Tonight? Madison fidgeted slightly, but not so much that the Mother Advisor noticed. Girls took the initiation rite of Rochester Lodge 89, Order of Rainbow seriously even Madison Ames, who wished it were over.
She snuck a look at her watch. 9:00 p.m. ... another half hour max... curfew was 11. Like most daughters her parents set curfew to protect her factory-fresh hymen. Non-virgins had little value in the good-husband market.
"Why should a man buy a cow, when he gets free milk?" her mother had asked. Madison had suspected she'd be grounded if she dared say, "No one buys a car without test driving it."
As the candidate approached, Madison stood up and adjusted the indigo ribbon from which her jewel-of-office hung. She began her ritual about patriotism.
Everyone listening knew filtered between the prescribed words were certain principles laid down by her parents and her church that had to do with protection from terrorism, socialism, Communism and all the other isms that threatened America.
Madison forced herself to concentrate on the words and not the damp between her legs. Funny, she thought, after sitting down again, how sexual desire and the need to tinkle felt so much alike.
Tonight? Jason ordered his third hamburger and Coke.
"Where do you put it?" Mr. Simon, the owner of the snack bar asked. The girl who usually worked there was off for her sister's wedding. Jason had heard him say to a customer, "The shotgun will be white." Mr. Simon belonged to their church and he was always talking about keeping a right rein on teenagers so they did not give into the decadence of modern society.
Jason patted his pocket. He'd never let people talk about Madison like that. If tonight were the night of The Big Awful, he was ready. He'd driven thirty miles to buy Trojans. If he'd purchased them closer someone might have seen. Rochester was small enough that no matter what Jason did his parents found out. Good or bad.
When he held his watch to his ear, Mr. Simon said, "They'll be a while. They haven't even gotten to The Old Rugged Cross.". The drugstore was under the Masonic Hall. The druggist could hear the organ whenever he went out back.
As Jason sipped his soda he imagined Madison naked. The closest he'd ever come to seeing her undressed was a bathing suit. Just thinking of her long legs gave him a hard on. Whoever said cold showers cut sexual desire had forgotten what it was like to be seventeen and in love.
His parents hadn't believe him, when he'd said Madison was the only girl for him. They called her a good girl, not the kind you try to get in their pants. His father had told him if he had to "sow wild oats" he'd take him to Boston as long as they never, ever told his mother. To think of sex with Madison as oat-sowing made Jason mad. Arguing led nowhere. So when his father had said, "You'll meet someone else at Tufts next fall. Mark my words," Jason found it easier to let him think he was.
"Sorry Jason, I gotta close." Mr. Simon ushered him out the door.
Jason opened the door of his 2025 VW Gulf with 145,683 miles on it. He'd cleaned bird cages for four months at the the local hardware store, one that still had not succumb to the big box store out on the hightway to pay for it. Sitting behind the wheel, his eyes were tied to the Masonic Hall exit.
I'm so ready, he thought. He'd stolen the romance novel Maiden's Love Lost from his older sister. She’d never report it stolen because she’d be punished for even having it. He read and reread the sexy passages so he'd know what to do. He certainly had the bulging manhood they mentioned.
Those damsels never wore crinolines, forming a wall of hard net, like Madison did with her pantyhose when she wore a skirt or her jeans. The books didn't explain how to break through. He hoped he could live up to a hero's image in case Madison read the same books.
He'd practised putting on a condom over and over until it had ripped. He wasn't sure what to do with it after that. He thought about the toilet, but feared it would float, an accusing finger on his delightfully unclean thoughts.
The recessional started. Madison and the other colors of the bow filed into the main hall. Instead of staying for lemonade and oatmeal cookies, she left. Since it was against Rainbow rules to have jewellery showing during the ritual, Madison pulled out Jason's class ring that she'd hidden on a chain under her obligatory long white dress.
"Hi Funny Face," Jason said as she hopped in the car and slid to the middle. He'd called her that since her clown costume beat his at Mrs. Jones' Kindergarten Field Day.
