George has been set up. College Queen Mandy's pantyhose and panties are in his car. The evidence of his alleged infidelity is irrefutable, at least to Debbie, the shy young pre-law student who loved him and who is now shattered and refuses to speak to him. George has never cheated on Debbie. He adores her – and detests Mandy. But how can he refute the irrefutable?
You'll find them everywhere – the Queen Bees who completely dominate their female 'friends' (and from a steadily decreasing age, also the males). They monopolize kindergartens, they pester primary schools, they drive middle school teachers to distraction, and once the hormones really hit, they become much more than merely a general nuisance – they become uncontrollable pests.
In high school their reigns peak. The boys swarm around them for a chance to be with the Queen. The Queens never drive anywhere themselves. They never buy a soda or a burger or a movie ticket – beau-of-the-week will take care of that in gratitude. They are also the ring leaders in making life miserable for anyone who dares to be different: the geeks, the brains, the misfits, or those who simply will not genuflect to the Queen. The Queen Bees kill. Truly, they do. Vulnerable kids suicide under the onslaught. And only rarely are the tormentors held accountable – how could any (male) DA think badly of such a pretty, flirty girl?
Their reigns peak in high school for several reasons. Partly because even Queen Bees grow up, partly because they are often too dumb to manage college, and partly because most people who go to college are not dumb and also mature enough to see through the Queens and ignore them, thus reducing the extent of their influence.
But that doesn't, in any way, mean that Queen Bees are unknown at colleges; far from it. The smaller and more, shall we say, provincial, a college is, the more likely it is that the Queen Bees can continue the domination.
Amanda Lee Buchanan – known as Mandy – was a very good example. A junior at a small but respected college; she was the archetypical Queen Bee. She was a naturally honey-blond Golden Girl of just over medium height with sparkling blue eyes, long eyelashes and a dazzling white smile. Her 36Ds on an otherwise slender frame made her look positively voluptuous. She was enrolled to study "General Business" – a designation that covers a multitude of sins and is chiefly indicative of indecision, lack of talent or both. In reality, Amanda was only in college to get her 'Mrs' degree and meanwhile having a ball doing what she'd done for 16 of her 20 years: controlling her posse as much as possible and make them do her bidding. 'Posse' is actually a poor choice of word. 'Court' would cover it much better. And while the number of courtiers was perhaps smaller than in high school where she'd been head-cheerleader and Prom Queen, the members of the college court were more interesting. No more pimpled youths with occasional access to their parents' cars.
The young men swarming around her now were independent smooth-faced sophisticated players. Or so they thought. Mandy didn't. Sure they had more money and fewer pimples, but otherwise first and second year college was not significantly different from third and fourth year high-school. She used, abused, and eventually dumped those young men one by one.
Some Queen Bees are, at least technically, virgins. They intend to give up their hymens only in exchange for a wedding ring. They keep the boys satisfied with their hands, mouths, breasts, or anuses. And the boys are free to hint that they have gone all the way. After all, the rumors will only increase the demand for dates. Others have no such reservations, providing their dates with real sex. That is a high-risk strategy: The separation between 'Queen Bee' and 'School Slut' is razor thin. But Mandy had managed to walk that tightrope flawlessly since losing her virginity at twelve. She liked sex. In fact, she liked it so much that the number of dates any guy would get depended as much on the size and prowess of his dick as of his wallet or car. To counter the risk of the dreaded 'slut' designation, Mandy insinuated that 'this was something she rarely ever did' asking the guys to 'keep it quiet for the sake of her prospects'. While the going was good, the guys complied. And once they were dumped, the few blabber-mouths would be met with derision. "As if" Mandy would declare, rolling her baby-blue eyes.
Have you noticed that the Queens almost always have a Lady in Waiting? A faithful side-kick who kids herself into believing that she's the Queen's best friend, usually never realizing how poorly she is being treated? To qualify for side-kick, a girl has to fulfill some basic requirements. One of the most important of those – second only to the blind devotion – is that she must not be too pretty. Never must the side-kick compete for the males' attention.
