Me And Sam -- Chapter 16

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Two young teens, life-long friends, discover each other though not in the usual way. A gentle "coming-of-age" tale.


Is It Love?

Chapter 16

Darla and I sat there hugging and kissing till the sun was clearly visible on the horizon. I began to wonder and worry if I had missed my only opportunity to share our oneness. She didn’t seem disappointed though as we did everything but engage in intercourse. Her nipples were huge and ripe and each begged attention. I didn’t disappoint them. Darla’s moans nearly equaled my own. I knew then and there that we could have shared that ultimate expression of love between a man and a woman. Thoughts of Sam kept me from taking that final step. "I love you Joan" she whispered into the air. I so wanted to tell her I loved her too, but I’d already proclaimed my love for Sam. I couldn’t let myself go and enjoy all that Darla had to offer until I’d sorted it all out.

Knowing from previous experience that a response was required I found myself saying "Darla, you mean the world to me. I couldn’t imagine my life without you in it." She took that to mean "I loved her." I guess any rational thinking person would have drawn that conclusion. My feelings for Darla were real and they ran deep. I knew she’d never betray me the way that Sam had. Why Sam found it necessary to take everyone’s side but mine, I’ll never know. Perhaps Sam didn’t know the meaning of the word "love." I knew that to simply cave in to Sam’s desires would make me less than a "person." I almost said less than a man, but, attempting to deal with the gender issue at this point was more than I could handle.

Darla and I dragged our very tired bodies back to her house. We removed our shoes and literally tip-toed back into the family room. Our air-mattresses were just as we’d left them. Our absence hadn’t been discovered. Darla wanted to go upstairs first and change back into her pajamas. I was far too tired to even contemplate the possibility. I walked over and collapsed on the mattress. I think I was asleep before my head hit the pillow. A few hours later I was awakened, but this time not by Darla but by Sally. Sally’s arm swung over my shoulder and she began pulling me closer. I remained in my semi-comatose state and allowed her to draw me as close as she liked. Before I knew it we were nuzzling in each other’s arms.

"What’s going on here?" a shrill voice awakened me. Sally and I awoke with a start.

"Huh?" I said as I attempted to remember just where I was and what was going on. Darla recognizing her overreaction calmed down and actually began to laugh.

"You two looked quite comfortable there," she said knowingly. Sally who was in a deeper sleep than I myself was simply smiled at our accuser.

At length Sally opened her eyes and acknowledged the situation for what it was. She was secure enough in her own thoughts and desires to not grant Darla any ground. She simply looked me in the eyes deeply and smiled. If for no other reason, I knew I’d always be her friend for her actions that morning. I followed her lead and essentially ignored Darla’s accusations. I’d been accused of too many things of late. In my own mind my biggest crime was caring too much. I was sure that most wouldn’t see it that way. Still, in my heart I knew what was true and whether or not anyone else believed it was of no consequence to me.

I pulled myself to my feet and whispered to Darla my apology. "I’m sorry, I was asleep and thought I was holding you." She sighed aloud and hugged me. Thankfully no one commented on the fact that I’d been sleeping in my clothes.

"Joan, look at yourself! You’re a mess!" Did I say that no one commented? "Come with me." I followed her wondering what she had planned now. She took me up into her room and began rummaging through her closet. "I was going to select another skirt for you to wear but since most of the girls will be changing into jeans this morning, I’ve selected a pair for you. I hope they fit?" I took the jeans from her. They looked normal enough but for the silver swan on the watch pocket in front. They were tight in the waist and wide at the rear. All in all, they would do except, I needed a belt. Darla returned to her closet anticipating my request and came back out with both hands behind her back. She pulled out her left hand and extended it towards me.

Of course, it contained a red leather belt. I shook my head in disbelief and she broke out in laughter as her right hand was revealed holding a simple black leather belt. I found myself laughing with her. I kept my white top on and put on my maryjanes. No pantyhose required. I was grateful for that as it promised to be a warm day and hose under jeans just wouldn’t work.

"Joan, go and wash your face, I want to see how it looks without the makeup on."

I wondered why for a moment and then realized she wanted to check the extent of my injuries. I’d forgotten all about them and took that as a good sign. I washed my face and peered into the mirror. Raccoon Joan stared back at me. Of course, I hadn’t brought a toothbrush with me either and applied a bit of toothpaste to my forefinger in an attempt to clean the fur off of my teeth. It worked well enough this one time. I didn’t want to ask Darla if I could borrow a toothbrush. I’d made far too many requests of her already.

