Denny and Anne-Marie
Denny Zimmerman walked, whistling, into Room 238, Newberry Military School, just as Tattoo began to sound. Pine raised the top portion of his six foot four inch frame and said, “Ya sign in late? Ain’t gonna see her no more, you get marches.” Phil Boydon looked up from his typewriter and nodded.
“I signed in on time, youse guys. Stopped at the latrine then tried to talk Nailhead out of me being OD next Friday. He got all pissed and showed me the duty roster. Trouble is, I can’t understand it.”
“Sure Nailhead likes it that way. Have fun with Anne-Marie?” Phil said and resumed typing. “And yes, it’s a letter to El, not something you’d want to read.”
“That’s all you do anymore. Bet when you see her now, you sit on opposite sides of the room and she writes in her green ink and you clatter away like you can actually type. Now, Anne-Marie, she’s different.” Phil could tell from Denny’s tone that he was being funny, not threatening, and smiled.
“Yep, Denny. And its all the same. ‘I love you.’ ‘I love you more.’ ‘I’ll never cheat again!’ ‘I won’t cheat either.” Pine drawled, settling back on his stretched out single.
“Pine, go back to North Carolina and chase cows or coon hounds or something,” Phil said.
“Pinehurst ain’t no hick village. Why they’re gonna pave the streets any year now and the mayor, he got him some indoor plumbin’.” Denny drawled as Pine raised his middle finger. “Nope. Didn’t do that. Not yet. But God, Phil! How could you ever have given that girl up? Lord she can kiss.”
Phil looked at the paper in front of him. “First, I have El. Second, Anne-Marie dumped me. I thought my senior year was going to be girless until El and I made up. Third, El kisses quite nicely, thank you very much.”
Phil’s roommates exchanged looks. “Denny. The boy admitted he’s done something romantic and physical with old Ellis de Milo. “Spect there’s a word of truth?”
“Hell, I know so. I heard the Commandant chew him out the first day of school over their kissing on East Parade. Heard they even had their arms around each other.” Denny smiled again. “But I had my arms around a woman tonight. And kissed her tonight. In fact, I’m going to shut up. My tongue hurts.” Denny began to take off his overcoat, revealing a very mussed up gray shirt underneath.
Phil noticed the shirt. Yes, they sure had been kissing. And it was only the fourth date. On his fourth date with Anne-Marie he couldn’t even remember holding hands. Yes, the girl had certainly gotten more experienced and less inhibited. And he, Phil Boydon, sworn to Elaine Goodman, had been responsible for a lot of that during their junior year. Tattoo sounded and Phil stood up and began to get ready for bed. He didn’t have room check tonight, so he could lie in bed and do a little bit of pleasure reading while they waited for the “late lights” call that would turn their privileged lights out, too. And then he could whisper his “Good night, El Goodman. I love you,” into his pillow.
Tuesday Phil and Denny signed out for town during recreation period. Phil walked into the business district of Leesboro while Denny ducked back into the barracks to take the short cut to Anne-Marie’s that Phil knew so well from last year when he first cheated on El with the large breasted, dark haired freshman, and then went with her after he and El had broken up.
After the haircut Phil wandered around town and got back to sign in, only to see Denny’s name already on the sign in roster. Well, he tried to go too far and she dumped him, Phil thought.
But when he got back to his room, in a hurry to get ready to go to the mess hall as head waiter for the week, he found a grinning Denny, talking to Pine and rubbing his hands over his close cropped black hair.
“So if you’ll was having so much fun, how come you ain’t still lying on that couch in her rec room?’ Pine asked just as Phil walked in.
“Because she said, and get this guys, she said, ‘You’d better go. My mom’s home soon. Don’t want her to catch us doing more.’ You know, like we were going to go further. So I came back here. But I got a date for Saturday - afternoon and night.”
Denny looked Phil straight into his eyes, easy since they were both as short as Pine was tall and said, “Man, oh man. Awesome knockers. Ten minutes after I was there I was...”
“Denny. I don’t want to know. Keep all the gory details to yourself.” Phil took his blouse off, put it on a hanger and hung it in his black clothes press and began to button it up. “Tell Pine. He’s all ears.”
“He done told me, Phil. Got her bra, old lover boy Denny did.”
Took me over ten, maybe fifteen dates for that, Phil thought. A quick image of Anne-Marie’s full, melon shaped breasts darted through his mind. No. Back off. “I’ve got to get to the mess hall. See you guys after SRC. Have fun standing in the cold.” Then he was out the door.
The week went by at its normal speed for Phil, with a letter from El on Wednesday. Denny was anything but relaxed and by Thursday had pleaded with everybody who could possibly stand Officer of the Day. Finally, Thursday night Denny came back to Phil for the third time.
“Phil. You have to take my place. What’s Friday leave to you, anyway?”
“Denny, I told you. I’m looking for something to take to El for Valentine’s Day. It has to be special. I haven’t found it yet. I’m going to go through every possible store in Leesboro.”
“Like I said, I’ll call Momma. Have her go to Sacks, Fifth Avenue and buy something for the Red Headed Goddess. I’ll pay for it myself.”
Phil shook his head. “Denny, I would. You know I would ordinarily. But not now. I just have to find something and it has to be special and it has to be from me.”
“Damn it, Boydon. You’re just jealous. I’m going to do it with Anne-Marie and you never did.”
“That’s not true, Zimmermann,” Phil spat. But was he telling the complete truth? Yes, El and he were in love. Yes, Anne-Marie had been a mistake. Yes he’d sworn, like El had, to protect the virginity they once thought they had surrendered to each other one July afternoon when they were thirteen. But it did sound like Denny was going to score, really score. And Phil had paved the way; even fixed Denny up with Anne-Marie after talking to her at the Sunday evening church youth group.
“Some room mate you are,” Denny said. He paused. “Well, will you do something for me Friday night?”
“Sure Denny. What?” Phil didn’t like to make promises before he knew what, but this seemed different.
“Go to the bus station and get me a rubber.”
Phil frowned. Now that was something. Get a rubber so his room mate could screw last year’s girl friend. And he’d promised. “Sure, Denny. I’ll get you one.”
Denny reached into his back pocket. “Here, I’ll give you some money.”
Phil shook his head. “Nah. I’ll take care of it. Least I can do, I guess.” Denny said nothing with his mouth, just momentarily with his eyes. Finally Phil said, “I’m really sorry Denny. I promise I’ll take your next week end OD, no matter what.”
“Okay. Just don’t forget.”
Phil grinned. “I won’t Denny. Either one.” What Denny and Anne-Marie did was between them, he realized. He had El and she was more than enough.
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