Deborah Elaine Henderson, unsurprisingly known as Debbie, was the perfect side-kick to Mandy and had been so since they met in Kindergarten at age 4. Debbie was mousy-haired girl. She wasn't overly tall, yet seemed somewhat gangly. She was by no means a dog, but certainly not a stunner. She did herself several injustices in the looks department though. She smoothed her hair daily with a straightening iron, depriving the world a view of her gorgeous natural curls. Rather she gathered her hair in a forbidding bun at the back of her head and her dress-sense was dull. Being so skinny, she wasn't particularly well endowed in the breast department, although she wasn't flat, and she had a perfectly cute ass. But her clothes hid rather than enhanced what was there front and back. She'd had braces until graduating high-school. She now had teeth as pretty as Mandy's, but since she hardly ever smiled, she didn't use that asset either. She, again according to form, was exceedingly bright. Academically, that is. On the personal front she was far from independent.
Actually being at the same college as Mandy was indicative of Debbie's subservience and complete lack of self-esteem. The college was really quite good in many areas, but its pre-law program was, to put it mildly, 'not worth writing home about', as the saying goes. Yet Debbie had agreed to go there with Mandy without even considering that she was doing herself a disfavor.
Not only did Debbie not compete with Mandy in the looks department, she was also so painfully shy around boys that she didn't even do what many side-kicks do: Wait on the side to collect the Queen's leftovers. She was a complete virgin; she had never so much as kissed a boy.
Besides Debbie, the court of Queen Mandy consisted of three or four other girls and a varying number of love-struck young men. They usually hung out at The Durant – a bar slash cafe on the far side of town. Despite most of them still being under 21, they never had problems buying alcohol. The state traditionally had a low minimum drinking age, but had been forced to up it to 21 during the Reagan years (or lose 10% of it federal road funding). However the College President was a co-founder of the Amethyst Initiative. And since his brother was the Chief of Police, the cops in the college town never took any particular interest in the age of drinkers. The behavior of drinkers was another matter – there was a zero-tolerance for drunk and disorderly conduct, and any bartender caught serving alcohol to an obviously intoxicated person would also find himself in trouble quickly. So by and large the town was safe.
Into all this walked George Jacobsen one Friday night early in the New Year. He was tall and blond after his Norse forefathers. His build was sinewy rather than bulky, but at 6"3 he still weighed in at 180 pounds. His short blond hair was almost flaxen and his eyes were even bluer than Mandy's. Unlike the other third year students, George was a relative new-comer in town. Hailing from a blue-collar background of modest means, he'd done an Associate Degree at a Community College in his home town, but shown such promise that he'd won a scholarship to finish a Bachelor of Computer Science degree at a more prestigious college.
Since he'd had to work for two years to raise money for college, George was older than the other third years – and actually one of the few students in the bar that evening old enough to legally buy alcohol. What he bought was one light beer. After that he would switch to soft-drinks. He never intoxicated himself, and if he was driving he wouldn't drink at all.
His aversion to drunk-driving was extremely strong. A bit over two years ago, George had lost his girlfriend when she, along with four other kids, was driven into a tree by her younger brother who was close to 3 times over the legal limit. The small, overfilled car had practically wrapped itself around the tree, and the traumatized emergency crew worked for hours to retrieve mangled body after mangled body. Shannon and Jake were George's neighbors and he still had flash-backs of the pitiful wail that pierced the quiet summer's evening when the police had come to tell their widowed mother that both her children had died.
Alerted by the sound, George rushed over to learn that the wail also signified the loss of his soul-mate. The girl next door who had been his best friend all his life – and his sweetheart since grade school – was gone.
George, irrationally, still felt guilty for Shannon's death. Had he gone to the party too, Shannon would never have been in Jake's car. Even Jake and the other kids might have been alive, as George would certainly have tried to stop Jake driving if he knew he was drunk. But George hadn't gone. Having just started the college education he'd worked so hard to be able to afford, he wanted to concentrate on studying and restricted himself to one party per weekend. Shannon had really wanted him to come – in fact they'd had a bit of a fight over George's refusal. It only added to George's devastation that the last words between him and Shannon had been in anger.
