The Beauty QueenbyJust Plain Bob©
Note: I put this in Loving Wives because I couldn't find a better category for it.
He stood there in the crowd and looked up there on the bandstand and thought back to what had happened to bring him to that point in his life.
It had all started in grade school. She had just moved into the neighborhood and when he first saw her he thought she was the most beautiful thing he had ever laid his eyes on. He saw her every morning when they stood on the corner waiting for the school bus, but he was too shy to talk to her. He might never have talked to her if Rory Moss hadn't pulled on her pigtails one morning. She had cried out in pain and had dropped her books and Rory had laughed. He had rushed over and bloodied Rory's nose and then had helped her pick up her books. From that day on they had been inseparable.
By the time they were seniors in high school the town had put a label on them - Robbie and Kelly, The Golden Couple - obviously meant for each other since birth. He had proposed to her in the ninth grade and she had accepted. She had been the only girl in his life because he knew they were meant to be so there was no need to date other girls.
By the start of the eleventh grade they had mapped out their life. First they would finish high school and then college. When they had their degrees they would get married, have two perfect children and live happily ever after. In the twelfth the snake had appeared in their little Garden of Eden. He hadn't realized it at the time and he was pretty sure that Kelly hadn't realized it either, but it was then that their plans began to unravel.
It was like yesterday in his memory. He was standing on the gym floor looking up at Kelly. She had been elected Prom Queen and Bill Withers had been chosen as King. It irritated him no end to see Withers up there on the stage with Kelly and their court going through the coronation and all of that rigmarole. What he didn't know was that the attention that Kelly was getting as Prom Queen lit an ambition in her that neither he nor Kelly were aware she had.
He did have some great memories of that night. They had attended several after prom parties and then, after years of dating, Kelly had given him her "pearl of great price." It was one of his fondest memories. It had been completely unplanned. It had been their intention to go to their marriage bed as virgins. He had been floored when they had left their third party of the night and he had asked her:
"Where to next? The party at Sally's or the one at Dave's?"
"None of the above sweetie. This has been a magical night for me and there is only one way I want to end it. Take me to a motel baby; I'm tired of waiting."
"Are you sure about this?"
"Never more sure of anything in my life."
It had lit a fire in them and after that night they couldn't keep their hands off of each other and anytime they found a flat surface it was an invitation to play.
They learned together. He learned how to make her scream with his mouth and she learned how to turn him into a limp puddle with hers. They learned what positions gave the most pleasure and which ones the least. That summer was one long sexual odyssey and it continued into the fall when they started college.
He had a small inheritance from his grandmother and that allowed them to have a small apartment off campus. For all practical purposes they were as good as married and most people that knew them thought they were.
Midway into their sophomore year she had run into Bill Withers at the Student Union and they had renewed their acquaintance. Withers was taking art courses and the Art Department was looking for models and Withers had talked Kelly into discussing the matter with one of the Art Department instructors. He hadn't been there for the interview, but someone who was told him about it several months later. The instructor, Brad Dolan, told her that Bill had told him that she had been prom queen and that Bill had been 'her king' and the way he said it and with the leer on his face it was obvious that Bill had let Brad think that he and Kelly had done a lot more on prom night than officiate. Brad figured that if Bill could nail her so could he.
Kelly, her eyes on the attention she would get, signed on as a model and soon was in great demand as a still life model for photography classes. The more time they wanted her to pose the more he was left alone in their apartment and he could feel a gap widening between them. Then it got really bad.
Playboy magazine came to the campus and Kelly was one of the girls picked. She was rarely home anymore and when she was all he heard about was Brad. "Brad knows this agent and he is going to talk to him about representing me." "Brad has a friend who is a fashion director and he is going to get him to use me." "Brad knows an Art Director at So and So magazine and he is going to get me in."
And then one night she didn't come home. When she dashed in the next day she looked guilty as hell and couldn't meet his eyes. "The shoot last night ran late so I crashed on Brad's couch. Got to run. See you tonight." She grabbed some clothes and then was gone.
That night she fucked him damned near blind, but there was an elephant in the room that they both pretended they didn't see. Things were strained between them for several months and then just as they seemed to be getting back together the issue of Playboy came out and it seemed that everyone on campus bought a copy and wanted Kelly to personally autograph it.
There were a series of "autograph parties" that he was somehow never told about until it was too late for him to attend. She would come home from those parties and hurry into the shower. She would tell him that she stunk of cigarette smoke and needed to wash it off, but he wasn't stupid. He knew what was going on, but he was in love and he hung in there and hoped she would come to her senses.
Then she entered a beauty contest and won. A week later Brad took her to New York to meet some people who could help her career and when she came back she couldn't seem to meet his eyes. And then one day he came home to the apartment and found that she had moved out. He heard later that she had moved in with Brad.
