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Sunday, July 03, 2011

Book One - Chapter 5

Chapter Five

He would be home tomorrow! Oh, Lord, she couldn’t wait to see him! Hurry, hurry, hurry, time, hurry up and pass!
            And then it was the next day and she heard the Corvette in the driveway and she went flying out the back door to meet him as he came out of the garage. Throwing her arms around his neck, she said, “I’ve never been so glad to see anyone in my whole life. Oh, God, Rafe, I’ve missed you!”
            His arms were almost as tight around her waist as hers were around his neck. “I’ve missed you too, Honey. “
            “Mom and Dad went to New York Christmas shopping. They won’t be back until tomorrow. “
            They both stopped just inside the kitchen door.  Her arms went back around his neck. He bent his head to kiss her, running his hand inside her blouse, cupping her breast. She pressed herself as tight against as she could get and felt him respond.
            “I was going to ask if you wanted talk first or sex first but I guess I know the answer,” he murmured in her ear.
            “I want to feel you beside me, Rafe, more than anything.”
            A few hours later. “Jesus, Lane, you’ve got to give me a break. I’ve done everything I know how to do. I’m exhausted and I’m fucking starved too. Let’s get up and go downstairs for a while. Make me something to eat while I go see Raven.
“It’s just so good to have you home, Rafe.”
“I know, Sweetie, it’s good to be home. But I’m going to be here for 2 weeks. There’ll be plenty of time.”
She fixed him hamburgers and hash browns on the stove grill.
“Was Raven ecstatic to see you?”
He grinned. “Not as ecstatic as you but pretty ecstatic. Now sit down here, Laney, and tell me what you wanted to talk to me about while I eat.”
“Okay, just let me start at the beginning and go through it and then you can tell me what you think.”
He nodded. “Okay.”
“First, you know the Farewell dance was the first date I had with Cal. Since then we’ve been out several times. Cal’s a great guy and I really like him a lot. I know I couldn’t find another boyfriend who is as caring and thoughtful as he is. And plus he’s handsome and funny and fun to be with. And I think he likes me really a lot, Rafe.”
“That all sounds good, Laney.”
“I did go get the pills, like you said, just in case, but nothing has happened like that, not like, you know, all the way. But I have let him touch me above and below, even under my clothes. But, Rafe, nothing happens, absolutely nothing happens. And, see, the thing is, if it hadn’t been for you, I might not even know the difference but I know what it supposed to be like and it isn’t like that.  I’m so confused, Rafe, because I don’t want to hurt his feelings and make him think, you know, that he’s not okay but I don’t want to be one of those girls that pretends either. So, I don’t know what to do.”
“Maybe you’re just nervous, Lane. You’re comfortable with me. It might that with someone new you just can’t relax enough to let it happen, at least, not yet. Maybe you need to give it a little more time.”
She sighed. “Well, I guess I can try and see if it works but I think that might not be it, Rafe, I think it might just be that I love you and I can’t love anybody else. Do you think that’s possible?”
“Lane, there are two answers I can give you: the easy one and the hard one.”
“Tell me the easy one first.”
            “The easy one is what I’ve told you. If it hadn’t been for me, you’d just be a typical 15-year-old barely venturing in sexual relations. I doubt if most girls get much pleasure out of their first experiences, just like back with Misty that time.  Most young males aren’t great lovers, both partners are nervous. That scenario isn’t conducive to satisfying sex. Our relationship is an aberration.  It’s so separate that it’s in a category by itself so, in reality, you’re still that 15-year-old just starting out as if what is between us never happened. If that’s the case, it’s just a matter of time until your problem solves itself.”
            “So, then what’s the hard answer, Rafe?”
            His dark eyes looked into her blues ones. “That’s the one you laid out, Lane, and it may be the right one. Don’t take this wrong, but you remind me of Raven, not that I’m comparing you to a dog, but in the way that you’re both dead loyal. I think if I ever gave Raven away to anyone else, he’d never bond with them. He’d just wait for me to come back and get him no matter how long it took. I think maybe you’re that way too, Honey. I could say that if I’d known, back when I was 9 and you were 7, that this might have happened, I never would have done what I did. But that’s not true, Lane. I’d have done it anyway.”
            “And I’d have wanted you to, Rafe. No matter what.”
            He pulled her over to him and onto his lap.
            “But it’s not like that for you, is it, Rafe?”
            “No, it’s not like for me,” he said softly. “I love you, Lane, I’ve never loved anyone else. You’re my safe haven. I think of you as always being there for me when I need you, a warm place where I’ll always be welcomed and loved. You’re my emotional home, Honey, but I’m too much of an adventurer to be satisfied staying home all the time.”
            He lifted her sweatshirt. She hadn’t bothered with a bra. He put a hand on each breast, lightly rubbing her nipples with his thumbs.
            “Will you, Lane?” he asked, “will you always welcome me home? Will you always be there for me when I need you?”
            She closed her eyes. “Yes, Rafe, I always will.”
            “How much do you love me, Laney?”
            “Whatever the highest number is in the world, Rafe. I love you lots more than that.”