After this tragedy, George froze inside. For the next two years he worked like a man possessed on his education, in the process winning the scholarship, but never so much as looking at another girl. And the first half year at the new college had been the same. Work, work, work. He took no interest in the affluent college coeds, but he did make a few male friends.
George was shooting pool with Tony – another mature junior and fellow computer science student. They were roommates, brought together by chance, but had slowly struck up a friendship that deepened with every passing week – to the extent where they had visited each other's homes over the just past Christmas break. Their backgrounds were not dissimilar with supportive, though not wealthy parents. Tony's folks were small scale farmers so he'd had to work to make it to college just like George. But a small inheritance from a distant uncle had allowed him to take all four years at the good college.
Tony had much the same build as George (so much so that they regularly borrowed each other's clothes – don't think only girls do that), but their coloring was very different: Tony was of Italian descent and it showed in his dark hair, skin and eyes. Said dark eyes were narrowing to gauge how to pocket a particularly difficult placed ball. At the exact moment he was about to shoot, a honeyed voice called. "Hi Tony, aren't you going to introduce me to your friend?"
Tony missed the shot altogether, pocketing both the cue ball and one of George's balls in the process. He straightened up with a curse. "I don't think so Amanda," he said looking angrily at the lovely vision that had appeared in the doorway to the pool room. "As you say, he's my friend. And friends try to keep friends out of your talons."
He turned to George. "I'm leaving. Lucy was going to come over on the way home from theatre practice; I'll intercept her on the way and go somewhere else. I don't want to be with this vulture." He stomped out of the room, almost pushing the young lady aside. A bemused and slightly confused George was gaping at the scene which had shown him a hitherto unknown side of Tony.
The Golden Girl was nonplussed. "I'm Mandy," she intoned. George could almost feel the breeze from her eye-lashes.
"I'm George," George replied with a nod that was just exactly polite, but no more. "Tony's my roommate," he added, meaning to convey a warning that he intended to be loyal to his friend.
"Lucky Tony," Mandy tittered. "Although I think I would get much more out of sharing a room with you." Then she added cattily "At least I hope so. I have my doubts regarding Tony..."
George didn't take the bait. He busied himself setting up the balls for a new game. "Your break I think," he said to Nick – another of his fellow students and a friend of Tony's. It was Nick's idea that they should shoot 8-ball at this particular place, but he had graciously let George and Tony have the first, now abandoned, game.
Amanda, unused to being ignored by men, was just going to make another attempt to get George's attention when a rowdy lot of young people entered the bar. It was her 'court' arriving. They spotted her and came over towards her calling out exaggerated greetings.
"Hi Guys." Amanda said. "I'm just surveying the scene."
"Anything of interest?" Beatrice – one of the minor Ladies in Waiting asked, studying George with interest.
"Not for you Bea," Amanda replied. "The new cutie's mine."
George looked up from the pool table. His facial expression was inscrutable.
Amanda read it as a sign on interest and upped the ante. "Well George, are you going to buy me a drink?"
"I don't think so," George replied with deliberation. "I don't think so."
Amanda was taken aback but recovered quickly to protect her image. She turned around with a shrug and addressed Debbie. "It seems the New Boy is shy. Will you get me a drink Debs?"
"Yes Mandy," the grey girl said resignedly and went to the bar.
The episode bothered George so he drained his light beer, went up to the bar too to get a soft drink, queued up behind the mousy girl and asked her point blank "How come Miss Domineering Personality of the Year can't buy her own drinks?"
Startled, Debbie couldn't meet George's gaze and looked down. "We're friends," she mumbled.
"Are you really?" George asked. "I mean, how often does Mandy buy your drinks?"
'Exactly never, ' Debbie thought – but she didn't say anything. The silence was oppressing.
"Thought so," George sighed – as if Debbie's thoughts had been spoken. Once more Debbie said nothing.
"Well, I hope you're happy," George said.
