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Beyond Redemption

The next week at school passed slowly. She argued with her mother about the clothes and wanted the old ones back, but her parents’ stuck together and refused to back down. Come Friday, her breasts seemed extra tender and she felt every dip in the road, painfully with reverberating bounces.

All day long it seemed like people were looking at her differently. She told herself that was ridiculous. But the final period came and on the way out of the room, Tom Garth, who’d been their varsity quarterback, stopped her.

“You want to go to a movie with me tonight, Mary Louise?”

Mary Louise knew her mouth dropped open. He’d never before talked to her! Before she could answer, he went on.

“I thought we could double date with Donny and Karen, like you did last week.”

Suddenly she knew exactly what he was thinking. Shaking her head side to side, she mumbled quickly. “No, I can’t, sorry.” She started walking away when he grabbed her arm.

“How come? Are you going steady with that guy?”

“Uhm, no, but-“

“Then come on. I’m sure I can show you as good a time as you had with him, probably even better. I know what women like.”

Mary Louise gasped in surprise. Not like she needed further clarification, but now she knew precisely what he wanted. “I can’t. I have to go now or I’ll miss the bus.” Turning she ran skipping the stop at her locker and running straight to the bus.

Kenny moved her book bag to the seat in front of her and sat down.

“Hey! That’s for Karen!”
“I saw her. She’s riding with Donny, lucky stiff. Turns out she’s been giving him a blowjob on the ride home every day. He said next week he’s going to start picking her up for school too.”

Mary Louise looked with horror at Kenny. It was her worst nightmare. Poor Karen. Donny must be blackmailing her to get her to do this. Had he threatened to tell everyone? It didn’t matter now because it seemed everyone knew about the double date last weekend. Even more depressed, she realized she had a date with Rowdy tonight. Angrily she turned to stare out the window. She was almost home when she saw in the window’s reflection that Kenny had been staring at her chest. Looking down she saw that her unbound breasts were behaving quite predictably to the bumpy ride. Barely settling down between jolts, her breasts seemed to be constantly moving.

She was beyond grateful when it was time to get off the bus. She was not happy that Kenny got off with her. He caught her arm as she started towards the walkway to her house.

“I’ve got time to come in and study, if you want.”

Mary Louise jerked her arm away from him. “I don’t want, and I certainly don’t have the time. Good-bye!”

She ran to her room and threw herself on the bed. Crying and crying, she realized her life couldn’t get much worse. She’d thought her haircut was bad.

*****
“Mary Louise? Hey sleepyhead! It’s time for your injections. Roll over! Good girl! Now I need you to give me a urine specimen in this cup for the doctor. I’m going to drop it off for him to test. It will save us a trip in.”

Mary Louise got up and went to the bathroom. Giving the cup to her daughter, Jeanine added. “Take your shower and get ready for your date, honey. Rowdy called and there’s been a change of plans. He is picking you up at seven, so hurry. I’ll lay out your clothes.”

After her shower, Mary Louise sparingly applied makeup, having let her mother show her how several times the past week. Her hair was easy to care for, she reluctantly had conceded. But just looking at her reflection made her regretful again at the loss of her lovely long hair. She ran one hand over the temple area and ear. She could feel that it was growing back already. What had been completely bald and smooth two weeks ago was growing in and felt fuzzy and soft. Perhaps by the end of summer, it might be three-quarters of inch long, or more. With luck, come the following year, her hair should be below her ears in time for the start of school. That would be livable, she decided.

Slipping on the dark-blue dress her mother had chosen, she realized it was slightly more dressy in the silky material than the others, but it still had the rounded collar and pleated skirt. The buttons were covered in the material, and over all she thought it looked nice, for an old lady! Again there were the thin anklets and a new pair of flats, shiny and polished. She wondered if Rowdy had told her mother he was taking her someplace special?

Starting downstairs, she was decisive that tonight she was telling him that she wasn’t making out with him anymore. Well, just kissing, but no sex. It was wrong and she’d wanted to wait until she was married. She paused as she recalled that until recently she’d been dreaming it would be Barry she’d marry. He would be the one she happily gave her virginity to. Instead she’d lost it in a car, to a man she hardly knew, but that her parents obviously approved of.

“Tonight? She’s already there?”

Mary Louise stopped again as she heard her mother’s voice. When she listened for a second voice, but didn’t hear one, she realized she was on the phone.

“Bob took it with him and I’ll call as soon as I know. All right, well good luck. Bye.”

Mary Louise waited a few seconds. “Mom, I’m ready.”

Her mother came from the living room to see her. “You look lovely dear, quite grown up.” Jeanine walked around her slowly as she stepped forward. “You’re doing good with your makeup. It’s still light, but that’s fine.” She lightly touched her daughter’s hair, stopping as she felt the rasping hair growth at the nape. “Oh dear. I hadn’t realized it would grow so quick.”

Mary Louise smiled. “I’m glad. I was afraid it would take forever to grow out.”

Jeanine patted her daughter’s arm. “Don’t fret about it, dear. Oh, there’s the door. That must be Rowdy. He is so sweet. Always on time!”