            The next morning, the instant she awoke, remembering he was there, a rush of joy swept through her.  She had never taken a drug in her life but she wondered if this was the kind of euphoria users sought from their cocaine or heroin or whatever they were addicted to. She thought she could easily become an addict if she knew of a pill or a shot that would send her shooting up to this cloud of happiness.
            “Mornin’, Honey. I’ve been waiting for you to wake up.”
            She saw the lean brown body, the sleep-tousled black hair, the dark eyes softer than most people ever saw them, the gleaming smile - and then his lips were on hers and her cloud drifted even higher.
            “I’m glad, you know,” he whispered to her afterward. “I’m glad no one can satisfy you but me. You’ll always have to come to me for that.”
            “That’s pretty selfish, Rafe, especially when you’re always out catting around like some randy old tom.”
            “Yes,” he laughed, “it’s selfish, but I’ve always known you belonged to me, Laney.  No matter what else happens, no matter how many boyfriends you have, even if you get married, you’ll still always belong to me.”
             She thought of it as “the Gathering of the Clan”. One by one, the vehicles of the various brothers and sisters came down the long locust-lined drive until the eight-car garage was filled to capacity and the rest had to park on the apron. Luggage and packages and children were unloaded out of the Escalades and BMWs and Lexuses and Land Rovers.  One by one, the upstairs bedrooms were all occupied. Each night, more chairs were filled at the long dining room table until finally they were all there. Even though the hubbub was exciting, Lane always felt a little like a ghost at these events, like in one of those movies where the ghost is alive but can’t get anyone to realize it. It seemed to her they looked past her like that, like she didn’t really exist. Oh, they knew her name, of course, and they’d ask how she was doing in a perfunctory way because it was the polite thing to do. By contrast, they were all hugely glad to see one another, hugging and kissing and talking. She’d always been intimidated by them, like they were the main body of the family, and she and Rafe were a separate entity that didn’t quite belong.
            She asked him about it and he’d laughed at her. “Oh, Lane, you’re over-reacting. They were all here together at the same time. They have lots of shared memories. We were just little kids, not worth noticing. You shouldn’t take it personally. Who cares what they think anyway?”
            It was different for Rafe though. First, she didn’t think he really did care and secondly, he forced them to acknowledge him, not in any kind of in your face way, but just by being who he was. She thought their respect was grudging though, and sometimes resentful.  Renny was part of that. They might love Magdelene but Renny was the parent whose approval they all craved. When they got straight’s A’s or won a blue ribbon or got chosen as the lead in the school play, part of the pleasure came from knowing Renny would be pleased. Even now, when Morgan made partner or Wyatt made Captain or Mariel became engaged to an Earl, the first call any of them made was to Renny’s cell.
            None of them ever thought their little brother, the one they called Injun, would be a prime competitor for Renny’s favor. (They could tell he disliked the nickname, although he never said anything, so they called him that to goad him). They remembered him, if they remembered him much at all, as being mostly silent and self-contained. He never had any of those qualities you think of as associated with babies. No one would ever have described Rafe as lovable or adorable or cuddly.  And sunny? Forget that – there wasn’t a sunny bone in Rafe’s body! The few times any of them tried to pick him up, he squirmed away so fast, you’d have thought their laps were on fire. And if you tried baby talk with Rafe, he’d just look at you with those dark eyes like he thought you were retarded. He never giggled when you tickled him or counted his toes or played peek-a-boo with him. Surely, when he was a toddler, someone must have changed him and dressed him and fed him but no one quite remembered doing it, not even Magdelene. He’d never come to any of them for big brotherly or sisterly advice or for any kind of assistance whatsoever although they sometimes felt his intense dark eyes watching them to see how they were doing something, whether that was working the controller of a video game or playing pool or shooting a gun. And that seemed to be all it took. You knew that it was only a matter of time until he beat you at whatever it was and probably, do it so nonchalantly, you were not only whipped but pissed off, as well. No one except Renny could make Rafe do anything he didn’t want to do. He didn’t cry and scream, he just said, “no”. If Magdelene told him to eat his peas, for instance, he just shook his head. You could tell him he had to stay at the table until they were gone and he’d still be there a week later. So she’d tell Renny and Renny, who didn’t like to use his authority on bullshit issues, would say, “what’s the big deal about making the kid eat peas if he doesn’t like them, Mag?” and she’d say because “I’m his mother and if you don’t back me on this, you’ll be undermining my authority,” so Renny  would snap his fingers and point at Rafe’s peas and say, “let’s clean’em up,” and Rafe would stiffen like he might be going to resist but then he’d look into his Dad’s own dark eyes and  let out a big breath and eat his peas.
            It all started with Destiny, of course. That was the first time any of them realized that Renny had developed a soft spot for Rafe. Jesus, Renny had always made it so clear that the high-spirited gray stallion was hands off for all of them.  Destiny was too much for them to handle, they’d always been warned, and then he just basically turned the horse over to Rafe when he was only ten!  There were other things that happened along the way but the Corvette was the final straw. It was the source of indignation in phone calls they made to one another. “He bought Rafe a Corvette and not a stripped down model either. Do you know how much that car cost? How does that little fucker do it?”
            Gabe had even tried talking to his father about it although he knew he was treading on dangerous ground. “So, Dad, I see you got Rafe a Corvette?”
            “Yes, do you have a problem with that, Son?”
            “No, no, no problem. I just wondered how he talked you into it?”
            “Is there some reason you believe that’s any of your business, Gabe? Do you think I’m starting to go senile so that you need to second-guess my decisions?”
            “God, no! Just forget I said anything, okay?”
            “I will. I’ll just forget you even mentioned it.”

