I stumbled into the kitchen around 10:30 Saturday morning. My eyes showed my exhaustion and what my eyes didn’t show, my yawns did. I had just grabbed an apple for my breakfast when Carole plopped herself in my lap. “Why are you so tired, J.J?”
“I was up late celebrating.”
“Oh,” Mom asked as she walked into the kitchen. “What were you celebrating?”
“Yeah, J.J., what were you celebrating?”
I leaned down to hug and kiss my little sister. “I was celebrating you getting a new sister.”
Mom laughed, but Carole asked, “Is Mom having another baby? “ Then I laughed as Mom choked, nearly spilling her coffee all over her shirt.
“No, this time you’re getting an adult sister.”
“I guess you asked her, then.”
“Yes, Mom and she said yes…obviously.”
Mom came over to hug and kiss me, but Carole was still confused until I picked her up to hug her. “I asked Barbara to marry me last night. When she does she’ll be your sister-in-law.” I turned to Mom and explained how Barbara had almost fallen apart last night at the thought that we might break up when we graduated. “I couldn’t sit there and watch her cry, Mom, especially when I already knew that I was going to ask her in another couple of weeks.”
“Well, I’m not going to ask how you celebrated. Just make sure you’re careful.” I shook my head. There was no fooling my mother…dad either. I picked up the phone to dial the Gleason’s number. Mrs. Gleason answered and I spent fifteen minutes listening to her tell me how thrilled she was for both of us. I knew then that I’d sit through at least thirty minutes of the same when I picked Barbara up in half an hour.
I listened politely as the Gleason’s extolled about what we should do with our wedding. I thought that was funny because all four of us knew that they didn’t have any money to spend on it. This wedding was going to be on me. I felt blessed that I could afford the best for Barbara. She deserved it. I stood after being polite for forty-five minutes on the dot, explaining that we had a reservation for lunch and we had to meet with my family, too. They hugged and kissed us and I led Barbara down the stairs.
“Do we really have a reservation for lunch, Jack?”
“Well….” Barbara grabbed my arm and hugged me as we stepped onto the sidewalk. A few minutes later we pulled into the diner’s parking lot. It was where we had our first real social interaction—not quite a date, but almost. We sat in the same booth, but this time around we ordered club sandwiches, mine with extra mayo, and Cokes. Unlike our first and even our subsequent visits, we sat together—very closely together—so we could touch and hold each other while we waited for our food.
I knew that Barbara was impatient to make love again. To tell the truth, I was impatient, too, but we still had to spend time with my family. She knew and she understood, but, like me, she wasn’t all that happy about it. None the less, we had our smiles in place when I opened the door around 2:00.
My parents were extremely pleased. I knew they loved Barbara and approved of our union. No—not that union; the marriage…the marriage!
There were hugs and kisses all around, but none like those from eight year-old Carole whose hug of Barbara might have killed her had I not intervened. We sat around the living room talking about when the wedding would take place. We already knew the where—St. Catharine’s. We talked about what Barbara would do in regard to her college and where we might try to find housing. That would be my priority when we went to Cambridge next week.
We stayed until four and left after Mom had invited Mr. and Mrs. Gleason to go out to dinner with our family tomorrow. “I think we’ll go to Manero’s. What do you think, Jack?”
“I think that’s great and seeing that it will be Sunday night we can probably have some of their garlic bread, too.”
“I don’t think I’ve ever heard of that restaurant,” Barbara told us.
“Not surprising,” I answered. “Manero’s is up in Greenwich…in Connecticut. We had an aunt and uncle—Dad’s sister-- who lived there a few years ago so we used to go there occasionally when we visited. It’s a steak house and a good one, but as much as it’s known for its steak that’s how much it’s known for its garlic bread. You’ll need to try some if only for self defense.”
“I don’t think you’ll want to kiss J.J., Barbara.”
“Want to bet, Carole? What did I tell you? I kiss your brother whenever I can.” And then she demonstrated as Carole giggled and my parents just laughed. We waved good-bye as I turned around in the driveway.
Barbara was once again snuggled up really close. “I really love your family Jack. The Gleason’s are great people, but I’ve missed out on having brothers and sisters. I’m glad we’re going to have a family.”
“I’m glad we’re going to do all that practicing,” I kidded. She gave me a little elbow to the ribs, but whispered that she agreed. I drove into the motel’s parking lot and a minute later we were alone in the room. It had been made up and cleaned. The bed was turned down and a small bouquet of flowers had been placed on the dresser with a note that said, “Congratulations.” We were both surprised, but pleased.
Barbara once again moved into my arms. “I’m glad it’s early, Jack. We can spend a lot of time kissing and touching while I figure out what I want to do with you. I would have laughed except I knew that Barbara was dead serious. We stood kissing tenderly as we slowly removed each other’s clothes. Once we were naked we moved to the bed. Barbara pushed me onto my back so she could climb onto my torso. I wasn’t huge physically, but thanks to the changes in my brain I had been able to sculpt my body to maximize my strength. As such, I had very little body fat—just enough to promote optimal bodily functions. My legs were long with muscular definition from my crotch to my toes.
Barbara was about to kiss me again, but stopped and turned to look at my feet. She grabbed one foot and brought it up to lie across my other thigh. Then she did something that made me laugh. She held her tiny foot up to mine so our heels touched. My foot dwarfed hers. Turning to face me she said, “I never noticed how big your feet are. What size foot do you have?”
“Fourteen double-E,” I responded. “I need large muscular feet in order to jump so high and to be able to maintain my balance while moving quickly.”
“You have big feet. I wonder if there’s a correlation between the size of your feet and the size of your penis. Could you have made it bigger, too?”
“Yes, I could have made it twelve inches if I wanted, but why? You learned yesterday to rub your clitoris against my abdomen. You wouldn’t be able to do that if my penis…my cock…was that long. That wouldn’t be any good for you. It’s seven and a half inches long and thick enough to get the job done. That’s all that matters.”
“It sure is. I love the way it feels inside me, especially at the beginning when my pussy has to stretch to fit you. I had some doubts initially that you’d be able to get it into me. I should have known better, but I was a virgin. I just didn’t know.”
“I do know one thing—if I don’t get into you soon my cock is going to explode. Maybe we can do it three times tonight—once now, once after dinner, and then later, like eleven or twelve. What do you think?”
“I think I need to get that condom on you.” She reached over my body, tore the packet open, and unrolled the latex sheath—all in a space of only five seconds. Then she positioned herself over me and dropped, impaling herself just a second later. “You know,” she commented as she began to move, “this gives an entirely new meaning to words like impale, spear, pierce, stab, and skewer. I feel like I’ve been skewered on you, but it’s a wonderful feeling…absolutely wonderful. I love it almost as much as I love you.” She leaned forward then to kiss me—a kiss that seemed to go on forever. Then she broke it and got down to serious business, fucking me with incredible determination and strength.
She humped me furiously for more than five minutes before I began to feel tiny tremors running through her body. Those tiny tremors grew bigger and stronger with every thrust until they took over complete control of her body. She thrashed around wildly, moving from one side of the double bed to the other in just seconds. I would have cum earlier had I not been so wiped out, but I did cum eventually even as her tight cunt continued to grip me through her orgasm. She had collapsed onto my chest before my erupting cock ran out of semen.
We lay there together, my arms wrapped around her semi-conscious body, for some time before she began to stir. “Oh, Jack—I can’t wait until we are married so we can do that every day.—every single day. Are there other ways to do it? I want to try them all.”
“Well, there’s doggie—so named because it’s how dogs and all animals have sexual relations—strictly forbidden by the Church as is every position other than missionary which is how we did it the first time. There are others, too. Ever hear of the “Kama Sutra?” She shook her head to tell me “no” so I told her all about India’s imaginative sexual practices.
“How did you learn all about this?”
“Where did I spend most of my time? The public library of course; it is truly amazing what you can learn there. I even read the entire Kinsey Report there one Saturday when I was in eighth grade. Truthfully, some of those positions aren’t very appealing, but we can try as many as you want. We can buy the book after we’re married if you like.” She did like and we made love two more times that evening—doggie the first, which she loved when I reached under her body to caress her breasts, and lying on our sides with her in front of me with her top leg reaching back over my body. It was a slow and gentle mating after our frenzied sex earlier, but she loved it anyway. We finished the night by showering together before taking her home around 1:30.