I patted my face dry and began doing my makeup. I could tell by the feel and the fading that my face was healing. I didn’t need to have it come under Darla’s inspection. It was a lot more work being a girl than it was being a boy. How could I have forgotten such basic things as a toothbrush and change of clothes? In fairness to myself, this was the first sleep-over I’d ever been on. I hoped it wouldn’t be the last. I fixed my hair and twisted my earrings. The original holes were almost healed. At least, they seemed to be. They twisted with no resistance whatsoever. I put on my lipstick and gave myself a smile. It’s funny, but I found myself always smiling before walking away from my own image. Darla then came in and readied the water temperature for her own shower. She didn’t seem to care that I was standing just a few feet away from her as she got undressed.

"Joan, why don’t you go downstairs and join the other girls. I’ll be down in just a bit." Just as she was about to enter, I walked over to her and stole a kiss. Her smile was the best gift I’d ever received.

I made my way back downstairs and everyone was busy reconstructing the room. Jennifer was in charge of deflating the air-mattresses and was almost finished when I offered her my help. "Why don’t you go and help Lori set the table?" Ah, there would be food! My stomach growled in agreement and I walked over to the table where we’d shared our meal the night before. It only took a few minutes to arrange the table to perfection.

"I’ll bet it’ll be really nice having someone prepare a meal for you," Sarah said derisively. She thought she’d been insulting me, but in truth I had to agree with her.

"Yes, Sarah, it will,." I replied. She looked at me as though I was a stranger from another planet and went off in search of another victim. She’d lost her one ally, Janice, after her outburst at my injury last night. I honestly couldn’t understand why Darla was friends with her.

Darla arrived at last looking absolutely radiant. I began to wonder if I was falling in love with her. Perhaps I should remember my own advice to her: "we’re just kids," I remembered. Mrs. Raspberry and a few of the other mothers came in bearing food. I was starving, but was determined not to make a pig out of myself. When I saw that the other girls weren’t standing on protocol, I jumped in and filled my plate. I’d never seen a banquet such as this. The choices seemed limitless. I watched the behavior of the other guests and took my cues from them. If I had to use one word to describe their eating method it would be, "dainty." -I took a blueberry muffin and some fresh fruit and began nibbling carefully at the muffin.

Sally looked at me and started laughing. "Relax Joan, we’ve seen you eat before." I blushed at her comment but I did indeed begin to relax. The conversation turned to what they were going to do that afternoon. It seemed Darla, Sally, Sarah, Janice, and Jennifer would be spending the afternoon together.

"Can you come with us?" Darla asked in a pleading voice.

"I’d love to Darla, but I really have to be getting home."

Sarah smirked and said "yeah, I bet she has to go home and wash her mommy’s panties." I smiled at her but said nothing. She didn’t know how close she was to the truth. In the end, they decided on a day at the beach. Jennifer and Janice lived inland and this would be a special treat for them. Breakfast finished, I began clearing away the table. It just seemed the most natural thing to do. Another barb from Sarah "you’ll make some woman the perfect wife someday," she said. I began to wonder whether Sarah lived at my house and I just didn’t know it. As I brought the dishes into the kitchen, I found myself staring longingly at the coffee pot.

Mrs. Raspberry noticed me and said, "Go ahead Joan, pour yourself a cup." I wasn’t sure whether or not to accept her offer. None of the other girls were drinking coffee. She seemed to read my mind when she said, "it’s all right dear, most of the other girls don’t drink coffee, so I didn’t put any out. Darla sometimes shares a cup with me. Now, grab a cup and come sit down with me. The other girls can finish cleaning up." I began to regret my hunger for caffeine. Not wanting to appear rude, I took a cup, filled it, and went to join Mrs. Raspberry at the kitchen table. "Ok, first thing first. I insist that you call me Aunt Viv," she said. "Mrs. Raspberry is a bit too much for my delicate ears," she chuckled as if she’d made a joke.

"Of course Mrs., er, Aunt Viv," I replied.