“Good evening, Mrs. Walters. You’re looking radiant this evening.”

Jeanine flushed under the handsome younger man’s praise. “Thank you, Rowdy. Come along, Mary Louise. Your young man is here.”

“Hello, Mary Louise,” Rowdy greeted her with a light kiss on her cheek. “You look lovely tonight.”

“Thank you,” she replied as Rowdy took her elbow.

“Have fun, you two!” her mother called out as they walked to his car.

Mary Louise saw that Rowdy was again driving his father’s sedan. She was quiet, as she got in, not sure how to bring up the subject she needed to discuss with him. He didn’t leave her anytime though as he began to tell her about the busy week they had at the corporate office in the city. It only took a few minutes before they were turning down a long, tree-lined drive.

“Is this-“?

“Yeah. We’re having dinner with my folks tonight. Your mom thought it best to keep it a secret in case you worried. This way there’s no time for jitters.”

Quickly she was ushered inside. A butler answered the door this time and she reluctantly surrendered her sweater. Rowdy led her into a large room, which she was the living room, decorated with scattered sofas and chairs. A tall man who resembled Rowdy was standing for the mantle over the fireplace and she recognized from last week his father, Frank Davis. There were two sofas on both sides, and a woman was seated upon each one, but only one stood.

Helen Davis came towards them quickly. “Hello, Mary Louise. How lovely to see you again! Welcome to our home.”

Frank came over and stood by his wife. “I was just telling my aunt that it had been years since I last saw you young lady. I believe you were playing on the floor in your father’s office. You’ve grown to be quite a lovely young woman.”

“Thank you,” Mary Louise murmured, still in shock at seeing his parents so soon, let alone a formal, family dinner.
Frank and Helen turned and gestured to the elderly woman still seated on the sofa. Frank spoke, taking Mary Louise’s elbow in his hand. “Come and meet my aunt, dear.”

When the gray-haired wo
man looked up at her she was immediately struck by the cunning and brightness she saw in the older woman’s eyes. Frank started speaking again. “Aunt Lily, this is Mary Louise Walters, the nice young woman Rowdy has been seeing.”

Mary Louise held her hand out as she’d been taught. Aunt Lily took the hand firmly as she stared at her. She could feel the old woman’s gaze move from her head to her toes, assessing everything about her. Desperately she hoped her nipples weren’t poking through on the dress!

“Hmm. It’s good to see you don’t cover your face with a lot of hair and makeup like so many young girls do these days. Are you in school?”

“Yes, ma’am. I graduate high school in about eight weeks.”

Aunt Lily nodded twice. “Good, good. It’s always good for a woman to have some education.”

Mary Louise bobbed her head up and down quickly. “Yes, but I won’t be able to go to college until a year from this fall. I have to lay out and work a year first to help with the cost.”

“Well, time will tell. That’s the most important thing for a young woman to attain-patience.”

Helen interrupted. “Rowdy, you and Mary Louise can take that sofa and I’ll sit here with Aunt Lily. Frank, dear, would you ring for the cocktails?”

*****
It was past ten-thirty by the time they finished dinner and left his father’s house. When they were out in the car, Rowdy loosened his tie as he spoke. “Whew! An evening with Aunt Lily is like a year with the Spanish Inquisition.”

“Does she travel with her own torture devices?”

“Ha! Good one. We still have a couple of hours. Let’s go catch a movie.”

Mary Louise nodded her head, relieved that they wouldn’t be alone in the car. Inside the theater, Rowdy chose seats in the balcony, back row. Scattered around she saw a few other couples. Since this theater featured the new double seats, there was no armrest between them and Rowdy put his arm around her shoulders. As the movie started, he shifted them slightly so she rested more on his chest. His hand, that had been on her shoulder, slid down and right onto her breast. Immediately he began rubbing and massaging, then playing with her nipple. He seemed to like catching it between his fingers, and then flicking it rapidly. Or twirling it and then pulling on her nipple until he actually tugged her breast upwards from her chest wall. He’d release it suddenly and watch the breast jiggle and bounce.

Every so often he’d lean over and kiss her deeply, letting his tongue find hers. As usual he sucked and chewed lightly on her lips. When she glanced down one time she saw that he had a big bulge at the front of his trousers. She knew what that was.

“Hey look, Mary Louise,” Rowdy said a few minutes later. “There’s your friend and Donny.” Seated in the next section, but just a few rows down, it looked like them. Except you couldn’t see the girl/woman’s face because she was on her knees in front of the man. The way the man’s head was lolled back on the chair and his hands curled in her hair on either side of her head indicated what was most likely going on. “Oops,” Rowdy went on. “Looks like I picked the wrong time to notice, huh?”

Mary Louise flushed at seeing her friend like that. Even though it was dark, no one could be in doubt as to Karen’s bobbing head and what it was doing. Quickly she turned away to look at the movie. She heard Rowdy chuckle beside her.

“Does that bother you? Embarrass you? Do you want to do that? Perhaps I should teach you how now.”