            It didn’t even help that Rafe never bragged about his achievements. Somehow, that made it even worse.
            The brothers were all watching the ballgame down in the basement but it was a boring game and no one was paying much attention. They’d snatched a bottle of their Dad’s prized Midleton Rare Irish whiskey. Morgan had had a little more than anyone else.
            “So, Injun,” Morgan asked Rafe, “how are things going at Princeton?”
            “All right.”
            “Just all right, Rafe?” He turned to the others, “seems our baby brother is making quite a name for himself at the old alma mater.”
            Rafe shrugged.
            “You know, I’m on the Alumni Committee so I stay pretty up-to-date on what’s going on. I was even at one of your football games recently.”
            “That so?”
            “Yes. They told me your nickname is Rafe the Wraith because of the way you can slip through the defensive line. I thought about trying to call you to meet up after but a bunch of us went out to dinner.”
            It was said with some edge, Morgan wanting him to know that he had more important things to do than spend time with his brother though he was right there on campus.
             “Probably wouldn’t have got me anyway,” he said. “I most likely had my cell off. I usually try to line up a woman after the games. While you were eating dinner, she was probably eating me.”  His smile raced across his face. They all recognized it for what it meant – if this is the game you want to play, Bro, let’s have at it. The rest of them looked toward Morgan, letting him know the verbal ball was in his court.
            “Tell’em what you got on Digby’s test, Injun.” They all knew about the infamous test.
            This needle pricked. Rafe hated being forced onto a stage he didn’t want to be on. “I doubt they care.”
            “Yeah, we do, Rafe,” Wyatt told him.
            “Tell us,” said Dennis.
            “Yeah, tell us,” echoed Gabe.
            Reluctantly - “a hundred.”
            “A perfect score, Rafe, no shit? I was devastated when I got 62 until I found out that was one of the highest grades in the class.” Denis told them.
            “I got a 64,” said Gabe, “and it was the highest score.  How’d you ever get a 100, Rafe?”
            “I don’t know,” he looked at Morgan with a grin, “maybe Dad just kept getting better as he went along.”
            “Fuck you, Rafe.”
            “Pretty lame comeback, Morgan, especially for an attorney but then, you are the oldest, aren’t you?”

