tagNovels and NovellasFall of '69 Ch. 03

Fall of '69 Ch. 03


Becky was made for moonlight.

I woke up and watched her sleep -- so peaceful, so radiant. I worried about her. I prayed for her -- something I hadn't done since I was a child tucked in at night. Becky slept on her stomach, her hands underneath the pillow. Her hair had fallen across her face and I brushed it back to see her clearly. She mumbled incoherently, and hooked her leg over mine.

Later, when I awoke again, we had separated. I rubbed her back and then cruelly slid away when her foot searched for me. She woke briefly to rein me in with her arm over my chest, and hugged me covetously. For some reason, I was a comfort to her. What a nice feeling. My heart swelled with protective, teddy bear, intensity.

At 8:00, I awoke with my usual morning erection. I thought it best to get up and pee, so as not to give Becky the wrong impression. While in the bathroom, I also washed off the dried residue from the night before, then shaved, and brushed my teeth. By the time I got back to bed I'd been replaced by my pillow, clutched against her cheek.

Retrieving my boxers from the floor, I slipped them on.

Her eyes opened when I sat down on the edge.

"Good morning, Sunshine."

"Mmm." Becky rolled onto her back and stretched her arms out wide. "Good morning." Her fingers landed on my lower back and scratched lightly. "What time is it?"

"A little after 8:00." I bent down and gave her a friendly kiss. We rubbed noses. "I'm going to make breakfast. How do you like your eggs?"

While she thought it over, I grabbed the number 21 jersey from the chair and threw it on the bed for her. I was too selfish to offer underwear.

"I'd like a couple of eggs, sunny-side up, with buttered toast, please."

"You got it."

My gut wanted to watch her dress. My heart said, 'give her privacy.' I was going with my heart today.

From the kitchen, I could hear the telltale morning sounds in the upstairs bathroom. Breakfast was ready by the time she strolled in, looking freshly scrubbed and wearing paisley boxers she'd found in my dresser, along with the 21 jersey.

"Mmm, smells good, Doc."

"Well Beckster, I hope it tastes as good as it smells," I said, pouring orange juice made fresh from concentrate.

Becky sat, and said, "I'm starving."

"If you want more, just ask."

I put the plates down and sat opposite from her. She reached across the table and I took her hands.

"Doc, would you say Grace?"

"Sure." I closed my eyes and collected my thoughts, knowing the prayer had to be more serious than my modified Boy Scout prayer from yesterday. "Lord, thank you for this food, and bless it to our use. Be with Jeremy. Protect and comfort him. Amen."

I opened my eyes, but Becky continued, so I closed them again.

"Lord, be with my brother. Please bring him home safe. Thank you for Don -- his friendship and protection. Bless him too, Lord. Amen."

We opened our eyes to each other. Hers were brimming, but she smiled like everything was going to be fine.

Breakfast passed in companionable silence. I'd brought the Sunday paper in from the porch and we shared sections back and forth. She read the war news. I concentrated on the sports section.

After a while, I glanced up from Saturday's World Series box scores to see tears fall from Becky's cheeks onto the colorful comics.

"Beckster, those are supposed to make you laugh. What's wrong?"

She shook her head. "Nothing."

I got up and walked around the table. Placing my hand on her shoulder, I asked, "Tell me, what's the matter?"

Becky pounded her index finger down onto the Peanuts comic strip. "Why won't Lucy let Charlie Brown kick the damn football? Why is she always so mean to him?"

"I don't know, Sweetie. Because he's such a block-head? Why does he trust her every time?"

"He's not a block-head! He's an optimist, always trying to see the best in people, always hoping for good things." Becky obviously felt a kinship with Good ole Charlie.

"I know. That's why everyone loves him. I think even Lucy loves him. Some people just don't know how to express affection. Or maybe she's jealous."

Why were we talking about these cartoon characters as if they were real people? "Next time, he should just kick her."

She laughed. "Charlie would never hurt anybody intentionally."

"I don't know. Charles M. Schultz may snap someday. Pig Pen might take a shower. Linus might outgrow his blanket. Do you know what the 'M' stands for?"

By now, Becky had grown accustom to my smartass-ness, and she looked at me with cool skepticism. "No. Tell me."

"It stands for Mickey. Schultz hates Walt Disney, because he stole the Mickey Mouse idea from him. Snoopy was supposed to be a mouse."

As I went back to my chair, Becky just shook her head in disbelief. At least she stopped crying.

