Dede and I were making out on her family's sofa. Nothing unusual about that. I always walked her home after school, and we'd spend at least half an hour making out before her sister, Karen, got home from her classes at the University. Karen at nineteen, was two years older than Dede and me.
We'd been going together for almost six months. We'd had sex together five or six times, mostly this was limited by our not having a place where we had the time and the privacy to get ourselves aroused enough to go that far.
Dede had been my first sex partner. She admitted that she'd had two other boys before me, but had steadfastly refused to name them. We'd had most of our arguments about her refusal to tell me who the boys had been. She said it was none of my business, but I disagreed with her about that. I had more than a sneaking suspicion that there had been more than two boys before me, and that Dede had only admitted to two in an attempt to mislead me. Other than our fights about this, the two of us got along quite well.
Our after school make out session had been interrupted by yet another unwelcome question from me about a boy I suspected Dede might have had sex with. As usual, rather than give me a yes or no answer, Dede allowed herself to get all upset and angry. In the past, when she got upset like this, I'd backed off from any further questions. This time I had decided to take a different approach to her anger.
"I don't care how pissed off my asking makes you, Dede. I think I definitely have a right to know who you let fuck you before me. If you don't tell me, then I'll break up with you. I'm not going to continue on with us always fighting like this."
"I told you it isn't any of your business. What happened was before we started dating. I'm not going to tell you, so go ahead and do whatever you want to."
I stood up, now as angry as she was. I hadn't thought she'd make the choice she'd just announced. I couldn't help it that I felt jealous. I believed that my jealousy would lessen once I knew who those other boys had been. Not knowing who they were, I had quite a list in my mind of possibilities for who it had been. Dede refused to tell me anything, even to eliminate some names from my list.
"This is your last chance, and I really mean it. Either tell me who they were, or this is it."
"Go home Spencer. Think about how immature you're acting. Think about what we have, what you'd be giving up if you continue to take this attitude with me. Call me tonight to let me know if you still plan on going through with this threat of yours."
I turned from her and started gathering up my jacket and books. She might not think I was serious about this, but I definitely was. She could keep me, or keep her secrets, but not both. I had kept nothing from her. Not that I had much in the way of secrets to keep, but still, I'd been completely honest and open with her.
I almost ran into Karen when I opened the front door to leave. She must have heard us yelling earlier. Either that, or else the angry look on my face when I came out of her house had tipped her off.
"Slow down, big guy, I don't want to get run over. Where are you off to so early?"
"I can't seem to make your dumb sister understand that I hate her keeping secrets from me."
I said this as I continued brushing right past her. I heard her calling Dede's name as I hurried away from their house. It took me less than ten minutes to walk over to my house. When I got there, I called out to let my mom know I was home, then went upstairs to my bedroom. I was still seething over how things had turned out. All I wanted to do was listen to some music and try to calm myself back down enough so I could try to plan my next move.
It was about six thirty before I heard my dad calling me to come down for supper. I was calmed down by then, at least enough to have gotten most of my homework finished. I'd thought about the situation with Dede, but hadn't come up with any new ideas about what else to do. Surprisingly, to me at least, was the fact that I wasn't very anxious about having broken up with her. I think I still believed that she would give me those names, once she finally understood that I'd been serious about what I'd said to her.
The next day was another school day. Usually, I'd have walked over to Dede's house, so the two of us could walk to school together. Instead, I walked to school by myself.
"Hey Spence, hold up, dude." I turned to see Tanner Hughes. Tanner was one of the guys I hung around with from school. We weren't close, or anything like that, but we had known each other for a long time. Kathy Freemantle, Tanner's girlfriend, was a close friend of Dede's. I watched as he quickened his stride to catch up with me. "So, give me the straight dish, man, is it true that you and Dede have called it quits?"
I had to assume that Tanner had heard this from Kathy. I saw no reason to deny that we'd broken up, so I told him it was true.
"Lame move, man. And, for a bogus reason, from what I'm hearing. Why get yourself tied up into knots over what she did in the past? You can't change any of it, so why even keep bringing it up to her?"
"What exactly have you heard?" I was a bit unsettled that Dede had been talking about our private business like this.
"I heard you keep going off on her, just because she refuses to name names about who she was with before you. Girls don't like to talk about their past mistakes. Simple as that. You think I grill Kath about who drilled her before I came on the scene? No way! None of my business. Not anybody's business, except for hers. I always thought you were way cooler than that."
"Fuck off, Tanner. This isn't about what's cool. I don't like her keeping secrets from me. It shows she doesn't trust me. Plus, I don't like the idea that there are some guys who might be snickering at me behind my back. I don't need to put up with that from her, and I won't. Now you need to just drop it, okay?"
"No one is laughing at you, Spence. It isn't like that. Jared Ennis, you remember him? Moved out of state about a year ago. He was one. Charlie Laken? I'm pretty sure he got there too. Other than those two, I think I'm the only other guy she's been with. Nobody is laughing at you."
I just looked at him. I think the guy was actually trying to be helpful. I thanked him, then told him I had to hurry to get to the school library before first bell rang. Tanner waved as I moved off. I think he thought I'd be satisfied now that I had some names. I might have been too, if it had only been two names he'd given me. Charlie Laken was a good friend of mine. He'd never once mentioned anything about Dede and him going out or doing anything.
I went looking for Charlie before first period started. When I found him, he had a look about him. A kind of uneasy, guilty, expression. For one thing, he was avoiding eye contact with me.
"You heard already? About me and Dede? Our breaking up?"
"I heard some rumors that you had. Why would you break up with her? You two were great together."
"She kept things hidden from me. I got to where I didn't think I could trust her anymore. I heard a rumor about you and her too. Any truth to that?"
"A while ago. Nothing recent though. You know I'd never play you off like that. Two summers ago. I thought you already knew about it?"
"I didn't. Do you know who else was banging her?" I looked at him, half expecting him to tell me he didn't know anything about who else.