I was up early to take her to Mass then we went to my house to relax with my family. Mr. and Mrs. Gleason came around three to meet my family and we left at five for the restaurant, roughly forty-five minutes away in Connecticut.
Dinner was great and—yes—we had plenty of garlic bread, but that did nothing to stop Barbara from kissing me. I sent her home early in my Olds—school tomorrow.
Barbara had decided not to make a big deal of her engagement. Her few close friends knew that she had a steady boyfriend--even knew who he was--but she thought a big announcement would be like bragging, something she usually despised. She went to her locker to put her jacket and purse away then selected her books for the morning and walked off to class.
She didn’t quite make it. One of her fellow students noticed the ring and practically screamed. A large crowd gathered around Barbara wanting to know the details. Unfortunately, this happened in front of Sister Mary Patrick, probably the meanest man-hating nun in the school. “What is going on here.” she practically screamed, totally overreacting to the situation.
“Barbara got engaged over the weekend,” one of the girls squealed.
“That’s absurd! Get into class now and get seated. We don’t have time for silly things like that.” The girls moved into the classroom, but when Barbara tried to pass Sister reached out to grab her wrist. She pulled and twisted Barbara to her and as she did she grasped the ring with her other hand, pulling it off of Barbara’s finger.
“This is no engagement ring. It isn’t even gold.”
“No, Sister—it’s platinum.”
“Nonsense. I’m keeping this in my top drawer with the rest of the cheap costume jewelry. Get to your seat. You’ve wasted enough of the class’s time already.” Barbara was near tears as she sat at her desk. She managed to get through the class and the next three, but returned to speak with Sister Mary Patrick before lunch.
“Sister, may I please have my ring back. I promise you that I won’t wear it to school again.”
“Sure—I know your type,” Sister Mary Patrick replied with a voice that dripped sarcasm. “You shake your filthy ass and flash your tits and all the boys go crazy.” She grabbed Barbara strongly by the elbow and pulled her into the classroom. “I remember girls like you from when I was in school. Girls flaunting themselves at boys, acting like tramps and floozies.”
“Shut your mouth, slut!” By now she had pulled Barbara in toward the closet and reached inside. A second later her hand reappeared and Barbara felt the first horrible sting. She looked at the nun in disbelief as she whipped the astonished student repeatedly. “You’re a slut! A whore! A slag! A slattern! You’re no better than a woman who sells herself on the street. I know what you’re thinking.” And using her most mocking voice she continued, “I’m going to tell. I’ll tell the principal…Sister Mary Theresa.
“Well…go ahead, whore—I’ve been beating sluts like you for almost twenty years and I’m still here. She knows and she’s done nothing about it. She’ll do nothing about it now either.” She began whipping Barbara’s back anew, but this time Barbara was able to push the older and much heavier nun away.
She ran to the door, crying and bleeding. “You don’t know my fiancée. He’ll eat you alive…Sister Mary Theresa, too.” Then she bolted out the door and down the hall. Stopping only for a moment at her locker she grabbed her purse, left the locker open, and ran to the parking lot. Less than a minute later she was off school grounds, driving as carefully as she could through the veil of tears that poured from her eyes.
Where to go—that was the question. Mrs. Gleason would support the nun even though Barbara had done nothing wrong. She drove instead to Jack’s home, praying his mother would be there.
I had just opened my poetry book to Poe’s classic, “The Raven,” when the public address system blared. “Mrs. Wohl, please send Jack French to the office immediately. His mom is on the phone and there’s some problem at home.” I didn’t have to be told twice. I was out of my seat, leaving my books behind, knowing that one or more of my friends would take care of them for me. I went down the stairs two at a time and less than ten seconds later I stormed into the office. Mrs. Cecil told me to come behind the counter to take the phone. “It’s your mother, Jack.’
“Mom, what the problem?”
“Jack, Barbara’s here. She’s crying and incoherent. Something terrible must have happened at her school. You need to come home. She really needs you, Jack.”
I rung off and dashed out the door, running to the parking lot about a hundred yards away. I was in the Jeep and driving away in less than a minute. That’s when I took a deep breath and reminded myself that I would be doing nobody any favors if I crashed and killed myself. I slowed down, knowing that I’d still be home in ten minutes or less. There was no traffic so I was able to go a few miles above the speed limit. The closer to home I got the faster I drove, my tires squealing when I pulled into the driveway. I ran into the house where I found Mom and Barbara in the living room. She was still crying and shaking terribly. The first thing I noticed was that her engagement ring was missing. “Barbara, honey, what’s wrong,” I asked as I put my arms around her. I was shocked when she grimaced and gasped in obvious pain and my shock was even greater when I saw her blood on my hands. I stood and looked in amazement at her blood-soaked blouse.
Taking her hands into mine I then used my handkerchief to wipe the tears from her face. “Try to calm down, love. Tell me what happened. Mom, can you get her some water, please?”
Barbara took a couple of long drinks then told us in barely coherent sentences that were broken by gasps and heavy panting. “It was…Sister Mary Patrick. Some of the girls…they crowded around me to see my ring then she…she grabbed my hand and …she twisted it off my…off my finger. My wrist really hurts. I tried to talk…tried just before lunch to…to speak with her, but…but she called me names—whore and slut. She pulled me into…into her classroom and started to beat me. She…she told me she’s been doing…beating girls for…for twenty years.”
“What about the principal?”
“She told me, Jack…she told me the principal knows but hasn’t done anything.” I was livid. Luckily, they were ten miles away and Barbara needed medical help or I would have driven to that school and killed both of them. Instead, I unbuttoned Barbara’s blouse, gasping in shock when I saw the oozing welts on her back. Gently, I replaced the blouse and walked out to the kitchen to phone my lawyer.
Stanley Silverman had been my lawyer for years. He had been instrumental in forming my corporation. That’s right, I was incorporated—my investments were all owned by JJF, Inc. I knew he’d give me good advice. He was on the phone less than a minute after his wife Rebecca had greeted me. I settled my nerves and told him what had happened. “You know where Cross County Hospital is in Yonkers, don’t you?” He continued once I had agreed. “I’m on my way. I’ll have a friend from the Yonkers P.D. meet you in the ER. His name is Lt. Paul Flanagan.”
“You’re getting an Irish Catholic cop for a case against some Catholic nuns?”
“Don’t worry about that. Just take care of your fiancée. I’ll see you soon.” I hung up and helped Barbara to her feet as I explained to my mother what we were doing. I eased Barbara into the passenger seat of the Olds. It was much faster and more comfortable than the Jeep.
Cross County Hospital was just off the Cross County Parkway—thus the name--only about ten minutes from my home with but one traffic light on the trip. I stopped in emergency parking at the ER and helped Barbara in. “What’s the rush, buddy?” It was a security guard who asked.
“My fiancée has been whipped at her school. She needs attention.” I turned her around to show her bloodstained blouse. “Don’t bother calling the police; they’re already on the way.”
Barbara was shown to a screened off area where her blouse was removed while I gave what information I could at the registration desk. Rather typically, they were mostly interested in who was paying. I was there when a tall thin man in a grey suit walked in. “You Jack?”
“Yes, I’m Jack French.”
“Paul Flanagan; where’s your girlfriend? Stan gave me some preliminary info, but I’ll need to speak with her directly. I also have a photographer and a female officer on the way.” I finished the registration process by signing that I would be responsible for any fees then led the detective down the hall. I was sure that he’d seen everything in his years on the force.
Yonkers was a city of more than 70,000 people and there were murders and rapes that occurred almost every day. All the same, he did a double take when we walked in to see her.
Barbara was lying on her chest when Lt. Flanagan told the nurse to keep her blouse and bra for evidence. “Also, I want you to wait a few minutes until a photographer arrives.”
“We have a camera here for cases like this Lieutenant.” She returned with it a few minutes later and had taken three flash photos when the female officer and the police photographer rushed in. Once again several photos were taken. Barbara was asked to sit up, a towel over her breasts for modesty and privacy, so more could be taken from different angles. Then she was allowed to lie down for treatment. Lt. Flanagan asked her about the incident and Barbara, who was much calmer now, told exactly what had occurred from the theft of her ring through her beating.
I was watching Flanagan’s face as Barbara spoke and I was surprised at his reactions. I could see real anger in his eyes. I found out why later on, after Stanley Silverman walked into the area, attracted no doubt by hearing Flanagan’s strong voice. He sat by silently until Flanagan was finished. “How much did the ring cost, Jack?”
