My mom, Cameron Dorne, became my mom at age 13: that's not a misprint. It, me, was the result of a rape. Yes, the perp, some loner named Ewing Thorpe, went to prison for it; which fact did little to help my mother in her decision to keep me.
At the time she was minus her own mother and father: the former having died of hepatitis; the latter had likewise died but of prostate cancer. A new single mom, she was raised by her grandma Stella Martin a single mom herself.
All things considered, my mom was arguably the greatest mom of all time. Well, she was to me. I need to give a little of her history here, as I then knew it, because it's intrinsic to my own story which is what this writing is majorly about.
Interestingly, my first birthday also marked the beginning of my mom's first year in high school. At the time Cameron Dorne was short at five foot flat, a little chubby though not actually fat, intelligent, plain looking but by no means bad looking—I have pictures—and above all possessed of amazing foresight for one so young—a fact also intrinsic to this story.
Her high school years, seen to by great-grandma Stella, were miserable for mom. Well, she was raising a kid. She managed Cs, but had no time for clubs, no boyfriends, or many girlfriends either. She never attended a prom, a homecoming dance, or went to many parties. Her youth was safe, secure is maybe a better word, but not a whole lot of fun. But, she had me. I was her life, and much later I made the decision that I would do whatever I could to make it up to her: buy her a house, somethng. Had to do that for damn sure.
Like I said my mom had foresight way beyond her years. She graduated from high school at my age five, and got a job checking groceries at Nationwide Super Mart. The job paid pretty good and the benefits were good: the usual retail clerks union package. But, for her plans, the expenses she would incur in seeing to my education would far exceed what she alone was able to afford. She had to find resources quite apart from her salary.
Mom dated occasionally, but nothing ever came of her dates—read no long term relationships. And then, as I learned much later, mom had made the decision to dedicate her life to making sure mine would not be a mirror image of her own.
She did some research and essentially engineered my early life. At age six I found myself enrolled in St. Paul's Academy, at the cost of almost $30,000 a year. It took half of mom's annual salary even with her working 48 hours each and every week to do it. And, I'd find out later, a huge chunk of Grandma's savings, most of that gotten from great-grandpa's life insurance policy, as well to send me there. And that wasn't all, Oh no.
I found myself also signed up at Rosie Mitchell's School of Music and Dance; and, I was likewise sentenced to a young person's sports' facility owned and operated by a good 'ole southern boy named Jethro Hughs. Jethro dated mom on and off over the years, as I would later learn; but, as far as I knew at the time, it was only a casual thing not anything to write home about. I think mom got a cut in the cost for putting out for good 'ole Jethro, but I never really knew for sure about that.
Saint Paul's was nothing if not a first water elementary and middle school, and I mean first water. Every kid had an essentially individualized learning plan. Most of the 114 member student body was comprised of rich kids with no interest in socializing with a poor kid—relatively speaking—like me. But, by the time I finished the eighth grade, my favorite authors were Faulkner, Shakespeare, and Fitzgerald. Likewise, high powered nerd that I was, I was conversant with Wittgenstein's Tractatus—which no one with any hopes of having a life would ever read—and I had learned to absolutely despise Emmanuel Kant. Additionally Math became my passion; and, by the time I was fourteen I was already into Calculus and that mostly on my own, though with deal of help from father McHugh, my mentor at the school; and yes we all had them, mentors. So yeah, I was a genius and busy as hell and had no life; I mean if you were still wondering.
At Rosie's I had become proficient at ballroom dance, and the guitar. Mom had held out for the piano, but I just hadn't shown any interest in it, and it was the one of the few things she wanted that I just would not do. But, I did love the guitar. She gave in.
And my schema at Jethro's? It was gymnastics and later boxing. I specialized in the high bar and the rings in gymnastics. As for boxing I'd been in it and competing after age ten, that in the Silver Gloves: had a so-so record. That said, I was in super shape. I did have physical limits though: I was five-four and one-twenty on the eve of my first day in high school. And looks-wise? Well, I hoped I could say with a straight face that I wasn't actually ugly; I guess I was average looking. Well, like I say, I hoped.