            He gave her a black and white sketch he’d drawn himself in an elaborately carved antique rosewood frame on the assumption that nothing would please Mariel more than her very own self. It was an excellent likeness but he’d emphasized her elegant, regal qualities so it looked slightly more like what she saw when she looked in the mirror than perhaps exactly as others saw her.
            “Oh, Rafe, it’s absolutely wonderful! I love it!”        
            “Why do you go to such enormous effort to find perfect gifts for them when you don’t seem to care all that much, Rafe?”
            “That’s why, Lane. They think it’s out of character so it keeps them off balance.  I don’t like to be predictable.”

            “Rafe here.”
            Her hand clutched the phone so tightly, her knuckles were white.
            “Hello, Rafe. This is Alexis Fielding.”
            “Well, hey, Alexis, what’s up?”
            “I ran into your sister at the Boutique. Did she tell you Bay Front is sold and we’re moving to Florida after the first of the year?
            “Yes, she told me.”
            “Well, Rafe, I was wondering, I mean…,” on the other end of the line, she closed her eyes, “I mean, I was hoping maybe we could get together once before I left.”
            He was silent, thinking whether meeting Alexis’ particular needs was something he wanted to get involved in again, even once.”
            “Please, Rafe,” she breathed.
            Oh, what the hell.
            “The same as before, Lexie, is that what you want?”
            “Do you still beg so pretty, Sweetheart?”
            The memory of that teasing, sensuous voice sent a thrill of anticipation through her groin.
            “For you, I do.”
            “Here’s what I want you to do then. The Regnier Hotel in Washington, tomorrow. Register as Mrs David Todd. Tell them your husband will be joining you a little later and to have a keycard waiting at the desk. I can get there about 6:00 but, Lex, I want you to go at 4:00. As soon as you get in the room, I want you to take your clothes off and put your collar on. I want you to lie on the bed with your legs spread - and that’s all. Don’t move, don’t touch yourself. I just want you to lie there and wait for me. Can you remember all that?”
            “Yes.” Her voice was hoarse.
            “See ya then, Sweetheart.”

            He was thinking if he was going to do this, he needed to be creative about the pain she craved, come up with something a little more intriguing than just the standard discipline shit.