They glanced around. Seeing no one, they kissed, their tongues exploring their tonsils. Jason had French kissed other girls, but Madison had French kissed only Jason. To kiss another boy would be cheap, and not being cheap was the eleventh commandment for girls from her church. Cheap included chewing gum in public or hanging around street corners. It was turning a blouse collar up in back and opening the first button. Tight skirts were cheap, but not as cheap as tight sweaters. Red nail polish and red lipstick were definitely cheap.
"Hi, yourself. I thought I'd never get out." She licked his ear.
"Who has something going?" he asked. He could barely breathe from the pleasure of her tongue.
"The Rotary has a dinner/dance at the high school," she said.
Most of their friends parked off the path after the bridge over the Wampachoo River. The area was checked by police at least three times a night.
Madison's Uncle Timmy, one of four town patrolmen, had caught them two months ago. He'd made her promise never to go there again or he'd tell her parents. She'd promised, but said nothing about not parking someplace else. Uncle Timmy hadn't caught the difference.
Then Jason had the idea if they found a meeting no one would notice them among the parked and empty cars. Last Monday night, the selectmen and public works board met at the town hall next to the library.
Madison had asked permission to go to the library to work on her term paper. They'd made out like mad for thirty minutes before entering.
Jason pushed in the clutch, "Is tonight the night? Shift."
With one arm around Madison he started the car. His fingers wandered to her breast. It had taken him two years to convince her to let him go that far.
She shifted so his hand could go on stroking her. Instead of saying yes or no, she thought of Leslie Ainsworth who left school and gotten married at sixteen.
"Her life is ruined," Madison's mother had said. "Over before it began." Madison's mother loved holding up good-girls-gone-bad as examples. "No college, no chance to have a good time. Her life will be diapers and babies. Maybe even a divorce." She'd lowered her voice when she said "divorce".
"I'm scared," Madison said. "I wish we'd never seen Splendor in The Grass." It was featured on the old movie channel. Her parents wouldn’t have let her see it had they not been off at a church meeting. Jason had come over to watch it with her even if it was against the rules to have anyone in the house when she was alone. He'd snuck in through the back door.
"Warren Beatty and Natalie Wood would have been better off if they'd ignored everyone telling 'em not to make love and just done it," Jason said. His viewpoint toward the tragedy in the film wasn't original. Phil Moss had taken three girls to the film and had bragged to the basketball team how well the movie made panties disappear.
She'd gone through six Kleenexes when Natalie, fresh out of the rest home visited Warren, living on a farm with his pregnant wife. "I don't want to end up like Warren," he said. Beatty may have been happy as a farmer with a fat wife spitting out babies, but Jason wanted to be a lawyer with a well-spaced family.
There's a big difference between him and me, Jason thought. Phil talked about moles or appendix scars that he'd seen. As soon as he released a name, true or not, that girl found her phone ringing. Jason would never let on he'd done it with Madison if he ever got to do it. Although it would improve his reputation, it would ruin hers.
They agreed -- The Big Awful was better than The Most Awful -- breaking up. The Big Awful just might save them from Natalie and Warren's fate.
"We have to do what's right for us," she said as they passed the town dump and approached the school parking lot, "but I'm not sure what's right."
Jason's arm prickled from where Madison's back cut off the circulation. "Shift," he said as they turned the corner. "Don't worry, I'm not Phil Moss."
Phil drove a red retro Corvet, a gift from his father for his 16th birthday. He'd gotten two girls in trouble and was now dated Becky Bates.
Jason wanted Madison as his first and only lover. His father slept with other women. He'd heard his parents fighting about it. Their voices carried through the heating ducts, although they pretended everything was okay when he and his sister were around.
He never told anyone about those fights. He'd thought about telling Madison. Sometimes thinking about telling her was as good as really doing it. In the case of making love, he was sure talking about it wasn't anywhere near as good as doing it. With luck tonight, he'd prove his theory.