“I have the receipt right here in my wallet. I got it from Harry Winston for $2,750 when I bought Barbara’s Christmas presents. It’s insured for that amount.” I showed him the slip of paper. He asked if he could keep it. Then he asked what we wanted to do. I looked at Barbara and saw immediately that she trusted my judgment. “I want these people in prison. Besides that, Stan, I want to sue, especially if we can find out if it’s gone on for years. I realize that nuns have been known to use corporal punishment, but I’ve never heard of anything like this.”
“I have,” Lt. Flanagan stated. “Something similar happened to me when I was a kid, except then it was a priest. I never set foot in a Catholic church again.”
“I’m sorry.” It was the only thing I could think of to say. He spoke to and with Barbara until the doctor called an end to the interview. Lt. Flanagan, Mr. Silverman and I retreated to a small unused office we had been told was set aside just for situations like this. Lt. Flanagan sat at the desk expanding his notes while I asked Mr. Silverman a few questions. “Stan, what is the waiting period on a marriage license?”
“Normally seventy-two hours unless a person can get a waiver.”
“What about blood tests?”
“No, they went out after World War II.”
“How do I get a waiver?”
“I don’t want Barbara going back to that school. If I marry her can she attend school where I live? When I proposed I promised to love, cherish, and protect her. I’ll feel a lot better if she’s where I can help her.”
“Okay, I think I can help you on both fronts. When were you going to get the license?”
“Either this afternoon or tomorrow morning and I was hoping we could get married Thursday morning, why?”
“I’ll put together a writ for a judge I know very well waiving the 72-hour period in favor of 48-hours. At the same time I’ll ask the judge for an order requiring the school district to enroll Barbara.” He took out a small notebook and wrote Barbara’s full name and date of birth, adding my address. “The law says nothing about a married woman or man attending school so long as the residency requirement is met. That hasn’t stopped most school districts from barring married women, though. Schools do all kinds of illegal things until they’re challenged. If I can get a judicial order we’ll have the upper hand.”
“Okay, how about getting a short-term lease at an apartment or house?”
“I can probably help you there, too. You will probably have more success renting using your corporation than doing it yourself. I assume you’ll be taking her to Massachusetts with you?” I nodded and he agreed. “Then we should use the same approach when you go there. Let me know what you plan to do.”
“Fine…next issue; how do we go about suing the school and the archdiocese and how does Barbara press charges against the teacher and the principal?”
Stan was about to answer when Lt. Flanagan interrupted. “You might want to hold off for a bit on that. You ever hear of a Monsignor Moran?”
“You mean that pompous ass who’s the cardinal’s right-hand man? Yeah, I’ve met him. The first thing he ever told me was how he knew everything that happened in the archdiocese and that he was the real power. That was at a dinner last September about donations to refurbish the chapel at Dunwoodie. I made a sizable pledge.”
“Here’s what I’m thinking. Let’s assume that this nun was telling the truth. She’s been beating and whipping girls for the last twenty years. The principal would have to know about it and if she knows then Moran would have to know, too.”
“Damn! That’s conspiracy and that would mean we could make a good case for a class action suit.”
“That’s exactly right, Stan.”
“Mind telling me what you’re talking about?”
“It’s simple, Jack. If someone knows that a crime has been committed or either knows or suspects that a crime is going to be committed, but doesn’t report it to the police that’s called conspiracy. Conspiracy is a Class A felony. Striking a student with a whip or a cane—that’s a flexible stick like rattan or leather or bamboo—could be considered assault with a deadly weapon or, at least, aggravated assault. But, Paul, how do we get the evidence on Moran and the principal?”
“I’ll need a warrant, but with Barbara’s statement and the pictures I don’t think that will be a problem. I can’t send a sworn officer in to speak with them, but I could send Barbara.”
“Absolutely not! That’s never going to happen!”
“Or, I could send you, Jack. As her husband you’ll have a legal right to discuss her situation and to demand the ring back and action against the teacher. There’s another advantage to using you. You’re big and strong. You’re not likely to be intimidated. If you made a pledge with Moran you’ll already have a legitimate reason for speaking with him. You can wear a wire. We’ll have a team nearby taping the conversation. I’ll tell you what to say and how to steer the conversation. When we have the evidence you and Barbara will have to testify before the grand jury. Don’t worry about that. It’s done in secrecy with only the district attorney or his designee asking questions. I think I’d ask for you to go first. That way you can be in the room with her for support. She’ll need it, Jack—all you can give her.”
We spoke then about some of the details, like how many girls had likely been beaten. The teacher had said something about dozens. That would mean that others besides the principal and Monsignor Moran also knew. How many other sisters? How many lay teachers? It would be interesting once the lawsuit was filed. Knowing Stanley Silverman there would be a huge press conference on the courthouse steps. Stan was nothing if not a publicity hound, but he did listen carefully to what Lt. Flanagan said. He knew we would have a much stronger case if criminal charges were filed first—better still if there were convictions. Looking at my watch I saw that more than an hour had passed so I wandered back in to Barbara. She was asleep, lying on her stomach, when the nurse said she was okay to go home. She handed me three prescriptions and gently shook Barbara’s shoulder.
I saw that she was wearing only the hospital gown. While she was rousing herself I went downstairs to the shopping mall. This was the craziest situation I had ever seen—a hospital right in the middle of a major mall.
Once in Macy’s I spent only a few minutes selecting new clothes for Barbara. She dressed in minutes then I found the car and helped her in from the wheelchair to the front seat.
“Where are we going, Jack?”
I knew that we had to talk so I pulled over to the side of the road. “Barbara, we need to make a few adjustments in our timetable.” She began to cry, thinking that I was breaking the engagement in light of what had happened. Just the opposite was true. I gently stroked her cheek as I explained. “I’m so sorry, my love. I didn’t say that well. Tomorrow morning I’d like for us to get our license. Mr. Silverman will get us a waiver so we don’t have to wait seventy-two hours to get married. If you agree we’ll get married Thursday morning at the Eastchester Town Hall. Until then I want you to stay with my family. You can sleep in Carole’s bed. I promised to protect you and that’s what I plan to do. We may have to put off our trip to Cambridge for a day or two. Lt. Flanagan has a job for me.
“I don’t want you to ever go back to that school. Mr. Silverman says you will be allowed to attend school with me.”
“I think it will be a bit difficult living with your family.”
“I agree. You can get a little noisy from time to time.” She smiled for the first time since this mess had transpired and she moved over to kiss me. “That’s why he’s looking for a short-term apartment lease for us. It’ll all work out…you’ll see.” I gave her a quick peck then pulled out onto the highway again.
“I don’t want to sleep in Carole’s bed, Jack. I’m still afraid. I want to sleep with you where I know I’ll be safe.” I wondered how I’d explain that to my parents, but it turned out just fine. I put Barbara to bed wearing one of my tee shirts and a pair of gym shorts that I had tied around her slender waist.
Later I helped her with a bowl of homemade chicken soup for dinner then I took two large suitcases to Mrs. Gleason so I could get most of Barbara’s clothes. She wasn’t happy, not believing that one of her precious nuns would ever harm a student. “I invite you to say that after you’ve seen Barbara’s back, Mrs. Gleason. I think you are a wonderful woman, but when it comes to the Catholic Church you’re deaf, dumb, and blind to the things they sometimes do. Barbara has a badly sprained wrist from when that nun—your ‘good Sister’—twisted it and ripped her engagement ring from her finger and she has at least thirty welts across her back from being whipped. And, for what? Because she asked politely if she could have her ring back? I guarantee this: she will get it back and a whole lot more before I’m done with them.” I got most of Barbara’s things in the Olds before driving home around 9:30. I was glad to see her laugh when I told her I had no idea where we would put all this “stuff.”
We watched TV for about a half hour before I took a shower and prepped for bed. Barbara couldn’t shower for a few days. Her back was covered with bandages and the painkillers she was taking made her woozy. I helped her to the toilet then we climbed into bed with me lying on my back and Barbara’s head on my chest, her leg lightly draped over mine. It had been a long and difficult day. I was surprised at how quickly I fell asleep.
