The mall was crowded with students, all eager to take advantage of the
sunshine and the soft spring breeze that blew gently off the river.
Every bench was occupied, and even the wide concrete borders which
fringed the flowerbeds were jammed with chattering teenagers, their
spirits lifted by the final departure of winter and the sight of
thousands of daffodils which heralded the approaching season.
The clock on Old Main indicated eleven-thirty, and Suzanne glanced up
impatiently as she pushed her way through the throng. Yvonne had said
eleven-fifteen. Where was she? Nervously, Suzanne turned and bumped
into a tall, blond young man, who grinned at her impudently. "What's
the hurry?" he said in a lazy drawl, his eyes quickly scanning her
"Sorry," she muttered, stepping back, then going on again. Her ears
burned as she heard a soft whistle of appreciation before he became
lost in the crowd. She smiled to herself; he had been rather nice-
looking. But not as handsome as Sam. No one was as handsome as Sam. Oh,
why couldn't she have gone with him to Europe? Almost subliminally she
heard her mother's voice: "Go to Europe with that young man? Suzanne,
you must be out of your mind. What would the neighbors say? Of course,
if you got married first ..."
Married. who would want to get married at nineteen? Maybe some kids
did, but then usually because they had to. And Suzanne had decided when
she was fifteen that she was going to wait, at least until she was out
of college. Of course, after meeting Sam, she had been sorely tempted.
Sam was a very persistent suitor; it had taken all her will power not
to give in to him, not only to his proposal, but his propositions as
She felt a tingling in her loins at the memory of his strong face above
hers, his hands gently caressing her body, and the suggestive bulge in
his pants. That bulge. Oh, how many times hadn't she wanted to reach
out and feel it, the way his fingers would feel her breasts. But every
time, her mother's voice rang in her ears, and her mounting desires
would suddenly turn to guilt and self-recrimination, and Sam would
again go home, frustrated and disappointed. No wonder he went to
Europe; he was probably sleeping with every available girl he met. At
least that's what Yvonne had said to her. Yvonne ... where was she?
Suzanne glanced up at the clock again. Eleven-forty. She hated people
who weren't punctual, and Yvonne should know better.
"Here you are, darling!"
The throaty greeting penetrated above the noisy clamor, and Suzanne
turned with a smile of relief.
"Yvonne, where've you been?"
The angular face beamed at her. "Right here. Since eleven-fifteen. I
guess I was too busy checking over the new talent. Christ, I think
these kids get sexier each semester."
Yvonne's overly large and overly made-up eyes followed two young men as
they walked past. She gave a soft whistle.
"Did you see the basket on that one?"
Suzanne grabbed her arm, and began guiding her through the crowd
towards Woodward Avenue.
"Yvonne, you're too much. Can't you think of anything else?"
Yvonne laughed, a thunderous bellow that had once been likened to the
blast of the tug-boats on the river.
"Anything else, darling? Oh, come off it, my little vestal virgin. Once
you spread your legs for a man, you'll find there's not much else worth
Suzanne bit her lip and remained silent. Although she was rather proud
of her virginity, she had to admit the many moments when she had almost
given it away to Sam. Oh, Sam, where the hell are you right now?
"Believe me, Suzanne, I hope you do get laid pretty soon. It's good for
the digestion, among other things. Where do you want to eat? Verne's?"
They turned down the sidewalk and walked past the Maccabees Building.
Suzanne kept silent, with her friend's words echoing in her brain.
Maybe she would get laid after all. No, no, no. The little voice rose
again, as it always did; save it for Sam. He's the only one. He loves
you. And you love him. Let his shaft be the first one to break through
into your pulsating cavern. Oh, Sam ... Sam ...
She blinked her eyes as they left the sunlit sidewalk and entered the
darkened interior of the bar. Yvonne led the way over to a corner table
and collapsed into a chair. Suzanne seated herself opposite and smiled.
"Good to see you," she said sincerely, looking across the table at her
friend, thinking again that she was indeed fortunate to have an older
woman to guide her through the first hectic weeks of classes at Wayne.
Not that she was helpless; but after graduating from a high school
class of only sixty-two, she felt more than overpowered by the size of
the student body. She remembered hearing that the total enrollment at
Wayne State was over twenty-five thousand. No more personal touches
from the teacher; she would be merely a small insignificant cog in the
"What are you having?"