"Next, tell me about yourself. How long have you felt this way?" I gave her a look that showed that I was clueless. She caught on and said "I’m sorry Joan, I didn’t mean to embarrass you." Remembering that her parents thought I was gay, I wasn’t sure how to proceed. I didn’t want to find myself excluded from future outings on the basis of my gender. The camaraderie shared with the other girls was something I’d never known before. I was happier than I could ever remember being.

"Aunt Viv, if you were referring to my sexuality, I’m not really sure how I feel about things," I said honestly. I might have made a mistake. She began to eye me suspiciously. The pools of liquid that quickly filled my eyes convinced her of my sincerity.

"It’s all right Joan, I think I understand." A sigh of relief escaped my lips.

I was glad that somebody got "it." I wasn’t sure whether or not I ever would. Feeling much better from the jolt of caffeine, I thanked Aunt Viv for her company and made my way back to join the others. It was beginning to close in on noon and I needed to get home. I didn’t see Darla anywhere so I made my way upstairs to retrieve my things. Her bedroom door was closed and I could heard muffled moans escape through the walls. I figured I’d better knock and did so gently before entering. I opened the door and much to my surprise Darla and Sarah were locked in firm embrace. Darla looked over at me as though she’d stabbed me through the heart. She had.

"Don’t you knock before entering a room Joan?" Sarah demanded.

"I did." I started to explain and then realized that all I -wanted to do was get out of there. Grabbing my things I made my way into her bathroom.

Just moments before, I found myself falling in love with this wondrous creature. And now, the rug was being pulled out from under me yet again. I sat on the commode unable to move. I wanted to cry but for some reason I just couldn’t. I quickly removed all of Darla’s clothes including her bra and panties and left them on the edge of the tub. Thankfully, I had my skort and my private parts wouldn’t be visible to the world. I finished getting dressed. I was so tempted to throw the damned breast forms in the garbage, but at length I put them in my purse. Sarah was laughing as I made my way back into Darla’s room.

"What happened to your breasts Joan?" I didn’t even look in her direction. I made my way downstairs and as quietly as I could out the front door. I felt guilty, but under the circumstances couldn’t see myself thanking "Aunt Viv" for a wonderful time. I ran all the way home.

The last person in the world I wanted to see was waiting for me upon arrival. She looked at me and said, "Did you have a good time sweetheart?" I thought she was lost in the fog. I did my best to leave her there, but in the end, the tears won out.

"Oh Mommy!" I sobbed. I was determined not to give her any further information. Thankfully she didn’t press the issue and just hugged me gently while rubbing my back. At length I gained control of myself and told her that I was going upstairs to change. I could tell she was dying to ask me what had happened to my "breasts." I moved quickly before she could change her mind and begin interrogating me. I literally ripped the clothes from my body and threw them on the floor. I grabbed some clean underwear and made my way into the shower. I scrubbed my face carefully. The water’s warm embrace failed to brighten my mood. If anything, I was sadder when I finished than before I began.

I cried myself to sleep clutching that stupid bear. It was after four when Mom began shaking me gently. "Joan, wake up. You can’t sleep all day." I was half determined to never leave my bed again. "Come on sweetheart, you promised to make me dinner, remember?" I’d promised her no such thing, but I smiled at her nonetheless. "Sweetheart, I won’t question you about what happened. You can tell me about it if and when you’re ready." I was beyond grateful for her words.

"Thanks Mom," I said desolately.

"I’m going to go back downstairs now. I have a few more loads of wash to do before dinner." I almost couldn’t believe my ears. Mom hadn’t done the wash since she’d assigned that task to me at the ripe old age of twelve.

This time my smile was genuine as I said yet again, "Thanks Mom."

I found myself staring at my reflection in my bedroom mirror. I was a mess, but a recognizable mess. John stared back at me. I was beyond tempted to take the earrings out of my ears. Several times I found my hands on the delicate butterfly clasps. In the end I fixed my hair so that my lobes would be concealed. I put on a pair of normal jeans and my favorite faded blue tee shirt. John had returned, if only for the moment. As had become routine for me, I smiled at the mirror before making my way downstairs. Upon seeing me, Mom seemed saddened, but didn’t say anything. I busied myself with dinner preparations. Poached salmon, boiled potatoes, and broccoli were the order of the day. Making dinner was far easier than I’d ever imagined. I thought cynically that I’d sign up for home economics in the fall. That would be an easy "A." Still, remembering my promise to Mr. Ferris and not being able to take both classes simultaneously, I put such thoughts aside.