I phoned the school office the following morning to let them know that I’d be late. Mom signed the note I had written even though Mr. Silverman had told me that someone my age could write and sign as an adult. Dad had made us a good hearty breakfast of cream of wheat and orange juice with coffee for Barbara and hot chocolate for the rest of us. My sisters were very sympathetic toward Barbara, but Carole seemed devastated. Barbara looked at me and it was as though we communicated through mental telepathy. I confirmed with a slight nod.
“Jack and I are going to get our marriage license this morning and we’re going to be married Thursday morning in a civil ceremony. We’ll have a formal ceremony later in a church, but we don’t know which one it will be yet. Carole, I’d like you to be my maid of honor. You get to stand fight next to me the whole time. Who’s going to be your best man, Jack?”
“I’ll tell my buddies when I get to school this morning and I’ll ask Eli. He’s my closest friend. If he can’t I guess it will be Dad. We kissed everyone good-bye even though we knew we were too early for the license bureau. Instead we drove around the community checking out the apartments. There were only two in Chester Heights, but we found an additional four in the Village of Tuckahoe that were in the school district. Checking the local newspaper I also found three houses for rent. We thought they might be better because they were furnished. I found a phone booth and called Stanley Silverman’s office. He was already en route to the court, but his wife said he would get back to us later this evening.
Barbara and I were first in line when the office opened. We completed the form and paid the three dollar fee. While there we also checked on how to get married and were advised that a justice of the peace was always on duty from nine to five weekdays. That would suit our purposes perfectly. I dropped Barbara back with my mother, leaving her with a big kiss and drove to school.
It was lunchtime before I had a chance to tell everyone what the emergency was. I was seated at a table with my basketball teammates when I also told them about the wedding. “I’d like all of you to come Thursday morning. We won’t know the actual time until it happens because we might have to wait if there are others ahead of us, but Eli, I’d like you to be best man.”
“I’d be honored, Freak, but someone will have to pick me up. You know I don’t have a car.” I did know that. Eli’s dad ran a gardening/landscaping business and--unlike many of the other Negro families in the area who lived in apartments--he lived in a small house that I had visited many times. The house was always immaculately neat and clean and I knew his parents were strict. Boy, were they strict! One time back in junior high when Eli had cut his hair into a Mohawk, his mother had banished him to the garage until it had grown in again to something she considered presentable. He never did anything that foolish again. I had to agree with his mom. He looked like a fool until he finally had the opportunity to trim his hair to a uniform length.
As happy as they were for my impending wedding that’s how angry they were when they heard about Barbara’s injuries. They couldn’t envision any scenario in which something like that could be considered appropriate. Even in our public school none of us could remember any time when a student had been struck by a teacher—by another student, sure, but not by a teacher.
Before I knew it the day was over and it was time for baseball practice. I phoned Barbara from the phone booth outside the cafeteria and we spoke for a few minutes. She assured me that Mom was taking good care of her. I told her that I loved her and ran out to my car to drive into the village to our field.
Tuckahoe High School had been built in the 1930’s on a plot that was really much too small. Looking at the schools we competed against anyone could see that they had three or four times as much land as we did. I didn’t know why and I probably would never know the reason, but our baseball field belonged to the Village of Tuckahoe and was about three miles away. I skipped the bus because I saved almost an hour by taking my car. Today Eli and Tony joined me. We were in a jovial mood even though they teased me about giving up my freedom. They had met Barbara on several occasions so they knew what I was getting. I was also sure they were thinking about all the sex I was about to get, but they were good friends so they had huge smiles, but said nothing.
I walked in the door at 5:30 that evening to my usual greeting from Carole who always jumped up into my arms for a hug and kiss. That ceremony was a little shorter today because I needed to look after Barbara. I found her in the living room, sitting calmly and reading a book from the library. She looked better and when I touched her back I could see that one of the prescriptions, an ointment that I had rubbed in this morning before replacing her bandages, had done a good job on her welts. Still, the doctor had told us the full healing process was likely to take several weeks, at least.
I know what you’re thinking. Why couldn’t I use some of my special brain power to help her? I would have gladly, but I had never been able to help others that way, not that I hadn’t tried. Two years ago Carole stepped into a big patch of poison ivy near our parents’ bungalow way out in Long Island. I tried everything, but I was totally unable to relieve the stinging, burning, and itching sensations she had. Instead, I rubbed calamine lotion over her legs four times a day for almost a week.
I grabbed a quick shower so I’d be presentable at dinner and after and dealt with my homework in the breakfast nook, finishing at nine. Barbara took a shower that was more a sponge bath as she still had to keep her injured back dry and I helped to dry her then carefully applied the ointment before affixing new bandages to her back. She turned to face me clad only in the gym shorts and wrapped her arms around my neck. “I love you, Jack. You make me feel so safe and secure and it’s nice to see that I have an effect on you, too.” She did; she’d made me as hard as a rock in seconds. “I think I’ll be able to handle that rather big problem you’re having as soon as we get into bed.”
“What about my parents?”
“Oh, Jack—your mom already knows and if she knows so does your dad. She saw how you handled my body last night when you dressed me for bed and put two and two together. We’re going to be married in two days. She asked me if you were taking care of me and I assured her you were—the very best of care—and then we both laughed. I don’t think I can handle missionary yet, but I can take the top if you’ll be careful about touching my back. On the positive side I won’t have to go to confession ever again. Maybe we can check out some churches on Friday.”
“No, by then we’ll be in my parents’ bungalow out in Shoreham. It will do us some good to get away and relax for a few days. I can phone Lt. Flanagan late Friday morning. I think he’ll have some info for us by then.” We brushed our teeth and climbed into the bed. She stripped my pajamas from my body while I helped her out of the shorts. I thought it might be better if she kept the tee shirt on, but she pulled it over her head, telling me she was much more comfortable without it.
She was ready—no, actually she was eager—to make love, to show her love and to take mine freely. She lay on my chest, kissing my neck and my cheeks before her lips found mine. Her passion had never been more ardent. I wanted more than anything to hold her in my embrace, but I knew that would hurt my love terribly. Instead I moved my hands to her hips, massaging the tight globes of her butt as she drove her pubis into mine. Suddenly she stopped, broke the kiss, and lifted her body. I supported her by placing my hands on her shoulders, being careful to keep my fingers on the front of her deliciously sexy body. She spent almost no time running my cock into her slit and slowly easing her way down.
“Hmmm…impale…spear…penetrate; any way you say it, Jack, it’s the best feeling in the world. Push it into me, Jack—all the way. I can’t tell you how much I need it.” She took the tee shirt and jammed the sleeve into her mouth then, hands on my shoulders she began the ride of her life. Her movements were frantic, demonstrating her terrible yearning. This was no slow loving intercourse. It was instead hard animalistic fucking—sex at its rawest level.
She moved herself up and down my cock at an incredible pace--sweat falling from her breasts --until she threw her head back and growled like a feral beast as her body shook wildly. I was truly concerned for her safety as I was unable to grasp her torso without hurting her. I settled for her hips as I drove up--thrusting my spear deep into her slender body. Only when we were done did I realize that I had failed to use a condom.
“Barbara,” I whispered, “I forgot the condom.”
She leaned down to kiss me. “I think we’ll be fine. My period is due in three days so I’m not terribly concerned. Even if I become pregnant we’ll be married and we’ll be proud and loving parents. Don’t you have any flashes?”
‘No…you know that I can’t control that. Maybe we should throw some clothes on and get to sleep.” Barbara agreed and soon enough we were under the covers and asleep in the same position that we shared last night. Little did I realize that we’d sleep like that virtually every night for the rest of our lives.
Wednesday was just the same except that we had a scrimmage against Mount Vernon after school. Because of that Barbara had driven us to school, returning later so she could follow our bus to the Mount Vernon field which was quite close to our house. I usually play center field when I’m not pitching. Being early in the season each of our three pitchers was scheduled throw three innings. I started the game, relying on my mid-nineties fastball and slider. I threw three innings of one-hit ball while we took a two-run lead behind a double by Eli, single by me and another double by Tony two outs later. I shifted to center in the fourth inning, getting another single as we won by the score of 2-1. I drove back with Barbara, eagerly looking forward to tomorrow’s ceremony. The game had been a good preparation for our opener right after our Easter vacation.
My sisters had a huge discussion at dinner about what they should wear. Dad and I laughed, but Mom silenced us with a look. “This is an important day in our lives and understandably we want to look our best. What are you wearing, Jack?”
