpacked. I flipped to the back staring at what seemed to be gibberish.  “What is that?” Mom questioned peering over my shoulder. “Oh I see it’s a code.”

“Twin speak.” I blinked. There it was; written by a child’s hand was Laurie and Ginny’s secret language.

“I’ve heard of that,” Mom smiled. “When they are little it isn’t uncommon for twins to develop their own language.  Good luck to the guards,” she laughed. “You could plan a prison break and they’d be thinking it’s a recipe for cookies. Now I want you to go take a long soak in the tub and go straight to bed.”

“It is two in the afternoon?”  I squawked.

“And you haven’t slept since Sunday now go.”

            I have to say that Christmas that year was the worst holiday I ever experienced.  My girlfriend was in jail, most of my so called friends had forgotten my phone number and my kid brother was acting like the world was coming to an end.  My parents did everything they could to cheer us up.  I think we all lost it when Sammy wrote a letter to Santa. Initially Dad huffed thinking Sammy was a little too old to be still writing to old Saint Nick.  Then we saw the letter. Sammy only asked for one thing. He wanted Ginny to come home.  Even Dad got all misty eyed over that one.

            I passed on joining in on the normal holiday hoopla, caroling, going to the annual Christmas pageant and, of course Sandy’s holiday bash.  It didn’t feel right going without Ginny, not to mention I knew I wasn’t a welcome sight with the gang.  The only shinning stars were Bobby and Sandy.  Bobby popped into the bookstore smiling for the first time in months.  It was still strange to see him hobbling around on crutches.  I offered to assist him when he stumbled in.

“No,” he smiled again. “I’m just here to deliver a message.”

            “Okay?” I laughed for the first time in ages.  He was kind of amusing weaving like a drunken sailor and the Santa hat he was sporting just added to the merriment.  He fumbled about a bit finally pulling a sprig of mistletoe from his pocket. My eyes widened with curiosity when he dangled it above his head. “All this for a kiss?”

“Ah not from me,” he tsked keeping the mistletoe in place.  “I’m just the messenger.”

“Okay I give,” I shrugged thinking Ron or one of the other guys had put him up to it.  I placed a chaste kiss on his lips.

“Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, I miss you and the food here sucks,” Bobby gleefully offered.

“Yeah right,” I stammered. “Fine who is my secret Santa?”

“Oh did I leave that part out?” He snickered.

“Uhm yeah.”

“I got my older brother to take me on a drive,” he casually threw out. “Then I borrowed his ID.”

“You met my Santa in a strip joint?” I was clueless.

“No,” he shushed me with a wicked gleam in his eyes. “I went to visit an old girlfriend of mine.  Seems she’s a little tied up and can’t be home for the holidays.”

“You always were a class act Bobby Walford,” I gulped trying to get rid of the huge lump in my throat.

“Me?” He shrugged tucking the mistletoe back into his pocket. “I’m just a big dumb jock.”

“Stop that,” I scolded him. “You are the sweetest boy in town.  And very understanding.” I added in a hushed tone wondering if the mistletoe was his idea or Ginny’s.

“Yeah well,” he tried to act tough.  “Heard you passed on the holiday shenanigans. Me too. Well I’m off to spread more cheer; can’t have good mistletoe going to waste.”

“Merry Christmas Bobby,” I smiled. “And thank you.”

“Merry Christmas, Ellen,” he smiled once again before hobbling out of the store.

            Later that evening Sandy called miffed that I had blown off her party.  Well she pretended to be upset. She invited me over the following evening to just hang out and celebrate the holiday.  I was going to decline. I really wasn’t in the mood for socializing.  Mom insisted that I get out of the house. Apparently my moping around was bringing her down. At least that’s what she said.  Early the following evening I drove over to Sandy’s house.  It was the first time I took the Chevy out. It felt strange. I had driven once before on the night Ginny got arrested. That night I was flying on autopilot and didn’t stop to think about it.

            The odd feeling grew when I pulled into the Hewitt’s driveway and climbed out of the car. I stood there for the longest time just staring at the dark empty house across the street. The For Sale sign covered with snow.  It was so strange to see Ginny’s house all closed up.  Knowing that her family was probably enjoying the holiday while she was locked up tore me up.

“Are you just gonna stand there freezing your ass off?” Sandy slurred from the doorway.

“She’s drunk?” I muttered shoving my hands in my pockets.  I looked around for her parents after I greeted her in the foyer. Debbie the family maid was trying to drag Sandy off.  “Geez Sandy it isn’t even seven o’clock and you’re toasted.”

“Bull shit,” Sandy grumbled.

“Sandy!” Debbie scowled.

