HIGH SCHOOL ROMANCE

Jason began his high school years with enthusiasm and expectations of good things. To this point in his life things had gone fairly well. He had good grades, many friends, and many interests including music. He and Rod had worked hard the previous summer before Jason’s first high school year getting into superb physical shape. Although he would be a first year underclassman no one would mess with him without severe and immediate consequences. At the tender age of 16 Jason could bench press 225 pounds and he would extend his strength as the years wore on.Up to this point Jason had no attachment to any girl, although he definitely had an interest, and girls increasingly became part of conversations he had with his friends. A large number of guys at the high school had regular girlfriends and Jason wanted one too.

He met Carol in his eleventh grade history class. Carol was a little shy, but she returned Jason’s initial smile and before long they became friends, often talking with each other after lunch before classes resumed for the afternoon.

After lunch one day Carol asked, “”What does your dad do?””
Jason replied his Dad worked at a bank in Philadelphia and reciprocated the question to Carol.
“”My dad’s a cop, actually a detective now. He worked as a traffic cop for 10 years but was recently promoted to detective.”
A mental image formed in Jason’s head.

Because of his ongoing shoplifting activities, Jason was less than thrilled that Carol’s father was a cop, but he wasn’t going to allow it to interfere with what he had going with Carol. He told her that it sounded like an interesting job to have.

Finally, after a week of vacillating, Jason worked up the nerve to ask Carol out for a date. For the previous week he kept running little make-believes in his mind. Sometimes she would say no and he practiced not showing his hurt feelings of being rejected. But, mostly she said yes and her agreement to go out with him made his heart pound. Although Jason had been to several school sponsored dances this was different, a non-chaperoned real date. When it came time for him to propose the big question he was as nervous as any person could be. His breathing became somewhat labored and the interior of his mouth dried up.

When finally the question escaped from his lips she smiled and said “Yes, I’d love to go.
That Friday night they planned to see The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, and afterwards get a sandwich and egg cream.

            

 On the day before the big date Jason swiped a box of chocolates from Mavises 5 & 10, and a bottle of Aqua Velva from Ropeland’s pharmacy, along with a roll of tums for his nervous stomach. Around midnight he snuck out of the house and over to Mr Rice the neighbor where he clipped a dozen blood red roses from the garden. On Friday morning Jason dragged himself out of bed and went for a haircut at Sam the Barbers. He told Sam about the impending date which prompted the barber to rub extra Pomade in Jason’s hair. 

                       

Jason really wanted to take Carol to a tavern and get real drink first , but he wisely decided to start things off slowly. He didn’t want her to think he was trying to ply her with liquor and get her drunk. Jason had a major crush on Carol and while she didn’t feel as strongly towards Jason she enjoyed his company and all the attention.

The date went as well as could be expected. Carol loved the chocolates and roses and the scent of Jason’s cologne.

Jason and Carol went out almost every weekend and all went well until the week before Thanksgiving when Jason decided to go shopping at the local department store where he came very close to being caught by the security guard as he was leaving with a partially boosted necklace.

He’'d initially entered the store with intentions to buy Carol some nice jewelry. He didn’t have much money, but he wanted to get her the best he could afford  for a surprise present. The saleslady attending Jason had placed several pairs of earrings and necklaces on the counter for him to examine. He liked the necklace featuring a small jeweled butterfly.

Carol had mentioned to Jason that she liked watching the butterflies fluttering around in her mother’s garden and the piece seemed right to Jason. He also liked the small earrings containing small diamonds in a tiny circular cluster, but the necklace and earrings together totaled to about $90.00 and Jason only had $50.00 with him. He was debating with himself on getting just the earrings or the just the necklace when the phone rang at the salesladies work station and she turned to answer it. On impulse, Jason quickly placed the $50.00 he had on the counter, pocketed the necklace he had been examining and grabbed the pair of silver earrings with the small diamonds.


Jason turned away from the counter and made his way for the exit. Before he got there the saleslady yelled, “Stop that young man!”, and an older man in his mid 50s, a security guard, moved towards Jason to intercept him, but  Jason made it to the door and exited before the guard got too close. He  ran for what seemed a mile and finally slowed to a walk when he realized he wasn’t being pursued.

As Jason made his way home he thought over the events and realized how close his impulse heist had nearly gotten him into serious trouble. Normally he would have just boosted the jewelry after carefully planning the theft, but it struck him as kind of sleazy to steal a gift for his girlfriend.  Some unwritten law seemed to dictate that he purchase items for his love, rather than boost them.

 He reasoned to   himself that he had paid as much money as he could afford  for the stolen items and rationalized that the store most likely marked up jewelry price to double the store cost, so all said and done the store wasn'’t really out much, if any, actual money, and he had paid with his own money the true value of the items.

And he was happy he had the gifts for Carol. He'’d give her the jewelry the following Friday night when they went out again. He couldn’t wait to see his Carol.