“My navy suit, white shirt, and the paisley tie that Barbara gave me for Christmas.”
“So, you’re dressing up as you should. I know that Barbara will also dress up. It isn’t every day that you get married. I know what Barbara is wearing and I think that the two of you will look great. Now leave the girls alone so we can plan what to wear.”
I usually knew when to shut up and this was clearly one of those times. I picked up a pork chop with my fork and when Barbara held out her plate I passed it over to her before being rewarded with a nice, but chaste kiss.
Once my sisters decided what they were going to wear the meal was like so many others we’d had over the years, loaded with animated discussion. Tonight, however, it was all centered on the wedding. My sister Marie told us that she had gone to the pharmacy this afternoon to buy flashbulbs and film for her Kodak Brownie. “I’m going to take a lot of pictures,” she told us with a huge smile.
Suddenly, Barbara had a somber serious expression on her face. “Jack, we don’t have any rings.”
“We don’t need rings to get married, but we do have some. They are a matching set to your solitaire as you’ll see when you get it back. Okay, now?” She smiled again and threw her arms around my neck, kissing me passionately in front of my giggling sisters and smiling parents.
Turning to the sisters on the other side of the table she said, “You’d better get used to seeing that. What did I tell you about kissing Jack, Carole?”
“You kiss him as often as you can.”
“And he deserves it, too. How many boys do you think would rescue their fiancée the way Jack has rescued me? A lot of them would have turned tail and run, leaving me high and dry even though I did nothing wrong. Only crosses are permitted around your neck, but there’s no school rule about wearing rings or bracelets. I’m very lucky to have him and all of you, too.” That was my cue to lean over and kiss my future bride.
Rather than help with the dishes, Barbara, Carole, and I were excused so I could shine the shoes. I did Carole’s and mine and then I got my first glimpse of what Barbara would wear. Her shoes were a silvery color. That was the only way I could describe them. Fortunately she had polish for them. I assumed correctly that it was squirreled away in the box with the shoes. Looking at Barbara I resolved to thank Mrs. Gleason the next time I saw her.
That happened much earlier that I had thought. She and Mr. Gleason were at the house at eight the following morning, arriving just before my Aunt Debbie and Uncle Dave with my cousins. We left the house at 8:35 in three cars—Mr. and Mrs. Gleason with my parents and Angela, the cousins with Aunt Debbie and Uncle Dave, and my remaining two sisters with Barbara and me. Angela volunteered to get on line if necessary as we would be about ten minutes later due to picking up Eli.
Once down in the Village I turned right at the playground, the site of some really intense basketball games. So far as I knew, I was the only white guy to play there without hearing plenty of jibes and insults. Then again, there wasn’t one other player who could keep up with me. After the playground I made another left and a right before pulling into Eli’s driveway. Carole squeezed out from the back seat and sprinted up the sidewalk. The front door opened just as she arrived and Eli scooped her up into his arms.
“Hey there, Big C; I hear you’re in the wedding, too.” Then he hugged her, giving her a big kiss. Carole loved when he called her Big C, especially because she was by far the smallest in our family. Eli greeted us as he pulled the seat forward for Carole and squeezed into the front passenger seat next to Barbara and me.
“How’s your back, Barbara? You really look beautiful; unfortunately, there’s nothing special about you Freak. Did you comb that head with an egg beater this morning?”
“At least I never had the stupidity to get a Mohawk.”
“Ouch! That hurt! But it really is an honor to be with you this morning. I think all the guys and their girlfriends are going to be there, too.”
Barbara leaned over to kiss Eli’s cheek and laughed. “Jack told me about the Mohawk. Wow, is your mother strict!”
“Yeah, but looking at how some of the other kids behave I’m glad she is. They have no discipline…no self-control. I see nothing but trouble for most of them. It’ll be too late by the time they finally grow up. Enough of this negativity; where are you going for your honeymoon?
‘We’re leaving this afternoon for my parents’ bungalow. It’s not much, but we’ll have quiet and privacy.”
“More importantly, we’ll have each other,” Barbara said as she reached up to kiss my cheek. I turned left at the light onto White Plains Road and less than ten minutes later I was parking in the Town Hall lot. Angela was right there first in line with two couples behind her. We took her place with an apology to those behind us. They assured us it was not a problem and that Angela had told them that she was holding the spot for her brother. I gave her a hug as we took our place in line.
We hadn’t been there five minutes when I heard a clamor behind us. All of my school friends and some of Barbara’s—no doubt the work of Mrs. Gleason--walked in. I was proud when I saw that they were all in suits and dresses. I would have walked over to thank them, but the door opened at that very second. Barbara and I walked in with Eli and Carole right behind us. I showed our license and our judicial waiver, and paid the fee, handing Eli the rings before a quick request to the clerk and stepping forward to meet the Justice. I shook his hand, slipping him a twenty that he calmly slipped into his pocket. He did laugh when he saw the crowd, but took charge, telling everyone where to stand. My family and Mr. and Mrs. Gleason had prime locations. Eli stood to my right; Carole to Barbara’s left.
I had worn my navy suit as stated, but I was surprised to find it newly pressed as was my shirt AND tie. Barbara was stunning in a silver-white short-sleeved dress that was mostly form-fitting with a loose matching vest /jacket that ended at her waist over the bodice. Her coordinating heels were a great match and her diamond and opal jewelry set went with the outfit perfectly, as well.
I listened carefully to every word the Justice said, repeating word-for-word the oath of love and loyalty, forsaking all others gladly and loudly, proclaiming my love for Barbara, followed immediately by Barbara proclaiming her undying love for me. Eli produced the rings on time and Carole smiled broadly through the entire brief ceremony. It ended to nobody’s surprise with the command to kiss the bride. I had intended a quick relatively chaste kiss, but Barbara grabbed my head, pressed our lips together, and held it for more than ten seconds before pulling back to whisper, “I love you more than I can ever say so I’m going to show you every single moment of every single day.” We turned and walked out, making room for the next group of four people even as I slipped the clerk another twenty in trade for a legal-sized envelope with the typed documents I had requested.
Once outside Dad startled me by inviting everyone back to the house. “We’ll have deli meats and bread and a host of salads. There’s soda and beer and even the hard stuff and we’re hoping you will all come.”
When I reached home I learned that Mom had ordered everything including delivery yesterday while Barbara and I were getting our license. Two of our closest neighbors had taken the delivery and organized everything.
The house was jammed with people even though my parents’ house is large—not mansion large, but close. The living room alone is almost 600 square feet and when you add in the dining room, kitchen, breakfast nook, and my bedroom/family room at the rear the total was well over 1,000. I was standing with Eli, sipping a Coke, while Barbara spoke to a few of her friends from school. They told her that some absurd story had been created to explain her sudden departure. I overheard one of the girls refer to the nun as “the troll.” It must have been a commonly used name because the other three nodded their heads in agreement.
I would have laughed had Eli not spoken. “You’re a lucky guy, Freak. She is an incredible woman. She’s beautiful, intelligent, has a killer body, and it’s obvious that she is totally in love with you.”
“You’re right, Eli. The day I met her was the luckiest day of my life…until today, anyway. There was no way I was going to let her get away from me.” He clapped me on the back and left to tickle Big C before grabbing a sandwich from the dining room table. Angela started the phonograph and as soon as I heard “Sea of Love” I moved the latest Mrs. French to dance.
We held each other closely as I whispered, “Come with me, my love…to the sea…the sea of love…I want to tell you how much I love you….” I was pleased when Barbara pulled me even closer to her body. The message was clear—I belong to you—everything…all of me.
I saw my sister Marie taking plenty of photos, spending Dad’s money freely. I knew she was on at least her third roll of film. We ate and danced and received the well wishes of our friends and family, but at 1:45 we disappeared upstairs exactly as planned. Once in Carole’s room we changed our clothes and I was especially keen to check on Barbara’s back.
There were signs of healing, but it was all too clear that she still had a very long way to go.
Ten minutes later we strolled downstairs dressed in jeans, casual shirts, and light jackets. Our suitcases and toiletries had been packed into the trunk of the Olds earlier this morning. We said our good-byes quickly, taking extra time to thank my parents, Eli, and Big C then we were off to our abbreviated honeymoon. We were on the Hutchinson River Parkway toward the Whitestone Bridge, making sure that I had the change for the tolls. The traffic heading eastbound on Long Island’s limited east-west highways was terrible during the afternoon rush hour and our goal was to reach Suffolk County by 3:00. We actually missed that by five minutes, but we clearly had avoided the bulk of the traffic and all of the delays one could expect.