Mom had seen to it that my high school years would not be the empty ones she'd had to endure. She'd done her best to see to it that I was ready-teddy, and I was. I had cooperated in her plans—mostly—and done my best. Mom and grandma Stella were proud to beat the band that first day, and so was I. At any rate, I was as ready as I could be. Mom sat me down the night before my first day at Central High and laid it out for me.
"Michael, we're here my beautiful boy," she said. What happens tomorrow is up to you. You're short like me, Michael, and that's going to be a problem for you, but not an insoluble one; don't let the bullies get away with putting you down. Take them down instead. The girls may look askance at you in the beginning because of your size, but they'll come around unless you turn into a whiner and a self-created loser. Be yourself and always do right by other people and you'll be fine," she said.
"I will mom. It's gonna be okay," I said.
It wasn't quite a riot, but my first day at Central was a trip and a half. Two thousand students: all hyper, loud, and running—to where was anybody's guess. Half of them were boys and half girls. I was guessing that Ninety-five percent of the boys were taller than me, and worse, forty percent of the girls were. And, yes, that was the main thing on my mind that first day.
The sheet of paper in my hands dictated my room assignments. Room A16, English 9A was first on the list. I knew, the class content; it was going to be way below what I'd become used to at St. Paul's; but I figured that to be a plus. I was on the hunt. I wanted to hook up with a girl. Well, hell, I was fourteen for chryssakes!
In junior high the boys had not been that much taller than me. But for some damn reason, the summer before me going to Central, every boy in the fucking universe got taller except me! But, no matter, it was what it was, and I had the tools, so I imagined, to compete—hopefully. Then I saw her.
Five-six or seven; a body to die for; hair tawny and long and billowing out around her shoulders. Bad news? She was on the arms of one who looked like a jock—a big jock. I sighed. I was going to go for it. I had an idea and I smiled. I caught up with them.
"Hi," I said. "My name's Michael, Michael Dorne. Might I ask yours, miss?" They stopped in their tracks and stared at me. Then he started to laugh. She smiled but didn't laugh. I looked up at him. Up because he was at least six feet tall.
"You can go, guy," I said. Miss..."
"Huh?" What?" he said, not believing, I'm sure, his ears.
"Sandra Hill," she said.
I focused my attention on the big guy, "Yes, Sandy and I have a date, and eventually she and I are going to get married," I said. "Here, I'll take her books." I held out my hands to take them; he'd been carrying them.
"Who the fuck are you, shrimp!" he said. "And, get lost while you still can!" He was almost sneering.
"Well, since you ask, your everlovin' and considerable better," I said.
""Look, Michael, you said Michael, right?" said Sandy. I nodded. "Yes, well, Michael, Roger here is my boyfriend. I'm afraid..." started my new love interest.
"Was," I said.
"Huh?" they said in unison. I smiled.
"Sandy, yes, you were his girlfriend. And, you can still be friend-friends with him, but you're going to be my 'girlfriend' starting now. Oh, I know this is sudden, and I know there's not supposed to be such a thing, but I fell in love with you at first sight. So, ergo, Roger is history," I said. She laughed.
"You're funny. We'll talk another day," she said. Then they were gone. I was still smiling. They were arguing as they walked. She didn't become my girlfriend immediately, as I had arrogantly announced; that would be some time in coming, but I had a plan, and she really didn't have the guns to hold off my assault, not over the long haul, not even.
During those early months at Central, I would stop and talk to Sandra from time to time, but she was adamant that good 'ole Roger Grimes was her boyfriend; she was nice about it. But, as she assured me, she had no intention of ditching him for me or anyone else. Likewise, she made the case that Roger was a junior and she was a sophomore while I was still a freshman albeit an interesting freshman. One thing else that was interesting, well, I thought it was interesting, she never alluded to my physical appearance: height, face, general smallness compared to her boyfriend, the hunk, when turning me down. I think she thought of me as amusing.
At any rate, things went along okay till the end of that first semester at Central. And again, I did keep up my assault on Sandra's Hill's psyche, but, it was still no dice, and then it wasn't.