It was Debbie's turn next to be served so she was spared having to reply. But she did think about it.
Not that there was all that much to think about, really, but it dominated Debbie's thoughts nevertheless. The answer to George's question was an unequivocal 'No!' Debbie was not happy with her personal life at all. Nor had she been for quite some time. Coming to college with Mandy was a bad mistake – the worst in a seemingly endless series of mistakes. She'd had a unique chance to break the dependence of Mandy by going to another college – and she could even have gotten into a better pre-law program that way. But she was scared of being on her own and so she'd chosen the 'safe' option and stayed with Mandy. At least she had something of a social life, no matter how limited, she thought. But in a way she was worse off than an old fashioned paid companion; in fact it was Debbie that was paying Mandy – drinks were not the only items Debbie would provide on a regular basis.
And she couldn't see how her situation would change. Unlike Beatrice and Cindy who were more than happy to have a go with those men Mandy discarded or rejected, Debbie was never going to find anyone for herself. In general she disliked Mandy's boyfriends – past, present and future. Tony was an exception, but he had been scooped up by Lucy when Mandy tired of him and he had never looked Debbie's way. In fact, the likelihood that any of those boys would ever even notice Debbie was remote. So she was at a dead end. Perhaps it was time to cut loose?
She was morosely mulling about those things over her Diet Coke. As usual, Mandy ignored her and was unaware of her 'best' friend's gloomy mood. Mandy had kept up the banter with George a bit – mainly to goad Sean, the beau of the moment. George finished his drink around the time he and Nick finished a game. "That's two all," he said. "I think I'll call it quits and head home. I've got a lot of studying to do this weekend."
"'Kay," said Nick as George left the pool table for a quick stop at the rest room before heading home.
"Time for another," Mandy said – holding her empty glass up to Debbie.
"No thank you," Debbie replied – choosing to interpret Mandy's words as an offer, rather than the demand it so obviously was. "I think I'll head home; I'm not feeling too well."
Mandy was peeved by Debbie's reply – the unspoken insult regarding the drink and especially the unheard streak of independence. "You're not much fun," she said. "I expect more from the people I hang out with."
"I know," Debbie replied. "That's why I'm going home."
Mandy pointedly turned her back to Debbie and didn't observe that George and Debbie nearly collided when he exited the men's rest-room in the entranceway.
"Sorry," George said. "Didn't mean to bump into you that way. Heading home?"
"Yes," Debbie said quietly. And repeating the excuse she'd used to Mandy, she added "I'm not feeling too well."
"Sorry to hear that!" George said – his voice sounding genuinely nice and concerned. "Let me walk you home then."
Debbie was startled "I, eh I," she faltered. "I don't want to put you out..."
"'Put me out'?" George laughed. "That sounds very old-fashioned and genteel! You'd do no such thing; your dorm is right next to mine – it's no trouble at all."
"You know where I live?" Debbie asked even more startled.
"Sure, I've seen you around, "George said. "You're doing pre-law with Lucy, aren't you?"
"Yes," Debbie confirmed barely over a whisper. She was almost paralyzed with shyness. She wished she could make some bright remark, but nothing came.
George didn't seem to expect her to and continued "Tony's my roommate and best friend and I hang out a lot with him and Lucy. I've seen you often enough when we go to pick her up."
Debbie was stunned. 'He has noticed me?!' she thought in confusion. "You have?" she croaked.
"Why sure," George said. His natural politeness made him turn to face Debbie with a smile.
The girl still didn't look up, but George was unconcerned. He sensed her shyness, and since he wasn't on the prowl – or in fact really interested in her as a girl at all, he just kept up a pleasant and polite, if somewhat one-sided, conversation about college matters.
It was a fairly long walk and the conversation became progressively less one-sided as Debbie's utterances changed from monosyllabic whispers to almost animated contributions. But the few times George turned to look at her, she still didn't look him in the eye.
It was also a fairly cold walk. Walking the narrow streets of the town wasn't too bad but once they reached the open areas of the parkland surrounding the campus, the icy winds hit them at full force. Debbie was shivering. "You're not really dressed for this, are you?" George said, eyeing her much too thin jacket.