The slender, pale-faced girl had approached the table, pencil and pad
poised. Yvonne looked up and blew smoke in her face, unintentionally.
"I'm having a hamburger, dear," she said. "Okay for you, Suzanne?"
Suzanne nodded. "Yes, please. And a large Coke."
"I'll take a vodka and seven," said Yvonne, "I need a little something
this morning. Last night just about wore me out."
She gripped her cigarette firmly, and Suzanne noticed the fine lines
around her lips, matching those at the corners of her eyes. Suzanne had
never asked Yvonne her age, but she suspected it was around thirty.
Yvonne had been going to Wayne for over six years. She jokingly
referred to herself as a professional student.
"So, you excited?"
"Of course I am. I've been looking forward to this for years. Of
course, mother isn't very happy about my getting the apartment."
Yvonne's throaty laugh echoed through the bar. "Of course she wouldn't
be. She's afraid you're going to start dragging in every male on
campus. But then ..." Yvonne's eyes twinkled. "I guess there's not much
chance of that as long as you're carrying that torch for Sam, huh?"
Suzanne nodded. "Not a chance."
"Well, you can always come up and spend those lonely evenings with me
"Thanks, but I plan to do a lot of studying. I'm also going to start a
little project of my own, investigating the poor families in the
neighborhood. That's one of the reasons I'm moving into your building.
It's close enough to that section up on West Forest. I want to really
find out how those people live and what their problems are."
Yvonne sniffed. "Just watch yourself. You might be able to walk down
the streets in Grosse Pointe at night without getting raped, but not in
this neighborhood. So just be careful."
"And ..." Yvonne giggled. "If you do get in a situation that looks like
trouble, remember to go for the groin. A swift kick in the balls will
stop just about anyone."
"I'll remember," Suzanne said, flushing slightly. She leaned back as
the waitress brought their drinks. Yvonne lifted her glass.
"Well, here's to it," she said, "And may he be hot, horny and handsome,
whoever he is."
"Yvonne, you're too much," said Suzanne.
"Never," was the blunt reply, "And take it from me, my girl, once
you've had a good hard cock up your innocent little pussy, you'll know
what life's all about."
"Yvonne, don't talk like that," said Suzanne, her face turning scarlet.
"It's not nice."
"You sound like your mother," said Yvonne cynically. "No wonder you're
an only child. She probably let your old man in once, and that was
that. Don't you make the same mistake. There's nothing like a good fuck
to keep a girl in shape."
The waitress returned with their food, and Suzanne breathed a sigh of
relief. She liked Yvonne very much, but her incessant preoccupation
with sex made Suzanne feel uncomfortable. She knew what Yvonne said was
probably true, but that was one area of truth she hadn't yet learned to
face without embarrassment. Her mind fled back to the last night she
had spent with Sam before he flew to Europe. They had attended a dance
at the Detroit Yacht Club, and afterwards Sam drove to a secluded spot
on Belle Isle, and they sat watching the lights of the ships on the
river and the distant skyline of Windsor, and Suzanne had wanted to cry
her eyes out at the thought of being without Sam for three months. He
had put his arms around her, and their kisses were deep and prolonged.
She felt her loins stirring with desire, and Sam's fingers caressing
her breasts did nothing to ease her mounting passions.
Finally, Sam had taken her hand and gently placed it over his crotch.
Before she jerked it away, she was conscious of the hard, throbbing
bulge there. "Please, please," he had begged her, but she had turned
away, her face hot with anger, not at him, but with herself and her
inability to do what she really wanted to; but deep in her mind, her
mother's voice still rang out commandingly. "I'm going to be gone some
time," Sam said, "Give me something to remember." She shook her head
and looked away. She was conscious of Sam moving, and she heard the
rustle of fabric. When she had turned back, she saw in the dim light,
the white outline of his cock protruding from his fly. His hand was
around it, and he was gently massaging it, up and down.
"Sam!" Her voice was tinged with terror.
"Relax," he had said, "It won't bite you." And he had taken her hand
again, and this time her fingers felt the naked flesh of his penis,
firm and thick and long.
Almost with one movement, she pulled away, opened the car door and
stumbled across the grass, her dress tearing on the branch of a tree.