“No, no, there’s no need. I’ll just watch the movie,” Mary Louise mumbled back quickly, facing forward.

Rowdy chuckled, leaning down and kissing her ear. “There’s every need, my sweet, and it grows harder with each passing moment.” He reached over and took her hand. He ignored her pulling away and brought it over his lap. Pressing down, he lowered her hand to his cock. Her fingers trembled as she touched him. “God, Mary Louise! That feels so good. Unzip my pants and take it out.go on.”
Mary Louise shook her head, but her hands did as he asked. She soon held his hard cock in her hands. She felt the velvety soft skin in her hands, below which she felt the additional steel muscle. Almost unconsciously, her touch changed. Her curiosity made her wonder about his.her mind stumbled over what to call it. She knew what he wanted her to do. Karen did it so it couldn’t be that bad, she argued silently. Without saying a word, she slid off her seat and onto the floor. Moving between Rowdy’s thighs, she felt his surprise.

In the dim and flickering light, she saw his hard maleness. It seemed longer and bigger than she’d thought. How had it ever fit inside her? Would it fit in her mouth? Lowering her head, she licked it a few times to start before she slipped her lips around the head. She wiggled her tongue and then she felt Rowdy’s fingers in her hair. He was pulling her upwards, and then pushing her back down. Quickly she understood and starting bobbing up and down, letting her lips drag over the fleshy rim each time. Above her, Rowdy’s fingers dragged through her curls and he groaned.

Suddenly he was pulling her up, turning her around and then with her legs spread, he dragged her onto his lap. She felt his hands on her fragile panties and they ripped easily. Surprised, she felt her own wetness as his hard rod thrust inside her again. For a long moment he didn’t move, just held her in place with his hands clutching her breasts, still covered by her silky dress. Slowly he started rubbing her breasts and then pulling on her hard nipples. Finally his hands moved to her hips and he whispered in her ear.

“Not a sound!”

One of his hands eased down onto her clit and he worked her quickly until her hips were jerking out of her control. Mary Louise covered her mouth with her free hand as she felt her body lose control once more. Rowdy’s manhood was going wild inside her-she could feel its eruptions jetting wildly. It seemed to last a long time but soon his hands returned to her breasts, holding and lightly massaging them. He stopped her from moving.

“Wait.” He whispered. “I want to stay inside your cunt for as long as possible. I can still feel your pussy trembling.” He accompanied his words with squeezes and bounces to her breasts.

It wasn’t until the credits started to roll that he slid her to the seat once more. He handed her his handkerchief a moment later. “Here. Better mop a little before we go.”
Mary Louise felt her face flame as she realized that his cum was indeed leaking out of her. She’d been right in thinking he shot more cum in her than usual. She barely got her skirt down before people started walking past them. Donny saw them and pulled Karen with him down the row directly in front of them.

“Hi! You guys want to join us for a snack.” His arm was draped over Karen’s shoulder and his hand groped her breast, squeezing quickly. “Karen helped me build up an appetite.”

Mary Louise saw Karen’s bright flush but her friend didn’t look at her. Rowdy laughed beside her. “We saw the activity going on. You inspired Mary Louise to try it, Karen. Thanks.”

Karen’s head lifted and her eyes met her friend’s. Mary Louise was already blushing.

Rowdy stood. “That sounds good. Lead the way and we’ll follow.”

A small all-night restaurant was open just up the street. It was a popular spot for moviegoers, so it wasn’t surprising that it was filling up as they arrived. Karen and Donny were already seated, but as Karen saw Mary Louise, she suggested they go to the Ladies Room. As soon as they were in the small bathroom, Karen pushed Mary Louise in front of the mirror.

Mary Louise gasped. Her hair was wild. Rowdy’s fingers had acted like a brush does on a tight perm. Her lipstick was gone and her lips were swollen. Just as she thought it couldn’t get worse, she saw that her dress was horribly wrinkled directly over each breast and her nipples were poking straight out.

“Oh my God! I look like some kind of whore!”

Karen hugged her. “No you don’t. Let’s potty and then I’ll
see if I can’t pat your hair down.”

While Karen pressed hard on her curls, she held a cold paper towel to her lips. Both things helped a little, but there was no disguising the wrinkled dress front. Hopefully the place would be too busy for anyone to notice. Unfortunately, returning to the table they discovered a group had formed and three tables had been pulled together. Seated beside Rowdy once more, she recognized quite a few of the people as kids from school. At the far end of the table, Barry was sitting with two of his friends. It turned out they had been at the movie as well.

“I ordered you a piece of cake and a cup of coffee, honey,” Rowdy told her, draping his arm around her.

“I shouldn’t have another dessert tonight,” she protested.

Karen added quickly, in support. “Yeah, Mary Louise and I both watch what we eat closely.”

“Mary Louise doesn’t need to worry about that. I don’t care if she puts on a little puppy fat. It’s bound to happen. Gives a guy more to hold onto.”