What Jason didn’t know was that the saleslady called the police and that she and the security guard made a fairly good description of Jason to the detective that came to the store for the shoplifting investigation. The saleslady gave the detective catalogue pictures of the earrings and necklace.  Had Jason known that the detective was Carol’s father he would have abandoned his intent to make her a present of the jewelry and thrown it away or given it to his mother  with thankfulness for knowing and avoiding a trap.

That Friday night Jason took Carol ice skating and afterwards they stopped for a hot chocolate drink. As they were finishing their drink Jason’s heart was pounding and he knew the time was right to present Carol her gifts. Jason had very much fallen in young love with Carol and he looked forward to kissing and caressing her. The desire he felt in his loins was a white blinding anguish as he pictured her pleasure at his caress of her erect nipples. His thoughts of maybe tonight taking it all the way caused him to audibly gasp from the quick and unexpected shot of adrenaline fire ravaging through his testosterone filled body; he felt on fire, was on fire.     

                          

 She would love him for the gifts and he imagined her whispering to him, “Make love to me!”, and he would gently caress her and feel her damp warmth with his hand while her hand moved to caress his manhood. He had never felt this way before about any girl he had ever known. Jason was crazy and totally out of his mind with a youthful passion of pure anguished desire . It had to be now, it just had to be. He had to tell her, tell her tonight.

The pair walked to Jason’s dad 's car and he drove to a secluded spot in Penn Valley along Mill Creek.. The night air was crisp and the stars were bright in the moonless night. As Jason parked the car and turned off the headlights Carol remarked, “Are you all right?’, she was concerned, “You are out of breath, sweaty, and shaking!”

It was true. He was sweating profusely in spite of the cool night air. His hair was damp and matted.

“ I’m ok”, Jason smiled, Dare he say it? Maybe best to first see her expression on receiving the gifts and then play it by ear. He desperately wanted to tell Carol he loved her. Jason reached into his shirt pocket, withdrew the hastily wrapped presents and placed them gently in Carol’s hands.

‘What is this?”

Jason couldn’t stand the impossible sexual pressure any longer, reached across to Carol, kissed her for a long time, and said, “I love you!’.

Carol kissed him back and said the words Jason longed for her to say: ‘I love you too!’. And with that Carol opened Jason’s presents and was smiling at their beauty, saying, ‘These are beautiful. I want to put them on right now!”. And so she did. And they spent a long hour and a half expressing their love and sexuality to each other as only first time lovers can. Jason returned Carol to her home at 11;30 that night meeting the curfew her parents has insisted on. Jason walked her to the door. They kissed goodnight and Jason left as the happiest man that had ever existed.

Carol’s parents had gone to bed and she quietly made her way to her bedroom smiling and thinking of the joyful love she had made with Jason. She put her jewelry treasures into her jewelry box, undressed, and soon after she had prepared for bed fell into a deep and relaxing sleep.

  The following weekend Jason took Carol to the beach in Ocean City New Jersey without the permission of either sets of parents.  It was incredibly romantic, those long walks along the ocean's edge with the sound of gulls and the crashing surf.

                                                    
It was a magical afternoon, one which Jason hoped would never end, but all too soon he found himself heading west on the Blackhorse Pike towards Philadelphia.

Jason and Carol weren’t able to go out the following weekend because of a wedding of an uncle she, her brother, and her parents were attending During the two weeks they weren’t able to go out but  they met after school lunch as was now their ritual and occasionally exchanged furtive kisses before their friends or the moderating teachers could notice, or if they did notice, said nothing about.

Finally, the Friday they had been waiting for to go dating again arrived. Jason was about to knock happily on her parents door. He was thinking of the movie they would see and daydreaming of what might happen after the movie.


Before Jason could knock Carol opened the door and quickly stepped outside. She had been crying.


“Quickly, walk to your car and I will tell you the problem. My parents can’t know you are here.”


As they walked Jason asked, “Why are you crying? What is wrong? Are you all right?”
Carol began explaining. She had dressed for the date and put on her butterfly necklace and earrings with the little diamonds. As she sat down for dinner with her parents her Dad had looked at her with a peculiar frown. “Those earrings. That necklace. Where did you get them?”


Carol explained they were gifts from Jason and her father became exasperated. “I think Jason stole those things.”

Carol was outraged and shoved her chair away from the table. “How can you say such a thing? You don't know what you're talking about. He'd never do anything like that. You're just saying that because you don't like him."


Her father explained how he had been called to the Department store 3 weeks earlier and had been given a description that seemed to fit Jason to a tee and how he had been given catalogue pictures of the very jewelry she was now wearing. She told him the department store clerk was a liar and probably stole them herself.


Carol went on to quote her father. “He said, ‘I can’t be positive right now it was Jason. If it was, you are wearing stolen merchandise that I can’t report without making myself look badly, my daughter, the daughter of a detective, having and wearing stolen merchandise. I don’t want you seeing this Jason person anymore. He’s a thief, or a likely one. If you do continue to see him I will investigate this case like I really should be doing anyway and your Jason will go to court. He’s 18 and he will likely be charged with a misdemeanor and get a suspended sentence. But his name will be in the paper and he will have difficulties getting into college or getting a job. I won’t make trouble for him because you like him. But I am telling you to break it off and not see him anymore.’ ”

Jason felt his heart sinking and then filling with rage against Carol's father.