It was just after six and I told Mom that dinner would be served in a minute. Not wanting to encourage her drinking, I didn’t make her a gin and tonic as I did every night this past week. Mom sat down and we began eating. "Sweetheart, if I’d known you were such a good cook, I’d have had you making dinner years ago," she said and began laughing. The image of myself preparing dinner at the ripe old age of eight had me laughing as well. "Are you going to be all right being home alone this evening?" she asked shaking me out of my reverie.

"What?" I said not sure that I’d heard her correctly.

"I’m going out this evening with Alice," she announced at last. I couldn’t believe how happy I was knowing that I wouldn’t have to entertain my mother for the evening. She saw the look of relief on my face and commented. "I guess I’ve been a little overwhelming with you, haven’t I?"

"No Mom, it’s been great!" I said as enthusiastically as I could.

She looked at me and thanked me for my lie with a motherly glance. I smiled back at her. She hadn’t mentioned Dad for the longest time. I hated to admit it, but I missed him. I’d gladly make him breakfast if he’d just come home. Mom seemed to be reading my thoughts, but thankfully didn’t say anything.

"So, what are you two ladies up to this evening?" I asked with more than the obvious motive in mind. My real concern was just how much time I’d have to myself this evening.

"Not to worry dear," she replied cryptically. "You’ll be asleep long before I get home." I couldn’t question my mother about her comings and goings, could I? I began clearing the table. Shandy was not fond of salmon so there was no need to add any to her bowl before beckoning her to come and eat.

The kitchen cleaned, I made my way into the family room. Mom meanwhile had run upstairs to get ready for her evening out. It was 7:30 when Aunt Alice walked in. I couldn’t ever remember her knocking on our door before entering. "Oh my! When did you get a pet raccoon?" she asked me. "No, wait a minute, you are the raccoon!" she said laughing at her own lame attempt at humor. What else could I do? I smiled at her and told her Mom would be down in a minute. I wanted to ask her about Sam, but managed to restrain myself. Aunt Alice seemed perfectly at ease and felt no need to engage me in conversation. Something else to be grateful for, I smiled to myself. Moments later Mom came down the stairs. She looked absolutely gorgeous. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d seen her looking so pretty and told her so. For someone in her mid-thirties, she was absolutely "hot."

They began to make their way to the door. "Now Joan, you do have my cell phone number in case of an emergency, don’t you?"

"I know it by heart," I informed her as they made their way out the door.

"I’ll see you in the morning sweetheart," she said and with that, they were gone. With all of the excitement finally over, I found myself thinking of my own problems. Only the names had been changed. Instead of wondering just how Sam could have done what she did, I now found myself wondering how Darla had. I shook myself out of my bout of depression. I wasn’t going to stay home this evening and mope. For the first time in my life I was free of parental control.

I figured I had a few hours before Mom would call to check up on me. Still, it was closing in on eight o’clock and I decided that might not be the case. I rang her cell phone and told her I needed to get out of the house for awhile so if she called and I wasn’t there, not to worry. She told me I’d better be back by eleven or there’d be hell to pay. This was more than I could have hoped for and I readily agreed. She bade me goodbye and told me to have fun. For some reason it seemed that the weight of the world had been lifted from my shoulders. Knowing that Sam was probably home alone too, I decided to give her a call. No answer at the Peters’ household. I wasn’t going to let it get me down.

I checked my appearance in the mirror and decided that I looked just fine. With conscious effort I kept from smiling as I walked away. I hadn’t received my allowance from Mom and was forced to dig into my reserves. I removed ten dollars and stuffed the bills into my pants pocket. I almost wished I could carry my purse. Putting such thoughts aside, I made my way to the boardwalk. The bright lights and carnival atmosphere did what the shower couldn’t: My spirit began to soar. I walked around for awhile unconsciously looking for Sam. I started to feel a bit down when I didn’t find her. Why I had thought she might be there, I’d never know. I just did. Finally, I made my way to the arcade. A few games of non-competitive ski ball were in order. Just me against the machine. I was in the middle of my third game when a voice came from behind.

"I thought I might find you here."