All the guys laughed, but Mary Louise felt herself blushing brightly. Was it just she or was all the talk sexual anymore? Conversation did finally change and she ate her chocolate cake, deciding she might as well enjoy something. As she did so, she became aware that Barry was staring at her. She tried hard not to meet his gaze. A couple of times though she saw him staring at her breasts, glaring. She could almost read his thoughts and she shivered.

Rowdy moved his hand down and cupped her breast. “Cold, sweetheart? I’ll warm you up on the way home.”

After that she didn’t look up once. Or at least not until they were walking out and Rowdy stopped her as they neared Barry. She saw Rowdy reach into his suit pocket and out came her fancy panties he’d ripped off. Handing them to Barry, he smiled.

“You should try harder, next time. It’s usually worth the effort. And Mary Louise was definitely worth it.”

Mary Louise turned and walked quickly out of the restaurant. She couldn’t believe what he’d just done. That was as good as hanging a sign out that she’d had sex with him. She was breathing hard by the time she reached the car, and as soon as the electric key opened the door, she got in. By the clock in the car dashboard, she saw it was one-thirty and was glad he’d be taking her home now.

She held her tongue until they reached her house and he pulled into the drive this time instead of on the street. He switched off the engine and turned to look at her.

“Okay, what are you so mad about?”

Mary Louise gaped at him. “My God! How can you even ask? You gave Barry my underwear! Did you want to tell the whole school I was no longer a virgin? Those who didn’t know about last Friday will know after this.”

Rowdy shrugged. “I don’t care who knows, and I didn’t like the way that twerp kept staring at your tits.”

“How could he help it the way my dress was all wrinkled? And suddenly my mother doesn’t want me wearing a bra!”

“I noticed and it’s nice,” Rowdy added. That only made her madder.

“I don’t think we should have sex anymore.” Mary Louise said on a rush.

Rowdy smiled slowly. “Oh really. Why the change?”

“I didn’t want to have sex until I was married.”

Rowdy moved across the seat towards her. “Maybe, but it’s one of those things that is pretty impossible to stop once you start. It’s funny that way. My dad says it’s like the old parable of trying to put the animals back in the barn after the fire. It’s just too late.”

He moved onto her seat and it reclined slowly.

“No, Rowdy,” Mary Louise said quickly, but his arm was already across her waist.

“I’m just going to show you something, Mary Louise. The human body tends to desire things, once it experiences them. You can go decades without, but once you’ve tasted the nectar, it’s pretty impossible to go back to the way things were.”

Mary Louise felt the cool air on her chest and realized that while he had been talking he had also unbuttoned her dress to her waist. He had folded back the edges and was stroking each breast, back and forth.
“A girl like you, Mary Louise, well you’ve got needs. Take your titties here. Pretty boobies, as far as most boobs go. But yours are extra sensitive. You can tell by the way your nipples are always sticking out so proud and impudent under your clothes. It’s like your nips shout, here I am, look at me. See how suck able I am, they shout, bouncing and jostling back and forth. Watching you walk is like poetry in motion. Right breast-bounce, jiggle, and bobbles side to side where it bumps into the other tit, and starts all over. Then the left feels ignored and unloved, it is soon jumping to the same tune. Bounce, wiggle, and shake over and over. Now they want to be hurt.”

Mary Louise shook her head. He couldn’t be right. But then he moved his mouth down and started to suck at each breasts. She could feel herself slipping away.deeper into the whirlpool of sensations. Cool air washed over her thighs and she felt his hand a moment later.

Rowdy easily found her clit and started to manipulate it. He didn’t slow down or pause as she came upon her climax. He let her slam into it head on, crying out each time. Mary Louise lost track of how many times she climaxed. She was exhausted and tears ran down her cheeks when he finally moved over her and thrust between her widely splayed thighs. She lifted her legs and put them around his hips, holding him tight and making his withdrawal more difficult. The ache inside her needed to be filled.Oh God!

She came once more as she felt his ejaculations inside her. Over and over his cock shot thick, heavy wads of sperm into her body and it felt like her cunt, as he called it, sucked it up, every drop. When he was finally done, he pulled out of her immediately. Her body reluctantly let him go with a loud, wet slurping sound. She saw him dry his cock off on her skirt before he zipped up. He was turning on the engine when he looked over at her, where she was still sprawled, thighs apart, and half-naked.

“It’s two, Mary Louise, curfew time for all good little girls. You better get inside.” The seat started to right itself as well.

Hurriedly she opened the door and started to get out. She was standing just outside when she felt a tug on her skirt. Looking back, she saw Rowdy using her skirt to wipe the car seat. As soon as he released the material, she stepped away and slammed the door. Running around the car, she heard him call out as she neared the front door of her home.

“Don’t forget to cover up those gorgeous knockers, sweetheart!”
In horror, she drew her dress top together and rushed through the front door. She was glad to see that no one was awake and ran up the stairs. Quickly she undressed and went into the bathroom. Turning the shower on, she got inside and started washing. It didn’t make any difference really.she had nothing to help her wash on the inside, her soul, where it mattered.

Exhausted, she fell into bed, not caring that her hair was wet. As she waited for sleep to come, she could feel the mini contractions still happening deep inside her body. It was as if once awakened to her passionate core, it refused to slumber. Was this normal? Or was she some kind of slut? Maybe she was simply crazy.