We had been on the road talking and joking and looking forward to our life together when I asked her what she had been discussing with her friends. “I told them how I had asked Sister Mary Patrick about my ring and how she had treated me and about my injuries. They weren’t all that surprised. Elizabeth told me that she was beaten last year…not as many times as I was and for some minor transgression in class. She said that her parents were told that she’d be kicked out of school and possibly excommunicated by Msgr. Moran if they complained so they said nothing.”
“I’ll bet we can come up with lots of other girls just by talking to your friends and their friends and so forth. Mr. Silverman thinks we may be able to file a class action suit. That could involve hundreds of millions of dollars and I’m sure it would get plenty of publicity. It’s just like Moran to threaten the injured parties. Well, that won’t happen to us, will it?”
Barbara laughed. I loved hearing her laugh. “No, it won’t because we already quit, right?”
“Absolutely! Did I hear them call the nun a troll?”
“Yes, that’s what we call her. She’s short, maybe five feet two inches at most and she must weigh 250 pounds. Her breasts hang down to her navel and her nose is all misshapen and she has a beard. We know because one day in a weak moment she told us how hard it was for her to have to shave once a week. That was also the day that she condemned all men, telling us how the boys treated her when she was young. I gathered then that she hadn’t changed much as she grew older. She’s also one of the teachers you mentioned. She never attended college and she brags all the time about how that shows how smart she is.” I thought about that, wondering whether that information might be of use to Lt. Flanagan.
We were about half an hour from the bungalow when a thought hit me. I had to laugh and I did until Barbara asked me why. “I just realized something. Today is my re-birthday. With all the excitement I completely forgot. I was struck by lightning exactly ten years ago today. I guess that makes me doubly lucky today.” Barbara laughed then, as I stopped at a light, she moved over to give me a long hot kiss. Several people honked their horns when the light had turned green and I hadn’t moved an inch.
I drove up the lawn all the way to the back door of the bungalow. My dad had built most of it himself back in 1948. It was a simple rectangle with a galley kitchen right at the back door. I turned on the electricity right after carrying my kicking and laughing wife over the threshold. I left her to wander the house while I did the most objectionable job of opening the house—climbing headfirst into the crawlspace to turn the water on at the main. There were always plenty of spiders there and I had seen several black widows there over the years. That was why I ran a long stick around the opening and down the pit to where the valve was located. I also wore an old long-sleeved sweatshirt I had thrown into the trunk just for this purpose.
Barbara met me in the living room. “This is really nice, Jack”
“It’s better now than it was when it was built. There were no ceilings then and early in the morning there were comic books thrown from room to room and you could get hit by someone’s sneaker, too. In spite of that, there was almost a rebellion when Dad decided to add the ceilings. Also, originally there were no doors to the bedrooms--only cloth drapes. I don’t think that Mom was too happy with that. They only lasted one summer.”
“Which is your bed?”
I pointed to the bedroom on the far right. “Over here on the right. I have the one by the wall and Carole has the one under the window. I’ve been thinking of buying a lot or two somewhere around here. The beach is great. Some days you can sit there and not see another person for miles. I’ll take you down there tomorrow. There are pebbles all along the north shore so walking barefoot is tough at first, but within a week or so your feet will get calloused and you’ll be fine. Best of all is the water. It’s great for kids because it’s usually calm and clean so it’s wonderful for swimming, snorkeling, and fishing. There’s also a big rock about a quarter mile down the beach that’s right at the edge of the water. You can walk down there at high tide and dive off and swim right back up the rock because of the way it’s shaped. It’s pretty neat. Of course we have names for all these rocks. I’ll show you tomorrow.
“But first, we have to check out the house. I’ll give you the easy job. You can make the beds. We’re using my parents’ room. While you’re doing that I have to check for dead mice.” The look on Barbara’s face was priceless. “We sometimes get field mice that come in during the winter. Every September we put out Mouse-not’s--essentially strychnine poison--along with a small cup of water which activates the poison. That’s the good part. The bad is that they often die here either in the storage compartment in the couch or behind it or under it.”
I found the sheets for Barbara while I made my search. Sure enough I found two that had been dead for some time. I picked them up using a rag and placed them into a brown paper bag I would throw out later when we went out for dinner. It was almost that time now. We had eaten several times at the party so a big sit-down meal was out of the question, besides we wanted to have plenty of time to make love. We agreed on a pizza joint we had passed on the way.
We split a small sausage pizza and a large Pepsi then bought two Pepsi six packs at the local supermarket, but no food. We agreed that we’d rather spend our time making love than cooking and cleaning.
It was when we had returned to the bungalow that I received the first shock of my married life. Rather than make the two beds in my parents’ bedroom, she had made mine—a simple twin. “How much room have we needed the last two nights, Jack? Hmm? The only difference is that neither one of us is going to wear anything.”
“Well…I’m going to be wearing you and you’re going to be wearing me. We will have a blanket and a sheet. But I expect to feel you all night and when I feel that certain something special that I’ve come to love….” I couldn’t help but laugh. I wanted to take a shower, but Barbara was impatient. She stripped me in seconds then shed her clothes, as well. I did make her wait until I had checked her back. Almost all of her bleeding welts had scabbed over, but I would still have to apply the ointment and reapply the bandages before we retired. Otherwise I was afraid I would further injure my bride in my sleep.
Barbara pulled several dozen condoms from her purse. When I gave her a questioning look she laughed as she explained, “Your mom is a really prepared woman. She bought them for us while you were in school then made sure they were in my purse. You know that guys never go into a girl’s purse. Anyway, we have enough to get us through the weekend.”
I shook my head in dismay, but thought this would be a good time for a discussion that would impact both of us. I explained how I had made some changes in my portfolio to buy Searles Pharmaceuticals because they had marketed the new birth control pill. We talked about the pros and cons, ultimately agreeing that she would try it. I explained further that the pill was a sign of progress—medically and sexually.
“If we don’t make some progress pretty soon…..” I could take the hint, lying back on the bed so Barbara could climb onto my body. “Try touching my back, Jack.”
“I don’t want to….”
“I know, but we have to experiment a bit. Ooooh! I guess I’m not ready yet.” Barbara was kneeling between my legs, rubbing my cock with her nipples. Moving forward she gripped my organ and I began to worry those hard wrinkled nipples as our kiss began. After a shaky beginning I’d learned to love Barbara’s kisses. Just the touch of her lips to mine was enough to harden me to steel. She carefully tore through the wrapper and rolled the thin latex sheath down over the head and shaft. I could tell in an instant that she was more than ready, easily seeing the reflection of her nectar running down her thighs in the dim light as she gripped me and spread her legs to almost one hundred and eighty degrees. Seconds later we were in heaven, sharing our desire, our need, and mostly our love.
Barbara must have been practicing because she gave me some sensations I had never felt before, either that or she was saving something special for when we were married. Her pussy was vibrating around my cock, driving me crazy with lust. That, combined with her frenetic movements, brought us to a delightful, but unfortunately swift conclusion. I twisted her big clit as I drove into her with all my strength. Barbara screamed into the night as her body exploded with rapture. My orgasm was there, too. It took all my energy and determination not to reach around her to clutch her to my body.
Instead, I grabbed the muscular orbs of her ass, waiting for her convulsions to ebb. Finally, we settled together, a sweaty dirty mess. I pulled the condom off, resting it on a hanky that I used to wipe myself clean then I pulled the blanket over us. My final act of the best day of my life was to whisper, “I love you, Mrs. French.” Barbara kissed my cheek and we were gone.
We rose early, showered and I addressed her back’s needs—applying ointment and bandages--then we dressed for breakfast—just jeans and sweatshirts and sneakers.
Breakfast out in this area meant going to a nearby deli for bacon and eggs on a roll. We also ordered sandwiches for our lunch. We were back to the bungalow in plenty of time for my phone calls first to Lt. Flanagan and second to Mr. Silverman. Lt. Flanagan told us that he had secured a warrant for both phone taps and for recording my conversations with the school principal and my least favorite monsignor. I made arrangements to meet with him at 8:00 Monday morning. I thought it would be the perfect opportunity—school would be closed, but the principal and staff were scheduled to work. I had no idea how he had learned that, but I agreed. I knew that I would have no trouble meeting with Msgr. Moran. All I had to do was tell him that I wanted to talk about my pledge for the Dunwoodie Chapel renovation. I did want to speak with him about it, but the conversation wasn’t one he would enjoy. I was going to renege after seeing how Barbara had been so terribly mistreated.