"No," Debbie agreed with clattering teeth. "I got a lift over with Bea – I wasn't planning on walking."
"We can't have you catching pneumonia, can we?" George said, took off his great coat, and wrapped it around her.
"But then you'll get cold," she started to protest – while at the same time trying to process that a boy, well a man, really, and a handsome one at that, was being positively chivalrous to her. George putting the huge coat around her felt not only warm, it felt like a caress. She wriggled to get her arms though the sleeves.
"I'll be right," George said cheerfully while buttoning the coat – and indeed he would. He would cool off in the icy wind, sure, but he didn't feel the cold; he never did. Besides he had an oversized sweatshirt on as well. "But we'd better get a move on," he added, grabbing Debbie's small cold hand when it – just – appeared out of the sleeve.
They crossed the parkland at a brisk pace and got to the dorms. George's was first, but he carried on towards Debbie's a bit further up. They entered the lobby and stood facing each other. "Better get up to bed quick kiddo if you're coming down with something," George said – and unthinkingly started to unbutton the coat again. Debbie was mesmerized – a man was undressing her! And in public!! Well, OK, he was just retrieving his coat, and the lobby was deserted, but still.
"Gosh, that hand is frozen too, isn't it," George said when his left hand grazed Debbie's right while putting his coat back on. "Keep your fingers stiff," he ordered. Debbie did and George proceeded to rub warmth back into it with both his.
Her hand got warm quickly. All of her got warm, actually. Her face and her neck. And in particular the pit of her stomach. She finally looked up into his friendly blue eyes.
Until that very moment, George's actions had been all natural friendly politeness. Letting a girl, especially someone unwell, walk home alone was incompatible with his upbringing; letting a girl freeze when he was warm likewise.
Thrown into the mix was his intense dislike for people like Mandy whom he knew all-too-well from his school days. He and Shannon had suffered much from the 'in-crowd' throughout middle and high school. Never had they let the Queen Bees get to them, but many of their friends were badly burned by their antics.
And given the grief in his heart over the loss of Shannon, there were no ulterior motives behind George's chivalry. But all that changed when he looked into Debbie's dark brown eyes. The two girls – Shannon and Debbie – were otherwise not alike at all. But the eyes George now gazed into were identical to what Shannon's had been. George was lost.
How long they were standing there, looking into each others eyes, neither of them knew afterwards. Debbie who had never experienced anything in terms of romance was vaguely aware that something had happened to George, but she had no idea what. Nor did she understand what was happening to her. Her breath was coming in short shallow gasps and she felt heat and moisture from a place she'd never felt before. George was in a different world altogether, incapable of processing his emotions – and unable to let go of Debbie small hand, still firmly clasped between his two large paws.
The arrival of other people finally broke the spell. It was Tony walking Lucy home. "George!", "Debbie!" came the surprised outburst when they recognized them. "What are you doing here?"
George turned around, finally letting go of Debbie's hand. "Debbie was feeling unwell so I walked her back. I'm glad you're here Lucy – will you make sure Debbie gets to bed?"
"Sure," Lucy said. She gave Tony a quick kiss. "See you tomorrow sweetheart."
Then she turned to Debbie, put an arm around her, and said "Let's get you upstairs."
George and Tony walked home in silent companionship. Once they got to their room, George sat down in a comfy chair while Tony flopped out on his bed. "OK," Tony said. "What happened between you and young Debbie?"
"I actually think you need to start by telling me what happened between you and the Queen Bitch," George replied, "– and I'll take up the story from there."
With an economy of words that spoke loudly this was a subject Tony would rather forget, he told George how he'd fallen under Mandy's spell in second year. He was a late bloomer and his parents strict Catholics, so Mandy'd been his first – something he now bitterly regretted.Of course being inexperienced he hadn't lived up to Mandy's expectations and he had been dumped quickly and mercilessly with some pretty humiliating comments about his lack of sexual prowess.