*****
Rowdy didn’t call the rest of the weekend and Mary Louise began to wonder if he had “dumped” her now that he’d gotten what he wanted. It made sense, in her chaotic thoughts though.

The next week passed quickly. When Friday came and no call from Rowdy, it confirmed her thoughts. She refused to think about it though, burying herself in constant study. Seeking help from the school counselor, she started applying for full scholarships to different schools. Maybe something would come through and she could have her miracle. She would go to college in the fall, and her stupid haircut would have grown out some, so that wouldn’t be too bad.

The second and then the third week went by and Mary Louise was beginning to think her life could return to normal. Her mothe
r had stopped her shots, but started with some “horse-sized” pills from the doctor. The day before graduation she was so excited to get home that she didn’t mind that Kenny was particularly obnoxious on the bus. They’d had to attend school right up to the last day because of new school policies meant to keep kids out of trouble. She didn’t mind because she enjoyed learning. And today was really special.

Running inside, she called out for her mother. “Mom? Are you home?”

Jeanine came from the living room almost immediately. “Darling! There’s no need to yell. I have some good news for you, so come into the living room and sit down.”

Following her mother, she was surprised to find her father already there. It was early for him to be home. “Hi, Daddy. I have some good news!” she told excitedly.

“That’s great, Mary Louise, but let your mother go first. Then I understand there will be a lot to do between today and tomorrow.” He smiled at her so she nodded and sat on the sofa, beside her mother.

Jeanine reached over and took her daughter’s hand. “Your father and I are quite happy, and I am sure you will be as well-“

“Are we moving? You have enough money for me to go to college? That works out great because my good news is that I’ve been awarded a full scholarship to City College for this coming fall!” Mary Louise grinned looking from her mother to her father. Slowly her smile faded as she saw that they weren’t returning her smile or sharing her joy. “What’s wrong? I thought you’d be excited for me to get in a year early. It won’t be free, but almost. I shouldn’t have any problem keeping my grades up and I promise I will dedicate myself to doing really well.”

“Oh dear,” Jeanine murmured softly.

Bob shook his head. “I thought we had decided you definitely would wait a year, Mary Louise.”

“I know, but I talked with a counselor at school, and she found some special scholarships that I could apply for. I only found out today and that’s why I didn’t want to get your hopes up. It’s been hard enough on me, trying to keep quiet.”

Jeanine patted her daughter’s knee. “I’m sure it has, sweetheart. Well, let me tell you the other news first, and then you’ll understand our reactions better. Remember your doctor visit yesterday? You’re pregnant, honey! Just a little over two months! Isn’t that exciting?”

Mary Louise could hear a rushing in her ears and felt her mother hugging her. She was sure she had not heard correctly. She started shaking her head side to side. This couldn’t be true. Surely she would have known.her last period.Oh God! No!

“No!” she shouted out loud, jumping to her feet. “No! This can’t be happening to me, not now!”

“Calm down, Mary Louise,” Bob told his daughter sternly. He’d never been completely comfortable with the idea, but he also knew there was no other answer.

“I’m going to college in the fall. I can’t have a baby.”

“Sit down, Mary Louise,” Jeanine pulled her daughter back down onto the sofa. “Of course you can have this precious baby. It’s something all women can do and we’re lucky to be able to do so.”

Mary Louise said the dreaded word a moment later. It was something she abhorred philosophically, but when it was staring her in the face-

“Abortion!”

“Never!” her father shouted.

“Certainly not, Mary Louise. How can you even think such a thing?” Her mother reached over and patted her tummy. “This is your baby, and our grandbaby. Soon you’ll feel him or her moving and before you know it you’ll be nursing the precious bundle of joy.”

Mary Louise could feel her dreams slipping through her fingers. She tried one more thing. “Adoption?”

“No!” Jeanine spoke sternly. “I suggest you go upstairs and take sometime to think this over. You are a grown up now, Mary Louise. Obviously you made the decision to have unprotected premarital sex. We are not judging you darling, but you have someone else you must put first from now on. You can no longer be so self-centered in your outlook. It’s time to plan ahead for the future. Your baby’s needs now come before yours.”

“And your husband’s, of course,” her father added a moment later.

Mary Louise turned to look at her father. By the look on his face it was obvious that he was not supposed to have said that. Shaking her head, she spoke. “I’m not getting married.”

“Yes, darling, you are, and that’s final. There is no way the Walters-Davis’ heir is being born out of wedlock.” Her mother stood and walked a few feet away.

Her mother’s phrase echoed around in her head and something was trying to make sense in there. “It isn’t Rowdy’s baby,” Mary Louise said quickly. “It’s a boy I met just once. I don’t even know his last name.”

Jeanine laughed harshly. “Don’t be ridiculous, sweetheart. Of course it’s Rowdy’s baby and no one else’s. Normally we might be upset for you having anticipated your wedding vows, but when young people are in love.well, we understand.”