He tried to put her out of his mind and couldn't. Everything in the apartment reminded him of her and he couldn't afford to throw everything away and start over. He saw her around campus from time to time and whenever she saw him she would look away or turn and walk the other way. Somehow he managed to make it to the end of his junior year without going crazy.
Summer break came and he gave up the apartment and went back home and everyone wanted to know what had happened to the Golden Couple. The rumor went around that Kelly had caught him cheating on her and she had dumped him. He didn't refute the rumors; he just ignored the talk and let them think what they wanted. The town was proud of the beauty queen, their Playboy girl and he let them have their icon.
Summer over he headed back to school to get his last year out of the way. He had considered transferring to a university in a different state so he could avoid seeing Kelly and suffering through the memories, but then he had looked at the cost. Some credits wouldn't transfer and there were classes he would have to retake. Also, most schools had a requirement that you take at least thirty credit hours to get a degree from them and he only needed fourteen credit hours to graduate from where he was. It was a no-brainer - he had to stay put.
His first day back in the classroom the guy sitting next to him said:
"Hey man, you used to hang with Kelly Severs didn't you?"
"I used to."
"What do you think about what happened to her?"
"What do you mean?"
"About the accident."
"Accident? What accident?"
"You didn't hear? She and that Brad guy were coming home from one of them beauty pageants' and he ran off the road and ran into a tree. Turns out he was drunk as a skunk. Probably what saved him. He was so loose and pliable he didn't get a scratch. Kelly wasn't so lucky. Apparently she wasn't wearing a seat belt and her head went into the windshield. I hear it fucked her face up pretty bad. She won't be winning anymore beauty contests; at least not without some major plastic surgery."
"When did it happen?"
"About two weeks ago."
"Do you know what hospital she's in?"
"I heard she was at Lutheran Medical."
He didn't even stay to finish the class. At the hospital he found that she had been released. It took him all the intestinal fortitude that he possessed to make him go to Dolan's apartment. He rang the bell and when Dolan came to the door he told Dolan that he wanted to see Kelly.
"She isn't here."
"When will she be back?"
"Any idea where she might be?"
"Nope. As long as it isn't here is all I care about. The dumb bitch cost me my car."
"How is that? The way I heard it was that you were driving drunk out of your gourd."
"I wouldn't have been in the car except for her insisting on coming home. I wanted to check into a motel, but she said no. She said fucking in motel rooms was trashy. Wanted to come here and bugged me until I gave in and now I don't have a car. Stupid cunt!"
He lost it and hit Dolan so hard that Dolan went to the floor. Dolan shook his head and looked up.
"What the fuck did you do that for?"
"I don't like you and I don't like what you did to Kelly."
"What you don't like is that she liked my dick better than yours. I did you a favor and you don't even know it. If you would have married the bitch she would have been running around behind your back within six months. Hell man," Dolan said, "She was fucking me for six months while still living with you" and he started to get up.
"Stay down there asshole. If you get up I'll just hit you again" and then he turned and left.
He made some phone calls and finally found out that Kelly had gone home and was staying with her parents. He called and asked Kelly's mother how she was doing.
"Not good. She could use some cheering up. Maybe you could come home this weekend and visit?"
"No, I won't be able to get away for a while. This is my last year and I've got a lot to do if I'm to graduate."
"What happened Robbie? The old Robbie would have rushed to her side at a time like this."
"She decided that I wasn't what she wanted Mrs. Severs. She found someone else and moved on."
"When did this happen?"
"Almost a year ago."
"She never said. We thought she was still with you."
He said goodbye, hung up and then dug into his Managerial Economics assignment.
The next two months seemed to fly by and then on Saturday, purely by chance, he found himself downtown during the Fall Festival. He gravitated toward the bandstand and got there just as the name of the newly chosen Fall Festival queen was announced. He turned to walk away when the master of ceremonies said:
"And here to pass on the crown is last years Fall Festival queen, Miss Kelly Severs."
He turned back and looked up at the bandstand, saw her and winced. Even with her hair being long and worn Veronica Lake style so that it covered half of her face there was no hiding the criss-crossing scars that covered most of her face. He couldn't even begin to fathom the courage it must have taken her for her to come out and attend an event like this. If it had been him he would have sent the crown by UPS and stayed home.
Kelly put the crown on the new queen's head, hugged her and the band started playing and everyone in the square started dancing. The new queen and he escort were the first on the makeshift dance floor and then everyone else followed. Everyone except Kelly. She stood off to the side with a look of longing on her face that almost broke his heart. There were several single men around, but not one of them approached Kelly.
While she watched the dancers he wondered if she was thinking how quickly her life had changed. No more autograph seekers; no more adoring fans and no one wanting to introduce her to photographers, agents and magazine editors. She couldn't even get someone to ask her to dance.
Even from a distance he saw the tear slide down her cheek and he thought about how much he loved her. Not had loved her, but still loved her. He moved through the crowd until he was in front of her and he reached for her hand.
"May I have this dance?"