            He got undressed, then sat on the side of the bed. Gold-flecked hazel eyes gazed up at him; blonde hair framed her tan face, sleekly honey-toned body stretched out on the bed – bountiful breasts, flat belly, long legs spread far apart. The gold lame collar around her neck. The musky smell of sun-sweet citrus and spice floated into his nose.
            “Do you remember about not speaking until you’re spoken to, Lexie, and always saying ‘please’ and ‘may I?’” She nodded. He rested his hand on her lower belly. “Are you hot and ready, Sweetheart, was it hard to wait so long?”
            He felt her trembling.
            She gave a small moan, “yes.”
            “I brought you something. I just happened to see it and thought of you. I found it on my sister’s dresser. I don’t even know what it is, do you?” He held up a pink clip-type gadget with strings of tiny bells hanging from it.
            “Girls put them in their hair.”
            “Well, I have a different idea. See here,” he showed her. “It’s round and smooth so it won’t cut and the clip part isn’t very strong. Still,” he said thoughtfully, “I expect it would hurt some in time. It’s the little bells I like.”He shook the clip so that it tinkled. He clipped it on to her clit and heard her quick intake of breath. Then his finger slid into her.
            “Ride it, Lexie, and make yourself come. Pump it hard. I want to hear you jingle.”
            She thrust herself against him, again and again, to the tune of the tiny bells’ music, until she arched her back and, with a cry, collapsed back onto the bed.
            He lay down beside her and kissed her on her lips and neck, then down to her breasts, nibbling and tickling, running his hand down her belly and along her inner thighs.
            “Tell me what you want me to do, Lexie.”
            “I want you to fuck me in the ass, Rafe. I want you to do it hard.”
            “What do you say, Sweetheart?”
            “Please, Rafe, please, I’m begging you.”
            “Roll over then.”
            The baby bells jangled wildly in the background as he pounded into her. She was crying out, “don’t stop, don’t stop, don’t stop, oh, it’s so good, oh, yes!” He felt her quivering as he ejaculated. They were both panting and lay exhausted.
            “May I say something, Rafe?”
            “Go head.”
            “I missed you so much after you were gone. I dreamed about you doing this. I wanted it so bad, Rafe.”
He patted her on the butt.
            “Go run me a bath, Lex. I’ve been riding all afternoon. I probably smell like horses.”
            He could hear the bells as she walked to the bathroom.
He lay back in the over-sized tub. “Come in here with me, Sweetheart.”
            She kneeled in the water beside him, gently washing him with a soapy cloth, starting with his face and moving down his body until she reached his toes, kissing every part of him as she went. After she finished the rest, she came back to his cock, taking him all into her mouth, swirling her tongue around the head, sucking, until he stopped her.
            “Let’s get out and dry off. I want you to give me a massage.”
            She dried him and back in the king-sized four poster bed, used the body lotion that was provided by the hotel, to knead and caress both sides of him from head to toe and back up again until he was totally relaxed. She did it all silently, since she knew not to speak without permission, but her desire was profoundly expressed in passionate touches and kisses. Every move she made was accompanied by the sound of bells.
            “Hell,” he told her, “I’ll probably be like Pavlov’s dog after this. Every time I hear a fucking bell, I’ll get a hard on.”
            He ordered dinner from room service, for himself but not for her.
“You pay for the food when it comes, Lex. My billfold’s in my jeans pockets. Include a nice tip.”
When the door was opened by a beautiful blonde wearing nothing but a gold dog collar, the waiter did a double-take. He tried to take the tray to the table without being too obvious about staring. He wondered if he was imagining things thinking he faintly heard bells tinkling when she went to get the money to pay him.  “Christ,” he thought, “sometimes this job offers great fringe benefits.” He noticed the black-haired guy in bed watching with amusement.
He ate with her on her knees beside his chair. Every now and then, when she said, “please, may I have a bite, Rafe,” he gave her one. He watched a movie from bed with her curled up beside his groin, licking and kissing his cock and fondling his balls. When the movie was over, he said, “make it happen, Sweetheart,” and she sucked him until he exploded into her mouth.
Before he turned out the light, he flicked the little bells with his finger so they sang.
            “Does it hurt, Lexie?”
            “If it’s so bad you can’t stand it, all you have to do is ask me and I’ll take them off, you understand that, don’t you?
            “Yes, but I don’t want them off.”
            “Okay, up to you.”
            Sometimes, he heard them when she moved in the night. If she turned wrong, she let out a small cry or a muffled groan but she didn’t ask to remove them.
            By morning, she was red and swollen. “You made it all night, Lexie, that’s enough.”
            When he pressed the sides to release the clip, tears filled her eyes from the pain of the blood flowing back where it had been cut off by the pressure. He moved down to sooth the sore place with his tongue, gently massaging until she spread her legs and lifted herself up to him. “Make me come, Rafe, oh, please, make me come one more time before you go.”