Mr. Silverman told me that he had met with a judge early yesterday morning and had been given a writ requiring the Tuckahoe School District to enroll Barbara French, nee Millard, a transfer student from St. Claudia’s in Yonkers. Also, a second writ required St. Claudia’s to provide me with Barbara’s records. That visit would give me a legitimate reason to visit the school. Finally, he told me that he had met with a local real estate agent yesterday afternoon in regard to a short-term rental. He said that my reputation in the community would probably help in that regard because everyone knew of my character. I rung off, telling him we’d speak again Monday after my undercover work was done.
The whole purpose of using the bungalow was to give us some time to be alone together and, other than a few minutes spent with two of my friends on the beach, that was exactly what we had. If anything, our love for each other grew every time we made love that weekend and we made love often—a minimum of three times a day, taking time off only to rest, shower, eat, and walk on the beach. I had always loved the peace I had found on the beach and Barbara obviously agreed. We resolved to buy a lot in the area where we could spend our summers and odd weekends when not taking classes in Massachusetts.
Sunday was Easter and we agreed to attend some kind of church services. After reviewing the options we decided on the Lutheran church in nearby Rocky Point, mostly because there was a Lutheran church just two blocks from St. Catharine’s in Pelham. We closed up the bungalow after the enjoyable service, ate lunch at a restaurant on the way home and arrived at my parents’ home around three that afternoon.
Of course, they wanted to know how Barbara was feeling. To that she only had a huge smile which made my mother laugh and my father red-faced. “My back still hurts, but someone is spoiling me rotten and he’s always putting that stuff on me and bandaging my boo-boo’s.” That was directed at Carole who laughed hysterically. She ran to Barbara and would have hugged her under other circumstances. Instead, Barbara hugged her, kissing her cheek. Then she whispered, just loud enough for all of us to hear, “I’m so glad you’re my sister now. I never had a sister before. Can you help teach me how to be a sister?” Carole beamed as she jumped forward to kiss Barbara’s cheek and wrap her harms around her neck, carefully avoiding her back.
“Well, the first thing you have to do is run up to J.J. when he comes in so he can hug and kiss you.”
We all laughed, but Barbara said in all seriousness, “I think I have that part down cold.”
Barbara insisted on coming with me to meet with Lt. Flanagan. He showed me the warrant and explained what I could and couldn’t ask about then he told me to ignore that. “You’re an amateur so if you make a mistake nobody will chew your head off.” His technicians fitted the “wire” under my shirt, taping the transmitter to the small of my back. I had the writ requiring the school to give me Barbara’s records and I had the document from the town clerk that certified that we were married. I was loaded for bear when we left police headquarters at 8:45. I followed the police department van almost all the way to St. Claudia’s. We double checked the transmitter and I gathered all of the papers I would need, including a set of photos of Barbara’s back. Unlike those that would be used as evidence, these were dated, but not labeled “Yonkers P.D.” I walked the final two blocks to the school once Barbara had kissed me and wished me luck.
Once in the main office I approached the counter, asking to speak with the principal. “May I ask the nature of your business,” asked the secretary, a woman named Virginia Gregory according to the name plate on her desk.
“I’m here to talk about Barbara Millard. Well, she used to be Millard, but now she’s French. We were married last Thursday even though we had planned our wedding to be after the end of the school year. That was because of what happened here last Monday.” I saw the shocked acknowledgement in the secretary’s face as she walked into the principal’s office. I could hear some hushed conversation before a woman who was obviously Sister Mary Theresa walked out. She was dressed in what could be best described as contemporary attire for a nun rather than the traditional habit.
“I don’t believe that I should discuss anything about Barbara with you. You are not her guardian and we have privacy issues to deal with.”
“Then you’ll be happy to see that I have come prepared. Here is my passport to identify me.” She took it, handling it like it was an angry rattlesnake before returning it to me. “Next is a notarized letter from the Eastchester Town Clerk certifying that Barbara and I were married last Thursday. I also have an order from the New York State Court of Appeals requiring you to give me Barbara’s official records. She is withdrawing effective immediately.” Sister took the papers, scanned them quickly then practically threw them onto the secretary’s desk.
“While I’m here I demand the return of her engagement ring. Sister Mary Patrick wrenched it off her finger.”
“You have no proof of that.”
“I don’t think I’d have too much difficulty with that. She did it in front of the entire class.”
“Why are you concerned about that cheap trinket? It wasn’t even gold and I doubt that it was even a diamond.”
“You are right—it isn’t gold. It’s platinum just like her wedding band…and just like mine. I even have the receipt right here.”
“May I see it?” I pulled a yellow form from my pocket and passed it over the counter.
She laughed as she tore it into tiny pieces then dropped them into my hand. “You’re not as smart as you think, Mr. French. Where’s your proof now?”
I carefully placed the tiny pieces into an envelope, sealing it with saliva from my tongue. “Apparently, I’m not quite as stupid as you think. That was a receipt for a tire I bought for my Jeep. Besides…how would you know it wasn’t gold if Sister Mary Patrick didn’t take it? While I’m on the subject of Sister Mary Patrick I’d like you to take a look at these photos that were taken at the Cross County ER Monday afternoon. How do you justify beating a student like this? I attend a public school. They don’t get to select their students the way you do, but nobody has ever been struck by a teacher let alone whipped the way Barbara was.”
“You think you’re so smart, don’t you? You know nothing about running a school. We have more than four hundred students here. Parents send their daughters here because they want them to have discipline in their lives. So what if five or six girls take a beating every year? Fear of that keeps the others in line.”
“You must be kidding. You’re telling me that this is a long-standing practice…something you’ve condoned for years?”
“Not condoned, Mr. French—I don’t condone whipping the students. I encourage it. I did the whipping before Sister Mary Patrick began teaching here. Now I’m principal and she does it. And she does a very good job of it, too.”
I shook my head in disbelief, but I wondered if I could get just a bit more information from this blabbing bitch. “I’m going to complain to the Archdiocese. I’ll find out who’s in charge. You can count on that and I’ll file a formal complaint.”
“Let me save you the trouble. The priest in charge is Monsignor Edwin Moran, but he already knows and gives the practice his blessing. If you complain too strenuously you’ll run the risk of excommunication. Then you’ll burn in hell for eternity.” I almost laughed. I would have but for fear that I really might burn in hell for eternity.
“Just give me Barbara’s records and let me get out of here before I throw up. You have no business running a school and less being a servant of Christ.”
“Virginia, get the papers then show Mr. French to the door. Lock it once he’s gone.” Sister Mary Theresa turned then and walked back into her office, slamming the door as she did. Mrs. Gregory had already retrieved the file and handed it to me as she walked around the counter. Once out in the hallway she looked around then placed a small piece of note paper in my hand. She opened the door and closed it without uttering a sound.
Only when I was away from the building did I unfold the paper and read it—“I have info. Call tonight.” It was followed by her phone number. Five minutes later I rejoined Barbara and Lt. Flanagan.
“Damn, Jack—you sure you’re not an undercover officer? I couldn’t have done better myself. Getting a subject angry is an old police trick. It is absolutely amazing what people will say when they’re pissed off.”
“Let’s hope that luck holds when I meet with the honorable monsignor.” Barbara joined me in the Olds as we drove to Dunwoodie where Monsignor Moran maintained his office.
Lt. Flanagan stopped us a few blocks away to tell us that a lengthy phone call had been placed from the school to the Archdiocese headquarters. “I think you’d find the conversation particularly revealing. They discussed the entire conspiracy and we were right. They’ve been beating at least six girls a year for more than twenty years. In fact the practice dates back to the first year the school opened.”
Moran was forewarned, but I was forearmed. I told his secretary—a priest—that I wanted to discuss my pledge and was shown immediately into the big man’s office, even though he was only five feet five inches tall. I had thought last year that it was awfully ostentatious for someone who had supposedly taken “a vow of poverty”—his words, not mine. He stood to greet me and got right to the point. “I understand that you think you have a grievance against St. Claudia’s School.”