I hoped it was Sam’s voice, but I knew that it wasn’t before turning around. When I did, Sally greeted me warmly. "You didn’t say goodbye this morning," she admonished. I stood there in stunned silence. "Go on and finish your game and let’s take a walk." Curious as to what she had to say, I did as requested. All thoughts of a winning game had long deserted me. In fact, I rolled the last two balls simultaneously garnering a smile from Sally.

Having finished, I turned to her and said, "What’s up?" She looked at me and smiled.

"Come on," was all she said. She took my hand and led me out of the arcade. It seemed I was the perfect person to hold hands with, I thought to myself sadly.

She led me to the beach ramp. I tried to steer her in another direction. "Come on silly!" she exclaimed. I removed my sneakers and we made our way to ocean’s edge. "You know, you look a lot better in a skirt," she said and giggled. I wasn’t so sure about that and was just glad to be wearing pants. "What happened this morning? You left without even saying goodbye. I asked Darla where you’d gone and she totally ignored me." Could I tell her? Should I tell her? Before I could utter a word she said, "you caught them, didn’t you?" I began crying. "I warned you about Darla." I looked at her not knowing what she was talking about. "Don’t you remember last week at the dance? I told you that you were an experiment for her."

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. "I’m sure Darla never meant to hurt you. I know for a fact that she likes you, hell maybe even loves you, very much." I took no comfort from her words. "But Darla and Sarah have been together for a long, long time," she said as if that made everything all right. "You know Joan, when you were asleep this morning and you woke up in my embrace, you thought it was an accident. I knew exactly what I was doing," she informed me. Not again, my mind screamed at me. I was on total overload. Sobbing and shaking, I made my way just beyond ocean’s grasp. I sat down on the wet sand. Why did these things keep happening to me? I could see myself falling for Sally and then having her tell me that it was all a mistake. I knew if she ever told me she loved me that I’d curl up and die.

"I can’t handle all of this," I said at last. She sat next to me and made no move to comfort me. I was grateful for her distance.

"It’s going to be all right Joan," she said with some certainty. I wished that I could believe her. "After you left, Darla canceled our trip to the boardwalk much to Janice’s and Jennifer’s dismay. Sarah seemed pleased however, thinking she’d have Darla all to herself. That never happened though. Everyone was gone by one o’clock." I almost felt guilty for having ruined Jennifer’s and Janice’s afternoon.

"Thanks for telling me all this Sally," I whispered to her. I wasn’t sure if I felt better or not. Hell, truth be told, I wasn’t sure about anything anymore.

We sat there silently staring into the abyss. "Did you enjoy the sunrise with
Darla this morning?" How did she know, I wondered?

"It was glorious," I admitted and smiled at her. With that she entwined both of her arms around my own.

"Would you share such an experience with me?" she asked seriously. I began to think I’d soon have a reputation as "Don Joan." "I’m sorry Joan," she said. "I had no right to ask that of you. " She began weeping softly.

"Oh Sally, I’m sorry," I offered. "I had no idea…" as my voice trailed off. What was going on here? Tune in next time for another episode of "my twisted life" I thought as a cynical laugh escaped me. Sally mistook my laugh for something else.

"You’re making fun of me!" she insisted.

"No Sally! That’s not it at all,." I told her. "I was laughing at my own sorry state of affairs." She didn’t seem placated by my explanation. I put my arms around her and pulled her close in an attempt to offer her solace. She grinned up at me as if I’d intended something else. She kissed me.

Though I had very limited experience, her kiss was like no other’s. I felt her honesty and desire shining through. Lost in the moment, I kissed her back and kissed her hard. "Oh Joan!" she exclaimed. Her use of the feminine form of my name excited me all the more. Here was a person that accepted me, warts and all. We continued kissing for the longest time. I was more confused when it ended than I’d been before we began. She smiled at me sweetly when all was said and done. She was in no hurry to let me go. Finally she seemed all right and I told her it was time to head back to the boardwalk. She offered no resistance as I helped her to her feet. I wasn’t sure, but worried that she had stars in her eyes. I caught myself before sighing aloud.

We made our way back to the boardwalk. The evening was in full swing. The number of visitors to our humble town had increased dramatically. Sally held my hand and smiled triumphantly. I wished that I’d shared her joy. My psyche was torn in so many different directions. I thought in the end that I’d wind up with Sarah. I laughed so hard at the absurdity of my thoughts that we had to stop.

