Woman With A Past
Copyright© 2005 by Tony Stevens
Romantic Sex Story: Chapter 1 - Chad Prince had known, and perhaps loved, Shirley Kiner for half his life. But, for the last half, she'd been away. Everyone knew that, years ago, she'd posed for Penthouse. But there was more: the rumors about her were disturbing. Who was Shirley, today? And how much had she changed?
It was the first time I'd ever come back to Cloverdale for a high school reunion, although they had staged one five years, and again, ten years, after graduation.
Now it was the 15-year reunion, and when I got the word from the all-female committee of organizers, I decided, what the hell? I'd go, this time.
These things, I knew, were dog-and-pony shows. The high-achievers showed up to show off their high achievements. The local kids -- the (usually) low-achievers who'd never left the old home town -- showed up because, hell, why not? It was right there at the old Carswell Hotel, in beautiful downtown Cloverdale. It was something to do on a Saturday night.
I was, I guess you would say, a middle-achiever. I'd left the town, but not the state. I was now an associate professor of computer science at the State University, just 150 miles east of Cloverdale, in Cape Girardeau on the Mighty Mississippi River.
Well -- not the State University, exactly. Not the University of Missouri. One of those "hyphenated" state universities.
Southeast Missouri State, if you have to know.
Still. I was an associate professor. That was not chopped liver! OK, so maybe I was still planning to steer clear of the upcoming tenth reunion of my undergrad college class, but I was a big enough success to go back for Cloverdale High's big night.
As you can see, my contempt for the show-off overachievers I knew would be in attendance was tempered by my realization that I, too, was going to be showing off a little. Professor Chad Prince: Medium-sized fish in a small academic pond.
I had managed to maintain real friendships with a couple of guys from my high school class. Unlike me, they were both married and settled down, raising families and trying to make it as executive types.
One of the two, Reggie Josephson, worked for a corporation in St. Louis that was, like my university, a middle-tier sort of outfit. No doubt Reggie was making considerably more money than I, but I didn't envy him either his grind-it-out, high-pressure job or his overweight wife and three noisy kids.
Reggie was my friend, but he was also my anti-role-model. Watching him live his life was a cautionary tale for Ol' Chad Prince. Sure, I wanted to Meet the Right Girl, Get Married, and Settle Down. Sure, I was a little concerned about being soon-33 and still single.
But it had to be the "right" girl. Hadn't met her just yet. Meanwhile, I had met a lot of almost-right girls, and Life was good. Life was very good.
My other high school chum who was still around worked, as I did, at Southeast Missouri State. He was on the university's administrative staff. Herm Elliott had been a newspaper reporter during and after his two years in the junior college back in Cloverdale. Now he was Public Relations Director for the University. I saw Herm much more regularly than I saw Reggie, and I liked Herm's wife, Betsy, and their one child better, too. Quiet kid. Best kind.
If Herm wasn't my perfect Family-Man role model, he at least came pretty close. We lived only a couple of blocks apart, both of us in big old houses near the campus.
It was Herm who'd gotten me started thinking about actually attending our high school reunion. He and Betsy had been to the ten-year reunion and had told me they'd really enjoyed it, renewing old acquaintances and catching up on events back in the tiny town he'd covered as a reporter for more than five years before moving to Cape Girardeau to take his present job.
"It'll be a gas," Herm said. "We can go over together, Friday night, and take part in the cookout at Janie McGregor's house!"
I remembered Janie McGregor as the head cheerleader, and as the Leading Light and Unattainable Virgin classmate we'd all lusted after -- mostly from afar. Neither Herm nor I had been in the social caste that included Janie and her country club friends, and I'd never so much as visited her home, or attended a dance at her country club.
"I think I'll skip the McGregor thing," I told Herm. "That was never my crowd. I'll just wait and go to the dinner at the hotel on Saturday night."
I knew that if I agreed to go to the pre-event cookout at the McGregor home, I'd be roped into traveling with Herm and his wife, Betsy, and I'd have to stay in an adjoining room -- probably at that bedraggled hotel that was hosting the reunion dinner. My preference was to drive over alone, on the following morning -- Saturday -- in my own car, and to spend only a single night in Cloverdale. I figured I'd find a room out on the highway in a cheap-but-serviceable motel.
We agreed to meet for a drink at 5 p.m. at the Carswell, and go to the reunion dinner together later. I telephoned Reggie in St. Louis and invited him and his wife, Marsha, to join us for drinks as well.
Herm suggested I bring a date, but I told him I thought dragging some poor woman 150 miles to accompany me to my high school reunion would be a pretty uncool thing to do. It was one thing to expect one's wife to attend such an event, but a date? Never!
Besides, who knew? Maybe I'd meet some Old Flame from high school days and get lucky. There were at least three old girlfriends from my class that I remembered with some fondness. Probably, like Reggie's wife, Marsha, they were fat and married by now, but, hey, the divorce rate was hovering around fifty percent, right?
Maybe I'd catch one the rebound. Fat and not-currently-married was OK by me.
I knew that, probably, it would't happen. But stranger things have happened. Not to me, maybe, but to other people.
The five of us met as scheduled at the ancient hotel's bar -- a surprisingly attractive place, considering that Cloverdale had never been much of a town and, if anything, seemed to have headed downhill since I'd last seen it.