Madison wanted to see Jason's penis. Sketches of sexual organs had been cut from all school biology books. The library had done the same with the encyclopedia. She'd seen her baby brother's penis, but she was sure a man's was different. When she was ten, she'd hidden in the bathroom closet to look at her father through the keyhole. She remembered not having a clear view but being surprised that his penis had waffle markings like a sugar cone.
"Eureka!" Jason said. "Look at those cars." At the end of the fifth row in the darkest area he angled into a free spot between a new Cadillac and a huge boulder dropped by a departing glacier. "How late do you think the dinner will go?"
She moved so he could extract his arm. He rubbed life back into it then took off his shirt. Maybe she would think the gold chain in his chest hair sexy like the heroine did in his sister's book. Then he put his hand up her skirt. It was straight and floor length.
"Maybe midnight. Listen." She turned off the car radio cutting Coldplay’s “See you soon.” Her parents would never let her listen at home. Strains of some Beatles’ song drifted over the cars from the cafeteria, old people’s music.
"If we do The Big Awful I have my rubber," he said.
"You've carried it for three months. Do they have expiration dates?" She felt his fingers reach under her panties, the first time he'd done that.
He pushed the seat back. Madison leaned into his arms. The steering wheel wedged them in. He pulled down the zipper of her dress. It stuck. He gave a medium tug. As the zipper gave his hand hit the horn.
Her elbow hit the steering wheel.
She rubbed her crazy bone. After several minutes when no one investigated, Jason's fingers began exploring. He tried undoing the bra. Elastic iron. No one had ever told him some bras opened in front.
He'd wished he'd practise bra opening as he had practised dressing his manhood. The heroes in his sister's books didn't have these problems. He rubbed her back as if that was what he had been intending all along.
She debated undoing her bra, but feared he'd consider it cheap. Instead she gave him a hickey low enough on his neck so his parents wouldn't see.
He wondered what Madison would do if he put her hand on his manhood. As a little boy he called it his whoozie. His sister had a whatsie. Only after listening to locker room chatter had he begun to think of other names for it such as manhood, prick, dong. He felt the term family jewels belonged to his father.
Jason wondered if Phil rubbed his prick before each shower so it would appear bigger to his buddies. He hoped Phil did, because his was so much smaller. Would Madison would find his whoosie turned manhood inadequate?
To hell with it.
Full speed ahead.
Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
He grabbed her hand and put it on his prick, a compromise. His pants were zipped. Success might be in sight.
Her hand stiffened, then she wrapped her fingers around the bulge. She wanted to unzip his fly, but that would be cheaper than undoing her bra. Nice girls didn't do any of this. Being a nice girl nearly destroyed Natalie Wood, and she loved Jason as much as Natalie loved Warren. Maybe more. She hoped he'd open his zipper.
Jason realised if they were to do The Big Awful he would have to undo his fly sooner or later. Otherwise it would be another night of humping her, fully clothed against her stomach. "Let's do it."
"Yes," she said. Her voice squeaked, "No. People will find out. Guys always tell."
"Make a final decision," Jason said afraid he might burst.
He wished she was wearing her baton squad uniform with its short skirt and her legs coming out the white boots with red and grey tassels. The Big Awful couldn't happen unless he won the war against her clothes. "Take off your panties."
As she pulled them down, her knee hit him in his manhood.
He held onto himself trying not to vomit.
"Did I hurt you?"
"I'll be all right, just give me a little time." In between the stars in his head and the ache in his groin, an idea was born. He opened his fly pulling out his...his... his... whatever it was, his damaged member, his friend, his source of future happiness. Examining it closely as the pain receded he said, "It'll be all right." He wanted to say, "kiss it and make it better," but said, "hold this, it will help." His voice was hoarse.
Madison touched it with one finger, then caressed it. She felt it growing hard. How would it fit inside her? She couldn't feel the lines she thought she remembered seeing on her father's thing as she had peeked through the bathroom closet door.
"It's smooth, no waffle marks," she whispered. Maybe her father or Jason were deformed. Maybe waffle marks appeared as men aged.