Okay. Now she knew her parents were certifiably crazy. Rowdy hadn’t contacted her for like six, or was it eight weeks now. No way he loved her. As for her.that was something she was not going to deal with.

“Now go upstairs,” her mother instructed firmly. “And put your books away for the last time and then take a nap. We have a very hectic day tomorrow with your graduation and all. Go on, dear.”

Mary Louise was sure she didn’t sleep one wink last night. She tried to call Karen twice, but her mother said she wasn’t home. She ate breakfast quietly, watching her father read the newspaper while her mother worked on a list of some sort and fussed about little things. She’d try her friend again mid-morning, she decided.

Her mother had gotten up to refill her father’s coffee cup. On the way back, she stopped behind Mary Louise. A second later she felt her mother’s fingers in her hair. It had grown almost two inches and with a lot of work, she’d been able to blow-dry the top almost smooth. Jeanine dragged her fingers through the tangled mess, pulling it out to its full length. By the time she finished, Mary Louise had a three-inch high curly ball encircling her head.

“Oh dear. Look at the mess this has gotten into? You should have said something to me, Mary Louise. Well, good thing I booked an appointment with Lou this morning.”

Mary Louise froze. “Mom, I don’t need a haircut. I’m growing it out.”

“Don’t be ridiculous, sweetheart. You can’t graduate and everything today, or have pictures taken with that ragamuffin mop. Aunt Lou will tidy you up once again.”

“My cap won’t fit right if we cut it now!”
“We’ll use a few extra bobby pins. Now where was I on the list.oh yes? Bob, remember to get your suit from the dry cleaners this morning. Mary Louise and I have an appointment at the dress shop to get her dress.”

“I don’t need a dress mom. Everyone dresses casual under their gowns.”

Jeanine shook her head. “We want you to look extra pretty today. Now you go shower and get dressed. We need to be at Lou’s by eleven.”

She walked into her aunt’s beauty shop a few minutes before eleven. Lou called out to have a seat. The place was quite busy, but then it was a Saturday morning and graduation morning as well. There was only one empty chair, so her mother took it and Mary Louise wandered around. She was still thinking that maybe she could convince her aunt to spare her hair. It was worth a try. Glancing down the beauty shop, she noticed that one of the chairs was being turned around to face her direction. She gasped as she saw that it was Karen in the chair.

Tears were running down Karen’s face. Her pretty long locks had been cut to a ragged chin length bob. As Mary Louise watched, everything from two inches above her ears was sectioned off and was clamped at the top of her head while clippers were buzzing off all the hair below. God! It so resembled her own poodle cut that Mary Louise felt dizzy for a moment.

“Mary Louise! Come sit down, dear. There’s a chair free.”

In a daze, she turned and walked towards her mother. S
itting down, her gaze went back to Karen. The stylist had cut all the hair now below the two-inch line to almost bald. From this distance, Karen’s hair was so light that you couldn’t see any stubble. That’s when her mother noticed.

“Oh, look, there’s your friend Karen. Ah, I see she’s getting her haircut finally. I’ve spoken with her mother a few times about how nice and easy your cut has been. I wonder if they are going to perm it or not. This is exciting-watching to see how it shapes up, isn’t it?”

Mary Louise thought exciting wasn’t a word she’d use. A few seconds later she saw shaving crème applied to Karen’s head and all the unseen stubble was removed. Then the clip at the top of her head was released and her hair fell down, nearly concealing the razor’s aftermath. Quickly the stylist combed the hair so carefully that it was all evenly distributed around her head from the center, and no part. Then just below the newly shaved hairline, she begins to cut again. Without pause, the scissors make a circle of Karen’s head. Thick, blunt cut fringe now covers only the top half of her forehead. Then the stylist begins to cut the hair so it is even thicker and rounded as it covers the bald areas.

To Mary Louise it looks like Karen has a big, blonde bowl on top of her head. The stylist asks Karen to shake her head, and the hair fluffs up more, but still stays neat. Mary Louise realized that her friend’s hair looks like a “muffin-top.” She cringes for the humiliation and embarrassment her dear friend was going to experience.

The cape is removed and Karen stands. Her mother rushes over to feel her baldhead. “Oh, it feels so nice. You look sweet, darling, now come on, we have a lot to do!”

When Karen and her mother reached them, Karen didn’t meet Mary Louise’s eyes. She didn’t blame her, remembering how she’d felt immediately after her scalping. Mary Louise resolved to call her friend when they got home.

“Mary Louise! It’s your turn, dear!”

With trepidation much greater than her previous visit she walked slowly to her fate. Seated once more in her aunt’s chair, her mother and aunt discussed her hair.

“The curl didn’t hold like I thought it would, Jeanine. It should have been tight enough so that it couldn’t be blown straight. I think we should try something else.”

“A different cut? Shorter? Bob mentioned something called a man’s flattop. He told me it would be shorter on the sides and back, tapered up, and then perfectly flat and box-shaped on top.”

“Well, that is an option. It certainly isn’t a very feminine cut, especially if you put in the landing strip.”

“What is that, Lou?”