"Jeez, man," George exclaimed. "No wonder you detest the bitch."
"Yeah, I was in a complete funk most of last spring," Tony admitted. "But then Lucy came along."
Tony's whole demeanor changed. He couldn't talk about Lucy without going all soft.
George smiled at his friend. "She's the one, isn't she?"
"Yes," Tony with emphasis.
"So what'cha ya gonna do about it?" George asked with a grin.
"Easy," Tony replied. "Valentine's Day is in just over four weeks. I'm gonna buy her a ring."
"Good for you," George exclaimed. "Both of you! Lucy will love that."
"You won't tell her, will you?" Tony asked – suddenly all worried. "I want it to be a surprise."
"I doubt she will be all that surprised, but I shan't tell her," George assured his friend – and then added in a teasing tone "On one condition, that is..."
"What's that?" Tony asked, once more looking concerned.
"That I get to be your Best Man," George grinned.
"Of course!" Tony gushed. "I wouldn't want anyone else."
They were silent again, soaking up the happy mood.
"Hey, wait a minute," Tony suddenly said. "You never told me about you and Debbie."
"I don't think there is all that much to tell," George said after a few moments' thought. "Yet."
The little additional word surprised George as much as it surprised his friend. But he had to admit to himself that for the first time in two and a half years he was having feelings he thought had died completely. Although not certain at all what was going on, he was thinking about Debbie in ways that reminded him of what he had felt for Shannon.
Tony, who knew about his friend's past, was quietly elated. He decided to take a chance. "You know, from what you've told me about Shannon, she wouldn't have wanted you to remain alone for the rest of your life, would she?"
To Tony's immense relief, George looked startled – not pained or offended. "I suppose not – we never talked about that," he faltered.
"Of course you didn't," Tony agreed. "You expected to have a long life ahead of you. As by rights you should have. But for arguments sake, just supposing that the accident had never happened, but that you had caught some deadly disease – say leukemia, or something that kills even young people. What would you have told Shannon? To stay celibate and in mourning for the rest of her life?"
"Of course not!" George exclaimed without hesitation. "I loved her. I would have wanted her to find happiness again!"
Tony didn't drive the point home. He merely lifted his eyebrows in a querying look.
"I suppose so," George said by way of answer to the unasked question. "I've just not felt anything for anyone since that night."
"Until now," Tony added gently.
"Until now," George agreed.
"Debbie is a sweet, intelligent kid," Tony said. "If completely under the thumb of that bitch. I was quite fond of her myself, but she never opened up – she was much too shy, and besides once Lucy appeared on the scene, my interests were elsewhere."
George nodded with a smile.
"What I'm trying to say," Tony continued, "is that you would be so good for each other. Go for it and see what happens."
"I will," George agreed. "To be frank, I don't think I can help myself. I've never fallen in love before – with Shannon it was different; we we're in love long before we knew what it meant. From long before we started school if our mothers are to be believed. But Debbie? Jeez. This 'love at first sight' thing does happen, doesn't it?"
"Yes," Tony replied. "It does."
Kim was fairly unimpressed when there was a hesitant knock on the door just after 9 on the Saturday morning. She was a light sleeper, so she was awake immediately. Debbie, poor thing, was still out of it. She had been all strange when Lucy brought her to their room last night. Supposedly she was unwell – but there was something else about Debbie that Kim couldn't quite figure out. Lucy had stayed to put Debbie to bed – like Kim couldn't handle that! And Lucy whispered something to Debbie just before she left that made Debbie blush. Kim didn't care much for Lucy. Well, actually, she did. That was the problem. 'Another bloody breeder, ' she thought, 'and totally wrapped up in that Tony fellow.' At least Debbie always hung out with Mandy and never mentioned men. There was hope for her still.
"Who are you?" she demanded when she opened the door to see a tall blond man who looked vaguely familiar. He was standing in a restful pose with both hands behind his back.
"Come on, you know me Kimberly," George replied good-naturedly, recognizing the girl at once. "We were in a couple of the same comp sci classes last semester."