Jason reached into his pocket for the rubber. Waffle marks? And he'd been worried about size. Thanks to his practice sessions, he slipped the rubber over his manhood with one fluid motion.
Her dress and slip bunched around her waist. What do I do next? Jason wondered. In his sister's book, the hero had a bed with satin sheets and room to move about. He should have found a book that dealt with gear shifts and emergency brakes. As she shifted, Jason moved so he could lie between her legs.
While she rested on her elbows, he placed one hand on the dashboard for balance and waved his penis in the vicinity of her vagina. Terrible clinical word vagina, but whatsie was childish and cunt would belong on one of those whores in Boston.
He pushed. Nothing happened. How hard were maidenheads? He'd been touching against the solid flesh between the happiness opening and her anus.
Madison, her eyes tightly closed, felt Jason push against her again without finding the sought after location. She wanted to help, but had no idea what to do.
He wanted to say "help me" but heroes didn't do that. He kept thrusting in the general area. Suddenly, success!!!!
She felt a burning, not a terrible pain as she'd expected. Just as she thought -- this is for you, Natalie -- he collapsed on top of her. She didn't ask, "Is that it?"
"I came too fast," he said. Had there been more light she would have seen him blush.
"You've waited since we've been in kindergarten," she said.
He felt overwhelmed with love. "Did you feel anything?" he asked.
She thought of lying to him, but they'd been friends too long. "Only a burning. They say it takes some getting use to. For a woman anyway."
"The romances I read. The man always says to the virgin that it'll be better the second time."
A trumpet solo drifted from the cafeteria. Jason wanted to sing. He'd done it. He was a man. He'd get better with practise, like he'd improved at basketball, golf and tennis. He wanted to tell the world but knew it was his secret -- his and hers.
What to do with condom? He couldn't throw into the parking lot. Someone might have seen their car and put two and two together. He couldn't leave it in his car in case his mother or father borrowed it as they did from time to time.
They'd seen a cigarette butt and had been upset until Jason said it belonged to Phil Moss. If a cigarette upset his parents, a condom could mean instant death.
"It's almost midnight," Madison said. "I've missed curfew. They adjusted their clothing. Jason started the engine.
"We'll say we went to Luanne's Snack Shack for some fried clams. Service was slow. There's a napkin somewhere in the glove compartment you can show them."
"Luanne's has a phone. Why didn't I call?" Neither could think of a reason. "I'll apologize sincerely," she said.
They lived in the same development of Cape Cod homes built before the Korean War. All the streets bore poet's names. She lived on Emerson, he on Whittier.
"I love you," he said proud he'd told her after and not before The Big Awful.
"I love you, too. You don't think I'm cheap?" She sounded ready to cry.
He hugged her. "No. You're my girl."
When they pulled into her driveway, the lawn, garage and porch lights were on.
She fluffed her hair, straightened her dress, blew Jason a kiss and hopped out of the car. As she ran up the walk he noticed a dark stain on the back of her dress.
"Madison, psssstttt," he called. "Come back quick".
She returned to the car.
"There's blood on the back of your dress."
"Oh, no! They'll know we did The Big Awful on top of missing curfew." She started crying. The porch light began flashing which meant that Madison's parents wanted her in the house -- THAT SECOND!!!!!!.
"I'll be grounded for the rest of my life," Madison said.
Suddenly Jason remembered his sister. He felt funny saying what he was about to say, but he had no choice. "Keep crying. Say you got your period and you're about to die of embarrassment because I know. Be hysterical."
Madison's front door opened and her father loomed in the entrance, a dark outline against the lighted interior.
"It'll work. It happen to my sister last week," he said.
Madison jumped out of the car. Halfway up the walk she ran into her father's arms. Jason took off. In his rear view mirror he saw Madison's father leading her into the house, his arm around her, and Madison hiding her head in his chest.
Sitting in his own driveway, Jason wondered if his sister had really gotten her period or if she had done The Big Awful, too. He would never ask.