Lou motioned with her hands on Mary Louise’s head. “This is all flat, usually only one-fourth to half an inch maximum length across the top, forehead to top. Then you run the clippers in the center, straight back. Some even shave the landing strip. It can be wider, leaving only a horseshoe semblance of hair along the outer edges.”

Mary Louise felt her heart stop. Surely they couldn’t cut her hair like that. She might as well be bald!

“But Jeanine, I was thinking more along the lines of a different perm solution, and perhaps going half-inch shorter. I have a newer one. Sometimes a perm doesn’t take at all on virgin hair like hers, which has never been colored or treated in any way. But this second one should be fine. Oh, and I checked with the manufacturer, it’s perfectly safe to use, at this time.”

Her one hope of escaping another deadly perm just died. It wasn’t fair. That didn’t seem to matter and within a few seconds, her hair was flying all over the place as her aunt cut. The clippers roared to life, and zoomed up and down. Then came the smaller size one, tapering the hair quite short. Next the scissors cut the rag mop on top back down to two inches, followed by the perm rods. Her aunt was quite pleased to announce she had brand new ones, the tiniest size yet.

“It is guaranteed to make the smallest curl possible! It narrows in the center, see,” Her aunt announced with glee, holding one up.

Jeanine helped with the papers and in record time her hair was wrapped and solution drenching it all. Cotton wool, some rods for keep the curlers straight, plastic covering everything and heat completed the set-up, and then she was left to cook, so to speak. Over and over she kept replaying the scene with her parents. Pregnant. Aunt Lou obviously knew, so she had to guess other family members knew. The more who knew the worse it would be when she-

What? What could she possibly do?

Slowly she thought back over the last two months, and specifically the last weeks. She had never missed her period before so it surprised her that she had not noticed. Her breasts had seemed bigger and definitely more tender, with the nipples constantly hard. Since she seemed to be aroused a lot of the time, she had explained that away. It didn’t help allay the arousal, but several times, late at night, she put her hand between her legs and touched herself like Rowdy had.

Before too long, she was rinsed and cut to her former short glory. One inch long hair curled back on itself in half-inch curls, topping a “short back and sides” her aunt called the change she made to the lower cut. The cape was removed, and she thought she was done.

“No, Mary Louise. We need to shave, remember.”

Immediately she was aware of people around turning to see who in the world would shave anything on their head in a beauty salon. Her aunt carefully applied the hot lather and shaved up an inch across the nape and sides, including over her ears, and temple area. Next her aunt whisked away with a brush like they did with a man’s cut, applying powder to the shaven area.

Feeling embarrassed, humiliated at her haircut and feeling as if everyone was staring, she walked out of the salon with her mother while her aunt called out she’d see them later and good luck.

The dress didn’t surprise Mary Louise, although the color did. It was almost white, except in some light it was the palest, pearl pink material, and it was silky and draped to every curve. It had the usual collar; short sleeves, not puffed this time, and was high waisted, ending just below her knees. Back home her mother showed her the new matching flat shoes, anklets and panties.

“Mom? I really think I should wear a bra,” Mary Louise told her mother as she looked at the clothes.

“You don’t have any dear that would fit. You’ve gotten quite a bit bigger since the last bra you did wear. None of mine would fit, sweetheart, because I wear a B cup. I’m only guessing, yet I’m sure you are at least a D cup. Of course I’ll be buying you some nursing bras before too much longer. You’ll start wearing one around the eighth or ninth month, depending.”

“Depending on what?”

“Leakage, darling. You’ll probably need some pads to absorb the wetness. When I was pregnant with you, I could actually express milk from my breasts during the entire last month. Now you get your shower and don’t get your hair wet. I’ll be back once I’ve gotten dressed and made sure that your father is presentable. Then we’ll do the graduation and have the celebration dinner afterwards.”
“All right Mom,” Mary Louise told her quietly. It all sounded so normal. Except for the horror of the breast pads and leaking. She couldn’t imagine how awful it would be if she started to drip breast milk, especially wearing dresses like this. It would be stuck to her breasts and her nipples, and the material was not at all absorbent. Shaking her head she went into the shower.

*****
Mary Louise finished before her mother came back, and after fixing her makeup, applying very little, she went downstairs. Coming around the corner to the living room she stopped abruptly. Seated on the sofa was Rowdy Davis. He seemed relaxed, leaning forward with his forearms resting on his thighs, but something in the set of his jaw said otherwise.

For a moment she was struck by how good-looking he was. That was something she’d not really cared that much about p
reviously, she realized. Rowdy was handsome and very muscular and well built. He was the kind of guy most girls wanted to date. His hair seemed a little longer, maybe a little darker, and fell forward onto his forehead. She must have made a noise because he suddenly looked up and saw her. He jumped to his feet.

“Mary Louise, hello. I didn’t hear you.”

“That’s okay. You can sit down. Uhm, what are you doing here?” she hoped her nervousness didn’t show. Abruptly she realized there was one last hope for her dreams of college. She waited tensely for him to answer.

“I’m riding to your graduation with you and your folks.”