            He was dressed. She still lay on the bed, wearing only the gold collar.
            “May I ask you something, Rafe?”
            “What, Sweetheart?”
            “Do you have that switchblade with you that you used to carry sometimes?”
            “It’s in my boot. Why would you want to know that?”
            “I want you to cut a little V into my hip. Please, Rafe.”
            “Whoa, Lexie, that’s pretty heavy. You know I do the things you want not because they turn me on but because they turn you on and it’s turning you on that makes me hot but, Lex, I think cutting you is taking it a little farther than I’m prepared to go.”
            “Please, Rafe. It doesn’t have to be a big V, just enough to leave a little scar. You’ll never see me again. I’m begging for this one last thing, please.”
            He shrugged and got his knife. “Show me where you want it.”
            She put her fingers on the upper part of her butt cheek. The blade flicked out of its handle. Carefully, he carved a V, each line being about a quarter of an inch long. The two lines instantly filled with blood. She never made a sound. He held a corner of the sheet against the wound until the bleeding slowed.
            She turned over, smiling.
            “Are you happy now?”
            “Yes, thank you.”
            Curiously, he asked, “how are you going to explain it to your husband?”
            “We sleep in separate rooms. We only do it with him on top. We only do it in the dark. He’ll never see it.”
            “Sounds like fun,” he commented wryly. “Give me a kiss, Lex, before I leave.”
            He leaned over and she flung her arms around his neck, holding him tight, until he gently pulled her away.
            “Take care in Florida, Sweetheart. You could get in trouble pretty easily. Everyone might not be as…careful as me.”
            “I know you think I’m a slut, Rafe, but I’m really not. I’ve never…,” she paused, “never mind, it doesn’t matter. “ She smiled. “Think of me now and then when you hear bells, Rafe.”
            He gave her a thumbs up and closed the door behind him.

            The Regnier, the most prestigious hotel in Washington, was where he always took the women, especially the older ones, who required more special treatment than the cabin. The doorman knew him well. The waiter had shared the scene he’d found in Room 1408 and the doorman recognized the man as Rafe. He just shook his head when Rafe went by (without luggage, as always).
            “You are somethin’ else, Boy. If there is such a thing as reincarnation, I hope I come back next time as you.”
            He settled back in at school.  He was in a kind of grit-your-teeth-and-get-through-it mode. What else could he do?
            Lane’s visit was a nice break. Other students brought family members to the campus, proud to show them around the impressive grounds and beautifully historic buildings but Rafe wasn’t like other students. He booked a room in a hotel, two rooms really but with a connecting door, and they just holed up together, spending almost the whole weekend naked. One of the rooms never got used at all although he made sure to rumple the bedclothes and dampen the towels because he believed in considering every detail.
            It was a blissful time for Laney. For once, they didn’t even have to give a thought that a knock might ever come on the door. They were completely free to be together all the time, to wake up in the morning when they felt like it, to go to sleep late at night all tangled together, to watch t.v. from the bed with his arm around her. If she got really interested in a program, he’d invariably start kissing her neck or putting his hand between her legs. “Is this really something you want to see?” he’d ask in a low, intimate voice and she’d turn away from the television saying, “no, I don’t care anything about it at all.”
            They took their showers together. They ordered all their meals from room service. Sometimes he’d dribble his orange juice on her breasts and down her belly and into her pussy and then lick it up. Or she’d smear his nipples and cock with strawberry jam and eat it off, his hands buried in her hair.
            “I love it now that you’re on birth control pills and we don’t have to use condoms,” he said, “it feels better and I like knowing I’m leaving some of me inside you.”
Sometimes, they just talked.
            “So, how’s it going with Cal? Have you done the dirty deed yet?”
            She sighed. “Yes, and you know what I did?”
            “What’s that?”
            “I faked it, although I swore I’d never do that. I just couldn’t hurt him, Rafe. I knew he’d feel so rejected and he tried so hard to make it good for me. I see now why women do it. It’s to be kind.”
            “Do you think you convinced him?”
            “Oh, yes, I just pretended it was you and it was really happening. I know how to make it feel real.”