She came to a stop at the edge of the beach, and stood there, staring
out across the river, her mind whirling, her breasts heaving, and
within her loins the incredibly sensation of sexual stimulation like
she had never known before. She wanted to go back, to feel his shaft,
to close her lips around it, to feel it slide into her. She wanted it,
oh, how she wanted it; but she stood there, alone, tears streaming down
After a while, she heard a soft footstep, and turned to see Sam
standing behind her. "I'm sorry," he said, touching her arm, "but I had
to do something about it. I couldn't stand it any longer." Something
told her, without her asking him, what he had done. And within her
heart, she didn't blame him. She sometimes masturbated herself at home.
"Come, I'll take you home," he had said, and without a word, she let
herself be guided back to the car. They kissed goodnight, and the next
day Sam left for Europe.
Oh, how she wished she had given in to his desires that night. If only
she didn't feel the way she did about sex. If only she could be like
her other girlfriends who admitted freely that they slept with boys.
She wanted to; God knows she wanted to. But she had yet to chase the
overwhelming specter of guilt and retribution from her mind, the
feeling that if she did she would be guilty of the greatest
transgression. "It's sinful the way some young people carry on," her
mother had said so many times. "I'm glad Suzanne is a good girl." If
she was such a good girl, why did it make her feel so bad?
* * *
Suzanne followed Yvonne up the steps to the blackened, time-worn
apartment house on Hancock Street. Just a few blocks from the campus,
the building would be most convenient, not only for school, but for her
intended research into the slum area to the west, peopled by white and
black families who formed a major portion of Detroit's economically
Yvonne pushed open the door, and the smell of stale cooking odors
greeted their nostrils. A slovenly looking woman was mopping the tiled
lobby. She looked up and grinned.
"Hi, Yvonne," she said, and then her beady eyes fastened on Suzanne.
"This must be your friend, Suzanne?"
Yvonne introduced her as Mrs. Sansome, and Suzanne shook hands,
conscious of the dampness of the fingers that enclosed her own. She
wanted to reach into her purse for a Kleenex to wipe the stickiness,
but she decided to wait.
"You'll be renting 8B," Mrs. Sansome continued. "It's on the third
floor, just above Yvonne and Carole. It's a nice place, and it has a
nice view from the balcony." She gave a loud cackle, and Yvonne sniffed
"View?" she snapped. "You call Hancock a view?"
"S'better than looking into the alley," retorted Mrs. Sansome with some
spirit. "Come, Suzanne. I'll show you."
They climbed the stairs, their footsteps echoing hollowly through the
building. Mrs. Sansome was breathing heavily by the time they reached
the third floor. Her stooped shoulders shrieked of years of drudgery
and her emaciated frame looked like it could blow away. Suzanne made a
mental note to talk to her landlady about her background; obviously she
was one of many poorer persons who supplemented their income by taking
care of apartments. Yes, that would be another aspect of her studies:
the exploitation of the poor by rich real estate tycoons. Detroit was
notorious for slum landlords, and while this building wasn't exactly a
slum, it had obviously not been well cared for over the years.
"Well, here it is," said Mrs. Sansome. "It ain't elegant but it's
They walked into the living room, sparsely furnished with a well-worn
couch and chairs, a small desk and two lamps. Through a hallway Suzanne
glimpsed the kitchen and bathroom, and off one end of the living room
was a small alcove with a double bed.
"Same as ours," said Yvonne. "Only cleaner, maybe."
"Sure," snapped Mrs. Sansome. "Yours was clean when you moved in."
Yvonne snorted. "That was five years ago," she said. "It hasn't even
been painted since then."
"No, and I wonder if it's ever been cleaned," retorted Mrs. Sansome.
Yvonne raised her eyebrows and glared. "Another crack like that and
I'll report you to the Board of Health," she said icily. She turned to
Suzanne. "Don't mind us, dear. Mrs. Sansome and I have been friendly
enemies for years. She's just jealous because I have more boyfriends
staying overnight than she does."
Suzanne walked into the kitchen and looked around. The room was small,
and the stove very old, but there was an air of warmth about it that
appealed to her. She thought for a second of her father's beautiful
home in Grosse Pointe, with the lavish display of built-in appliances,
formica counter tops, hand-rubbed cabinets and a brand-new dishwasher
and trash disposal. But that was his home. This apartment was going to
be hers; at least for a while. She turned to Mrs. Sansome with a smile.
