Chapter 29: If Only Us... Chapter 29

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Romance

Reads: 275
Comments: 1

As June approached everyone got ready for final exams and graduation.  We had survived high school!  Three couples, one of which was in our closely knit group, announced engagements.  Roger and Cleo made it official at the senior prom.  He went to one knee right in front of her in the middle of the empty dance floor and proposed.  Shouts of congratulations from his male friends and shrieks of joy from her female friends echoed around the hall.  We gave them a solitary dance in celebration.

Virginia accused me of knowing about it because she’d seen Roger and me near the jewelry counter at the BX a couple of times.  I told her that I did know what Roger was up to, but I elected not to tell her because it might get back to Cleo.  Virginia looked pensive for a moment, but then her face cleared and she smiled.  That told me I’d made the right decision.

Marie began to grow like a weed.  She had doubled her weight and grown seven inches in six months.  She was now able to get our attention by making a raspberry sound (or, normally, crying).  It was startling for either of us when we were holding her and reading and she would give us a wet blast of air.

One morning, Virginia went into Marie’s room to change her and I heard a terrible scream.  I rushed out of our bedroom and almost collided with Virginia who was holding Marie tightly to her chest.

“I think I’ve broken her arms!”  Virginia screamed with tears streaming down her face.

I quickly, and carefully, ran my fingers down each arm in her sleeper but could detect nothing wrong.  She also wasn’t crying at all.  How could she be that hurt?

“Honey!  Calm down.  Why do you think you broke her arms?  She’s fine!”

“Well, I reached into the crib and when I picked her up her arms bent the wrong way.”

“The ‘wrong way’?  What do you mean?”

“I put her down last night on her stomach.  She sleeps better that way.  This morning, it was dark in the room and when I picked her up, ummm, wait…she was on her back!  That’s why her arms bent that way!  Did you turn her over?”

“Nope, not me.  Maybe she did it herself.  Put her back down on her stomach and let’s watch.”

She carefully put Marie back in the crib on her stomach.  She struggled a little, fussed a lot, and then squirmed enough to get a little knee under her hips.  She lifted quickly and suddenly flopped over on her back.  A tiny hint of triumph glinted in her blue eyes.

“Son of a gun,” I ventured.

“Well I’ll be.  Wait till mom hears this.”

* * *

Graduation ceremonies took place on a gloriously clear and warm day in early June.  Virginia had elected to carry Marie up the steps to the podium.  It had been cleared through the school administration and faculty so that wasn’t a problem.  Since her last name and mine were the same now, we sat together through the speeches and hoped that Marie wouldn’t wake up and cause a fuss.  She didn’t, and our row finally rose to march up the aisle to get our diplomas.

I got mine and then Virginia was handed hers.  The principal shook our hands and we stepped down, stage left, and went back to our seats.  When everyone had received their papers we all stood and tossed our headgear into the air.  We’d done it!  We were now loose on an unsuspecting world!

* * *

A very nervous Virginia acted as Cleo’s Matron of Honor at her wedding to Roger in late June.  They had originally planned on waiting until August, but changed their plans.  Two months later, Cleo confided in Virginia that their haste was a bit premature.  Virginia told her not to worry because they were planning to get married anyway.  This way, nobody would accuse them of any hanky panky.  All four of us knew better though because we’d been on that train to Paris with them.

Five days after I turned eighteen I took and passed with a very high score the examination for Civil Service of the United States.  I was accepted into a grade of GS-6.  Normal entry level was lower than that, but consideration had been given to the job I was filling at the PAO.  I was assigned back to the PAO, but now I had the status the same as a rookie Lieutenant.  I was afforded the privileges of the Officers Club and, if I wanted it, I could draw a housing allowance and move off the base.

In August, Virginia and I held quite a few brainstorming sessions with both her parents and mine.  Sometimes all six of us were together pondering what we should do.  My dad said that his tour would be up in four months and he’d lose his quarters, naturally; so that made it imperative we moved somewhere.  Virginia’s parents weren’t much better off because their extension ran out in three months.  We decided to take the offer of off-base housing that my newly acquired status gave me.  I made a phone call to Frantz and Angelica and asked if we could come down for some advice.

Next evening, we bundled up Marie and drove down to the Inn.  Frantz and Angelica greeted us as the old friends we were by that time and herded us into their living room.  We sat down, Frantz prepared to fire up his pipe, but was glared down my a stern-faced Angelica, and we began to lay out our options for what we needed vice what we could afford and everything else we would need to live off base.  When we finished our little spiel, Angelica began talking to Frantz.

“Your brother has that apartment across from the train yard.  Is it ready for rent?”

“I do not know, Mother.  Let me call him,” Frantz said, going to make the call.

We chatted about things that had happened since the last time we were here; including the fact that Frantz’s niece, Danni, has come to work here at the Inn.  She was out shopping, but would be back shortly.