            “Do you really hate it here that much, Rafe?”
            “I feel like a dog in a kennel, Lane, trapped into a small, stifling space, with constant noise from other dogs howling and barking on all sides. You know, I have an assigned counselor. We all do. I was supposed to go see him but I never did so he came to my room to see me. First, he blew smoke up my ass about my grades and football and how well I was doing. Then he got to the real reason he was there which was that he’d noticed when he looked over my computer record that I’d hadn’t hooked up with any clubs or groups and he wanted to know why that was. I said the last thing I wanted was to go some place where there were even more people when I felt like I was drowning in people already. He said, but if they were students who had things in common with me, wouldn’t that make a difference? I asked him very politely if he had any complaints about my academics or my behavior and he said, oh, no nothing like that, so I said, then why didn’t he leave me the fuck alone and go visit people who wanted his help.”
            “Do you think you can stand it for four years, Rafe?”
            “I have to, Lane,” he said bleakly. “Dad won’t permit anything else.”

            Before he took her to the airport, he made a quick pass around the campus. “You at least have to be able to say you saw the library and my dorm and the eating cottages on Prospect Street. That’s Ivy Cottage.” He pointed to an imposing gothic mansion. “That’s the one that every Vincennes has belonged to. I guess, I will too.”
            “I wish this weekend never had to be over. If I could choose my own personal Groundhog Day, it would be these two days,” she said.
            When he carried her bag into the airport for her, he told her, “next time don’t bother bringing so many clothes,” and grinned.

            “Well, Ren, he’s made it through his first year. I think it’s going to be a struggle for him all the way through. I hesitate to call him anti-social…”
            “Although that’s probably the right word,” Renny replied.
            “Yes, Renny, I think maybe it is. It doesn’t stop him from achievement but I think it makes him pretty miserable. He maintained his straight A average. Actually, it doesn’t seem as if it requires much effort for him to do that. You know, he wasn’t planning to play basketball but Coach Chalmers was familiar with his high school record and hounded him. He ended up with the highest average score on the team except for one boy who was recruited specifically for his basketball ability, a student who is almost a foot taller than Rafe.”
            “I’ve been reading the paper on-line, Gil, so I know a little about that. It’s the only way I’d know since he never tells me anything.”
            “I sent his counselor to see him but he pretty much told Kessler to fuck off and threw him out of his room.”
            Renny made a wry face, “well, Gil, I’m sorry…”
            “No, it’s okay, I should never have tried to invade his privacy that way. Incidentally, Kessler said his room was as spare as a monk’s cell, although I think that room has seen lots of things a monk’s cell would never see.” Gil chuckled. “The Women’s Studies professor, Helene Barnes, is just obsessed about him, Renny. She’s says he’s the most classic male chauvinist pig she’s ever seen. He has this thing he does, picking up a girl to go out for a ride in that ‘Vette and then spending the night in a hotel. Those girls call themselves Rafe’s Riders and it seems to be a badge of honor. Helene tells them that no woman who has a shred of self-respect would ever go with him but it doesn’t appear that her lectures are having much affect.”
            “Well, he’s got through one year. I don’t care how much he hates it, Gil, I’ll not allow him to quit before he’s through.”

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