I cleared my plate from the table, saying, "You want to go to church?"

Becky came up beside me. "I have nothing to wear."

"Rinse what's left on your plate into the garbage disposer." I opened the cold water faucet and turned on the switch.

Above the grinding, I said loudly, "God won't mind. He's seen you without clothes."

Becky has sharp elbows.

"I bet my mom's clothes would fit you. You're about the same size."

"She wouldn't like someone wearing her stuff."

"She won't ever know," I said, loading the dishwasher. "I bet you'd look nice in a dress."

"You guys have all the modern conveniences." She watched me wipe off the counter, and said, "I'd like to go to church. I guess it wouldn't hurt to try something on."

"Great! Let's go look."

We headed upstairs.

"When I was a teenager, I used to snoop in their bedroom when they were out."

"Yeah? Did you find any surprises?"

I wasn't going to lie. "I found Dad's condoms in his dresser. He bought them in boxes of 24. So I figured he wouldn't miss a few. I was curious, and had to try one on. One led to another."

A quiet, "Oh." was all Becky offered in comment.

My parents' room hadn't changed in ten years. The king-size four poster bed, covered with a windmill quilt, dominated the room. The chestnut-dark furniture and woven, oval rug gave the impression rich colonial's slept here. All it needed to complete the image was a pitcher and bowl, and a chamber pot.

As I walked over to Dad's dresser, I pointed at a closet door and said, "Mom's dresses are in there."

Just like old times, I opened Dad's sock drawer and pushed aside a pile of whites to spot the red Trojan box. "They're still here."

Something new had been added. I pushed aside more socks to get a clear view. "What?" I couldn't believe it. My parents had gotten kinky.

Becky said, "How would this look on me?"

Turning to see what she found, I clutched a pink dildo in my hand. "Beautiful, the green matches your eyes."

Becky's face turned dildo pink, as she stared at my discovery.

"Can you believe it? My parents are playing with toys."

Her eyes broke away from the phallus and met mine. "They really do have all the modern conveniences."

Laughing, I said, "I guess so." I put it back, and closed the drawer.

Becky stared at me, while still holding the dress in front of her.

"Are you going to try it on?"

"Uh, yeah. I guess so."

I learned that once Becky crossed a bridge she doesn't turn back. Seeming without embarrassment, she quickly stripped naked and then stepped into the dress.

Turning away, she asked, "Would you zip me up, please?"

Like the Mohave Desert at noon, my mouth was bone dry. But I managed to squeak out. "Sure."

"It feels a little snug. How does it look?"

For a simple scoop neck, short-sleeved, knee length dress, it looked stunning on Becky. A glimpse of cleavage bulged, as the tight bodice hugged her breasts.

I think my eyes bulged out of my head, because she smiled, before I said, "Amazing."

"I don't remind you of your mother?" she asked, slipping her feet into a pair of Mom's high heels.

"Definitely not."

"That's good. I don't want you to have any weird, Oedipus fantasies." She walked a circle in the shoes. "These fit perfect."

Picking up her sleepwear, Becky said, "You'd better get ready."

We adjourned to my room.

After throwing the Pittsburg Pirate's jersey onto my bedroom chair, Becky discretely slipped the boxer shorts on under her dress. "I'm going to brush my teeth and wait downstairs."

She didn't stick around to watch me get ready, which was disappointing. My brown suit, a leftover from my high school graduation, felt a little tight in the shoulders and waist, but presentable enough.

I found Becky outside in the backyard, standing radiant in the sunshine at the far end of the pool.

"You look very handsome, Doc."

If there had been water in the pool I would've swam to her like Flipper, dancing on his tail fin. "Thanks."

"What a beautiful home your parents have. You were a lucky boy."

"Seeing you there, I'm still lucky."

Shyly, Becky looked away, and said, "We should get going."

It sounded like a plea to do something moral, before we did something that undid our Sunday best.

"We'll be early."

"Well then, drive me around. Show me some sights."

The sights included my old high school, Dad's Ford dealership, downtown Pittsburg, and the nearly completed Three Rivers Stadium.

"Next year, the Pirates and the Steelers will play there. I'm going to miss watching the Steeler's games at Pitt."

"How will they play baseball and football in the same place? The fields are so different."

"A lot of people have asked that question. Some say it's too big for baseball. I guess we'll find out."

The stone monolith, known as the First Baptist Church, was our last stop. When I was little, I thought it was God's castle on earth. All it needed was a moat and a drawbridge.