"What’s so funny Joan?" she asked me. I gave her the edited version of my thoughts and she began laughing too. Back on the boardwalk, a pretty girl by my side, we began walking. I dragged her over to a wheel of chance. She looked at me questioningly, knowing that the games were for the tourists. First spin and I’d won. Yes, number "two" was apparently my lucky number.

I offered Sally the choice of the stand. A conglomeration of choices awaited her. Imagine my surprise when she selected a "teddy bear." It seemed Teddy and Jola were destined to be triplets. "Thank you John!" she exclaimed and hugged me tightly. "I’ll treasure this always," she said knowingly. Feelings of pride surged through me. It had been just a "bit of luck" after all. I began to wonder cynically if she’d reject my offering before we arrived at her front door.

Reasonably familiar with the routine at this point, I asked her, "what are you going to name him?"

She stared thoughtfully at the toy for a few moments before responding, "Jolly, of course!" I found myself laughing at her creativity. The "jo" from my own name and the "lly" from hers. I was indeed feeling "jolly" at the moment.

"Sally, we’d better get you home." She nodded appreciatively and asked me if I’d walk her. "There’s no need to ask Miss," I responded as gallantly as I could. We held hands as we made our way to her abode.

"John?" she asked me. "You did have a good time at the party, didn’t you?"

"Aside from how it all ended, it was the best time of my life. Well, except for getting knocked on my ass too," I laughed. She gazed into my two black eyes and smiled.

"You really ought to give Aunt Viv a call and thank her. She was very upset with the way you left. Darla told her that you had lost track of time and had to get home. I almost believed her myself till I saw the sly smile on Sarah’s face."

"Sally, I can’t call the Raspberry residence. I could however send her a thank you note, and I will." I wouldn’t know what to say to Darla. It seemed every time a girl told me she loved me I was doomed.

"Sally, you have to promise me one thing." She looked at me expectantly. "You have to promise to never tell me you love me." She began laughing and I found myself joining in. It was a long walk to Sally’s house and I’d have an even longer walk home when I was done. "What possessed you to head to the boardwalk this evening?" I asked her.

"Seriously?" she said in a questioning tone. "I hoped you might be there."

"But why, how?" I needed some answers.

"Darla told me of your trip to the arcade and how you really seemed to come alive when you played ski ball. I know it sounds ridiculous, but I had a hunch that you would be there. I am your friend John, I hope you know that?"

"Yes, I do, and I will always be your friend Sally," I said solemnly. She smiled at that and hugged "Jolly" tight to her chest.

We arrived at her home and she thanked me for literally saving her day. "I’d ask you in, but it’s getting kind of late," she said.

"It’s all right," I replied. "I have to get going myself. In fact if I’m not home in forty-five minutes I’m going to turn into a pumpkin, or something like that." She laughed along with me. We hugged and shared one last kiss before I was on my way. I waited until she went in the front door and began my long trek home. It was a beautiful summer’s night, but summer had yet to officially arrive. I now had two people to straighten things out with. I sighed and continued walking. The phone was ringing as I made my way in the front door.

"John, are you there?" Mom asked before I could say anything.

Slightly out of breath I wheezed into the mouthpiece, "Yes Mom, I’m home."

"I was really starting to get worried," she informed me.

"I’m sorry Mom, is it eleven o’clock already?" She laughed and admitted that no it wasn’t, but she hadn’t expected that I’d be out so late.

"Are you having a good time Mom?" I just had to ask.

"I’m having a wonderful time darling," she said in her most convincing voice.

"Good!" I replied. "I think it’s time I hit the hay," I told her. We exchanged goodnights and I told her I’d see her in the morning.

I hung up the phone and let Shandy, who’d been whining at the back door, outside to relieve herself. I waited about five minutes, she came in and I made my way upstairs. I picked my party clothes up from the floor and put them in the hamper. I removed the breast forms from my purse and put them back on their mounts. I stood staring into the bathroom mirror absentmindedly twisting my earrings. Were things ever going to get back to normal, I wondered aloud. I lay in bed and remembered my promise to contact Sam before the weekend was over. No more phone calls, tomorrow I’d be knocking on Sam’s front door. I was somewhat saddened that Sam hadn’t contacted me to ask if I was ok. And Darla, what of Darla? One minute she tells me she loves me and the next she’s locked in embrace with her former lover. It was all a bit overwhelming. I turned out my light and gently drifted off to sleep.


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