“I didn’t invite-“

“I know, but your parents did. My parents are going separately, and bringing Aunt Lily.”

Mary Louise couldn’t say for sure, but she thought Rowdy seemed a little nervous. “Why are your parents coming? They hardly know me. Is there someone in the class they know?”

“No, it’s because of you.” He smiled and looked for a moment like he had the first time she’d met him. “You look very pretty. That’s a different kind of dress isn’t it?”
Mary Louise felt herself flush at the question. She had made the same observation, and her mother had pointed out that it was technically her first maternity dress. Since it was high waisted, it already had some room for her burgeoning belly. Now, Mary Louise just barely stammered a reply. “Yeah, just a little. Uhm, you really don’t need to come to this. It’s going to be boring.”

“No, it will be fine. One of those once in a lifetime things,” he grinned but Mary Louise got a sinking feeling that for her it most likely would be her only graduation. “So how did the last few weeks of school go?”

Mary Louise moved towards him, but sat in a chair so he couldn’t get beside her. “The usual, but my grades didn’t drop. I won a scholarship to City College.” She threw the fact out to test his reaction. So far it looked like nothing had changed since she’d last seen him.

“Wow! You must have had great grades to get that.”

“Sort of, although it isn’t.where did you go?”

“Stanford for my undergraduate and then to Harvard Business School for my masters’ degree.”

“Oh, I see. Very good schools in comparison to poor little City College.”

“An education is what you put into it, not what they shove at you.” Rowdy added quickly.

Mary Louise was surprised that he said that. It didn’t fit her image of him. “Well, I like to learn. When I was little, I was often in my dad’s study, pulling out the encyclopedias. First I just looked at the pictures and then I started reading them. Once I finished the World Book my parents’ bought me the Britannica. It wasn’t until I was in high school that I realized what a truly wonderful present that had been.”

She looked up from her hands, which she’d been clasping and unclasping in her lap. Rowdy was staring at her. He didn’t turn away either, not right away. It was the sound of footfalls on the stairs that made them both look away. A few seconds later, Jeanine entered the living room.

“Here you are, Mary Louise! I’m sorry it took me so long to get ready, sweetheart. But you look lovely dear. Don’t you think she looks nice, Rowdy? Positively glowing!”

Mary Louise flushed at the blatant delving for compliments by her mother.

“Yes, Mrs. Walters, Mary Louise does look beautiful, in fact.”

Mary Louise thought she heard something strange in his voice, but she pushed it away. She didn’t want to have kindly thoughts or feelings about Rowdy right now. She needed to know how much he knew and if she could convince him to refuse to marry her, no matter what anyone said, or threatened. If only.her hopes began to lift.

*****
Mary Louise threaded her way through the throng of her fellow soon-to-be graduates, looking for Karen. She already had her gown on, and her cap had been assiduously pinned to her hair by both her mother and Aunt Lou. Finally, she saw.

Karen was seated away from the others, staring down at her cap. She didn’t notice Mary Louise until she tapped the cap on her friend’s head. Karen’s head jerked up and there was no missing the tears on her friend’s face.

“What’s wrong, Karen?” Mary Louise asked instantly, sitting down beside her. Reaching into the pocket of her gown she pulled out a few of the tissues her mother had pushed in a short time earlier.

“Everything, damn it all!”

Mary Louise moved back a little, shocked at her friend’s words. She never cursed, or hardly ever. “What is it? You can tell me.”

“Can I? Would you tell me everything? Even if it was a dark, dirty little secret?”

Mary Louise paused at her friend’s onslaught. She started to say yes, but she had not yet told Karen either of her news. But then she’d tried to contact her. Nodding her head, she spoke. “I tried to call you. I called twice last evening and again this morning. Your mom said you were out.”

Karen looked surprised. “I was home, but under house arrest.”
“Sounds like me. I’ll go first I guess. I won the City College scholarship.”

Karen yelped and hugged Mary Louise. “That is fantastic. You won’t have to wait. I am so happy for you.”

Mary Louise shook her head side to side. “Don’t be because I can’t accept it. I’m pregnant. My parents refuse to consider the alternatives and insist I get married to avoid any scandal.”

Karen’s face changed slowly. “Oh no! Me too. I just found out yesterday morning. That’s why I wasn’t on the bus. My parents are demanding I marry Donny and not go away to school in the fall. They were horrified at the mention of abortion and acted like I’d gone insane when I suggested adoption.”

“What about Donny?”

“I’ve only talked to him for a few minutes. His dad has gotten him a job on the line already, and my folks are going to convert the big room over the garage into an apartment for us.”

“Geez, sounds like its all planned out doesn’t it?”

“And you?” Karen asked.

“Rowdy suddenly appeared this afternoon in our living room. Said he’d been invited to my graduation by my parents, but he never mentioned anything else. I’m hopeful I can talk him into refusing to marry me. Then my parents would have to see my way.”

“You know what I think, Mary Louise?”

“No, Karen, what?”

“That night in the Davis’ sports utility vehicle.we both did more than get royally screwed! We fucked up our entire lives!”

Both girls cried and laughed as they hugged each other.

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