Becky looked up at the towering steeple, and said, "Wow."

"Does it remind you of your church at home?"

"You could put ten of my churches inside of this."

"We don't believe in the KISS method of religion around here."

Becky gave me her what-the-fuck-are-you-talking-about look. Okay, erase the-fuck part.

I said, "Keep It Simple Shepherd."

She laughed. Her laugh made me tingle. I've always wanted to be more of a comedian, but was afraid I'd be funny like Tommy Smothers instead of Dick, the smart one. I wouldn't mind being a fool for love, but I didn't want to appear dopey.

It had been a long time since I'd been to church. No one in the intimate congregation of 900 looked familiar. I picked a pew in the back for a quick getaway. We sang some familiar hymns. Becky's eyes welled up when we sang 'It is Well with My Soul'. I figured it must be one of her favorite hymns after all she'd been through. She didn't have the voice of an angel, but she sang from the heart and held my hand. Even though my voice remained low, my heart soared to the rafters. We held hands during the prayer time, as well. For a religious woman, she liked physical contact in spiritual matters. I took it as a sign of affection. Unfortunately, I wanted to worship her like a pagan. Any sign of affection from her led to me wanting more. Sinful thoughts waged war in my body during the entire service.

The sunlight, streaming through the magnificent stained glass windows, poured rainbows into the cavernous sanctuary. Within the beams of illumination tiny particles slowly floated like flakes in a snow globe. It was a special time and a special place. A memory never to forget.

When we sat down for the message, I put my arm around Becky.

Without looking at me, she smiled and edged closer until our hips met.

Pastor Ichabod began to preach, and I tried to concentrate. His name wasn't really Ichabod, but with his hawk nose and bobbing Adam's apple, it should've been.

"Open your Bibles to Luke 10: 25."

Becky took a Bible from the pew rack and quickly opened to the chapter.

At least I knew Luke was in the New Testament -- Mathew, Mark, Luke, and John. After that, I have to flip through, and hope to spot the correct book on the first pass. I usually don't try, because by the time I find it, the pastor has already read the scripture out loud.

Becky held the Bible between us, offering me to follow along with her.

The pastor read: "On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. 'Teacher,' he asked, 'what must I do to inherit eternal life?'"

"What is written in the Law?" he replied. "How do you read it?"

He answered: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'"

"You have answered correctly," Jesus replied. "Do this and you will live."

It was text from the Good Samaritan parable, one of my favorites. I glanced at Becky. She smiled at me, and I realized I might love my neighbor even better than myself.

She turned her lips to my ear, and whispered, "You're my Good Samaritan."

I thought, 'not so good', but warmed at the sentiment. Becky obviously had unrealistic expectations about my motives. While I sat and listened to the message, goodness reared its ugly head and I decided we should drive back to school right after the service.

My brooding must've been obvious, because Becky elbowed me.

When I looked, she crossed her eyes.

I smiled and she smiled.

I wrapped my arms around her and ravished her lips with mine.

Well, I wanted to, but I only thought about it. Then I confessed my sin and forced myself to think about Biblical plagues, to prevent an embarrassing boner from spouting like corruption in Sodom and Gomorra. Church is no place for a hard-on, even if you're married and thinking about your wife. Well, maybe then. But you can't do anything about it. So, in my mind, I suffered with locusts, boils, and the fires of hell, before my cock gave up. The fact that Becky rested her head on my shoulder didn't help at all.

The pastor ended the sermon by quoting: Jesus told him, "Go and do likewise."

I took it personal.

We sang a closing hymn and then filed out.

Pastor Ichabod shook our hands at the door. "Nice to see you. God Bless."

I wanted to warn him about the headless horseman, but figured he'd heard it before and, anyways, God would protect him. "Great sermon, Pastor. It really hit home."

"Thank you, young man." He had a toothy smile, like tipped dominoes. "Come back next week, and I'll try to hit a home run."

As we walked away, Becky said, "He reminds me of someone."

"Yeah, I know. Ichabod Crane."

She smiled. "I was thinking of Bob Lewis."

I looked back over my shoulder, and said, "He does a little."

She laughed and bumped me with her hip. "You don't know Bob, unless you've been to Cottonwood Springs, Kansas."

"I was there last summer, for the cotton and wood festival. What a blast we had. The Bobster is a cotton pickin', wood choppin', maniac."