"So we were," Kim acknowledged. "You're George, aren't you?"
"Yes, that's right," George replied in that quiet polite voice he always used. 'Quite a decent fellow really. For a man that is, ' Kim thought. 'And never aggressive.' But she was having a bad feeling about this visit
"What do you want?" she demanded.
"I just wanted to know how Debbie is this morning," George replied unfazed. "She was unwell last night and had a dust-up with Mandy, so I walked her home..."
"She's still sleeping," Kim cut him off, looking daggers at him, "and..."
This time it was George's turn to cut off the conversation. "Good, that's what she needs. Do let her sleep. But would you please give her these?" He swung around his left hand from behind his back, revealing a bunch of very pretty flowers with a card in an envelope attached.
Kim scowled at him, but she couldn't fault him. "Sure," she said, grabbed the flowers, and closed the door in George's face.
"I guess those flowers weren't for Kim," a sweet humorous voice whispered in George's ear.
George swung around startled. "You're not wrong there Lucy," he agreed with a reluctant smile. "I doubt they would have any effect anyway."
"Nope, you would need some rather extensive and invasive surgery before Kim would accept flowers from you," Lucy laughed.
"Not happening," George smiled – and then all serious again added "But I don't get it. Why she is so aggressive? Live and let live has always been my motto. Her sexual orientation is her business – I have no problem with it."
"Yeah, you wouldn't," Lucy agreed. "But I think she has some baggage. She grew up out in the sticks where homosexuality isn't so easily accepted. And I believe some boys there were determined to prove that she could be 'converted' as it were. I mean, she is quite curvy and good looking."
"Jeez, you mean she was raped?" George asked, totally appalled.
"No, I don't think it actually ever came to that," Lucy replied. "But I believe she only barely escaped a charge of causing grievous bodily harm when she attempted to turn the local sheriff's son into a daughter, so to speak, when he wouldn't take 'no' for an answer."
"Oh," George said. "Well, serves the bastard right."
"Indeed," Lucy agreed. "But anyway, if those flowers are not for Kim then it must mean that you are serious about Debbie."
George didn't say anything; he just smiled. "Oh goodie," Lucy grinned. "That's what I told Debbie last night. She wouldn't believe me."
"Were we that obvious?" George asked.
"George sweetheart, you never look at any girl in a romantic way and the poor little thing was blushing all down her neck and actually panting!" Lucy laughed. "She's got it bad. And from the looks of you, so do you! My friends always tell me that Tony goes all soft when I'm mentioned and you seem to do the same about Debbie."
"I can't help it," George said, indeed looking all soft and cuddly.
"DON'T!" Lucy exclaimed. "I'm so happy for you both."
Before George could say anything, she added with a wicked grin "But you do realize half the girls on campus will go into mourning when they realize that George Jacobsen has finally come out of the permafrost and it wasn't for them."
"You're exaggerating," George laughed – though certainly not displeased.
"No, I'm not," Lucy said. "And be careful. Mandy will be furious. It is a deadly sin for any member of her posse to scoop up some guy she is interested in."
"That 4B can go to hell," George spat with uncharacteristic venom.
"4B?" Lucy asked in confusion.
"Big Boobed Blond Bitch," George said, spitting out each word. "That's what Shannon called them. Believe me, I know her kind." He turned and left.
When Debbie finally woke up just before noon she was all better. She hadn't been physically ill in fact; just emotionally upset – which can be just as exhausting. In the twilight zone between being asleep and fully awake, she was reliving last night, including what Lucy had whispered to her. She didn't quite believe her, although she wanted to. And then she rolled over and saw the flowers. Kim was long gone – she played soccer every Saturday morning, but she had put the flowers in a vase on Debbie's bed-side table.
With trembling hands Debbie retrieved the card from the envelope. It was a tasteful "Get Well" card. And in a neat very legible hand was a greeting. 'Dear Debbie. I hope you get better soon. I would so like to see you again. Please call me. Love George.' There were three X's after George name and a cell-phone number.