“Mom,” a dark skinned woman interjected grabbing Sandy by the arm. “Ellen and I will take care of this. Why don’t you try and get some rest.”

            “Hey Linda,” I greeted Debbie’s daughter taking Sandy’s other arm.  I shivered when I caught the look of disdain in Debbie’s eyes.  “Good news travels fast.” I groaned under my breath while assisting Linda with Sandy.  “Where are her parents?” I growled after we tossed Sandy on her bed. Thankfully Sandy passed out before she hit the mattress.

“Away,” Linda shrugged. “Hawaii I think.  You must have noticed they’re rarely around for the holidays.”

“I’ve noticed that they’re rarely ever around,” I grumbled as we made our way out of the room.

            I always liked Linda; she was smart, funny and really nice. She hadn’t been around much the past couple of years because she was away at college.  Up until that night she and her mom had always been super nice to me. Since she was being so nice to me, I could only assume that Linda hadn’t heard the gossip yet.  I asked how school was going and if she was enjoying her holiday while she walked me to the door.  “Everything is going well,” Linda readily answered. “Until I got home. I didn’t see you at the party I had to break up the other night.”

“Wasn’t in the mood,” I quickly dismissed her query while we stood out on the front porch.

“If I had to guess I’d say you look like a girl who just got her heart broken,” Linda tenderly stated.  “Nice ride.” She noted when she spotted the Chevy.

“It belongs to a friend,” I sadly responded.

“You got to keep the car?  That must have been an interesting break up,” Linda quickly theorized.

“It wasn’t a break up per say,” I hedged.  “I’m sure your mother will fill you in. You catch on quick. You’re going to make a great shrink.”

“I’ve got years ahead of me,” she laughed lightly. “And it wasn’t my psych classes that told me you were hurting. Don’t need those to spot a teenaged girl nursing a broken heart.”

“Any chance you can turn that keen instinct towards the Hewitt’s?” I quickly changed the subject. “Who ditches their kid on Christmas?”

            “They do,” she shrugged. “Been doing it for years.  I could say that they are the product of their own upbringing.  Children are nothing more than heirs to the family fortune. Or it could be if they stay away they won’t have to deal with Sandy’s antics. Which of course are cries for attention.  I just hope Sandy will realize that her acting up has backfired on her before it is too late.  It really is sad. When I was a little girl the Hewitt’s doted on me.  They couldn’t wait to have children of their own. They wanted to fill the whole house.  Something went wrong when Sandy was born. Now instead of treasuring the child God blessed them with, they resent her.”

“Wow tomorrow night is Christmas Eve and I think that is the first time all month I’ve heard anyone mentioning religion,” I sighed thoughtfully.  “When did we forget what the season is all about?”

“I don’t know,” Linda mulled over my words. “When did you think you could out flank me?  Now stop changing the subject.  What happened?”

“You wouldn’t understand,” I finally huffed. I really wanted to tell her. It sucked the life out of me having to keep my feelings bottled up.

“Maybe I would.” She sagely countered. 

            I looked into her dark brown eyes and realized that she just might understand. I shivered when I spied the familiar look in her eyes.  It had never occurred to me that Linda might bat from the same side of the plate that I did. Then again I was just beginning to understand what that meant.  “You can trust me Ellen,” she encouraged.

“Thank you,” I nodded searching for my keys. “I . . . I haven’t caught up with things yet.  I can’t talk about it.  I want to but it just happened so fast.  The ending. Not the beginning.”

“Did she freak?” She whispered respecting my privacy. “Or was there someone else?”

“No,” I almost laughed. “She’s in jail.  How’s that for a new spin?”

“What?” Linda gaped at me. “Well that is a new one.  Oh the girl across the street. Now I get it. You weren’t with her when,”

“No,” I cut her off suddenly sensing that we were being watched. My fears were confirmed when I spotted Debbie’s face peering at us from behind the drapes. “It’s complicated and your mother is watching.”

“So she is,” Linda grimaced.  “If you need to talk, I’m home until the third.”

“Thank you,” I nodded once again. “It’s nice to know I’m not alone. I never would have suspected.”

“Well I’ve always known I was different,” she laughed. “It took me awhile to get that it wasn’t the color of my skin. Merry Christmas.”

“Merry Christmas.” I echoed before climbing back into the Chevy.

            Our Christmas celebration that year was dismal. Sammy was mad at Santa for not coming through with his only wish. I moped around only emerging from my room to open presents and to ask my parents how their visit with Ginny went.  I spent the rest of the year working and hiding in my room. On New Year’s Eve I went to bed before nine and said a silent prayer that 1957 would end on a happier note.



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