Carol was crying as she finished. “I have to go. I can’t see you anymore.”
Jason was shocked to his core. As she departed, he said, “Carol, we will work this out. We are going to keep seeing each other!”, but he was devastated. He didn’t know how the relationship would progress now, but he would find some way.


As Jason retreated to his Dad’s car and drove back home he cursed the detective and all the fucking cops. He would not let them control his life, his wants or his needs. They would all pay. He vowed to show the authoritarian bastards.  He'd become a criminal, not just a shoplifter but a big-time crook with power and connections. Like Al Capone he'd become powerful enough to buy all the cops.


A few months later Carol and her family moved to a town in Oregon where her father had landed a job as a police chief with a higher salary with more benefits. It would be many years before Jason and Carol met up with each other again, under far different circumstances.

                                       CAROL THE TEACHER

After Jason’s affair with Carol had broken he withdrew a little into himself. The raw ache he had not being with Carol haunted him and he tried to distract himself from the pain by immersing himself in music, in his studies, and being in the occasional company of his friends. After carol moved away with her family the pain lessened because he didn’t have the constant reminder of her unavailability, but the anguish of loss was still there. The rage against Carol’s father was there too, always just below the surface. Whenever he saw a cop he'd make a hateful face and flip them the highsign.

 
When Jason entered his English class in the second semester of  eleventh grade he was surprised to find his new teacher, Miss Mayberry, young and pretty. It was her first job as a teacher and Jason estimated she was only 5 years his senior. Miss Roberts was very professional in class, but she was also very good looking and sexy and Jason’s half hearted attempts to follow her lectures would invariably lapse as his mind drifted to fantastic fantasies of being with her. He fantasized about being in a library with her, under the oak library tables or pressed together in narrow aisles.

 It was impossible and irrational, and Jason knew it, but he was falling in love with the young woman and Jason didn’t care. He confided his infatuation with Miss Roberts to no one. But, he had to express his feelings in some manner and did the only thing he could think of by leaving little gifts for her on her desk.

Jason placed little notes and gifts on her desk, like, "from a true fan who feels feverish over you," and a flower he picked out by the schoolyard fence, a Hershey's kiss, a pack of matches from Bookbinders, a spark plug, some earrings he boosted from his mother's drawer, a book of poetry by Francois Villon and also a collection of Emily Dickenson's poems, a lace doily (taken from his aunt's house), and a lavender scented handkerchief (taken from a different aunt's), small bottle of perfume (taken from a friend's parent's house), and dozens of other gifts which Jason thought were romantic.  Not all of them were in the best of taste.

But some of them were unique in the sense that they reflected Jason's own personal approach to romance.  Not all of them were store-bought. Some he gathered together himself in the hope they would appear more personal, although, of course, Miss Roberts didn't know who was bringing them.

One day Miss Roberts asked who was bringing the gifts. She asked with an amused smile and her intentions were mostly curiosity although she seemed flattered by her secret admirer. Jason could feel his face turning fluorescent red. His heart began to pound painfully in his chest as her eyes scanned the room and finally settled on Jason. Jason knew she had spotted him. She knew and Jason knew, but no one else did. It became their sacred secret, and Miss Roberts never verbalized her knowledge to Jason.

 It wasn't until Jason’s senior year at the very last day of class, the very last day of Jason’s days at High School that he summoned his nerve to approach her and ask if she would like to have a drink with him in his car. (Jason had brought a bottle of his parent's scotch along). Miss Roberts laughed, took his advance with good humor and she wished a very embarrassed Jason well.  Dejected, he walked out to his car and drank half the bottle of Scotch by himself with the intention of driving and driving until the blacktop ended in some vast and featureless wassteland.

Instead he drove the car down to the shore, this time alone. He parked at a spot near to where the ocean meets the Delaware Bay and began to walk along the strand as he thought about his failed romances and how they might have worked out if only he had been smarter about them. And he pictured first one Carol and then another in various situations:  In a rustic beachfront grille

Or in a romantic little gazebo in a quiet park with only the sounds of songbirds and wind rusteling through trees.  Yes, he thought, that too would be nice.

Eventually Jason ran out of beach and took a rude wooden walkway through the protected dunes and into the town.  He passed many nice cottages where he pictured himself and his two carols living happily.  In due course he came to a rustic church where he fantasized their marriage.

But he realized that this fantasy world of his was not going to materialize, and that it was a waste of time to continue thinking about it.  He had to face the fact that the road to romance was shut off from him.

He'd spent so much time and effort on the two Carols, particulary the first love, and it pained him to think about it but his only realistic option given the circumstances was to begin at the beginning, to begin back at square one