Beckster took my arm, hugged it, and then laid her cheek against my shoulder. "What time is the game?"

I shivered with pleasure, and it took a moment to gather my thoughts. "What game?"

"You know, World Series game 2, when the Orioles embarrass the Mets yet again."

This was the perfect opportunity to tell her we should drive back to school. "Two o'clock."

"I need to buy some sneakers. Can we stop somewhere?"

"Sure. There's a Kressgee's on the way home. I think it opens at noon on Sundays."

"Can I borrow some money?"

"On one condition."

With smirking apprehension, she asked, "What's that?"

"You have to help me rake up the leaves in the yard. I'll buy you some Red Ball Jets, so you can run faster and jump higher into the pile."

She laughed.

I tingled.

She said, "Okay. Fair enough," squeezing me sideways.

As we drove out of the church parking lot, Becky slid over next to me and laid her palm on my thigh. I guess buying her a pair of sneakers meant we were officially a couple. More likely, it was an accumulation of events, and the sneakers just sealed the deal. Whatever the cause, I was fanatically into it. Forget about going back to school. Raking leaves with Becky took top priority.

The Kressgee stop didn't take long. Becky quickly picked out a blue pair of low top, canvas sneakers, and we were home in no time.

Up in my room, we undressed together and acted very nonchalant about it. At least it was an act on my part. Even though there wasn't anything that I hadn't already seen, touched, or tasted, my desire for her seemed to grow like a magic beanstalk.

Unfortunately, she didn't stare at me with lust in her eyes like I'd hoped, but I caught her looking when I was down to my briefs.

After Becky dressed in her own clothes, she said, "I'm going to put your mom's stuff back in her closet."

I smiled, and said, "I'll never look at that dress again without seeing you in it." Or seeing you get in and out of it, but I didn't want to sound vulgar, so I kept that part to myself.

"Although, Beckster, you look beautiful no matter what you're wearing." Or not wearing.

She gave me a shy grin, said thanks, and left.

We met again at the top of the stairs. There was a moment, as we smiled at one another, that I thought we might not leave the second floor until Monday.

Then Becky pushed me out of the way. "Ladies first," she said, and started running down.

"Well, that wasn't very ladylike, Missy." I followed close on her heals, and she squealed in playful terror.

I let her get as far as the garage door, before I grabber her and pulled her back against my chest.

She laughed and struggled to break free, then tipped her head back to meet my eyes with anticipation. Her attention slipped down to my lips.

"Allow me to get the door."

I let go of her and opened it.

There seemed a conflicted hesitation in her exit. She poked me in the stomach, and said, "Thank you. Maybe you are a gentleman."

"Don't get carried away."

There were only two trees in our yard -- two huge trees -- one a maple and one oak.

As we approached the leaf blanketed grass, a burst of nostalgia ensnared me. This was another family tradition soon to end. I put my hand over the end of the rake handle and rested my chin on it. "I've raked these leaves every year, as long as I can remember. When I was a kid and would believe anything, Dad told us the trees competed with each other to see which one could drop the most leaves. I tried to count a few times, but I imagined the lead leaf-dropper award alternated every year."

"That's a nice memory."

"Which leaves do you like best, Maple or Oak?"

"I don't know. I've never thought about it."

"Then I'll decide for you." Putting down the rake, I began my search. "Because you're so sweet, Beckster, you're Maple this year. I'll be Oak."

She gave me a confused look. "Okay? Now what?"

"It's a Carter family tradition. Before we rake, you have to find your favorite leaf."

I wasn't as particular as I used to be, and quickly found a golden oak leaf without defect. Becky picked out a brilliant red Maple, perfect except for a dime-sized hole in the middle. When she handed it over, I didn't ask why, and she didn't explain. I think I understood.

After placing them on our leaf storage rock with small stone on top to hold them, I began raking the reject leaves toward the garden. "We make a compost pile over there, for mom."

We fell into the joint task like a pair of Olympic figure rakers. Without pre-arrangement, we naturally began to work close together, back to back. Our raking speed became a competition of sorts -- faster, harder, stronger. Along the way, we frequently bumped asses and elbows. Gradually, our pair's figure raking routine more closely resembled a hockey match, our actions less graceful with rougher contact.

When Becky intentionally tripped me and then raked leaves over my head, the '69 Leaf War began. I grabbed her ankle and twisted, making her fall down beside me. Scooping up armfuls of rustling deadfall, I buried her.

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