Reggie was his old gregarious self and kept us laughing with his stories of old high school hi-jinks, most of which the three of us had experienced together. Only Reggie, however, seemed to remember the details quite so vividly.
Marsha -- also a classmate of ours, although she'd been two years behind -- turned out, despite her thirty or so extra pounds, to be a vivacious and entertaining companion. Her stories, which mostly featured husband Reggie during his clumsy-lover stage, were surprisingly risqué and revealing.
After a couple of drinks, all of us relaxed and enjoyed the company and the conversation. I regarded Marsha with new respect, because I could see that she and Reggie had a good thing going -- even if their three kids were a pain in the ass, for an old confirmed bachelor like me.
Around 7 p.m., with a pleasant buzz on, we adjourned and headed for the Hotel's dining room, where the reunion dinner and dance was about to begin.
"Wow," Herm said, as we stood at the entrance table, signing in and making up paper nametags to stick on our chests, "Look who's here!"
"Who?" Marsha asked, looking in the direction Herm had indicated.
"Shirley Kiner!" Herm said. "Cloverdale High's most famous graduate!"
That might have been something of an exaggeration, since, offhand, I couldn't think of any famous Cloverdale High graduates -- or famous drop-outs, for that matter.
But Shirley Kiner was, if not exactly famous, certainly notorious, by Cloverdale standards. Shirley had posed for Penthouse Magazine! She had been a Penthouse Pet of the Month.
It had been a minor sensation in Cloverdale at the time, some four years after our high school class had graduated. Shirley had gone off to Hollywood to make her way as an actress. I was finishing up my undergrad degree at the University of Missouri, but still coming home frequently enough to stay abreast of local events.
Shirley Kiner's Penthouse spread had been a major local event. And they didn't call it a "spread" for nothing!
I lost touch with Cloverdale and most of its citizenry not too long after that, but Herm had stayed around town for several more years, and he knew a little more about the Penthouse affair than Reggie or I did. "I'm really surprised to see her here!" he told us as we sought out an unoccupied table big enough for our group. "After she was in Penthouse, I think her parents practically disowned her. She certainly wasn't around for the fifth, or for the tenth-year reunions!"
Shirley's parents, Herm said, had continued to live in Cloverdale after Shirley had shamed them, and probably still did to this day. But as far as Herm knew, Shirley had never shown up around town again. "She's the last person I would have expected to see here," he said.
Marsha remembered Shirley Kiner as our Homecoming Queen. Shirley had handily beaten out the ever-smiling Janie McGregor for that high honor, despite Shirley's far- inferior political connections within the class.
"She sure still looks good," Marsha sighed.
"She sure as hell does," I agreed, with maybe a little too much enthusiasm. All four of my companions turned to look at me at once.
"Down, Boy!" Betsy said, grinning.
I blushed. "Well, she does," I said. "She looks great."
"Yeah, but," Reggie said, "she's a porn star!"
That was news to me. "A porn star? Are you serious?"
"That's what I heard," Reggie said. "I heard she'd been in some porno movies."
"You ever see any?" Herm wanted to know.
"No," Reggie said, "but I heard about it, and I don't think it was just -- you know -- hot air. I heard she'd been in some porno movies, and -- that's not all."
"What else?" I asked.
Reggie hesitated. "Well," he said, finally, looking at Marsha and clearly having talked himself into a corner. "I -- ahh -- saw some pictures of her, on the Internet."
"From a porno movie?" I asked.
"I don't know. I don't think so. I mean, she wasn't -- y'know -- doing it, in the pictures. But, I mean, she was, like, naked, you know?"
"Were they the same pictures that were in Penthouse?" I asked him. The Penthouse photos had been revealing, sexy and memorable. Among other things, they afforded all of us splendid verification that Shirley was, indeed, a true blonde.
When you have gone to high school with a girl who's been in Penthouse, you're not going to forget those pictures, right away. I think every single pose in that now-eleven-year-old pictorial was imprinted on my brain.
"The ones I saw were, like, more explicit than the ones in Penthouse," Reggie said. "I mean, they were just her, alone, you know? No sex or anything. But they were awfully -- explicit!"
"It's nice to know," Marsha said to Reggie, "that when you're slaving away at the office on that computer, you take a little break once in awhile for recreation."
"Hey, porn on the Internet is everywhere," Reggie said. "It's kinda hard to avoid!"
"Right," Marsha said. "I'm sure you tried mightily, and were terribly unhappy when you failed to avoid it."
I looked across the big room and saw Shirley Kiner again. She had taken a seat at one of the big round tables, just like ours, but evidently nobody from the class had seen fit to join her there, at least not yet. She was looking as if she'd wished she hadn't decided to attend her 15-year Class Reunion.
"How about if I invite her to sit with us?" I said.
"You kidding?" Betsy Elliott said.
"No, I'm not," I said. "Look at her over there. Everybody's treating her like a pariah. I want to invite her to our table. Any objections?"
"Not from me," Marsha said. "I think it would be interesting, talking to her."
I was liking Marsha Josephson more by the minute.
"Go ahead," Herm said. "What the hell, why not?"
"Let's just watch what we say," Betsy warned. "We don't want to embarrass her!"