Early on, I had made the decision, actually, my mom made it for me, to not let on to anyone what my skill set included. Mom made the case that just allowing things to develop was a better way to go and that other people would figure it out on their own in due time, and congratulate themselves on their brilliance.
It was homecoming time, early December: basically an afternoon football game and a more or less formal schoolwide dance in the school's gym in the evening. Oh there'd been the get acquainted dance in mid-September and a major costume event the weekend of Halloween. But, mostly the girls just shined me on when I asked them to dance at those. It was frustrating.
At the get acquainted dance I was turned down five times before Judy Moncrief, the second most beautiful girl at the school, had mercy on me. She let me dance fast with her a total of three times. We did good, but she refused to be seen with me dancing close and slow; well, she was three inches taller than me.
At the Halloween dance I actually got to dance with a couple of different girls and did get complimented on my abilities by each of them. Oh, and if it matters, I had come as a pirate. One of the two girls, Helen Morgan, was especially good looking, as Tinker Bell, though not in Sandy's or Judy's league. She picked up on the fact that I wasn't just an okay dancer; I was almost a pro: well how many high school kids could do the Argentine tango. She actually gave me her phone number; that was going to prove a small problem for me down the line.
Homecoming, however, was different. There was going to be a dance contest. The dances? Disco—read swing, boogie, and chacha. And, each was to be a separate contest. So if one was good at one, but maybe weaker in the other two; well, you get the drift. I wanted to enter all three, but I had a slight problem: I had no partner. I'd not had a single date in the entire four month period—well I was only fourteen. My dream girl was still just a dream.
But, now I was on a mission. I cast about for likely prey. I went for it. I caught up with her.
"Hi, Judy, got a minute?" I said. It was lunch time and most kids were headed for the caf.
"Mike, yes sure," she said. "Whatcha need?"
"Judy, I need a favor. You know homecoming's in two weeks. I was wondering if you know..." She smirked.
"Sorry, Mike, really, but I already have a date for that one," she said. I died a little inside. Getting a girl was looking to be the impossible dream. I headed back toward the A-building. At that point, I would have to have admitted that I was feeling a little down. But, then the gods intervened.
"Mike," said a voice from behind me. I turned. I had not been wrong. The voice belonged to Sandra Hill. I smiled.
"Sandra? Wha—I mean what do you need?" I said, wishing for that which I knew it wasn't.
"Mike, I know you're pretty good at Math; I'm not," she said. "Mike, I need some coaching for the semester finals in Geometry. There's nobody else. Any chance?"
I suddenly knew what I needed to do to make my case to win Sandra. "I'll trade you," I said. She gave be a look that screamed suspicion.
"Okay?" she said.
"You be my date for the homecoming dance, and I'll see you ace the exam," I said.
"Mikey, you know I'm Roger's girl," she said.
"Hmm, okay, let me know if you change your mind," I said. And, I strode off. I didn't look back, but I know she couldn't believe that a male, any male, would dare to turn her down. I actually felt good about it.
The way I figured it, she'd either rethink her position or risk getting the "F" she was more than likely headed for.
Homecoming was the 16th, two days before Christmas break. School would be back in on Monday, the fourth of January, and semester finals would be the following week, the week of the eleventh. I knew from scuttlebutt that Sandra was a gnat's eyelash from failing three of her four classes. She could likely still pull a "D" in Social Science, but Math and Biology, highly unlikely. She needed me more than she needed Roger baby.
The day before homecoming, I got a visit at my house. "Hello, Mikey," said Sandra.
"Sandra? What?" I said, feigning shock at seeing her.
"Too late to take your deal?" she said. I smiled the smile of a beaver on a soft wood tree farm.
"Well, no actually," I said. Just then my mom popped in and saw the dazzling beauty that I'd told her so much about.
"Mom, this is Sandra," I said, by way of introduction.
"Hi missus Dorne," said Sandy. "Nice to meet you."
"And, it's nice to meet you," said my mom. A few polite words later mom made herself scarce. Did I happen to mention that I had the greatest mom in the world? Well, I do.
I got us a couple of Mountain Dews, and we seated ourselves at the dinette table.
"Okay," I said, "It's Geometry if I recall that you needed the assist in. Right?"