“You might say that. I was brought up to think that stealing was a sin. Isn’t taking something that doesn’t belong to you stealing?”
“You’re an intelligent young man, French, but you’re inexperienced in the way of the world. Teachers in all schools--even yours—sometimes confiscate items that are disruptive and interfere with the educational process.”
I smiled. This fool was going to trap himself with only a minimum of effort on my part. “You and I both know that there was no reason to take the ring. Why didn’t the teacher simply tell her to put it away? In her pocket or purse the ring would have no longer been a distraction. And once the nun had it, why not return it when the student promised not to wear it again? Why was it necessary to whip her?”
“I’m sure that you understand the need to maintain discipline in schools. Sometimes it is necessary to make an example of a student. In my experience such a whipping leaves one uncomfortable for a few days, but leaves no permanent damage. It’s really nothing more than a mild spanking.”
I opened the envelope with the photos of Barbara’s back. “You honestly think that this is a mild spanking? Either you’re a liar or you’re delusional. How would you like to be on the receiving end of this? I’m sure I could arrange it—a special present just for you.”
“You’re treading on dangerous ground, Mr. French. People have been excommunicated for less.”
I laughed. I actually laughed in his face. “I just knew that you’d threaten me sometime during this discussion, but it won’t work. Those threats only work with someone who actually cares and I don’t. Parents send their daughters to your schools and you beat them into submission because you don’t really know anything about children or how to deal with them. This has been going on for ages even though the practice should have ended in the middle ages. That teacher is a criminal and the principal has done nothing and you’ve done nothing. That makes you criminals, too. The teacher is a horrible excuse for a human being, but the two of you are worse--the most detestable examples of humanity I’ve ever seen. If anyone is going to burn in hell, it’s you.”
I wanted to get the monsignor angry and now he was furious. He swore at me and cursed me and made every justification imaginable for his actions and those of the teacher and principal, ending by threatening me again. “It won’t work because we quit. We don’t want any part of a religion that thinks it is acceptable to treat its believers in such a horrible inhuman manner. One other thing before I walk out the door—hell will freeze over before I give you a stinking penny.”
“You gave your word—your pledge.”
“Yes, I did, but that was before I found out what kind of lying manipulative and sadistic bastard you are. It’s too bad, actually, because I can use the tax deduction. But, maybe my next church can use the money. Barbara and I spent part of Easter in a Lutheran church. We enjoyed the service and we were welcomed like we were family. Best of all, there’s one just up the road from St. Catharine’s. I imagine they could use two hundred thousand dollars.”
“Your pledge was for one hundred thousand.”
“Yes, it was, but that was then. I suddenly find that I’m in a really generous mood…just not for you. I wish you luck, Monsignor. I think you’re going to need it.”
“What the hell does that mean?”
“You figure it out. You’re the one with all the answers here.” I collected the photos, turned and walked away laughing crazily as I strode through the door. The priest/secretary put a restraining hand on my arm, but a steely look on my face caused him to step back quickly. “Smart move,” I whispered just loud enough for him to hear. Had anyone read my eyes they would have seen someone willing to kill if necessary. Ten seconds later I was in the parking lot and a minute after that I was in the police van.
Lt. Flanagan spoke first. “Good job, Jack. He hung himself with his own words. No judge will ever accuse us of entrapment.”
“I find that most arrogant people just can’t help themselves. They insist on putting their feet in their mouths at every opportunity. Oh…I almost forgot. The secretary at St. Claudia’s gave me this note when she escorted me from the building.”
I pulled the sheet from my pocket and handed it to him. He perused it for a few seconds. “She probably gets off at four so if you can come to the station at five we’ll be able to phone her. I’ll have a warrant to record the call by then given what’s happened this morning.”
“I was hoping to drive to Massachusetts this afternoon, but I’m sure I can change my appointment from tomorrow morning to afternoon.” We talked for a few more minutes until Barbara and I drove away toward home.
Once there I phoned the admissions office at Harvard, asking to speak with Mrs. Atkins. She was on the line after the third ring and I explained that I was working on a case with the Yonkers Police and, of course, that led to a host of questions. I began by explaining that I had asked Barbara to marry me. “You’ll meet her tomorrow and you’ll see why we got married in a hurry. And, no, it’s not the reason you think it is. She was the victim of a brutal attack and I’m helping the Yonkers police get evidence against those responsible. The crime is all the more reprehensible because school and church officials are involved, but I’ll explain everything tomorrow afternoon. I hope to drive a few hours tonight after the police are finished with us and we’ll get into Cambridge mid-morning. I’d like to meet with you after lunch if that’s possible.”
“I’m free all day so come whenever you can. Okay?” I agreed and Barbara and I spent a few hours hanging out with my family—Barbara and Carole starting a huge War tournament—until it was time to pack a week’s clothing and drive back to the Yonkers P.D. Of course, I had to listen to my mother remind me to drive carefully. I promised I would and we’d stop before dark.
I was on a phone that recorded the conversation by 5:00 when I dialed.
The phone was answered almost immediately by a young girl. “Hi. Is your mommy home?”
“May I ask who is calling?”
“Wow, you have excellent manners. Would you tell your mom that John French is calling?”
“MOM! It’s that kid you told me about.”
“Mrs. Gregory, it’s John French. We spoke briefly at St. Claudia’s this morning. Please call me Jack. Your note said you have some information for me.”
“I don’t know if you can help, but I’ve just about had enough. The way they treat some of the girls is just barbaric.”
“I agree, but how do you know about these beatings? And I assure you that I can help you.”
“I pray you’re right. Every time Sister Mary Patrick beats a girl she files a written report with Sister Mary Theresa. They’re in a special file in her office. How can you help me…and the girls?”
I looked at Lt. Flanagan and he nodded. “Mrs. Gregory, I’m working with the Yonkers Police. I was wearing a wire when I spoke to Sister this morning and I’m calling you now from their headquarters. If you’ll hold on a second I’ll let you speak with Lt. Flanagan. He’s running the investigation.”
I passed the phone to him and he spoke to Mrs. Gregory for almost fifteen minutes. “Mostly,” he told her, “just go about your business normally. It will take a few weeks for us to get everything together. For one thing both Jack and Barbara will have to testify before the grand jury. I think that will take place next week. Once the grand jury indicts we’ll act quickly against Sisters Mary Theresa and Mary Patrick as well as Monsignor Moran and possibly others, as well. Do these reports have the names of the students who have been beaten?”
“Yes, sir. Will I have to testify, too?”
“Probably not, but we’ll want to know where that file is. Do you know how far back it goes?”
“I’ve worked at the school for more than ten years and I know it was in existence then. Sister Mary Theresa told me and she showed me, too.”
“I’m sure we’ll have a search warrant for the main office and for the classroom where the beating occurred, but it will be a help if we know where to look ahead of time. Can you come to the station house tomorrow afternoon?”
“Yes, if I have to, but Sister always wants to know if any of the staff is contacted by the police. She says it reflects poorly on the school, but I think she’s just being bossy and controlling.”
“I have your address here. You’ll be stopped on the way to work tomorrow morning and given a summons for a non-working taillight. It will be fake, of course, but it will give you a reason to come here. The officer will simply unplug the bulb from the socket and we’ll plug it back in when you’re here. I want to thank you for your help. I just had a thought. Do any of the other staff members know about this?”
“Almost all of them, unfortunately; Sister Mary Patrick likes to brag.” The conversation ended a minute later and Barbara and I began to leave.
“We’ll be in Massachusetts for most of the week, Lieutenant. We have to find a place to live while I’m in college and we have to find a college for Barbara, too.”
“Where are you going?”
Barbara couldn’t wait to brag about me. “Harvard; and Jack has a full academic scholarship, too.”
“Wow! I knew you were smart, but…. You’d better get going if you’re driving tonight. Thanks for one of the most productive days I’ve seen in years.” He shook our hands and showed us out to the parking lot. I drove us back on the Cross County Parkway to the Hutchinson River Parkway North. That changed to the Merritt Parkway and eventually to the Wilbur Cross once we were in Connecticut. We stopped at a motel on the Berlin Turnpike just outside Hartford for the night. I called Mom to let her know how things were going and after that I phoned Stanley Silverman. He was thrilled to learn there was a file with the names of everyone who had been beaten over the years. Oh boy! I could hear the cash register in his brain even from more than a hundred miles away.