"It looks fine," she said. "I'll start moving in right away. I have
some things in my car outside."
Yvonne moved to the door. "See you later, darling. I have to get ready.
I have a date. 'Bye now."
Mrs. Sansome grinned, and turned back to Suzanne. "She's a card," she
said in a raspy voice, "but I like her. Oh, the rent's payable in
advance. Eighty-five a month."
Suzanne fumbled in her purse and took out her checkbook, wrote a check
quickly and handed it over.
Mrs. Sansome handed over two keys, and walked downstairs with Suzanne.
In the lobby she paused and smiled. "You known Yvonne a long time?" she
Suzanne nodded. "About a year," she replied. "We met socially. Why?"
The old woman shrugged. "Nothing. You just seem a nicer type of girl
than she is, that's all. Nothing against her, of course, you
understand. But I can tell you come from a nice family."
Suzanne smiled. "Thank you. But I think Yvonne's pretty nice, too, even
if she is a little rough at times."
Mrs. Sansome nodded. "Most dykes are," she said. "But then it takes all
types. See you, Suzanne."
She waddled off down the hall, her body swaying beneath the weight of
the bucket and mop she carried. Suzanne stared after her, frowning.
Dykes. What did she mean by that? She'd never heard that word before.
Maybe it referred to the section of town where Yvonne had been born.
Like Hamtramack, where the Poles lived.
Brushing the thought from her mind, Suzanne walked out of the building
and down the steps to her MG parked at the sidewalk. She unlocked the
trunk and began unloading the boxes of things she had brought over. She
was busily stacking them on the sidewalk when she heard a voice.
"Hi. You moving into the neighborhood?"
She turned to see a young man standing behind her. He looked very
young, possibly not more than sixteen, she imagined, with a shock of
blond curly hair and an engaging smile on his face. He was dressed in
blue jeans and a torn T-shirt, and had no shoes.
"Yes, I am," she replied.
"Here, let me help."
He came forward, and started lifting one of the boxes. Suzanne
hesitated, then smiled.
"Thank you, that's very kind. But it's a long haul. I'm on the third
"That's okay," said the young man. "I'm used to stairs. We live on the
"In this building?"
He laughed. "Oh, no, nothing as nice as this. We're way up on Forest,
the other side of Third. Hey, what's your name? Mine's Donald."
"I'm Suzanne," she replied.
In silence they climbed up to the apartment and deposited their loads
on the floor of the living room. Donald stared around, then stood back,
looking at Suzanne with appreciative eyes.
"This sure is nice," he said enviously. "I wish we had a nice place
"You live with your folks?" asked Suzanne.
"Uh-huh. My mother and my older brother Ted. Say, I clean apartments
real cheap. You want me to help you up here?"
Suzanne laughed. "Well, let me think about it, okay? Maybe when I get
settled I'll have some chores you can help with. What do you charge?"
He laughed. "Oh, not much. Maybe a dollar or so. I also run errands,
like to the store. I only charge fifty cents to go to the store."
"Oh." Suzanne realized she would be needing some milk, coffee and
sugar. "Donald, how about picking up some things for me now while I
"Okay. I won't charge you this time. Sort of a bonus for a new
They both laughed, and Suzanne stared at him. He was really such an
appealing boy, with a fresh, innocent quality to his face. And he
seemed courteous and respectful, with no hint of the roughness that she
imagined would characterize a boy growing up in this neighborhood.
She made out a list, gave him a five-dollar bill, and he ran down the
stairs, whistling. Suzanne walked to the balcony of her apartment and
stared down at his figure, running quickly up Hancock Street and
disappearing from view. She turned back inside, humming to herself.
Only a half-hour in her new home, and already she'd met someone from
the neighborhood, someone that she knew would provide valuable research
for her social studies. Yes, she would certainly have to become better
acquainted with Donald and his family. They could be her first case
With a sigh, she flopped into a chair and surveyed her new apartment.
She felt she was going to be very happy here. For the first time in her
life, she would have a place that was entirely her own. For a split
second, she wished Sam were there with her, and the sign on the door
read "Mr. and Mrs." instead of merely "Suzanne Delacorte." She made a
mental note to write to Sam that evening and tell him of her move.