Frantz came back into the room and said that the apartment would be available in two weeks after his brother cleaned it out and repainted a room.  He said apologetically that it was located next to the train yard and was hard to rent.  I told him that would definitely not be a problem at all because I loved trains and that I knew someone over in the yard.  He beamed and asked us to come back Saturday and he would show us where it was.

While we were talking, Danni came in laden with three string bags.  I jumped up to give her a hand but Angelica beat me to it.  We were introduced, and Danni curtsied.  She was a very buxom blonde wearing a tight-bodice dirndl with ties crisscrossed under her breasts.  Her skirt was very full and hung well below her knees; a rounded, rosy-cheeked face set with very blue eyes completed her visage.  She had a very soft voice and a twinkle in her downcast eyes.  She appeared to be very shy but once she realized we spoke excellent German she warmed up a lot.

She told us that she’d been studying English in school, but hadn’t had much luck with the practical side of it because of the lack of native English speakers.  Virginia and I both told her we’d be happy to help.

“I am … thanking you … much.”  She said haltingly in English.

I replied, “You are very welcome” in the same language, to which she curtsied again, dimpled and giggled.

We were invited for dinner, but Virginia begged off by telling Angelica that we had to get back to the house.  I confirmed that we would be back on Saturday; Frantz told us to come around thirteen hours.  I told him we would.

Saturday afternoon found Virginia and me, less Marie, back at the Inn.  Frantz packed us into his old Opel and we made the short trip down to his brother’s apartment.  If ever there was a ‘cartoon’ German that popped into one’s mind, Frantz’s brother was it.  Claus was built like a fireplug with a very ruddy face, a bulbous nose, and a fringe of hair that ran completely around his bald head.  He laughed a lot and his entire body bobbed when he talked – and he never really stopped talking.

He immediately began speaking in understandable, but halting, English until I assured him that both Virginia and I spoke German.  To which Frantz added his agreement.  This was good news to Claus and he shifted gears and began showing us around his little apartment.

The bathroom was pretty small but it only seemed that way because of the huge enameled metal tub that dominated one whole corner.  The usual WC tank on the wall was hung next to an on-demand hot water system.  This meant that the water was only heated when you turned on the tap.  Very efficient.  A small sink stood against the opposite wall with a cabinet above it.

We went from there to the bedroom.  Frantz’s description of it being small wasn’t quite right.  It was quite large actually and centered against the far wall was an enormous four-poster bed complete with canopy.  There were two chests of drawers and a very large clothes wardrobe against a wall.  Two windows looked out on the cinders and tracks of the railroad yard.  I was going to love this place if we could afford it.  The kitchen was utilitarian with a gas stove, which Virginia mumbled to me she’d never cooked on, a fairly large refrigerator and dual bowl sink.  Quite a bit of counter space was available.

The living room was very comfortable.  The big window looked out on the quiet street in front of the apartment.  The room contained a very nice sofa, two easy chairs, a gas fireplace, a dining table against the wall that would be pulled out for meals, and two huge bookcases filled with books.

I asked what the stairs at the side led to and Claus said it was just an attic storage room about two meters by three meters.  Very limited headroom though because of the roofline ridge.

Frantz and Claus put their heads together and palavered off and on several times as Virginia and I went out of earshot.  I figured they were talking money.  I sidled up to Frantz and asked about the money protocol.  He told me to just ask, so I did.  Claus named a figure that I thought was very reasonable.  We could make that payment fairly easily and still have enough for food and utilities.  When I asked about utilities Claus told me that the town of Stadt specified that utilities were always to be included in the rent paid.  This was definitely good news.

We would have to foot the bill for a telephone though – a necessity for us or we’d never hear the end of it from our parents – and a newspaper.  I needed the phone so that the PAO office could get hold of me if necessary.  Claus and I shook hands formally and the deal was done.  We had a house of our own!

Frantz told us that he’d give us a nice housewarming and provide food for it.  It was a very nice gesture because he didn’t have to do it.  He shrugged that off and told us we’d become almost family to him and he really wanted to do it.  He said there would be about fifteen or twenty people and to be sure to being Marie.  I told him we definitely would.

Claus said we could move in three weeks from now.  He wanted to paint two rooms and re-sand the steps leading up to the attic.  I told him with a laugh that it would probably take us that long to gather all our stuff.  He did indicate that we could put anything we brought over into the bedroom where it wouldn’t be bothered.  I thanked him for that.  With a final walk through, Virginia, Frantz and I went back out to his Opel and drove back to the Inn and Angelica.


Submitted: July 25, 2013

© Copyright 2022 B Douglas Slack. All rights reserved.


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Mon, December 9th, 2013 3:41pm



Mon, December 9th, 2013 7:49am

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