"And?" I said.
"Well, that and Biology," she said. "Would that be too much to ask?" I gave her a look, and leaned back in my seat. I did indeed have a winning hand here, and I was going to play it.
"I know I'm not giving us very much time, but..." she said.
"No, no, no problem; but if you're going to up the ante, so am I. Apart from homecoming tomorrow night. How about a date for a New Year's Eve too," I said. "I'd never get an invite to the parties without you. But with you..." She gave me a frustrated look. But, she had a pair of deuces against what she knew was pretty much at least a full house.
She sighed. "Okay, but you know this is blackmail," she said. "I'm going to have to break another date with Roger to go out with you on New Year's Eve; that, on top of the one I had to break for tomorrow night."
"Sandra, you don't know it yet, but you are going to be a whole lot better off with me than with Roger," I said.
"Yeah right," she said.
Okay, dear reader, I know what you're thinking. I'm taking advantage of a helpless damsel in distress. Well, maybe, but I wanted her and I would have done pretty much whatever it took to get her. All's fair in love and war, after all, and this was definitely a little of both the way I saw it.
At the homecoming game, we sat near the fifty yard line. That was both a good thing and a bad thing. Good because we got to see the game a lot better—a game which our wildcats won by the way 31-17. It was a bad thing because Roger's seat was next to mine. He didn't actually say anything, but his looks were filled with something less than good will. Game over, Sandra and I made separate treks home to get ready for the dance.
At 6:00, mom delivered me to Sandra's house and the two of us to the school.
"You look great tonight," I said. She smirked, but thanked me.
The decorations were pretty: the result of the JROTC's efforts I knew. Each of the school clubs had the responsibility for one or another of the big events during the year. The JROTC had homecoming. The prom was the one big exception; the junior class had that one.
We danced several times before his Rogerness had the brass effrontery to ask my girl for a dance. She smiled at me, essentially asking permission. I reluctantly granted it—like I had choice. He did return her afterwards; that was a plus. He did, however, tender her a quick kiss before scuttling off to wherever his minions were cloistered.
The MC came up onto the adjunct stage and announced the contest rules and told everyone entering to get their partners. Suddenly, we had a snafu. Sandra didn't want to enter.
"I'm not good enough to enter one of these," she said. "I mean I can dance, but not like Carole Ann or Corky. We'll look like fools out there." I smiled.
"No we won't," I said. "We're going to win. Just let me lead, okay?" She looked more than dubious but reluctantly nodded her okay.
To make a long story short: we won boogie, came in second to Corky Wheeler and her date in the swing, and finished out of the money in the chacha. Well, we hadn't had time to practice. Odd thing, the chacha is my best dance, but it's difficult to lead an inexperienced partner in its more intricate variations; and, like I said, we hadn't had a chance to practice at all. Nevertheless, Sandra was impressed with our finish, no more than okay as it was. I was feeling good. Oh, and Roger and his date, Judy Moncrief, entered but were wiped out early in all the dances.
My mom drove us home. I walked Sandra up to the door and waited to see if I'd maybe earned a kiss. She got her keys out, turned to me and smirked—she always seemed to be doing that.
"Well, kiss me, silly," she said. I did and it was delicious and long and hot and promised so much; or, so I hoped.
"It was fun. See you Monday with the books," she said. I nodded and she went inside. I walked back out to the car and mom and I drove off. She and I would be talking.
For the next ten days in a row I was Elmer Gantry, and Sandra was a poor little country waif subjected to a level of academic indoctrination that bordered on the fanatically religious.
And then there was New Year's Eve. I picked up Sandra at 7:00; well, mom and I did. She, mom, dropped us at Helen Morgan's house, a near mansion in the subs. Jesus the place was big. The pool was big, the patio was big, the back yard—which was essentially a cultured jungle—was also big.
We did a little freestyle dancing, no ballroom this night, and unbelievably Sandra and I made out; just kisses, but they were magical as far as I was concerned. And then we came up for air, and then Roger was there with fire in his eyes, and then I was wearing a coke bottle on my head. And, yes, he'd coldcocked me with the damn thing.
