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The Replacements

I was afraid that Tommy would be late. I had started getting ready at 4:30 and the prom started at 7:30. Oh God! It was already nearly 7:00. We were going to be late, I just knew it. Tommy and I had known each other since grade school. We had been going together since middle school. I knew that it was Tommy that I would marry. There just really wasn't anybody else. My parents loved him. He was a senior and I was a sophomore. I had just turned sixteen. I had been held back a year in the first grade. Tommy was seventeen. He would turn eighteen August 11.

Jennifer and I had looked at gowns with my mother for a couple of days before we decided on a simple off white satin evening dress which fit my body closely. I was proud of the way I looked in it. I was slender, but the dress fit me perfectly. "You look like a celebrity!" mother had said.

I got my light brown hair streaked with blonde highlights in a way that looked natural and shaped and cut. I had a manicure. I really looked fantastic. I was so pleased, but we were going to be late! Damn it!

It was about that moment a limousine slowed to a stop in front. My heart lepted for joy. A limo! Mother said, "Now go upstairs and make a graceful appearance when I call you. You look wonderful, darling!"

I practically ran upstairs and I heard the doorbell ring. "Jamie. Tommy is here," said Mom.

I started down the stairs and it felt like static electricity was passing over my skin. Tommy was dressed in a black tuxedo. He was wearing a white carnation. He looked great with his dark hair and eyes. We were going to be the perfect couple. He smiled widely as he saw me come down the steps. He met me at the landing and took me by the hand and gave me a kiss lightly on the cheek. Taking a lavender orchid out of a clear plastic box, he carefully pinned it to my gown. "You are lovely, tonight," said Tommy. "We've got to go, running a little slow."

We managed to get to the prom before it began. Hot Wind was the band and they played a little of everything. They were well known locally. We danced almost every dance. My friend, Jennifer, was wearing a light blue evening dress and was with Mitchell who was also dressed in a tux. We danced close to each other on the dance floor. Mitchell and Tommy were also friends.

"We came in a limo," I bragged to Jennifer when we were getting drinks and snacks.

"Really. That probably cost a lot."

"I don't know, but it's the first time I've ridden inside a limousine."

"What's it like?"

"Well, it has leather seats, a small refrigerator, a television, a computer, and a phone."

"Well, that seems a little much for a trip to and from the prom."

"Yes, but it's nice."

We danced some more and too soon the last song was playing. We had said hello to all our friends and I had had a great time. I hated for it to be over.

The limousine had tinted windows and no one could see inside. There was an opaque partition between us and the driver. We returned to the car and Tommy said to the driver, "Just drive around for a while." There was a rack which held four quart bottles of liquor and glasses. There was champaign and soft drinks in the refrigerator. "Champaign?" asked Tommy.

"Yes, please." I'd never had Champaign.

"Did you have a good time?" he asked as he popped the cork and champaign spewed from the top of the bottle.

"It was wonderful, I hate that it's over."

I finished the glass and he pulled me into his arms and kissed me. We continued drinking and making out for more than an hour. We didn't actually do anything more than heavy petting. Over the intercom Tommy said, "Okay, let's drop her off. I think we are done."

"I love you," I said. I was feeling tipsy.

"I'm glad. I love you, too."

We kissed all the way to the house. I was still excited and I didn't want it to end. He took me to the door, kissed me, and then left. I went to bed, but hardly slept still thinking about things.

After graduation, there was a party for Tommy, his family and friends and I went. "I need to talk to you," Tommy said. I thought that he might be planning to propose to me, my heart started doing flip flops.

As the party came to an end Tommy and I managed to get alone in his bedroom. "Jamie, I think we should start seeing other people."

'Thud!' that was my heart hitting the floor.

"What!?" I exclaimed.

"Oh, we'll still date, but I'm going to college and I want to be free to date other girls. You understand."

No, I didn't really understand. "Uh huh," I said my mouth hanging open.

"I knew you'd be good about it."

"Are you dumping me?" I asked. He had no idea how hurt I was. I had no idea how hurt I was.

"No. No. It is just too soon to make a lifetime commitment. It's always just been me and you. I think it is time that we see what it is like with others."

Tears began to fall down my face and I started to leave. "Don't cry. It is really better this way."