Debbie nearly swooned. And for the first time in her life she acted resolutely and called George
"Thank you for the beautiful flowers," she gushed as soon as George had answered with a tentative whispered 'Hello?'
George hastily made his way out the library where he had been studying. "Debbie," he exclaimed as soon as the double doors closed noiselessly behind him. "I was just in the library; sorry about that. How are you?"
"I'm pretty good," Debbie replied. An understatement; she felt on top of the world.
"All better?" George asked happily.
"Just about, if starving," Debbie said. "I only just woke up and breakfast is long over. But what a way to wake up – to the intense scent of vanilla. How did you know those are my favorite flowers?"
"I didn't," George replied honestly. "But I'm glad you liked them, and with regards to begin hungry, Café Jefferson serves brunch until 2 PM on Saturdays. That will do breakfast for you and lunch for me. I'll pick you up in, say twenty minutes. My treat."
Before Debbie could say anything, George hung up. With a squeal of panic, Debbie leapt out of bed and rushed to the shower. Her hair felt greasy and really needed a wash. She dried herself and while blow-drying her hair she panicked further about what to wear. Usually she did laundry on Thursday evening, but she had been too busy this week and feared she didn't have anything 'nice' to wear. She was still in panties, stockings and a bra when she eyed George out of the window, walking up to the path towards her dorm.
"Shit!" she muttered. "He's early!" Her hair was curling more than ever – the combination of the cold weather and the blow drying made it almost explode in curls. Nothing to do about that now – the straightening process took ages. But she was also nearly naked. In desperation she grabbed the first clean garment she could find in her wardrobe – a rather formal three quarter length dress. She had only just gotten it on and zipped up when there was a knock on the door. 'God, I've blown it, ' she thought. 'Just look at me!' Despondently she slipped her stockinged feet into a pair of pumps and opened the door.
George was utterly unprepared for the vision that met him. Honestly, the cartoon cliché of the dropping jaw and popping out eyeballs fitted perfectly. "My God you're beautiful!" he stammered. "What have you done to your hair?"
"Nothing," Debbie replied in confusion. "Oh the curls you mean? It does that when I wash it – it takes forever to straighten out."
"Oh God, don't straighten it!" George exclaimed. "It's perfect like this."
Debbie was completely unprepared for that reaction – straightening her hair had been Mandy's idea and she had slaved over it for nearly ten years. She turned around to let George in.
Whatever control George had regained over himself was lost when he saw Debbie from behind in that figure hugging dress. He sported an instant painful boner and groaned. He swallowed hard. "Debbie," he croaked. "Why do you hide yourself in baggy clothes?"
Debbie turned around again, eyeing the almost drooling young man in confusion. Then she saw the prominent tent in his jeans. As comprehension dawned, a deep flush spread from her face down neck. "You like?" she whispered, turning around once more in a twirl.
"God yes, you're a goddess!" George exclaimed.
"But I'm so flat!" Debbie protested, indicating her bust.
"You're nothing of the kind," George countered. "You're perfect. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. And don't hide that perfect figure – at least not when I'm around to protect you from the wolves," he added. 'The other wolves, ' he thought – more than a little ashamed of himself.
"I will have to put a coat on, you know", Debbie laughed. "It's too cold outside otherwise."
"Oh sure!" George said, "But, please, take it off again at the café and make me the proudest, most envied man on campus!"
"Flatterer!" Debbie laughed – a sweet, pearly sound. For the first time in her life she felt sure of herself. Words could be deceptive, but George's physical and emotional reaction was genuine – she was certain of that. That massive erection was irrefutable evidence that he found her attractive.
Debbie hung on George's arm during the short walk to the café. When they arrived there, he demonstratively helped her out of her coat, escorted her to a vacant table, held the chair for her, and offered her every possible delicate attention, speaking her name with reverence.
"Hi George," a saccharine voice breathed. "Oh and hello, Debbie is it?" was added with marked less enthusiasm. "What can I get you?"
"Full brunch for both of us, Henrietta," George replied. "OJ and tea?" he eyed Debbie with a querying look and received a nod. "Yes, tea for two."