I was in the emergency ward at nearby Faith Clinic when my mom arrived to pick me up. I found out later that Sandra's dad had picked her up from the party when I went down. Roger being a senior but only seventeen was arrested but essentially just given a ride to his parents' house.
The cause of Roger conking me? He had become ever more upset with me for commandeering his girlfriend, and had finally lost it when he caught us making out. I'd never had a chance, warning, none of it. But, there would be a day, that for damn sure.
I got all kinds of sympathy from Sandra after the attack by her boyfriend. But, that said, it was what it was, and there just wasn't much to be done about it. He was still a minor and got the usual blasé slap on the wrist.
Sandra and I did meet a few more times getting her ready for her Bio and Math finals. We met for breakfast in the caf the day of the first test.
"Just go slow and do what I told you strategy-wise and you'll be fine," I said.
"Well, if I do do okay it'll be all because of you, Mike. I appreciate everything you've tried to do even though you did blackmail me." And then she was taking the test.
The results came back three weeks later. Yeah, she aced them: 91% in Bio, and 94% in Geometry. I think I felt better about the results than she did. I got a major kiss on the lips as my reward. The bad news was that now Roger was back in the saddle and rubbing my nose in it every time he saw me. It irked me, but what could I do.
Central was a good enough public school. Mister Walsh, the principal, was into the arts. Hence there was an arts festival every year. The arts? Well, there was paint art, woodworking, some other such stuff and performing arts. I signed up; I was going to play the guitar.
"I'd been practicing for years. I'd be fine. Would I win? Probably get honorable mention. The guitar was not the instrument of choice per concerts if one wasn't Santana or Jimmy Hendricks. Me? I was neither: I was into classical guitar, actually, in love with it. Twenty-seven entries tried the audience's patience on the stage; I was number twelve. The judges watched me with bored expressions as I took my place on the dais. I had to announce the piece.
"I will be doing Andre Segovia's Asturias," I said. I got a look from Mr. Clausen the music teachers and one of the judges. I think I'd surprised him. I played. The others did their thing, and then I joined the audience.
I was sitting there with my guitar. No many watchers in the gym at that particular moment. She came up to me.
Pretty good," said Helen. "You do have a lot of talents don't you. My next party is Friday night next. Do come, and bring that," she said, pointing to my guitar.
"Sure, I said. "That'd be great." Then I got the biggest surprise I would likely ever get in high school.
"Not bad, Mike," said Roger. "Uh—sorry about or past disagreements." He walked off. I looked around to see if he'd been coached maybe by Sandra. But no, he'd been sincere—and—original in his remarks." I think I said no problem or something like that to his back. Oh, and I did get an honorable mention and a personal private moment with Mr. Clausen. He said I'd done better than honorable mention. Still, the piano players got the primary awards; well, one couldn't expect to win 'em all.
Oh, and I did attend Helen's party and several others thereafter. I guess I'd progressed from brainy loser to mister nice short guy. Hell, even the jocks talked to me; music did it for them.
The rest of my high school career came and went all too quickly.
The end of my sophomore year saw the graduation of my rival for Sandra's hand graduate. But, then Sandra was a senior and I was a junior. Yes, I did press her to go with me to the prom: I was a junior and thereby qualified to go, but his Rogerness returned for that little event and took her. I did have a date for the prom though; I went with Helen Morgan; well, she liked to dance. She took it more seriously than most of the rest of the student body, and I was the only one, among the boys at the school who was in her league. She along with Corky Wheeler and Carol Ann Smith were the best dancers at the school.
We had a good time and we did make it to two different all night parties after we left the formal event. Helen let me feel her up too; Jesus that was a trip. Her C-cups were truly outstanding, and they stood out, if you get my drift.
And, then, my girl was sorta gone, graduated. By sorta gone, I mean that she'd graduated all right, but she'd only gone to our local junior college, Valley CC, so she was in the same town as our high school. She wanted to take up nursing. Problem was, nursing was ninety percent Math and Science. Guess who she came to for tutoring. Yeah, right, exactly, it twern't Roger Grimes.
"I'm going to pay you, Mikey. No more of that high school blackmail stuff—okay?" she said.