I did leave then. I just drove around aimlessly crying. My life had always been planned with him as my husband. I hadn't really decided when, but it had to be him. It had to be! I had no dream which hadn't included him. I was going to go to college of course, though I hadn't decided on a major, but he was going to be my husband. Wasn't he?

"Tommy broke up with me," I told Jennifer.

"What!? You're not serious!"

"Yes. He says we can still see each other, but he wants to date other girls."

"I would never do that to you," said Jennifer.

"Yes, but you're not a guy."

Jennifer was about the same stature as I was, but she had brown eyes instead of blue. Her hair was longer and darker.

"It doesn't matter," said Jennifer. "I would love you forever."

I studied her face for several minutes before I said, "What do you mean?"

Jennifer blushed and said, "I've always loved you."

"Yes, I know. We're friends and we always will be."

"It's more than that," stated Jennifer.

"But you are Mitchell's girl."

"I'd be yours in a heartbeat."

"Are you a lesbian?" I asked deeply surprised. I had always been taught that being a lesbian was wrong.

"I have feelings for both genders, I guess I'm bi."

"You have sexual feelings for me?" I asked increduously.

"I have for a couple of years," admitted Jennifer openly.

I'd never thought of another girl sexually, so the idea was almost repulsive to me, but I had deep feelings for Jennifer.

Jennifer smiled at me and kissed me gently on my lips. I didn't respond, but I watched her face. I knew she intended to kiss me again. Just as I expected, she kissed me again, but this time with her mouth open with more eagerness. I hesitated for several moments, then I parted my lips and opened my mouth. Her mouth was softer than Tommy's and her kiss more delicate. We kissed for a couple of minutes and I said suddenly, "I've got to go."

"Are you all right," asked Jennifer.

I think my face had paled. "I can't do this," I said simply and rushed off.

Almost a month went by and Jennifer would call. I told my mother I didn't want to talk to her. I think in some ways I was scared. Mom asked, "Did you and Jennifer have a fight?"

"No, Mom, I just have been spending too much time with her. I don't want to hurt her feelings."

"Well, she'll probably get the hint if you don't take her calls. Her feelings are sure to be hurt."

After a month had passed, her calls became less frequent. School was out for the summer, so there wasn't much chance of us running into each other. I was really very lonely, but I listened to music, practiced piano, and watched a lot of television; we had all the cable channels. Tommy had not asked me out since graduation. I had never felt more alone.

One day when my parents were not at home the door bell rang and I went to answer it. I swung the door open without thinking to look through the peep hole. It was Jennifer.

"Oh hi," I muttered almost incoherently.

"Are you mad at me?" Jennifer demanded. I could sense that she was a bit angry.

"Ah, no...."

"Well then, what's with you?"

"I'm not sure how to put it."

"We don't have to be lovers, we can still be friends," stated Jennifer. "I sorry I ever told you."

I could see that her anger was abating and in its place sorrow and sadness were coming. I was beginning to realize just how much she had been hurting because of me.

"I'm sorry, Jen."

She started crying, "I don't want to lose you."

"I'll never ignore you like that again," I promised.

"I told Mitchell that if he wants, he can see other girls. I didn't tell him that I love you, but I want him to have his freedom."

"I see," I responded. "And what did he say?"

"That he didn't need anyone else."

"What are you going to do?"

Jennifer answered, "I don't know. A lot depends on you."

"Well, we have time," I said and I had the urge to hold her in my arms, so I did. I led her to the sofa and we both sat down holding each other. The television was on. I turned it off. It felt good as we held each other. My mind and emotions were playing havoc with each other, however. Though it felt good, could I be physically attracted to Jennifer or could we go on as friends now that I knew how she felt about me.

"I'm not ready for more," I told her finally.

"I understand," she replied smiling. She and I were both glad to be back together as friends or whatever the hell we were.

As time passed we began kissing and petting. We kept our relationship a secret from our parents until after we graduated high school. Mitchell kept seeing Jennifer and finally we became a threesome. I had no problem with it and neither did he. We kept our relationship to ourselves for the most part. It was easier than explaining. Sure it was a guy and two girls, but we were equals. When we went to college, we got an apartment together. We each had a bedroom and we spent our time together as we wished. Sure it was unconventional, but it was right for us. It was right for me. We had our spats, imagine that, but they were never serious. Mitchell has graduated now and soon Jennifer and I will. We would all like to marry each other, but that of course is illegal. We are thinking of having a private ceremony, anyway.
Life is not a dream
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