"No, no, I can't take your money; but, I won't blackmail you either. No, if you want to go out with me now; given your long-time and current stand on the matter, you'll have to be asking me," I said. And, boy did I hope she'd see the light and come asking. I kinda laughed and she did too.
"No, you have to let me pay you," she said.
"Find someone else then to tutor you," I said. "I will not take money from the love of my life," I said, and that without so much as a blink. Her mouth shot open wide at my remark.
"Mikey, I have a boyfriend. And, you damn well know who it is, Roger Grimes," she said. "I can't go out with other guys; it would be cheating at this point. Surely you can understand that."
"I do, and I am not requiring you to go out with me. Only that you let me tutor you for free. No other way is going to fly with me," I said.
"Mikey! Damn it!" she said. Frustration was her new middle name.
"I get what I want and you get what you need, Sandra. Take it or leave it," I said.
"Okay, then. I'm leaving it," and she stomped out. I shrugged. It was her decision. True I was unbending, but that is just the way it was going to be, no negotiation.
I was only a senior in high school, but I was the most serious senior that Central high ever encountered.
Additionally, I was kinda popular now. Like mom had said, the other kids would figure it out in due time; well, they had. Oh the jocks still got the first picks of all of the girls, but their leavings were pretty damn good regardless. I'd taken Helen Morgan to homecoming and on the way home we'd parked. Almost eighteen and still a virgin technically, but I did get some pretty nice touchy-feely-kissee-wisee.
Helen and I had not exactly been an item; I still had no true girlfriend, didn't want one. Sandra was going to be mine somewhere down the road, but until then Helen was a more than an adequate standin: pretty and rich too.
We'd been wet kissing for some little time then we stopped. We looked out on the lights of the valley below us; it was a beautiful night and the moon was full.
"Let's get in the back big boy," she said.
"Huh?" I said. We'd never gotten in the back seat. We'd made out plenty of times. We'd kissed our lips raw and she let me feel her up almost every time we went out; well, through her clothes that is. We'd never been naked together.
"In the back?" I stupidly asked.
"Yes, you get to have me tonight. And I get to have your virginity. You are still a virgin, right?" she said. I turned as red as a beet; I could feel it. I swallowed.
"Yes, I guess so," I said. She laughed and that long and hard.
"You guess so? How is that you don't know for sure?" she said.
"Well, I mean, yes, I've never gone, well, all the way," I said.
"Well, you will tonight. Just do what I tell you, and We'll be fine. Okay?" she said.
"Yes, ma'am," I said. She laughed again.
"Unbutton my blouse and take it off me," she said. I did as she commanded. "Now my skirt." She lifted a little so I could slide it down her fantastic legs.
She sat there staring at me in her bra and panties. "Jesus, you're beautiful," I said. And she was.
"Well strip mister. I need to see you naked. I want to see what you've got to do me with," she said. I was naked in less than a full minute. My cock, five inches of pure steel, was straining to be administered to.
"Hmm, not too bad. Yes, your thingy will do me just fine," she said. She took hold of it, kinda gently, lightly, and began stroking it. After about a minute, I felt it began to pulsate; she stopped stroking me. She bent forward and let the length of it slide into her mouth. She began licking and sucking me. I couldn't hold back I exploded into her mouth and decided to try and die because this moment in my life was a helluva lot better than seeing fucking Naples for damn sure!
"But, I didn't die and I began to get hard again almost immediately. She knelt on the seat with her knees splayed wide and her backside stuck out waiting for me to do my duty. I'd never done it before, but it didn't figure to be rocket science. I got up behind her and tried to stick it in her. I failed. She looked back at me and smiled.
She reached between her legs and guided my five-inch heat seeking moisture missile to its target. I slipped in easily. I began screwing her slowly: the last thing I wanted to do was hurt her or make it not good for her; but this was my first, I needed it to be good for me too! Oh yeah!
She grew impatient. Get to it, big boy, fuck me hard and fast, very fast; and, try and to last a bit, okay! I sped up and lasted maybe a good three or four minutes before shooting my second load into her. She mooed.
We lay on the back seat and cuddled. It was a delicious time, and for some minutes I didn't even think of Sandra.
"I don't know Carla; I got a C-minus on the test. That's not good enough for the nursing program. I've got to do better; they've got me on probation now," said Sandy.
"What about that other tutor you said could do it for you?" said Carla Carter.
"Yeah, but the dorky little shit is a blackmailer," said Sandra.
"What!" said Carla.
"He won't let me pay him, and I'm not going to date him which is what he's really after. It wouldn't be fair to Roger," said Sandra.
"Wait, wait. He told you that you had to date him to get him to help you?" said Carla.
"Well, not exactly," said Sandra.
"Well, no. He just said he wouldn't accept any money from me. But, I know it was just a ploy to get me to feeling guilty so I'd go out with him," said Sandra.
"He never asked you for a date? And he won't let you pay him? And you think he just wants to date you so he's kinda into making you feeling guilty or something? That what you're saying?" said Carla.
"Sounds like the usual pussywhipped boy who wants to feel that he's giving something to his true love even if he can't have her," said Carla.
"Yes, that's about it, I guess," said Sandra.
"Well, girl, if it was me, I'd give him what he wants. What the hey. It'll make him feel good and maybe keep you in the program," said Carla.
"I don't know. Maybe. But, he's really kinda focused on getting me to marry him," said Sandra.
"Wait, wait, he asked you to marry him, not just date him!" said Carla.
"Well, not exactly. It was when we first met. He told me that he and I were meant to be together that that eventually we'd be getting married. And, he said it right in front of Roger." said Sandra. Carla laughed.
"Go back and give him what he wants, stupid," said Carla. "You've told him like it is, so you're covered. At least this way, he gets to save a little face and make himself feel good. You, on the other hand, get to pass your next eval if he's as good as you say."
"Yeah, I guess I have to," she said, not too enthusiastically. "I don't have much choice. He really is that good, mainly he's able to make it so I actually understand the stuff he's teaching me. Doctor Wilcox's student teachers mostly just confuse me.
Carla shrugged and spread her hands in a yeah-get-on-with-it gesture.
Saturday morning. I was going to go to the beach; but, then I wasn't. I answered the door.
"Sandra!" I said. I was genuinely surprised.
"I'll take your deal. I promise not to give you any money. And, I promise to stay faithful to Roger," she said. I nodded, and I smiled.
"Deal," I said, affirming our deal.
"It's Bio-Chemistry," she said, and then she hesitated.
"What?" I said, wondering at the hesitation.
"And, pre-Calculus," she said.
I think she was almost hoping the two were beyond me. But, the Math was going to be cinch for me. I was good at Biology and fair at Chemistry, But, the Math was actually my hobby; hell, I was studying Tensor Calculus on my own; so I figured to be able to do okay for her if I—she—had the time.
"How much time we got?" I said.
"Nine weeks: till the end of the quarter," she said. I felt like rubbing my palms together in glee.
I smiled. "Okay, I'm going to need to see you Monday, after school, with your texts and your syllabi. That okay?" I said.
"Yes, but not today?" she said.
"Well, we could. I mean I was going to go to the beach, but if you're really that desperate... ?" I said. She looked at me sideways.
"Okay, Monday will be okay, I guess," she said. "But I have my texts and syllabi in the car. I could leave them with you if you think that that would be useful," she said.
"Good, good," I said. She headed out to get them.
After she left, I rethought my initial glee at what she was looking for me to do for her. This might be a tough nut after all. I mean, well, Sandra was not a great thinker. I had to get her to a point where she could ace her finals in two tough "tough for her" subjects. I didn't go to the beach. I narrowed my eyes, read her syllabi closely, and leafed through her texts per the relevant material.
I did note that her syllabi covered things that were not specifically in the texts. She'd doubtless be getting handouts in class for those, and more than likely discover that the tests she'd be taking would be taken mostly from those and her classroom notes not the texts. I was pretty sure I would have to teach her how to take notes and cull the less important stuff out of them. I sighed.
My mission? It was going to be two fold. One: I had to make sure she did in fact ace the exams. Two: I had to impress her so completely that she would consider changing her romantic allegiance from Roger to me. I didn't have the looks or the size or the social acceptability that he did, but I had things that were, frankly, at least to me, more than a match for what he had or ever would have. Now, all I had to do was sell my thinking to Helen of Troy.
For nine weeks we worked three hours a night, five nights a week on her weaknesses. Oh, and it ended up being not only the two scarier of her subjects. There was also, as it turned out, History and Research Writing and Psychology and well you get the picture.
She did have the decency to look a little guilty when she laid the other stuff on me. She wasn't actually in danger of failing any of the others; she was a hard worker, but she would barely have made the 2.5 GPA she needed to maintain her place in the program. So, I was enlisted to help her with those too.
It was Wednesday, it was week eleven and she'd gotten her results two days before and had sat for her evals the next day. We had a luncheon date, well that's the way I thought of it, so she could share with me the results.
She arrived right on time. "Hi," she said, her tone was somber.
"So, how did you do?" I said, a little concerned at her demeanor.
"Not as well as I'd hoped," she said. I eyed her.
"Huh?" I said. I knew she'd been ready. Something was wrong.
"Yes, I did get a B+ in Psyche," she said. I deflated; her easiest subject and the one we'd spent the least time on.
"Oh," I said, expecting that that had been her highest grade.
"And the others?" I said.
"All A's," she said. At first what she'd said didn't register then it did. I smirked.
"Asshole!" I said. She laughed.
"I owe it all to you, Mikey. I do wish you'd let me pay you something. I need to reward you somehow," she said.
"You're happiness and that smile are reward enough for me," I said, and I meant it.
She took on a look, decided something, and set herself to tell me.
"You going to the beach again this Saturday?" she said. I had taken up surfing and she knew I went California Street at county line pretty much every week; well, we had talked some over the course of the quarter.
"No, I'm going to the prom Saturday night. Mom's making me. Have to be getting ready for that," I said. "You know the final high school experience." She looked surprised which kind of bothered me: like I couldn't get a date or something.
The truth was that I could've gotten a date. I'd gotten a few over the year since she'd left for college, but I hadn't really wanted to date; it was always mom pushing me. I only wanted Sandra even Helen Morgan couldn't get me to commit though she came the closest. Nor had I planned on going to the prom, but mom had forced the issue and I just couldn't turn her down.
"Oh, and who are you taking?" said Sandra.
"No, no one, going single-o. But, it'll be fun. I like to dance, and so I'll go and have some fun," I said.
"You don't have a date?" she said. "But..."
"It's okay. I've been to dances before without 'em. The prom is just another fancy dance," I said.
"Hell no it's not," she said. "And what about the parties afterward? You going to any of those?"
"Don't know yet. I'll be playing that by ear," I said. She nodded.
We talked a little longer, and she told me at least forty times how she knew that no one was a better tutor than me, no one in the whole world. I offered as to how I agreed with her, but I did have the decency to laugh at my own display of egotism.
Mom had spared no expense in getting me ready to go to the prom: styled haircut, new suit—not a rented one—new shoes. I was ready. I would be using her car, a three year-old Chevy, and nice it was.
I was just about to leave. I kissed mom goodbye and headed for the door. But then the doorbell rang.
I was there, so I answered it. A very large black man stood there smiling. He was wearing a suit.
"Mister Dorne," he said.
"Yes," I said.
"Your chariot awaits," he said.
"He motioned to a stretch limo behind him at the curb. Standing next to it was Helen of Troy, Cleopatra, Catherine Zeta-Jones all in the person of nineteen year-old Sandra Hill. I was frozen in my tracks.
"If you please, sir," said the man whose name I would learn was Herman. He was our chauffer. I followed him out to the limo.
"You wouldn't accept any money for all you did, so I am here to pay up in grand style anyway," said Sandra.
"Huh?" I said. I felt like crying, yelling, laughing—something. But, I just couldn't get my head into gear.
"Come on, handsome. Open the door for me and let's get in," she said. I obeyed her. Jesus she was beautiful! Oh and Roger Grimes? I studiously avoided speaking, thinking, wondering about him; tonight it was my turn. And, I was thrilled to note that my date for the evening seemed to be on the same page as me in that regard.